Not just a singer...

Canadian singer, songwriter, producer Joy Enyonam Phillips, emerges as artist ‘Enyonam’ (pronounced as En-yow-nam).

The name ‘Enyonam’ originates from the Ewe language, spoken by the Ghanaian tribe of her father and ancestors. In English it means “good for me.” To the artist, it represents the positivity and resilience she has long demonstrated and embodies her intersecting identities as a Black, female artist living with a disability (the autoimmune disease, Lupus).

As ‘Enyonam’ she is set to drop her self-produced contemporary R&B debut single “Self-Conscious” on April 5, 2024.

Despite an upbeat groove, “Self-Conscious” is a heartbreaking anthem that explores universal themes of love and self-esteem. Written, produced and mixed in Toronto by ‘Enyonam’ herself, the track showcases a slick production style while seamlessly fusing elements of classic R&B, jazz and modern beats – blending relatable storytelling with an infectious melody.

Rising from the vibrant Toronto music scene, ‘Enyonam’ is influenced by artists like H.E.R., Olivia Dean and Sabrina Claudio. Her style boasts contemporary pop/R&B, overflowing with sultry-jazz undertones. She has performed for years as Joy Phillips, releasing a dynamic folk, singer-songwriter EP titled ‘Reckless’ in 2015, and she is also a member of the husband-and-wife blues-rock duo ‘Mr & Mr,’ who released their debut, self-titled EP in 2021. Her grandfather William Phillips was a talented pianist who played in a jazz band for many years, and she has shared the stage with numerous Canadian artists, including Julian Taylor, Angela Saini, Blues Brothers and Blue Rodeo.

Born in Ottawa and since nine years-old raised in a small rural community called Donagh – near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – Phillips (always obsessed with music) studied voice from the age of 15 to 18 years-old with soprano Sung Ha Shin-Bouey (an award-winning opera singer and music professor at the University of Prince Edward Island). Shin-Bouey was the mother of one of her best friends from high school, whose whole family is super musical, and they took her under their wing when she was a teen. At the age of 18, Phillips made a move to Toronto to study musical theater at Randolph College for the Performing Arts. However, it was the discovery of her soulful voice during those academic years, which set her on a path to becoming an R&B artist.

Upon graduating from Randolph College, Phillips took up the guitar. Her lessons gave her the tools to write and perform original works, and Toronto proved to be the perfect backdrop for her artistic evolution and a source of endless inspiration. For years, Phillips worked at music venues booking bands and doing live sound (The Central) and hosting a weekly open mic (Slacks Bar) – experiences that provided her with a solid foundation in audio engineering and sparked her interest in music production.

More recently in 2021 to 2022, her father-in-law and jazz guitarist Gene Evans (who toured with some big acts in the 60s and 70s, including the Platters) supported her transformation (folk to R&B) by providing jazz guitar lessons.

Enyonam’s experiences inform her ability to craft emotionally resonant lyrics and deliver crushingly vulnerable performances that set her apart. As a dedicated advocate for people living with disabilities, she aims to inspire other artists with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

At 22 years-old Phillips was diagnosed with Lupus, which hindered her ability to dance and pursue a career in musical theatre. The artist recalls that chapter as the darkest time in her life. “To receive such a life-altering diagnosis when you’re young was truly devastating,” she says. “I had nowhere to turn but songwriting. It was my solace, and a way to vent my pain, both physical and emotional. I believe that because of those experiences, I give everything to my songwriting. I don’t hold anything back.”

Follow Enyonam on social media to stay updated on the latest releases, events, and behind-the- scenes glimpses into her creative process!