The 24-year-old tattooed mother of one from Sandy, Utah, has been hard at work in the studio. So far, she’s completed 23 songs for an upcoming album with collaborators Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra and production team Track & Field (known for their work with Nelly Furtado). One of her songs, Boy Next Door, which she wrote with Bleu McAuley, was featured in an episode of ABC’s legal drama The Deep End.
Her album, which she has been shopping to labels, will be a “fusion” between an “Amy Winehouse/Adele-type sound” and a “Colbie Caillat/Jason Mraz-type sound.”
Joy will also make her film debut with a small role in the Farrelly brothers’ Hall Pass, starring Amanda Bynes, Owen Wilson and Jenna Fischer.
“(The Farrellys) saw me on the show and were fans, and they asked if I’d come try out,” she says. “And I can’t act, so I just said flat-out, ‘Listen guys, I don’t know what I’m doing. But thank you for thinking of me.’ And they gave me a one-liner. It was a blast.”
In addition to film, Joy plans to branch out into other non-musical endeavors, such as modeling and charity work. She’s writing a set of children’s books about topics such hygiene, family and divorce, as well as a self-help book for junior high girls, based on her own experiences at that age.
“Natural beauty blows any other kind of beauty out of the water for me,” she says. “I encourage girls to focus on their inner beauty and not cover up what makes them different. And just being healthy. Take care of your body. If you feel good, you’re going to look good.”
She also has advice for this year’s Idol finalists about how they can preserve their self-esteem.
“Stay off the Internet,” she says. “Don’t get on there. It’s just a death trap, because the people who talk negatively speak out more than the people who say nice things.”
Joy still calls Utah home these days, and she gets recognized by fans “whenever my sleeve (tattoo) is showing.” She has joint custody of her son, Ryder, 3, and goes to L.A. to record on the days when he’s with his father.
It was during her Idol run that her custody battle was “raging,” making it the “hardest time of my life,” she says.
“Right before Idol, I was at my lowest,” says Joy. “I was depressed and miserable. I lost myself. Idol gave me my self back. I fell back in love with music and got back my confidence.”
Part of her recovery was bonding with the other finalists on the Idols Live tour. Joy keeps in touch with most of them and is looking forward to the reunion that will take place at their Idol tour manager’s upcoming wedding. Watching new contestants fill their shoes this year has been “super weird” for Joy.
“It’s emotional to watch it, when I see these people going through that experience,” she says. “It’s a hard-core experience. I pull for them.”