Joby Jay ‘currently in a situation-ship’
Artiste opens up about emotional abuse, finding new love
“ I’ve been hurt before, mistreated, used and deceived. Don’t want that no more, I need love, real love – the love that makes your heart feel like true love.”
Joby Jay’s lyrics tell of the torn heart. The walls are painted red and, though cloaked in the emotions that any relationship comes with, the singer-songwriter openly shared in a recent interview with The Gleaner, a past experience that has taken her through various levels of love.
“My last break-up could have mashed me up. It ended and I was left in a bout of confusion. I can laugh about it now, but it was emotionally traumatising to have existed in a relationship more as a convenience,” the singer revealed. “How it ended was just hard, and it ended in a weird way because I did not see it coming. There’s this term, ‘breadcrumbing’, where a person manipulates an intimate relationship by giving a little piece to make you feel satisfied, then pull away, and then come back and give just enough to keep you without any real intention for commitment … that’s what happened to me.”
As Joby Jay delved into her past relationship with someone she once shared a home with, and touched on the mistreatment and emotional abuse she experienced, it became evident that this was the reason for love being at the centre of her début EP titled Love Levels. The seven-track lesson on love is a personal diary detailing her heartbreak and revelation about love.
“This being the name of my first music project is so, so, so fitting, mostly because of the love part. When I look at my life and how I’ve evolved through personal experiences, and how I ended up here as the version of Jo Benée Morris that I am today, it has been through the levels,” Joby Jay said.
She added, “This was not only of past relationships, but I grew up in a family full of love. Observing my parents’ relationship was inspiration. Love has been a common theme in my life. I’m the ‘wears her heart on her sleeve’ type of girl, and love, even though it is a little bit scary because it comes with vulnerability, it just excites me. From primary-school days to college, I was that girl who always had a crush, or a boy I called boyfriend. Even in my other profession as a photographer, I’m a wedding photographer and I mostly shoot couples.”
Joby Jay has managed to keep her failed relationship under wraps, but most of Love Levels’ love songs seem to be inspired by it, while others, like TLC and the sultry song Bare, appear to shed light on the start of a new “situation-ship” as she described her newfound, low-key love.
“Music was not my only therapy. After that break-up, I actually started therapy. It was necessary. It was great – the fruits of therapy – not the easiest, as it forces you to confront very uncomfortable things about yourself, and I don’t think it would have helped me to heal if I didn’t do it, because I wouldn’t have allowed me to have the self-awareness I have now about why I allowed certain things to happen and why I won’t allow certain things going forward. No amount of emotional abuse can turn me against love. Hey! I’m currently in a situation-ship … . I like it, it’s great. Here I am again, in love,” Joby Jay shared.
Further explaining the journey through the track list for the EP, she remarked, “When I sang Deception, I think maybe he realised and thought to himself ‘she’s on to something’ because we broke up after that. And, with Real Love, which is the most vulnerable song on the project, it was in the midst of the break-up and it was just me writing about the love I wanted to feel in the future. When I sing it or listen to that, it makes me feel weird and it has the power to move me to tears ... . I hope that doesn’t happen to me on a stage, because me bawly, bawly enuh.”
She also admitted that, when singing Bare to an audience, she channels the emotions she feels for her new lover – and that the person knows.
She has never publicly spoken about her pain and romance; she has the support of her family and friends who, she said, are “in-tuned to my moods”. Having fitted in that quality therapy time, Joby Jay expressed relief, saying, “I’ve matured and grown. The more I have experiences, it’s the more I have had to become wise with how I love and how I let people in and give of myself to people as well. I have a tendency to always want to see the best in people and say ‘no, that’s not what he meant’ in denial, but I have to learn to trust what I see from people and not just what they say.”
Her project is also special because not only does it represent her and is the first complete body of work but, because of the relationships she has forged with producers like Island.Wav Entertainment, JLL and Koastal Kings, who all have songs on the project. She performed some of these tracks on the Flair Distinguished Awards stage last Monday night.
“I’m no professional on love and relationships – that’s all about give-and-take, but sometimes, to find a balance, an individual needs to know when to be selfish. A relationship should not ever compromise you, prioritising yourself because, if a person is well, he or she will love better. I think I’m relatable (so) I want the audience to learn that from me, for them to feel me. I want females who have been hurt to feel hope in finding new love and know that love is still real and can be felt no matter what a person has been through. I want them to experience the ‘love levels’,” Joby Jay shared.