Joi is not the first in her family to be a first. Her father, Joe Gilliam, was the NFL’s first black quarterback leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to two unforgettable Super Bowls. And just as the Steelers have once again found their stride, so has Joi with her 4th release TENNESSEE SLIM IS THE BOMB.For those that pride themselves on knowing the behind the scenes scoop of the music industry, Joi has been one to talk about for, now over, a decade. When her first single, “Sunshine and the Rain,” off her critically acclaimed, Dallas Austin produced debut album The Pendulum Vibe, hit airwaves in ’93, she was instantly lauded as “the new Madonna”. Madonna, herself, was so in love with the album that she went on to hire Dallas Austin to produce her Bedtime Stories album. Madonna is also responsible for making the call that landed Joi’s becoming the first black model in a major Calvin Klein print ad campaign.Joi’s original style, not easily classified, was the first to be tagged “neo-soul”. But, as an artist and performer, Joi is beyond classification. What she represented as a new voice of black womanhood was further celebrated on the Mario Van Peebles film, Panther, soundtrack where her song “Freedom,” from the Pendulum Vibe album, was rerecorded with an all-star cast of female singers including: Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, En Vogue, Michelle N’degleocello, TLC, Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams, SWV, Brownstone and many more.
For her sophomore effort, The Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, Joi and creative partner Austin, brought in the assistance of legendary pioneers Fishbone to be her backing band. The albums first single, written for her father, coined the term “Ghetto Superstar”. Yet, despite its MTV buzz status, when her then label EMI folded, so did the release of the album.
Ever the darling of urban media, Joi’s high-profile marriage to Goodie Mob front-man Big Gipp took center stage while she took a three year hiatus from her solo efforts to raise their daughter Keypsiia Blue Daydreamer (a very beautiful, pregnant Joi appears in D’Angelo’s video, “Lady”).
Of course, even though her solo projects were on hold, as a member of Atlanta’s infamous Dungeon Family, her voice graced the tracks of several Outkast, Goodie Mob,TLC songs and non-ATLien artists such as Robbie Williams, George Clinton, Curtis Mayfield, Queen Latifah, Too Short, and D.O.C. to name a few.
When Joi received a call from ex-TonyToniTone front-man, Raphael Saadiq, to become a member of the then Hip Hop/R&B super group, Lucy Pearl, she agreed and ended her three year hiatus. The group received nominations from both the Grammy’s and the American Music Awards.
In 2000, Joi inked a deal with Universal to release her third album, Star Kitty’s Revenge and this time experienced her newly released album falling through the cracks when the label went through a major changing of the guard. She then signed with Raphael Saadiq’s boutique label, Pookie Records and began recording TENNESSEE SLIM IS THE BOMB which she executive produced. Upon completing the recording, Joi and Raphael parted business ties amicably, in the name of not allowing another masterpiece to fall through the cracks.
As a songwriter/producer Joi has also formed Dirty Debutante Productions for the sake of producing up and coming artists possibly associated with different labels.
TENNESSEE SLIM IS THE BOMB