“Life is imperfect, imperfect(is perfect)…”

Every so often I’m moved by a voice and impassioned by a song – and then I feel the need to share it with the world. “Imperfect,” by Joi Cardwell. It definitely has an infectious beat, but if you listen to it closely, it has incredibly intense nuances, that are haunting and infectious. The underlying message is to hold on to your faith and trust in life, amidst life’s adversities – a theme that can be found in many of Joi’s songs.

I wanted to know what her inspiration was for the song, and after communicating with Joi, learned that this song was written on the day her grandmother passed away, and suddenly it all made sense. I felt so awful for having chosen such an emotional song, but realized that it’s always the most powerful songs that are borne from a place of pain, sadness or suffering. She assured me, “She was blessed with 94 great years. And I with all her love and wisdom.”

After obtaining two degrees from University, Joi started her recording career at Arista Records in a girl group called ‘The Promise,’ and then began her career producing captivating singles – such as “Love and Devotion,” “Trouble,” “Jump for Joi,” and “Soul to Bare”. Joi’s mellow and sensual vocals, coupled with her songwriting have influenced many. Her repertoire includes the albums, ‘The World is Full of Trouble’ from 1995; and ‘Joi Cardwell’ from 1997, and her collaborations with a variety of artists, such as Kashif, LL Cool J, Paula Abdul, Ice T, and Denise Rich as both writer and producer.

Joi’s most recent album ‘The Plain Jane Project’ is available for full listening on her website, and her catalog is available on all major digital sites including itunes.

Click here for my interview with Joi Cardwell, where she discusses her inspiration, her music, the industry, and more…




  1. cbaptiste says:

    Great post Steff! Joi’s vocals on that track has an intriguing yet dark repertoire. The beats are equally matched and works well with her style. It is always refreshing to hear about an artist who has taken an experience (positive or negative), and turn it into something pleasant for the listener’s ears. Joi is definitely overlooked and I really hope more people can get into her grooves. I think it is great that you are spotlighting artists like her instead of the other several generics out there. Keep it up!

  2. Yve says:

    Refreshing to read – a great interview. Joi Cardwell taking soulful experiences and sharing them in a most reflective and memorable passages. I don’t often have time to listen, much less read pages or screens filled with “cliche” praise. But what a pleasure to read something refreshing and sussinct. Joi’s songs are a definite listening pleasure. Well done Steffy well done. Don’t hesitate to send me more leads on music worth listening to.

  3. Frank Litorco says:

    My first exposure to Joi Cardwell was on Towa Tei’s 1995 debut, Future Listening, and her vocal contribution (“Luv Connection”) was one of the biggest highlights on a brilliant album. Cool, but never distant. Impassioned without being over-the-top. It’s her ability to walk that fine line that, I believe, has given her singing its timeless quality and longevity.

    Kudos to a very insightful interview. Looking forward to future installments in this series.

  4. staffeen thompson says:

    Cheyenne – I have you to thank for introducing me to Joi, this is what it’s about…Inspiration. Having someone inspire you through your passion, being inspired to create something positive from a horrible experience, bouncing back – and being resilient.

    Yve – You know I’m always thinking of those who may not ever listen to this type of music, hoping that it will inspire in some small way. I’m glad I was able to, this time!

    Frank – As always, your attention to detail is phenomenal! Thank you for your words, and I absolutely PROMISE to give you two more astounding installments! Just you watch.

  5. Will O'Neill says:

    Good interview, Steffi! I liked the song. Reminds me of a minimalistic Annie kind of sound… Speaking of Annie, I heard ‘Heartbeat’ the other day for the first time in awhile and that song still kicks ass.

    I’m off-topic. 😐

  6. staffeen thompson says:

    Hi Will, glad you liked it! I love these minimalist songs… simple yet loaded with meaning. It’s one of those songs that you have to listen to a few times to fully appreciate, they’re definitely an acquired taste… Excellent ear!

  7. karinmk123 says:

    Hi Steffy,

    Wonderful post about the truly talented Joi Cardwell. I love her mellow soulful sound. Reminds me of Sade. Anyway, would love to see her perform if and when she comes to our fair city. Karin

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