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Joyce Drake (or just Joyce) is the only Christian female singer that ever mattered.
Though she only cut one record, entitled Joyce', her work is among the most sought after cult LP of all time. But Joyce would prefer that you not use the terms "cult" or "cult following" when speaking about her because it has demonic undertones, "And that," says the soft spoken grandmother from Sealy, Texas, "is not what I am all about."
From nowhere, to legend
In 1983, Joyce Drake, the wife of an Assembly of God minister from Texas was full to the brim with the Love of Jesus. "I gave my heart to him, and he changed my life, and yet, I felt that I needed to sing songs of praise about him and hoped it unlocked the door for others."
And so, with great reservations about the public nature of her endeavor, Joyce Drake stepped into the recording booth. What followed was an afternoon of what would otherwise be magic, however Joyce Drake prefers that we not describe the sessions as magic, but rather divine guidance. "Magic implies something that is unnatural. Jesus does not perform magic, he doesn't need to because he is the one true Lord. I prefer to believe that it was his hand, guiding me, and that the special relationship that I have by giving him my heart is what helped me to create this work in His name."
Following the recording (and after paying the jug band that backed her up), Joyce next traveled to Stella's Smart Shop to have her hair done. From there she traveled to the Olan Mills Studios for her album portrait.
"I chose a dress of many colors, in honor of Him in hopes that my record would reach many different colored people. Just as I was about to have my image captured, the photographer said 'I never suggest this, but could you hold a red rose?'" said the singer. "I was taken aback. A red rose? 'Yes,' the photographer said, a red rose, a red the color of Jesus' blood as he hanged on the cross. And that is how I came to hold the rose."
And as fate would have it, a week later, Joyce had a call from her record promoter. Clyde Williams, Joyce's promoter had called to suggest, nay implore, that they simply call her album Joyce.
"He felt that just having my first name on the album would beckon to the consumer, not in the way that a harlot beckons to a man, but it would call out to them and beg that they read the message on its back cover."
And thus, Joyce began her climb to becoming a legend.
When I am down, he lifts me up
The album sold a respectable 150 copies, before being consigned to the remainder bin of history, where the rest languished.
And oh, what a friend we have, in Jesus
Within ten years of public access, Joyce found a rebirth on the Internet, where he album soon became a coveted collectible, selling for for up-wards of $700.00 on eBay, and soon Joyce found the recording greats of the world at her door step. "But I would prefer that you not use the word 'Covet' because our God tells us not to covet our naighbors wife, which is a metaphore for being preoccupied with unhealthy desire. So I would say that people sought out my songs and my testamony. There, isn't that nicer?"
"You know, I was speaking with Bono over cups of piping hot Postum (I never drink Coffee because its a drug and we all need to just say no to drugs) and I said to him, 'Bono, blessed are those who put their trust in the Lord.' and Bono wept. Bono wept right here in my kitchen," said Joyce in a 2001 interview with Barbara Walters. "So Bono and I prayed, together here, with my husband present, and we prayed for a better world, and I believe -- I never think about Jesus, because I believe in him -- that Bono lifted up his heart to the Lord. Right here in my kitchen."
What's next for Joyce
Now a grandmother, Joyce is sure the days of fame are behind her. "I know that there are those who laugh at my artistic endeavor, but if I can save just one person from a fiery afterlife in Hell, it would be worth it."