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Interview with Joi Cardwell
By Frederick Audran
(more articles from this author)
1997-12-15
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Cardwell is the Diva of Dance, having sold over 1.5 million records worldwide and topped the club chart Billboard with every album. Frederick Aubrun caught up with her to get her view of the industry.

Joi Cardwell is the Diva of Dance, having sold over 1.5 million records worldwide and topped the club chart Billboard with every album. Don't just boil it down though to her seductive, soulful voice, she's one of the hardest workers in the Dance scene, having releases three albums in the last five years of which nearly all the material is her own. Now touring for her latest album, "Run to You", Frederick Aubrun caught up with her to get her view of the industry.

FA. You've just come out with a new album. Who did you work on it with?

JC. I wrote most of the album with Frankie Knuckles. The album's pretty diverse. I didn't want to disappoint my fans though so there are quite a few Dance tracks. On the other hand, there's also a fair amount of R&B. It's a part of me that I want to explore more deeply in my next album; even if for now, I haven't started working on it. On this album, I was really lucky to work with people that I was able to choose. I've always kinda worked like that. All I need to do now is call David Morales (laughs).

FA. How did you go about writing this album? What was your inspiration? Are you able to stay plugged into the Dance scene, the NYC club scene, from New Jersey?

JC. When I'm writing, I don't care about what's happening... I don't follow the 'trends'. I work my way and prefer to concentrate on my music, and especially, remain honest.

FA. You speak of work, do you consider your music to be an art or like a job?

JC. An art? No, it's a lot more a job like any other...I don't think what I do is so hard, it just demands effort and work. That's all.

FA. And it seems it pays. Your last single finished at the top of the Billboard. Do you get a certain pride from that?

JC. Sure...It's gratifying. It just proves that all efforts are rewarded. It's a healthy satisfaction. I love what I do and it's a great pleasure to see others appreciate my music.

FA. On the other hand, in Europe, you seem to be known to only a certain type of listener: those in the well-connected gay clubs. Is the audience in Europe different?

JC. My success in the US is quite enough. In Europe, I haven't yet found an effective manager to represent me. Otherwise, it's clear that the public is totally different. Europeans have a more musical culture, probably due to the historic difference. However, I'd like to reach another audience, say more mainstream.

FA. Are you involved in the business side of the Dance industry? There are a lot of feuds and dissing at the moment.

JC. I expressly remain apart from all that. It's all stories about politics and wars between clubs. I'm respected by everyone and I've work with all of them. They recognize my professionalism and appreciate me.

FA. To wrap up, why is it that Dance hasn't been able to reach the same record sales as say reached by Rap?

JC. For me, the reason is simple: Dance music is more popular but it remains superficial. Rap sells more because of the lyrics and messages on the albums. Rap has a certain depth that Dance music will never have.


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