Joony, a rising artist from DMV, is making waves in the music scene. If you’re not familiar with Joony, it's time for you to pay attention. On Brent Faiyaz's Wasteland album, he was featured on the hit song “FYTB” that debuted on the Billboard charts. Joony also made headlines by joining forces with Red Bull Records and fellow artist Blxst's Evgle imprint. Now, he has dropped his highly anticipated EP, Memento, which showcases his talent and storytelling ability. The EP features thought-provoking interludes where Joony opens up about his personal experiences before transitioning into mesmerizing songs.
Joony joins EBONY for a conversation about what inspired Memento, his new label deal and his thoughts on the DMV music scene not getting the true recognition it deserves.
This is your first project under Evgle/ Red Bull Records. Can you share the inspiration behind your Memento EP and what led you to create it?
Joony: I wanted to give the fans something to hold them over until I'm ready to give them a real Dark Fantasy or a Graduation. I just wanted to give them a little peek at what I've been working on and give them something to hold over until I'm really ready to give them my album. I had a great time making these records, I had a lot of memories, and I kind of inserted some of the memories in there with the skits. The album itself is kind of a “Memento.” That's why I decided to call it that. I had the cover of the album be me holding a picture up, like reminiscing.
"I make music that somebody from one background could listen to an enjoy and somebody from another background could do the same."Joony
To what extent did you prioritize the inclusion of interludes on this EP?
Before even putting the tracklist together I knew I wanted skits. I've always been a fan of adding another layer to albums, whether it be through skits, or through stories. "Silent Battles," my project from 2021 that had skits all over it, was the first time I really attempted to do the whole skit thing and it made more of a journey than just a compilation of songs. So I definitely prioritized it a lot before I even had the track list or knew what songs I was gonna put on it.
How do you feel about the support and recognition that the DMV rap scene receives, both locally and on a larger scale?
We get recognition every time you ask somebody who's not from the DMV. "What do you think about DMV music?" Everybody says "they got mad talent." But you really have to ask them, "Who do you listen to from the DMV?" They don't really know anyone outside of Wale, Shy Glizzy, Rico Nasty, and Brent Faiyaz, even though some people don't know he's from the DMV. Outside of those four people that I named I feel like we don’t get the recognition that we deserve.
Can you reflect on your journey as an artist and how you got signed to Red Bull Records and Evgle.
Last year, I was with a distribution label called Good Partners. Our deal ended with them and we were searching for a new partner to put out this new music with. My friend/lawyer, Karl Fowlkes, he kind of put together the play. He works closely with Blxst and with Red Bull records. We had a couple of meetings with them, we liked the synergy and what they had to offer. They care about the music and me as an artist. [When] looking for a partner in a business relationship, especially in this industry that's all you can ask for.
What has your experience been like collaborating with artists such as Blxst and Brent Faiyaz?
Working with Brent happened at a time where I was literally still posting regularly on SoundCloud in 2020, I was 19 years old. I wasn't nearly as big as I am now as an artist. To have somebody that was as big as Brent -- he wasn't even as big as he is now back then, but he was still such a big deal -- to have him reach out, that was amazing, It definitely helped change the trajectory of my career. Being in the studio with him helped me learn how to stack my vocals better.
Blxst invited me out to Utah. A couple months ago, he was having a camp for his album. I stayed at their Airbnb for three days and we just cooked up music nonstop. He has that West Coast sound on lock.