Joi Barua (Assamese: জয় বৰুৱা) is an Indian singer and music composer. Born in Digboi, Assam, he started his career by singing advertising jingles and later did playback singing for Hindi, Assamese and Telugu films. He is also the lead vocalist of the band Joi. Barua has a mixed musical style incorporating elements of rock, soul, jazz, folk and world music.
Joi was born in Digboi, Assam, the younger of the two children to Ranjana Barua and Rohini Dhar Barua. His father gave him a violin when he was four years old and that triggered his lifelong passion for music. His family moved to Jorhat when he was in junior school. When he was seven years old, his sister pushed him to join a singing competition and taught him the popular Cliff Richard song 'Bachelor Boy'. Even though ignorant about singing at that age, he won the competition. It was a defining moment. His school principal, Sister Mabilia, understood his passion for music and since then she never missed an opportunity to encourage him into singing and taking part in stage acts. Her favourite was the Boney M song 'El Lute' -about a man wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit- which he would often sing to her. He considers her as his first guru in life and a constant source of inspiration. At home, he and his cousin Piku would sing songs of The Beatles, The Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel, U2, etc. He passed out his high school from St. Anthony's College, Shillong, and later attended Gauhati Commerce College for graduation.
His personal inspirations include his father, who always encouraged him to take music out of classrooms into the hearts of people, and his ex-principal Sister Mabilia who guided his passion for music. His musical influences have been varied. It includes Sting, The Beatles, The Eagles, Iron Maiden, The Police, Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Satriani, Eric Clapton, U2, etc. Classical Composers like Beethoven, Rossini, Vivaldi and Mozart, and Indians musicians like L. Subramaniam, A.R. Rahman, Salil Chowdhury, Ilaiyaraaja, Bhupen Hazarika and Jayanta Hazarika also influenced him a lot.
Barua started his career by singing jingles for several advertising campaigns including Fiat Linea, Vodafone, Reliance, LG, Hero Honda, Nescafe, Club Mahindra, Yatra.com etc. Before starting playback singing, he worked as background singers for several Bollywood films in the early 2000s. His notable playback singing for Hindi films include Dev.D, Udaan, Luv Ka The End, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. In 2010, he recorded two songs for Telugu film Kalavar King.
Barua, along with his band mates of Joi, launched the album titled Joi: Looking out of the Window on 21 December 2010. The album contains 8 tracks and all of them features vocals of Barua. The songs are a blend of rock, soul, folk and worldbeat. The band also released the first music video filmed on Aikon Baaikon, a track from the album. Apart from Barua, the band members are Pawan Rasaily (lead guitar), Ibson Lal Baruah (rhythm guitar), Manas Chowdhary (bass guitar) and Partho Goswami (drums).
In 2011, he sang the Assamese song "Khiriki" for Hengool Theatre. In June 2013, Joi and his band released an Assamese single, Pitol Soku from the documentary Riders of the Mist. The documentary features the bareback jockeys of Jorhat and Sivasagar districts of the Assam and the song pays an homage to them. A blend of Rock and Worldbeat, the song and its promotional video was unveiled by John Abraham and Vishal Dadlani.
In 2014, he collaborated with Shruti Haasan and composed an Assamese-Tamil fusion song titled Prithibi Ghure, and performed together in an INKtalks live event. The Tamil lyrics was penned by Kamal Haasan, while the Assamese lyrics were written by Ibson Lal Baruah.
In 2015, Barua composed the track Dusokute for the film Margarita With A Straw. Joi has recently composed the songs & scored background music for a movie produced by John Abraham through John Abraham Entertainment Private Limited. The movie is tentatively titled 'Banana' and is Directed by Sajid Ali.
In 2016, Joi released another single titled "Riders of the Mist" from the documentary by the same name. This song was launched first in the music channel VH1 and was then circulated online. Joi composed the background score for a short film Playing Priya and sang its title track with Jonita Gandhi. Titled "Meetha Zeher", the song comes in the end credits of the movie.
He is married to Nayana Borthakur (since 2002), whom he met in college.
Awards and recognitions
Joi was awarded the Best Debut Award (2010) for his album Joi- Looking Out of the Window at the Big Music Awards organised by Big 92.7 FM, Guwahati.
He was invited as a Fellow at the first INK Conference in 2010, a TED affiliated multidisciplinary conference, and as an INK Speaker in 2011.
|Year||Film / Album||Song||Language||Composer(s)||Co-singer(s)|
|2003||Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.||"Dekhle Aankhon Mein Aankhien Daal (Remix)"||Hindi||Anu Malik||Sunidhi Chauhan|
|2008||Jumbo||"Dil Mera Jumbo"||Ram Sampath||Solo|
|2009||Dev.D||"Ek Hulchul Si"||Amit Trivedi|
|Chal Chala Chal||"Aplam Chaplam"||Anu Malik||Sunidhi Chauhan|
|2010||Kalavar King||"Eidhe Eidhe"||Telugu||Anil R||Solo|
|Udaan||"Kahaani (Aankhon Ke Pardon Pe)"||Hindi||Amit Trivedi||Neuman Pinto|
|Help||"Kehna Hai"||Ashutosh Phatak||Suzanne D'Mello|
|Joi: Looking out of the Window||8 tracks||Assamese||Joi Barua||Solo|
|2011||No One Killed Jessica||"Dua"||Hindi||Amit Trivedi||Meenal Jain, Raman Mahadevan, Amitabh Bhattacharya|
|Luv Ka The End||"Freak Out"||Ram Sampath||Aditi Singh Sharma|
|Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara||"Dil Dhadakne Do"||Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy||Shankar Mahadevan, Suraj Jagan|
|Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge||"Baatein Shuru"||Raghu Dixit||Shefali Alvaris|
|Hengool 2011-12||"Khiriki"||Assamese||Anurag Saikia||Solo|
|2012||Agent Vinod||"Raabta (Siyaah Raatein)"||Hindi||Pritam||Hamsika Iyer, Arijit Singh|
|"Raabta Unplugged"||Arijit Singh|
|2013||I Don't Luv U||"Kuchh Hone Ko Hai"||Hindi||Aman-Benson||Raman Mahadevan|
|Riders of the Mist||"Pitol Soku"||Assamese||Joi Barua||Solo|
|2014||Margarita with a Straw||"Dusokute"||Hindi|
|2016||Pride||"Rabha"||Featuring George Brooks (released as single)|
|"Riders of the Mist"||English||Solo (released as single)|
|2017||"Sitiki Bagori Jai"||Assamese||Solo Featuring Krushnaa Patil (released as single)|
|"Na Jujor Ronuwa"||Solo (released as single)|
|2018||Laila Majnu||"O Meri Laila"||Hindi||Atif Aslam, Jyotica Tangri|
|"Gaye Kaam Se"||Dev Negi, Amit Sharma, Meenal Jain|
|"Lala Zula Zalio"||Sunidhi Chauhan, Joi Barua, Frankie (Kashmiri)|
|"O Meri Laila (Radio Version)"||Joi Barua|