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Music / Vance Joy

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Vance Joy (Real Name: James Keogh) is a singer from Melbourne, Australia.

He originally played Australian Football for Club Coburg before pursuing a singing career.

He was true indie for awhile, with only one EP to his name, and risking a life of obscurity. Everything changed when his song "Riptide" came from left field to win Triple J's Hottest 100 in 2013, the largest musical democracy in the world. This immediately gave him international renown and a deal with Atlantic Records.


His debut record, Dream Your Life Away, was released in September 2014. The follow-up Nation of Two was released in 2018. Features the song "Saturday Sun", which could be just as catchy as "Riptide".

Vance Joy's music contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: The end of the "Play With Fire" video.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Even his real name—James Keogh—is cool-sounding.
  • Break-Up Song: "Mess is Mine" and "First Time".
  • Dark Horse Victory: Joy's debut single "Riptide" was voted by over a billion people worldwide as the biggest song of 2013, over global radio stalwarts "Get Lucky" and "Royals".
  • Gag Sub: Used in the "Riptide" music video to invoke the Mondegreen example below.
  • Literal Music Video: "Riptide" is one made by the artist himself, and it basically films all of the Word Salad Lyrics as is, resulting in a nonsensical series of events.
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  • Mohs Scaleof Rockand Metal Hardness: Keeping it real at about 1-3.
  • Mondegreen: He claims to love them. Quite common in his work also.
    • Invoked in the Riptide video, where the subtitles for "you're gonna sing the words wrong" become "You gone and sank the world's wolf".
  • Reggae: Perhaps the best label for him.
  • Shout-Out: In "Riptide" to Midnight Cowboy:
    "There's this movie that I think you'll like/this guy decides to quit his job and head to New York City/This Cowboy's running from himself/And she's been living on the highest shelf."
  • Stage Names: On how he got his unusual stage name:
    "I was going through a Peter Carey phase and reading a lot of his books. There's a book called Bliss. The main character's name is Harry Joy and his grandfather is Vance Joy. He's the storyteller and a crazy old man. Plus, I thought it was a cool name."
  • Stalker with a Crush: "From Afar"
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  • Word Salad Lyrics: A staple of his work. "Riptide" in particular is notable for this.

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