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TRNSMT: Joy Crookes on returning to festivals and looking ahead to her debut album

© Ryan BuchananJoy Crookes on stage at TRNSMT
Joy Crookes on stage at TRNSMT

In a tartan outfit and holding a saltire thrown onto the stage, Joy Crookes looked more than at home on the TRNSMT stage.

The South Londoner enthralled the crowd on the King Tut’s stage as the light began to fade on Friday evening, showing no signs of nerves about returning to festivals after a long absence.

Drawing on her Bangladeshi-Irish heritage and with deeply personal lyrics, the audience were captivated by her soulful sound.

Ahead of her set, she said: “Naturally being out of playing festivals for two years it’s a little bit nerve-wracking but I’m excited and ultimately people are here to have fun and I’m excited for that.

“Festivals are really important, as a punter of festivals myself you can discover new music really easily. I think that, because you come to a festival to have fun, you’re in a lot more open headspace to taking in new music.”

Playing between Griff and Little Simz on the secondary stage, Crookes was part of a strong run of female acts – something all too often missing from festival stages.

“I’m a huge fan of a lot of the people playing on the King Tut’s Stage,” she said. “It’s amazing to be a part of it. There are some amazing female acts coming out of the UK right now and it’s great that I can be part of that somehow in my own little way.”

October sees the release of her debut album, Skin, and Crookes has been teasing a few tracks from it in the build-up to unleashing it into the world.

One of them is Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, which has taken off with radio airplay, a feature on the upcoming FIFA 22 video game soundtrack, and being used as the theme for women’s football coverage.

“It’s amazing that it’s getting so much attention, particularly with games and TV,” she said. “I guess I should write more songs with the word feet in it! It’s really important to get people driving towards the album and kind of understanding what the body of work is going to feel like and sound like.”

On how she’s feeling ahead of the album release, she said: “I think excitement and nerves are two sides of the same coin so there’s a lot of flipping!

“During lockdown I felt like I was facing myself. I wasn’t allowed to be distracted the same way that we as humans are allowed to be distracted all the time.

“I think by facing myself I learned more about myself which in turn fed into my music and the personal nature of my work. I ended up writing the rest of my album, so it was an important time for me.”

This won’t be Crookes’ last visit to Glasgow this year, as she returns to the intimate St Lukes in November on her UK tour.

“I played here two years ago and we did karaoke afterwards, so hopefully we’ll be doing something, drinking lots of Buckfast and having fun,” she laughed.

“For the rest of this year, I have the tour, I have more videos coming out and I have the madness that comes with releasing a first album…”

TRNSMT festival continues until Sunday. Joy Crookes plays St Lukes in Glasgow on November 15