Growing up in a small town in rural eastern Pennsylvania, Joy Bellis always had dreams of performing in New York City. It was a couple hours drive away, but close in her heart. A bright, young student who always did well academically, Joy’s first love remained anything related to music. She began dance lessons at age 3 and piano lessons at age 8. Through both of these disciplines she discovered her passion for singing. In her teen years, performing in musical theater productions solidified her dedication to the craft. Even as she went away to college in Virginia at James Madison University to study Financial Engineering, Joy kept up her musical pursuits as well, performing at various functions whenever she could.
Joy moved to Manhattan for a job in the investment banking world, but she knew this was a vehicle to get her closer to that place where she could also make her singing dreams happen. She intensified her study of jazz standards and Latin (especially Brazilian) rhythms with educators Carol Fredette and Maura Ellyn, and began booking appearances in various Manhattan venues. The success and frequency of her performances led Joy to leave the finance world behind and pursue singing and other entertainment-related work including television, film and modeling. She also expanded her view to get experience in other styles of music; she has provided backup vocals in live performances for the Latin rock group, Batista, and completed studio work for songwriters in the dance, pop, trip hop and musical theater genres. Joy is in demand internationally as well, with tours in Tokyo, Paris and Buenos Aires, and is included in respected jazz critic Scott Yanow’s 2008 book, The Jazz Singers, as one of the top 525 jazz singers of all time.
Joy’s first full-length CD, Coming Alive, was released in March 2006 to critical acclaim. The title is not only a lyric from one of the songs on the recording, but also reflects what this musical and personal journey has meant to her.
“Joy Bellis has a clear tone that occasionally hints at the late Susannah McCorkle…She understands the words she is interpreting, her versions are thoughtful and intelligent, and her voice will win listeners over…Coming Alive is an excellent start for her career.”
Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene (May 2007)
“From the proper elegantly beautiful image, to the captivating and expressive vocal chops to the wisdom to pick good material and excellent sidemen, Miss Bellis delivers big time on her latest release, Coming Alive… She is unique and adaptable, with an open mind to new and interesting feels that pays off with a fresh approach on some old classics…Joy Bellis is sure to do wonderful things in the world of jazz vocals...”
Dave Miele, Jazz Improv Magazine (August 2006)