When Fefe Dobson hit the music scene in 2003, Island Records knew that they were engaging in risky business. Considering Dobson’s chart-topping contemporaries, like Beyonce (“Crazy in Love”), Ashanti ("Rock Wit’ U”), and Mya ("My Love Is Like...Wo"), one central question loomed in the air: “How would the market respond to a black female rock singer, who was also Canadian?” Putting the uncertainty to the test, Fefe Dobson made the music industry go into a state of shock – partly out of excitement, and equally out of confusion.
Like many other artists before her, Fefe was a musical visionary who came way before her time. In a musical arena that expected her to sing R&B ballads or hip-hop hooks, she has always been acutely aware of the up-hill battle that she has to climb. Now that seven years have passed since her debut, Dobson hopes that now, with the release of Joy, she will no longer be viewed as a musical “anomaly,” but musical reality instead.
Following the release of “Ghost,” Joy’s guitar-driven lead single, Fefe Dobson squeezed some time out her busy schedule to settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on her songwriting partnership with Kevin Rudolf, her love of Tina Turner, and the legacy of rock and roll.
As I was reviewing the promotional materials for Joy, I was taken aback by the artwork you chose for the cover. Instead of focusing the image on your face, the viewer finds your body – half-hidden – laying prone on a stage, which is surrounded by speakers and various instruments. What is the underlying message behind the visual imagery?
During my video shoots for "I Want You" and "Watch Me Move," I was really, really tired, and I just kind of laid down, because I needed some air. Someone took a shot of me, and we decided it was really cool. It's a really raw shot that does a great job of expressing how much energy I give on the stage. I was completely wiped out! [laughing]
Considering the amount of energy that you dedicate to your live performances, the title of your album appears to be a “no-brainer.” But what about the title track? What life events inspired the song’s lyrics?