REVIEW: Shelter by Joy Oladokun

Review of Joy Oladokun by Lucy Hotchin

Joy Oladokun is a singer/songwriter based in LA with a predilection for soul combined with roots in folk and rock, a magical combination in the right hands. And Joy’s hands are definitely the right hands to bring her music and her voice to life. Her new single Shelter comes from her forthcoming debut album Carry, an album that she comments, ‘Every song stemmed from a lesson I learned, or a lesson I’m still learning. I write to process and to heal, and I sing to help others do the same. I think this past year has taught me that my voice is one of the few gifts I have, and I can use it to spread a lot of love and lift people up. That’s the heart behind the album, and that’s my motivation as a person too.’

I sat down with a cup of coffee in the sunshine to listen to Shelter and was introduced to a beautifully sparse opening that accompanies her soulful voice. The focus is clear with the instruments accompanying and not overtaking her voice giving the listener an opportunity to focus on the words she sings. The message Oladokun conveys is simple and poignant (the best kind), she sings in the chorus “But just say the word baby and I’m yours, I’ll be your shelter, keep you safe and warm”. She asks for trust, acknowledges pain and offers support. Her voice and the melody she’s created invoke soul and emotion while holding you through the song. The accompaniment builds and then gently pulls back with backing vocals that link smoothly to the last chorus where Oladokun’s voice comes back welcoming and strong. I felt as though I had been lifted up into the song and as Shelter ended on a similar way it started, I was being gently laid back down to earth leaving my mind tingling with sadness and happiness and a big smile on my face.

Shelter is a beautiful song with a powerful message, Oladokun’s voice feels like a combination of being polished with rough edges giving a smooth sound that’s filled with emotion. Shelter arcs through an emotional journey that gives the listener a chance to relate to the words and a chance to hear Oladokun’s message. I highly recommend Shelter for anyone wanting to hear beauty and emotion brought to life by a soulful voice and skilful musician. The power of healing and learning through music is one I hold close to my heart, and I cannot wait to hear the rest of Oladokun’s album Carry when it comes out.

You can hear more of Joy Oladokun’s music on her Soundcloud.


Lucy Hotchin

Lucy Hotchin grew up mostly in Melbourne and spends most of her time now hiding out in her room with her life partner greyhound named Roy. She has a Bachelor in Performing Arts and plans on being a student forever. Besides her love of all things dog like, she spends time writing, reading, watching tv shows, drawing/painting and being a homebody. When she leaves the house you may find her directing, writing or acting in the odd piece of theatre every now and then, working as a Barista and drinking too much coffee or studying Creative Arts Therapy where she hopes to continue on into Masters. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and destigmatisation as well as an avid feminist and equal rights advocate. She is queer and a lover of all people who enjoy a coffee and a chat, most of her time is spent managing her mental illness and enjoying the small things and writing sentences that are maybe too long.

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