Ibiza interview: Jude La Joia

Jude La Joia, Ibiza singer

Classically trained vocalist Jude La Joia was first drawn to the white isle 10 years ago, lured by her passion for soulful house music and an attraction to the famous party scene. But the gorgeous singer quickly discovered there was much more to the white isle, from its creative scene and stunning natural beauty to the accepting open-mindedness of its inhabitants. It’s no surprise then that she now calls Ibiza her permanent home and is one of the island’s most popular singers, from clubs, lounge bars and restaurant performances to live radio, weddings and special events.

When did you first come to Ibiza?
I first came here 10 years ago, and instantly fell in love with Ibiza and all its energy. I remember sitting at Bar M on my last night and looking out on to the water and it was just so beautiful… I just knew it was somewhere I wanted to be.

What attracted you to the island in the first place?
I think the same as most people initially, I’ve always been a party girl, so this was the place that you came abroad to! In my group of friends you wouldn’t say, ‘Where are you going on holiday?’ It was always, ‘When are you going to Ibiza?’ But then I was enchanted by the beauty and open mindedness of Ibiza. I’m quite a spiritual person, and could be considered quite leftfield in my thinking, but Ibiza is a very special place where people don’t raise an eyebrow about different viewpoints. It’s a place where anything goes, and in fact the people I know who live here are constantly seeking to know more about the weird and the wonderful… and that’s truly magical to me.

When did you decide to move here permanently?
After doing a couple of seasons, I moved here permanently in 2005. The first winter was hard, but really special – I wasn’t working and hadn’t really met my true friends here yet, but I enrolled in the ‘Español Para Extranjeros’ class (a free Spanish class run by the government) and started to speak the language. Then we would just go for long drives and get lost in nature, discovering beautiful beaches and coastlines – I loved those moments…

Jude La Joia, Ibiza singer

Tell us a bit about your musical background?
I grew up a classically trained singer, wanting to go into musical theatre, and studied diplomas and got my degree in music. In 2000 I was invited to sing at the Sydney Opera House for the Olympic Games opening ceremony, which was really amazing. After finishing university and moving to Ibiza, I started to sing with a few musicians over here, and then gradually started to work with more producers and DJs.

Is that how you made the transition from classical to house music?
Ever since I was a teenager I’ve always had soulful house in my heart, and for me you can’t get closer to the heart of house music than Ibiza. So it was a very natural transition, although when all your life you’ve been trained to sing something exactly how it was written and then you’re thrown into a world of improvisation and freestyling, at first it’s a little bit scary! But it’s important for me to constantly grow and develop as an artist, and I am grateful for all my challenges.

White Ibiza presents a Full Moon Dinner at Guarana Salinas Beach Club

Jude performs at the White Ibiza Full Moon Dinner at Guarana - photography by Ana Lui

Tell us about your band – how did you all hook up and start playing together in Ibiza?
I started working with pianist Victor Gresely a few years ago – he is in my opinion the very best on the island, and absolute magician on the keys, and then we hand picked the rest of the band together. This year we’ve been working with Bernie Thirdear on drums, Paul Powell on bass, Deva Alchi on saxophone and Norberto Rodríguez on guitar. There is so much talent in Ibiza, but I do think I have the crème de la crème (although I may be biased!).

Where can we see you perform for the rest of the summer?
2011 has been a great year for me – I’ve been very busy performing in some great venues, with some great artists. I’ve been in KM5 all summer, which I loved and I will be at Villa Mercedes for the next few Thursdays with the band, and then on Sundays for lunch towards the end of the season. Then it’s wedding month again, which is always great! I love to see people in love, and everyone is always so happy at weddings, it makes my job so much fun.

What’s your favourite thing about performing in Ibiza?
People here are so honest and open, so when a stranger is truly moved by your performance, not a critic or a friend… that’s a great feeling.

Talk us through some of your recent productions?
I have a disco track that I have written and produced with Rui Da Silva, called ‘Spinning’ which should be released soon, and I sing on MOMO’s album ‘Motherland’ which is available on iTunes. I have just recently performed live on Ibiza Sonica with James Kameran, some tracks which we produced a couple of years ago, from his album ‘Verbier Lounge’, which was fun and I’m currently in production with Podenco Recordings and Thirdear Music, so lots more to come…

What are your plans for the winter season?
Ahhhh relax! Then get creative… I spent five months away from the island in London last winter for the first time in seven years, doing some gigs and recordings, and making new contacts, which was brilliant. I especially loved my performances with ‘The IT Girls’ and can’t wait to do some more with them. But I really missed the island and our happy family winter vibes, so I’m really looking forward to catching up with the extended ‘Ibiza Familia’. More than anything I’m excited about getting in the studio and working with new collaborators – It’s the perfect time for me to do recordings, because everyone’s so relaxed and my voice is well rested. I also intend to work on my album this winter, which is very exciting, so bring it on!

Visit Jude La Joia’s website for more details and booking information