You know those songs that speak for you when you feel you can’t find the words? Samm Henshaw’s “Joy” is one of those songs. The final track on the British-Nigerian crooner’s debut album, Untidy Soul, is a stripped-down, calming, introspective musing that speaks to all the somber trials leading you to discover sweet joy.
For Samm, this means peace. “No matter what the situation might be in that moment in time, it’s an optimistic type of thing,” he shares with VIBE. “No matter what’s going on, no matter what you might be unsure about, you’ve just got this sort of inner peace and joy.”
Compared to the other videos in the Untidy Soul series, this is the first visual intentionally shot with an artistic, warm, black-and-white look. The singer and his directing companion, Jim Pullings, wanted to ensure each visual—“Chicken Wings,” “Grow,” and “Still Broke”—could live in their world while also co-existing in this fictional universe of their own creation.
Initially, the odd part of this video appears in the final scenes when Sonny (Henshaw) gets out of the car and starts walking along a winding road. As the lyrics, “Don’t you worry what tomorrow may bring ’cause we got joy/ sweet joy,” play in the background and he begins this slow trek forward (suitcase in hand) towards an unknown destination, it clicks. On the other side of fear is freedom and with no worries on his mind, all he can think about is this joy.
“For me, the way I kind of perceive it is the car is almost this comfort zone. This place of comfort, this place of, ‘Right, well, this is where we’re headed… somewhere,'” Samm explains. “Once the car stops, it then becomes ‘all right, you still have to continue the journey, but now you have to do it on your own and you have to do it with a few less tools.’ There’s not someone now driving a car for you. There’s not someone now doing this journey for you. It’s not like you are going on your own. You have to figure it out. It’s [also] a bit of a cliffhanger because it’s this idea of, ‘Oh, well we don’t know where he’s going to, we don’t know what’s happening next. We don’t know where the destination is.’ He’s figuring that out himself and that makes it more fun.”
Following “Still Broke,” the first release of the series, but chronologically the episode that preceded “Joy” in the cinematic story, Sonny begins his new journey when he leaves and gets kicked out of this home that doesn’t belong to him. “He is like, ‘Okay, I’m over that crappy period. Let me start figuring where I go from now.’ And then ‘Joy’ is the present-day version of him now on his way to whatever the next step is in his life.”
Samm Henshaw will embark on his American tour this June, starting in San Francisco and ending in Washington D.C. When asked how different things will be since his 3-date tour sampler last November, he revealed that Untidy Soul will be played in its entirety with some oldie-but-goodies and a few surprise guests. Tickets are currently on sale.
Watch “Joy” below.