*Photo credit: Darren Ankenman*
Laidback Aussie singer-song writer Vance Joy is probably the last person anyone would expect to see at the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas.
The subtle, beachy beats of “Riptide” and “Mess is Mine” aren’t exactly on par with a major pummeling. The fight may have been abbreviated, but he made an Arizona connection.
“I met a couple of nice people from Arizona, actually, in Las Vegas at the Manny Pacquiao fight,” says Joy, whose real name is James Keough.
“It was the coolest thing to do. The fight wasn’t very good. When Manny got a few punches in, that was the moment of excitement. That was really great. I had a great time. I had no regrets about paying a stupid amount of money for the ticket.”
The friendship he forged with the couple makes his visits to the Grand Canyon State lovely.
“That, and when I [played]in Tempe, I went rollerblading by the lake near the venue—those are experiences of Arizona that were nice,” he says.
Joy is returning to the area for two shows supporting Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour, which comes to Gila River Arena in Glendale on Monday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 18.
Calling from his bus “somewhere between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” Joy explains it’s been a learning experience to tour with the global superstar.
“It’s interesting to see what happens when you walk out in front of so many people,” he says. “I say, ‘Hey everybody’ and I get a response. It’s funny how intimate a big venue can feel.”
“I want to go out there and do my best,” he says. “I want to be OK with that feeling of nervousness and uncertainty. If you’re going to try something new that night, just give it a go. I think it’s a bit of a challenge to have.”
As for his music, “Riptide” and “Mess is Mine” can both be found on his 2014 release Dream Your Life Away. The collection is so successful that “Riptide” alone has been streamed on Spotify more than 225 million times.
“I was not expecting [‘Riptide’] to have done what it did,” he says about the song’s success. “In a way, I wasn’t surprised because by the time I got to America, it had already done well in Australia and gotten that special response.
“But I was told it was going to be difficult to break the States from my record label. They said, ‘You have to play a lot of radio stations. You’ll be working hard and doing it, doing it, doing it.’ It was good to have in my head. It prepares you for that.”
Taylor Swift w/Vance Joy, Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale, 800.745.3000, ticketmaster.com, Monday, August 17 and Tuesday, August 18, 7:30 p.m., $33-$194