Notion caught up with rising artist Joey Knight to find out his current obsessions, biggest inspirations, and why he thinks he and Post Malone should be mates.

Welcome to Fresh Face, a quick-fire interview series spotlighting the best rising talents in today’s youthful music scene. From biggest pet peeves to party tricks and death row meals, we’re stripping things back from the formal Q&A format. Think of it like speed dating, but with some of the freshest music makers worth discovering.

Nottingham-born Joey Knight might only be 22, but the rising artists’ brand of sweet pop speaks with lyrical maturity and vulnerability beyond his years. This month sees the release of Joey’s new EP, ‘how to be happy’ – six tracks about feelings, relationships, breakups and confusing emotions.

 

About the EP, Joey describes how “a lot of it is about a tough break-up and the feelings and emotions that come with going through something like that, including some lighter emotions of hopefulness or glimpses of falling in love again (and the challenges that come with that). I think it’s also more generally about trying to find happiness, or at least feeling content in the place that you’re at, and a lot of those harder, more heartbreaking emotions have a big part to play in happiness, whether or not it seems like it at the time”.

 

The EP has a serene quality amongst the relatability: tracks like “let u go” set the story of relationship collapse against soft guitar; “how to be happy” mourns the loss of childhood innocence; and “i miss the things i love” puts Joey’s vocals front and centre. Knight started developing his sound after moving to London, before retreating to a remote shed in the UK countryside to write and record ‘how to be happy’. He collaborated with Sfven as well as up-and-coming producers Hot Dennis and RISC on the debut EP, and their output is a perfect introduction to everything Joey Knight is about. We caught up with the singer to find out his current obsessions, biggest inspirations, and why he thinks him and Post Malone should be mates. Dive in!

 

If you could bring three music icons to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would you bring?

My first love in music was AC/DC, I really wanted to be Angus Young when I was a kid and my first ever live music experience was my dad taking me to see AC/DC at Download Festival. So he’d definitely have to be there, I’m sure he has some great stories too. During the last lockdown I got super into Don McLean too, particularly the American Pie album, I’d love to pick his brain and chat music. Then I’d probably give Harry Styles a call because why wouldn’t you want Harry Styles at your dinner party?

The biggest misconception about being a musician?

I think a lot of people think that their favourite musicians are song making robots and that everything they do is a masterpiece. There’s a lot of bad songs to be made before you get to the ones that feel right, I’ve definitely written the same song 100 times before I get to the way that feels like the most honest, true version of that song. There are rare times where it all comes out at once but this definitely isn’t the case most of the time. Sometimes you go through those 100 versions to go right back to the first one!

If you were transported back to 2019, what’s the first thing you’d do?

I’d probably give all my mates a big hug and tell them I love them! It’s something I try and do a lot more these days, missing human contact was definitely one of the toughest things for me over the past few years, and something I definitely took for granted back then. I’d probably also tell myself to get over my fear of FaceTime/zoom real quick! (I love a good FaceTime call these days).

Three things that inspire you outside of music?

I think other than music my biggest inspirations are art, movies, new places and my friends! I love going to new cities and places, whenever I’m feeling at a bit of a dead end I try my best to go to someplace new, or meet new people. I think it’s super useful to get outside of the little comfortable bubble you’re in and get a fresh perspective from time to time.

What are you currently obsessed with?

With a risk of making myself look like a total weirdo… this ones easy. Marmite and peanut butter on toast. I’ve had it every single morning without fail for the past 3 months at least, love it or hate it, I cant get enough. I do have to stress that this is unsalted, crunchy peanut butter (the kind you buy in huge tubs). Then you add that saltiness in with the marmite and its a match made in heaven, promise.

Finish the sentence: I feel happiest when…

I’m making music I love with people I love! There’s nothing better than creating something that feels great and sharing that with great people. Nothing really comes close for me, and I think any kind of shared experience is always better than time spent alone.

Which actor would you like to play you in a film?

That’s a great question… and a really tricky one. It’d be interesting to see what Tom Holland’s version of me would be like – although I’d probably like his version more! That could be a problem…

Which celebrity would you love to be friends with?

I think if we’re talking super-mega-stars I’d love to be pals with Post Malone. We could talk about old rock bands and play video games. He seems like a pretty relaxed guy and think we’d get on pretty well.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Marmite and Peanut Butter on toast aside… I think I’d survive pretty happily on the Vegatsu from Wagamamas for the rest of my life. This might seem pretty boring but there was a time in my life where I think I came pretty close to doing this anyway, and I’d do it again. No regrets. 

Favourite season?

This one is easy, Summer 100%. My happiest memories have been during the long hot days in summer. I think I might have been some kind of plant in a past life as it really affects my mood and productivity if I don’t get enough sunlight! Growing up in the countryside has engrained in me a need to be outside in me I think. Its also festival season and I love being in a field somewhere watching live music with my pals! 

Biggest goal for 2022?

There’s a few that come to mind but I am dying to get up on stage again! I started out playing a lot of open mics/local shows in Nottingham and I’ve definitely missed it. I’m trying to figure out my live show at the moment so hopefully that one is right around the corner!

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