The video for Joy Crookes’s “Since I Left You” starts with a close up on the singer’s face. Behind her, clothes are billowing in the wind, and the shot quickly changes to her sitting with her arms around a young boy. As the video continues, Crookes doesn’t move from this room, which she modeled off of her great grandmother’s home in Bangladesh. We don’t even see Crookes move from standing to lying down, and there is no dancing or swaying to the tune. The most movement we see comes when she wipes away her own tears. The stillness of her body is striking. Her voice, accompanied just by piano, takes us on the emotional journey.


Crookes released her EP Perception on May 31st. The EP, which includes “Since I Left You,” is similarly centered on the power of her voice. It’s a voice that sounds older than her 20 years. It’s a voice that is weary and weighted–heavy in a way that grounds the music rather than holding it back–while remaining youthful and vibrant. It’s a voice so perfectly suited to communicate heartbreak. Her voice is unwavering and direct as she uses it to sing lyrics that speak both to turmoil and to finding home.

Crookes can be playful and accusatory at the same time when she sings. In “Hurt,” she croons “I just pull up then skrrt / You just pull up when it hurts / Why, oh why?” This chorus is played out over upbeat drums and bright strings, giving volume to the song’s simple message.

On Perception, she reminds us what a single voice can do.

Her voice is transporting, taking us with her to the London that raised her on the track “London Mine.” It’s nostalgic and appreciative, despite singing about despair: “Hopeless / Lost in the fear of the open / A world that appears to be broken / But that’s what makes London mine.”

Hers is a voice that communicates self-love, like on “No Hands,” and deep loneliness, like on “Since I Left You.” Crookes can be at once trusting and vindictive, both open to possibility and afraid of the future. On Perception, she reminds us what a single voice can do.