Joey Holbert (a.k.a Joey Aich): Black Voices Project
This Black History Month it’s important to remember that these celebrations of the Black Community can’t just be confined to February. I celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community year-round, not just in June (that’s for sure). If we want to enact meaningful change, we have to acknowledge, center, and celebrate the Black Community 365. We had a couple of beautiful Black humans into the studio this past week to get an update from them on what brings them joy and what they have been up to since our last shoot at the beginning of 2021.
Joey Holbert (a.k.a Joey Aich), a lyricist and creative, came into the studio a couple of years ago to be a part of the Black Voices portrait series (Joey's previous blog post). We've decided to continue the series this year and catch up with the wonderful people who were previously a part of it.
Joey is a Cleveland native, and he started performing locally in 2017. He released his first album, "Open Treehouse," in 2020 and has since released singles such as "Brown Liquor" and "Rossi on the Deck."
I had the opportunity of photographing and chatting with Joey this week, catching up on life. He told me all about what brings him joy in his daily life and where he gets his most inspiration.
Talk to me about what is some flavor you like to sprinkle in throughout the day to keep you going and keep you motivated.
"Recently, I've been working with students at Wedgewood Middle School, and it's given me some purpose. Those are the next generation of what our society is going to look like. So being able to learn from them, while I'm also able to help teach them a little bit has been something that's given me purpose and inspired me to be a better person. It keeps me going."
Since the last time we had you in the studio (in 2021), what do you feel has helped you to get to this point in your career? How are you feeling?
"So I kind of have the same feeling now that I had in 2021. As far as where things are gonna go, I'm very optimistic. This is my coming out party. I'm about to have a ball and the world is gonna get to see who I am and what I have to give to the world. And you know, since 2021, happen, we weren't able to really have that moment. I feel like 2023 is the moment to show that and do everything that I was destined to do. And then as far as the stuff that's been going on, a whole lot of shows and performing getting in front of different people. The music has gone to different people and it's set me up for a moment like now. So with the deluxe coming out, I'm hoping I get to travel the world and music takes me there."
Who has been your inspiration in your music or someone you've looked up to?
"I'm gonna say this, my village of people is crazy. I don't have to look far for inspiration because I have my family of talented people who inspire me. But also, my friend groups are very rich in inspiration. Viv inspires me to be a better person and inspires me to continue to keep going. I have a bunch of people who inspire me where I don't have to really look far for inspiration. Jay Z like oh man, you know, he makes music and his business acumen. What he's done in hip hop, but other than that, a lot of my stuff comes from people like you, comes from people like Nate, comes from people like Land Grant, comes from all the different people that I'm around."
On Feb. 2, 2023, Joey announced the preorder for the "Open Treehouse" deluxe version on his website. Aich explained that it's been difficult to make an income purely on streaming, so he's turned to the option to purchase the album directly from his website.
"It's no secret that streaming doesn't pay much, and that has continued to be a hindrance on my career," Aich said in an Instagram statement on February 2nd. "I want to do more, I want to continue to make the community that forever builds into me proud, but oftentimes it's hard without a steady income or working capital to take that next step."
Joey's next show will be at Natalie's in Grandview for a fundraiser for the St. Stephen's Community House tonight, February 9th. Tickets can be found here.
It's always a pleasure having another creative individual in the studio. Thank you, Joey, for your time and energy. I appreciate you and all your dance moves.
All photos are taken by Emma Parker Photography.
For more information, please contact Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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