Canadian singer/songwriter Joanie Wolkoff is the lyrical and creative mastermind behind up-and-coming electro pop act Her Habits, a collaboration with producer Sanford Livingston – a collaboration that began in earnest when the duo worked on the material that wound up becoming their debut EP as Her Habits, Northerner.
Wolkoff has led quite a life. She grew up in Toronto and moved out on her own when she was 16. She played in two different local bands, drew and spent time planning a trip to Tokyo to start a modeling career, which eventually did happen. Wolkoff used the money she had earned towards a degree in comparative literature in Paris. She followed that up with a summer interning for a Belgian conceptional artist, who was working on a farm outside of Beijing. Along with a small group of tattoo artists, her responsibilities including decorating pigs. The experienced turned especially harrowing after she had been drugged by ex-pat acquaintances.
Giving testimony under the influence of heavy sedatives with an extremely limited knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, Wolkoff recognized that she needed to head back to the States. Heading to New York with dreams of becoming a musician, Wolkoff endeared herself to her neighbors by offering free haircuts in exchange for tips for living in city. And while doing that, she was not only working on her own songs, she was collaborating in a number of local bands, including one band that wound up playing at a festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Wolkoff’s latest collaboration with Livingston is based on her extraordinary experiences. “Slip Away,” the first single off Northerner is comprised of swirling electronics, subtle layers of hazy and undulating synths that seem to rain down on the listener, and propulsive percussion paired with Wolkoff’s coquettish and ethereal vocals. Much like Beacon’s work, Her Habits manages to be a modern interpretation of R&B – with a slickly produced, minimalist feel with just enough to give the song enough heft to prevent it from floating away.