Berlin-born Joy Denalane is the offspring of a German mother and a South African father. While the German side of her family has not handed down a genetic predisposition towards schlager, her African ancestry has undoubtedly provided her with the tools required for her unique hybrid of German-Afro soul.
Joy Denalane began singing at the age of 19 in the German soul band Culture Roots. Finding herself in Stuttgart duetting with the DJ team of Peter Hoff und DJ Thomilla, she began moving in the flourishing local r´n´b scene. This in turn led to a cooperation with Freundeskreis frontman Max Herre on the song ´Mit Dir´. The song reached the German Top Ten in 1999.
When the personal and musical chemistry between the two proved promising, Joy joined the FK Allstars collective (also featuring Max Herre, Afrob, Gentleman, Sékou Neblett, Déborah, Brooke Russell, Don Philippe and DJ Friction), and the outfit toured for almost two years without a break. In 2002, she embarked upon her Herre-produced solo debut ´Mamani´, which reached #8 in the German charts.
Following this German-language release, her second solo album ´Born & Raised´ stepped into the mostly unknown territory of English language songs. Released in 2006, the legendary South African flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela contributed vocal arrangements as well as his horn. Denalane’s family background, as well as a recent visit to South Africa, informed a majority of the songs. The album reached #2 in the German charts.
In 2006 Denalane and her then-husband Herre formed their own record label Nesola and released a duet with rapper Luke Fiasco as a UK-only single. 2007 saw Freundeskreis touring with Denalane and her by-now ex-husband both present in the line-up.
Since that time, she has worked in Germany with the Dresden Soul Symphony, delivering authentic versions of American soul standards backed by the MDR Symphony Orchestra. Her traditional ´soul´ voice follows in the footsteps of Aretha and Mary J Blige, and she consolidates her position as the ‘queen of German soul’, to quote German MTV.
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