The MUSE spoke to Joy Huerta, of Jesse y Joy, the Grammy winning, Latin-American brother-sister duo. Their tour began last week, following their new album, Electricidad.
The MUSE: Well first, how did you get into music, how did you and your brother become musicians together?
Joy Huerta: We have been writing music since I can remember; we never took music lessons or anything like that but we always had it in our blood; our parents would always have music on in the house when we were growing up. And we started writing when I was 15 and he was 18, we loved it and we kept on doing it. And we were very curious to see what it sounded like recorded. So we started writing and we noticed it was something we were enjoying a lot and we kept on doing it . . . We started recording it to hear for ourselves and some friends were curious so we burned a copy with three or four songs and we gave it to a friend to listen to and he left it in his car and another friend came in and took it, and one day my phone rings and it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m calling from Warner Music and we heard of two siblings Jesse and Joy and we would like to have a meeting with them’ and we’re like you’ve got to be joking, it’s like something that never happens, it’s in like a movie thing, you know? . . . It was meant to be, I guess, and here we are.
TM: What was it like working on your first album?
JH: Well we recorded it when I was maybe 18, my brother was maybe 21, 22 and we did it with Kiko Cibri’aacute;n ‘-‘- he’s an amazing guy, an amazing producer. And the songs are ours and we made the first album in San Diego; we were probably there for three months and six months after that we had our first single, it went amazing, we had six singles with our first album. And now with this album, Electricidad, we’re very excited; we did it with Thom Russo, he’s an amazing, talented producer; he has worked with Cher, Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash – my brother and I grew up listening to Johnny Cash-and he was the last person who ever recorded him . . . We wrote all of our songs during the tour, which was three years, and we were writing all those songs.’
TM: You guys won a Grammy in 2007, how did you feel about that – what was your reaction?
JH: We never ever expected any of it to happen, that fact to be nominated it was a huge honor. And besides, we got to perform at the ceremony, which was amazing. It was like, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to take the award with me or win it, but we get to play which is what we, and I quote, ‘Kinda know how to do.” That helped us a lot not to be so nervous, and when they said our names I remember perfectly when they were saying the nominees and when I heard the first ‘J’ I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness, it’s true.’ I was looking at my brother thinking, I cannot believe it.’
TM: How is Electricidad different than your first album, Esta Es Mi Vida?
JH: When I started writing I was 15 and today I’m 23, so whether you like it or not, put aside music-wise, as a person you grow, you get many experiences, we were living on the road for three years away from home, all of those things give you experiences. ‘hellip; That comes to a lot of inspirations and [we write about] a lot of things that we’ve lived, things we’ve seen, things friends of ours have lived.
TM: How did you get involved in global warming awareness?
JH: We’re working with the NRDC . . . and la onda verde their communication for Latin people, or people that speak Spanish, and we work as spokesmen and what we do is try to remind the people that that we know and show them, doing benefit concerts and stuff like that, to remind people that the world is not just ours but everyone else’s just like it’s mine. And we remind them that there are very simple details and little things in life that we can change in our daily routine that can make a big difference.
TM: What were your influences growing up?
JH: We are half American, half Mexican, our mom’s American and our dad’s Mexican, and we grew up in Mexico City. We had two different cultures; we had a white culture and every single aspect of the word music-wise, I mean everything. And when we were growing up, my dad would go to work and my mom would put her vinyl records on and we would listen to Johnny Cash, we would listen to Simon and Garfunkel, Creedence, Carol King, and whenever dad would come home he would put on other types of music, but from Mexico. So I think that stayed in our subconscious and that comes out whenever we’re making music.