My Arts Story: Joy Thompson

Artist Services & Community Engagement Coordinator

My parents are musically-inclined baby-boomers, so I grew up being exposed to some of the best soul classics of all time. From Al Green to Aretha Franklin to The Temptations to Chaka Khan, those golden voices and melodies filling my home had a profound effect on me. So, in a way, I feel like my arts story started when I was born and continued throughout childhood with piano lessons, recitals, and jazz band. My mother played the saxophone and piano so she was very instrumental in making sure I knew how to play and read music. My older brother introduced me to phenomenal Hip Hop albums and I soaked up the beats and lyrics like a sponge. He was very influential in my deep love that I have for Hip-Hop. And, on top of it all, my dad loves to sing. While he never pushed it on me, I believe that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. So, at any given moment during my childhood, you could catch me passionately singing along to SWV, Mariah Carey or rapping Nas and OutKast lyrics while doing the dishes or in my room, giving full performances in the mirror.

Fast forward to a year after college graduation, I’m living in Baltimore, working as an account executive for a television station. And, while it was a prestigious sales position, it wasn’t in alignment with my spirit or who I wanted to become. So, with extra time on my hands, I began tapping back into one of my foremost childhood passions – singing, creating songs, and joyously listening to all genres of music. I always knew I had enough talent and skills to rap, sing, and be a musical artist, but I had to first break through the self-doubt and get focused, because I also knew that I was the only person that was going to turn this dream into a reality. From that point on, I began writing to a handful of instrumentals, creating with other like-minded musicians, and eventually decided to take it a step further by investing in Pro Tools so that I could record in the comfort of my own space. Since that initial light bulb went off many years ago, I’ve released three albums, a dozen music videos, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the stage and performing very soon!

Right now, I’m working as the Artist Services & Community Engagement Coordinator at The ACGG. I act as a liaison between our organization and the artists and community of Greensboro. So far, it has been wonderful! As an artist and as a Greensboro native, I feel like being in this role is a true symbiotic relationship. I’ve had the chance to work with vibrant artists all over Greater Greensboro, observe the powerful and diverse ways that our grant money is used in the community, and cultivate professional development opportunities to help artists transform their creative practice into a business.

I  appreciate they dynamic ways that The ACGG has contributed to my arts story, and I’m excited about all the ways I will be able to contribute to someone else’s!

Check out my jamz at and @JoyJMusic on Instagram Joy J Music on Facebook.

— Joy Thompson