We had the good fortune of connecting with Joi Keeling and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joi, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
The single most important decision I made in life was learning how to trust myself. Trusting my faults, my intuition, my ideas, just everything. Growing up I was taught to look closely at my idols, my mentors, and everyone doing what I wanted to do to be successful. It drove me to look less at myself and the qualities I authentically had to offer. If I wasn’t doing it exactly like them or better, I wasn’t good enough. The moment I stop watching them and started trusting myself, doors began to open, my creativity began to flourish, and I was able to grow substantially in my career.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a recording artist and music producer. I produce all the content for myself as a pop singer-songwriter, as well as beats for other artists. I also produce music content for commercial projects such as jingles, TV/film, and gaming apps. I got into music the day I fell in love with soundtrack music playing video games as a kid. When I got my very first digital keyboard, the moment I discovered the “RECORD” button I immediately began composing songs of my own. Two decades later, I’m receiving praise, reposts, and follows from top charting creators like Timbaland, LIZZO, Chris Brown, and more. I definitely overcame some challenges. Being a woman of color, many people don’t take me seriously. Especially in the music industry. Women are just seen as singers and props for marketing. Never the producers or engineers behind the scenes. I quickly learned to stop caring what people who “claimed” they were gatekeepers thought. At the end of the day, if you can make a product worth selling, you have a place any market your heart desires you to be in. If there’s anything I would want the world to know, it would be that women ARE producers! Women are audio engineers! And we are here to stay!

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
First, we are definitely going for a bike ride! Houston is absolutely beautiful on bike! I would take her to my favorite coffee spot, Cafe Brasil, then we’d hop over to my favorite Montrose bar, Boheme for drag brunch! From there I would show her to Buffalo Bayou where we’d view the city skyline from my favorite spot in the park. We’d head over to Pete’s Piano Bar because it’s hands down the best piano bar in the southern region (not because I’m one of the musicians) *wink wink*. On another evening I’d show her to my favorite live music joint, called Cafeza. I love the vibe there. Everyone is so nice, the crowd is immensely diverse, and the Latin music vibe just hits the soul just right. A true gem and representation of our city. Lastly I would show her to Cafe 4212, Houston’s oldes and most historical jazz bar. BEST soul food ever ya hear me? And the music is just exquisite! I don’t know another place where you can eat some bomb fish & grits while watching the coolest, cutest old guy you ever seen tap dance. He’s phenomenal. To be honest, I don’t think one week would be enough.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give my shoutout to Kam Franklin, lead singer of Houston’s own, The Suffers. Kam has been a great mentor, a leader, and a good friend. I appreciate her insight and the experiences she’s shared with me about being in the music industry as a woman of color. She has taught me to have faith in myself and she has shared a great deal of information that has been most helpful in the success I’ve achieved in my career. Kam if you’re reading this, I want to thank you for changing my life.

Website: http://sugarjoiko.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sugarjoiko
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joikeeling/
Facebook: http://sugarjoiko.com
Youtube: http://sugarjoiko.com
Other: http://JoikoProductions.com

Image Credits
Joikoproductions studios photographer: @CatJaddy http://CatJaddy.com Sugar Joiko arcade photographer: @jazmineimaginesphotography http://www.jazmineimaginesphotography.net/?fbclid=IwAR2eyVXBkqpXqPmBJGRqnn4CK5_jKJgeBLiSUA5CxfFu7FPwhgXhFlf2eXQ