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Interview:
Vance Joy rides "Riptide" to chart success
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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For awhile. Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy was on track to be an Australian Rules football star. Or a lawyer.

But his decision to go with music has certainly paid off; his song "Riptide" has been a hit both at home, where it's gone five-times platinum, and abroad, setting up a successful run for his debut album, "Dream Your Life Away."

"It's pretty crazy," says Joy (real name James Keogh), 26, who was born in Melbourne and earned a Bachelor of Laws degree at Monash University as well as being named rookie of the year in the Victorian Football League. "It's been kind of like this steady wave of people listening to it.

"In Australia it probably happened last year and it's kind of been slowly chipping away here in the States. It's hard to crack America; I was always thinking we'd spend a couple years pushing it, but when it finally starts to make an impression, it's nice."

"Riptide" itself had a long gestation as well, according to Joy. "I started writing (the song) in 2008," he recalls. "I wrote the first two lines of the verse and I kinda thought that it was really simple. When that happens you just shelve it or don't think its special, so I put it away and about four years later, in 2012, I was playing around on a ukulele at a friend's place. I played the melody for the chorus, and once I had that I put it down on my phone and got all the different parts going and wrote the lyrics in a stream of consciousness kind of way.

"It took about three days for it to get glued together, but it was along time between it kind of beginning and coming to fruition."

Joy is hoping that the other songs on "Dream Your Life Away" make a similar impact, or at least show there's more to him than just "Riptide." Regardless, he says there's been no second-guessing the make music his first priority.

"It's like a new business venture," he explains. "It's all been kind of a surprise, really. It feels like it's been a quick turnaround; I put 'Riptide' on Soundcloud and Facebook early last year, and in a couple of weeks had a manager friend of mine call me and ask if I was interested in pursuing a career in music full-time. And here I am now...Wow."

Vance Joy

Friday, Nov. 7. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $27.

Call 313-961-9358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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