(images courtesy of Sylvana Joyce + The Moment)
That’s the only way to describe singer/musician Sylvana Joyce, as she fills the stage, the room, the surrounding area with a palpable wave of raw energy. She has absolutely floored audiences with her performances and won critical acclaim for her powerful, meticulous delivery.
“It’s hard to put the band in a generic category,” she says. “But it’s so intimately me. I’ve definitely been compared to the rhapsodic theatricality of Queen or Meatloaf or the quirkiness and pianistic prowess of Regina Spektor and Tori Amos, and I definitely gravitate toward storytelling and message-based music. I like to get into character and live out the world of each song. I guess that’s why you get such varied styles from me—I serve what the song needs over any cohesion of sound.”
This Saturday, Sylvana Joyce + The Moment (her exceptionally talented band featuring Chris Smith on guitar, Sean-David Cunningham on fiddle, Jack Breslin on bass, and drummer Jeremy Sauber) will celebrate the release of their new album, Heavyhead, with a live performance at Maxwell’s (1035 Washington Street, Hoboken).
“As I was putting this album together, I noticed that my songs were tied together by an emotional theme of war or power struggle,” says Joyce. “The battle within, and the battles we have with people we love and people who bully us. I always loved the saying ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown’, and I see that responsibility placed on women, today, to bear the weight of representing our gender, but also (something very important to me), transcending our gender. Not just writing songs and making art about romance. Not just singing pretty. Not just being a sex symbol. All of these things are wonderful, but ultimately limiting. Those are the boundaries we’ve been told to adhere to in order to be acceptable; for too long.”
Of all the iconic portrayals of powerful women, Heavyhead leads with a decidedly monstrous representation.
“The image of Medusa always stuck with me, and so I gravitated toward her being a symbol of how society can find a woman’s power to be ugly or terrifying,” says Joyce. “I think powerful women fear that society will brand them as either one; so I thought it would be perfect to have her be the fearful symbol we have to face.”
Sylvana Joyce + The Moment wield their power with precision. For Saturday’s performance, a number of reinforcements will be on hand to lend their own talents to what will inevitably be an evening of sheer awe.
“This night is going to be a community effort; it truly takes a village to raise an artist,” says Joyce. “So many of my local musical friends (Gerry Rosenthal, Christina Alessi, Jaime DeJesus) are pitching in to sing, and 18 musicians total. Haha, we’re going to be falling off the stage.”
This show promises to go beyond the music. “My friend Joe Berlinghieri will be heading set design, transforming the bare Maxwell’s stage into a textural, theatrical display. Steven Moore will be doing some brilliantly choreographed lighting design—also bringing in additional lighting fixtures to really take the visuals up a notch. Courtney Collins collaborated with me on two video installations happening during the show,” says Joyce. “My intention was for me to fit an off-Broadway caliber production into Maxwell’s and give a local audience and my fans something truly extravagant and unique, but from the heart.”
With such a range in style and delivery, the concepts that drive Sylvana Joyce + The Moment are kind of hard to nail down—and that’s what makes them so compelling.
“I finally reached the conclusion that I want to be uncompromising in my execution of my vision of what this band, what this music can be,” she says. “Right now, I’m just passionate about making art that I’m proud of without worrying whether it fits in… literally or figuratively, I guess.”
Heavyhead will be available on CD or for digital download, but the the live performance is where it’s sure to hit the hardest.
“In some ways, you can’t get the full idea of what I do without seeing it live. Sylvana Joyce + The Moment truly is about experiencing ‘the moment’,” says Joyce.
“I want this tavern to be bursting at the seams with what we can do.”
Sylvana Joyce + The Moment—Heavyhead Album Release Show
(with Kelsey Warren of Blak Emoji, and Cousin Earth)
Saturday, December 16
Doors @ 8:00
CLICK HERE for ticket information.