Vance Joy could be forgiven for pressing pause for a moment, and perhaps reflect on the astonishing six years that saw him sprint into the global spotlight and run with the biggest names in music.
The Australian singer and songwriter (real name James Keogh) did just that when he took a well-earned break over Melbourne’s long, hot summer. And with the forthcoming vinyl release of his breakthrough EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing, he’ll get the opportunity to stroll back to the start of his wild ride.
Originally released in March 2013, Joy’s five-track debut EP will be reissued for the first time on vinyl in the United States and Australia on April 26, six years to day of its arrival, Billboard can exclusively confirm. The limited edition pressing will feature Joy’s breakthrough hit “Riptide,” which has passed one billion global streams, is five-times platinum certified in the U.S. and nine-times platinum in his homeland, where the song topped out Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 poll back in January 2014.
Billboard chatted with Joy by phone earlier this week in Los Angeles, where he’s currently throwing his energies into rounds of writing sessions with some familiar, and some new, faces.
“It feels good. It solidifies those last few years,” he says of the vinyl revisit. “When I listen to those songs, I think ‘woah, my voice is so different.’ It feels like a snapshot of where I was at that time. It would be nice to hear from people who haven’t delved so deeply (into my catalogue) and see if the songs still hold up or strike a chord with anyone.”
Liberation Records, part of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group, will release the vinyl edition of God Loves You When You’re Dancing, with pre-orders here.
Joy is finding his spark following a whirlwind 2018, during which time he mounted a global tour in support of his sophomore set Nation of Two, which bowed at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart (his debut Dream Your Life Away also hit the top in 2014) and No. 10 on the Billboard 200. The live workload will increase in the months ahead, with Joy hitting his strides for a massive tour of Europe with Pink through the northern summer. The 28-date jaunt includes a stop at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium.
“After having summer off, I almost forgot I was a musician,” he quips. “Wembley is the biggest venue, where the biggest artists play. I feel a bit rusty, so I’ll need to work up to it.”
But first, Joy is rolling out his Ukuleles For Kids program in Australia through a new partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. And he’s working on new music, searching for inspiration through collaboration and the new scenery of L.A.. It’s much too early to talk new release dates, though that could change in an instant. “If the right song came along, I feel like I’d like to release it immediately. It doesn’t take long to turn it around,” he tells Billboard. “I haven’t got anything in my pocket right now but it’d be nice to release a song sometime this year. If it happened, that’d be great. I’ve got my fishing line in the water, just waiting.”
God Loves You When You’re Dancing tracklist:
3. Play With Fire
5. From Afar