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About the Artist
From the cheeky, nursery rhyme playground anthem and first single, "I Want You," the tribal percussion of "Can't Breathe," produced by rock legend Bob Ezrin (KISS, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Lou Reed), and the sassy retort of "You Bitch," produced by Howard Benson (All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, Daughtry, Hawthorne Heights, Gavin DeGraw, Papa Roach), to the dance-floor thump of the tongue-in-chic "Paranoia" and the arena, flick-your-Bic torch song, "In Your Touch," Fefe has finally found the sweet spot in her mix of rock and club beats.
"I grew up with Michael and Janet Jackson, but my older sister was listening to Guns N' Roses and Nirvana, so I was right in the middle of it," says Dobson, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, where she was brought up by a single mom, a mix of native Canadian and English, with a Jamaican father she just recently reconnected with. "I like that combination, especially when I heard Janet's `Black Cat,' with its rock guitar riff. That's what this album reflects. I tried to isolate myself from the radio and TV while I was making it. I listened to a lot of old records, like Stevie Nicks, the Doors and Led Zeppelin, real dramatic, emotional music."
Joy reflects that passion, both musical and personal, with Fefe's sensuality oozing out of songs like the speeded-up punk of "Watch Me Move" ("I'm a firecracker/Better tell your mother... W-w-w-w-watch me move"), the Pretenders-like ballad "Shame" and the pure ecstasy of the title track ("I got joy in the bedroom/When it's just you and I/I got joy when you satisfy me").
Dobson bust onto the music scene as a precocious 18-year-old, releasing her debut album in 2003, which spawned four singles, including "Bye Bye Boyfriend," "Take Me Away," "Everything" and "Don't Go (Girls and Boys)." She appeared as Tina Turner in the NBC series, American Dreams, opened for Justin Timberlake's European tour, and was featured in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial that included "Don't Go (Girls and Boys)." The album also earned her two Juno Award nominations for Pop Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year.
By 2006, Dobson returned to the studio to work on her never-released album, Sunday Love, which featured collaborations with such artists as Billy Steinberg, Matthew Wilder, Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love, Joan Jett, Nina Gordon and Rancid's Tim Armstrong. In the interim, several of her songs were covered, including "Start All Over," a song which was recorded for Sunday Love, but never made the album, by Miley Cyrus, "Don't Let It Go to Your Head," the first single, by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and "As a Blonde," which was covered by Selena Gomez.
Four years later, Fefe is back, with an album that is a clear indication that she will be doing things her way, or not at all.
"I had to go and find myself musically," she says about the break between releases, crediting manager Chris Smith's confidence in her ability for the breakthrough. "I needed time to do that. Luckily, I was allowed to do it on my own, without any interference. Otherwise, I would never have been able to make this album."
Working with producers David Lichens, Jon Levine, Howard Benson and Bob Ezrin on Joy, Dobson lives up to the portraits of her heroes she first hung during the recording of her first album--Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Coldplay, the Vines and Jeff Buckley. She co-wrote most of the songs on the album, usually composing on guitar, her choice of instrument.
"I play the few chords that I know," she says. "I try to write melodies off the same chords. `Joy' is written with about three chords, and an extra one in the bridge."
Songs like "I Want You," which has been heard in the TV series The Vampire Diaries, as well as in promos for the film Whip It and The Sims 3: World Adventures computer game, come straight from experience.
"I'm a sucker for love," admits Fefe. "When I was in junior high, I would carry around this huge volume of Shakespeare. I just like the romantic vibe. I write about it because I fall in and out of love quite a bit. I was always pulling on my mother's heartstrings to get more love."
"Shame" is a torch song underlined with jungle rhythms that is a confessional in which she does the breaking up. "When I went to demo the song, I had to go see an ex-boyfriend," says Fefe. "I felt I betrayed him, so I wanted to clear the air. I could not sing it until I did. This reflects that relationship. As humans, we're not perfect. We sometimes hurt people and break hearts, but it's OK to apologize."
In "Can't Breathe" and "Watch Me Move," Fefe is confident in showing off her raw sexuality.
"I am woman, hear me roar," she laughs. "Aren't we all animals at the end of the day? I like to show that side of me, but in a respectful way. I'm just expressing myself. It's all about feeling good and confident about yourself, and not letting anyone else tell you what you can or can't do."
At her young age, Fefe Dobson is more than ready to tackle expectations for her upcoming release.
"People expect you to bring it by the third album," she says. "But I'm not letting the pressure get to me because that's when the fun disappears. I want to laugh and enjoy myself because, at the end of the day, I didn't do this just to do it but because I love to perform and make music. At the end of the day, I want to be rocking like Tina Turner when I'm her age."
With Joy, Fefe Dobson is on her way to achieving that goal.
"I don't regret a thing," she says. "I keep moving forward and not looking back. I couldn't ask for anything better. I'm a girl from suburban Canada who never thought I'd be able to do what I've accomplished. And I'm not done yet."
In fact, Fefe Dobson is just getting started.
Top Customer Reviews
So while this may not be the record that I would have liked to have seen released (I really wish 'Sunday Love' was released, and that 'Joy' stayed true to it's indie roots), it's still a good record none-the-less, and I recommend it to any music-lover. Even music-snobs will find something to enJOY about 'Joy!'
NOTE: 'Sunday Love' was completely finished, produced, and mastered.Read more ›
"Stuttering" is an immediate standout though I might add the chorus sounds slightly too much like "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson for my taste. "Ghost" which was the first official single is also a great track and shows the direction that Fefe went with musically. It's power pop/punk infused with an underlying dance vibe. It's sort of in the middle of a Good Charlotte and The Veronicas album.
I love this album already and if you enjoy pop/punk and or happy exciting music, then this album is for you too.
**note, my definition of punk is more along the lines of Third Eye Blind, American Hi-Fi etc... and not The Sex Pistols or The Clash. If that's what you're into-then this album is not for you.
Anyway, enter Fefe. She's backdropped by some school lockers singing & dancing her guts out that she wants me; yes, me (I Want You). Stop everything! She wants me! Well, how do you think that made me feel early in the morning? "Hey son, who is that singing?" He didn't know. Aren't kids his age supposed to know everything about what hot young sensations are singing? Kids these days, if they weren't so busy killing Gorgons on the X-Bollox, then they'd be able to update their aging parents about pop culture goings on. I had to watch the rest of Fefe's song and pay attention to the MTV credit just so I could write her name down. Well, maybe it was VH1. The rest of the day at work I had the "I Want You" tune stuck in my head. After watching "I Want You" on YouTube a few times, it hit me. Fefe transforms into the coolest girl-next-door on the planet. Her convincing ball of raw energy collides with the expected choreographed Hollywood polish. By forgoing a more elegant presentation, Fefe's reckless vulnerability just has to convince the object of her song that she really does want him, gracefulness be darned. Clap, clap, clap,clap, clap your hands!
Time wore me down. I stopped acting my age and bought this album. I'm glad I did. The songs "Stuttering" and "Joy" are play it again winners.Read more ›
Nitpicking: "I Want You" was released 7/2009, long before the album (OK, fine) but the earlier version had a simplified introductory bass line, which initially sustained a single chord and seemed to fit the song's direct message better. And not that song order matters much these days, but "Joy" is such an inventive and fun song that it deserves top billing as the first track on the album.
Finally, Fefe, we need more Dobson. Your web site says "There aren't any scheduled tour dates." Get out of the borough and onto the road!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
too bad the real songwriter: donald Marshall isn't getting paid for writing Fefe Dobson's songs.....she's a poseur...see donald-marshall. Read morePublished 5 months ago by mystic lynx
Everything was perfect and the CD was here within 3 days!Published 13 months ago by Linda M. Montuori
It's not bad. There are some good songs. "I Want You" is very catchy. Her self-titled album and Sunday Love were much better, though. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Lyndzie Rowle
Rock on Fefe! Don't let the record industry get you down! Your most devoted fans will continue to buy your kcik-butt albums!Published 17 months ago by blunt&honest
I've really fallen for Fefe. This record contains the dance song Ghost, but is otherwise rock. Great for anyone that likes lots of rock with their pop.Published on May 25, 2013 by Elza Alan Mitchell
"Ghost" and "I Want You" are two of my favorite tracks on this album. "I Want You" is my favorite. It's fun and upbeat and you can dance to it if you so please. Read morePublished on January 29, 2013 by Adrian
Great music. Fefe Dobson is very talented. I want to buy more of Fefe's music in the future. I like this cd.Published on January 24, 2013 by VickieKM
i LOVE this album!!! great job fefe...this girl has talent...she s really raw and so very down to earth and i love how she cn jus be herself in her music and jus make it her... Read morePublished on May 4, 2011 by fan