“A man comes into my life and I have to compromise? Aha! Stupid” this infamous quote by singer, actress and activist Eartha Kitt finishes up ‘Man’s World’ on Joy Crookes’ sophomore EP Reminiscence. The quote summarises perfectly what Crookes is about, claiming back your space and independence as a woman.

Joy Crookes found fame after she appeared on popular YouTube channel, COLORS Show, with a rendition of her most popular single to date – ‘Mother May I Sleep with Danger’, the video getting a little over five million views to this date. The London-based singer started young, posting on her own YouTube channel covers, and original songs all the way back to 2013.

Joy’s music has been compared to Amy Winehouse’s time and again, but there’s something much sweeter about her -whether it be her delicate soulful voice or her youth. This EP navigates the themes she approached in her debut EP Influence; the hardships of love and fuckboys, femininity in our tender age and her dual Bengali-English heritage.

In ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ the music is minimal; utilising a simple guitar, while her voice is not pushed in a Mariah Carey (or Ariana Grande) way, it is used as an instrument of its own, restrained when needed, and powerful when unexpected. At first glance, the lyrics seem to depict a plead to a lover who’s possiby cheating, but, to me, it reads like a discussion with yourself, a promise to be one’s own fighter, even after all the hurt. This is suggested in her video, where she is represented as the Hindu deity Durga which means “the one who eliminates sufferings.” In this instance Crookes has become her own fighter, her own deity.

‘Man’s World’ is an empowering song founded on jazz-influenced beats, and you can almost imagine yourself in a ‘20s speakeasy somewhere in prohibition America. Crookes denounces the stereotypes that come with being a brown girl navigating the dating world, between the same old stereotypes. “Brown girls never blush,” she states, reaffirming her self-worth; “I get by with my liquor and my paper.” It’s a middle finger up to the patriarchy, and all the time lost on pathetic men.

The final song ‘For a Minute’, featuring KarimThaPeasant, depicts life in South East London; “They could steal all of our space/ If we ain’t dead/ Then it’s cheap,” the darkness of the lyrics is conveyed by the demure melody. However, somehow there’s something powerful about it, a hope within the despair.

Reminiscence is a story of growth, a step into adulthood and self-acceptance, which shows all the struggles that come with being “grown-ish.” Joy Crookes pulls you in with her soulful voice, but you stay for the poetry which stems from every lyric. Looking at the progression she has made from her first EP, there’s no denying her first album will be a staple within the music world.