Inbox: Joyo Velarde

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This week, XLR8R Inbox shoots the breeze with a very pregnant Joyo Velarde. The soulful Bay Area hip-hop queen (and Lyrics Born's official main squeeze) gets juiced on Depeche Mode, bossing friends around on the playground, and her impending picture-perfect family life. Look for her funky fresh debut full-length, Love & Understanding, this November on Quannum.

XLR8R: What are you listening to right now?
Joyo Velarde: I'm just now getting into them, but I caught a PBS Soundstage performance of Death Cab for Cutie, after which I immediately purchased their album. Love the writing! I've also been listening to a phenomenal band from New Zealand: Fat Freddy's Drop. Heavy vibes; hi-tek, dubby soul.

What's the weirdest story you have ever heard about yourself?
Can't say that I have. Guess that's a good thing!

What band did you want to be in when you were 15?
Depeche Mode—no-brainer.

Worst live show experience?
If we're talking about myself as a performer, it would have to be a Chicago gig we did a few years ago on a Lyrics Born tour, where I'd been battling the flu and just about passed out on stage. Being on the road is work enough, but to have to perform when you're sick absolutely bites.

Favorite city in which to play?
Top 3:
1) Sydney, for the surroundings
2) Austin, for the energy
3) Home sweet home, for the commute

What is it like working with Lyrics Born (or being married to him, for that matter)?
The thing I love about working with him in the studio is that he knows exactly what he wants, whether in the production process of a track or getting the right performance out of you. Getting to tour/travel with him is obviously a huge perk—take in the local color, do a show, and have someone spoon you at the end of each night? Super-delicious.

What is your favorite thing that you own?
Our home.

Name one item of clothing you can't live without.
Doesn't exist.

If you could reduce your music to a single word, what would it be?

For what did you always get in trouble when you were little?
Bossing around all my playmates. I've always liked to delegate things.

What other artist would you most like to work with?
Sam Sparro, Kanye West.

What's the last thing you read?
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Complete this sentence: In the future...
I can see our firstborn (due in October!) running around our backyard while I finally get to harvest the vegetable garden I've always wanted to grow, and Daddy's chillin' in the shade drinkin' his favorite adult beverage of choice.

Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?
According to my husband, it was the purchase of two patio chairs that have managed to remain in the living room.

What's next?
Baby, album, one more baby (God willing), more albums to the infinite degree...