WNXP’s Nashville Artist of the Month for October is Bren Joy. He’s a native of the city, and his grandfather was one of Nashville’s first Black record store owners. Joy decided to audition to be a voice major at Belmont his senior year of high school, after performing in a musical theater production, and he initially aimed his college studies at becoming a background singer and vocal arranger, before deciding that he had things to say as an artist. The first eight songs that he ever wrote and recorded at a classmates’ apartment became his debut project Twenties and helped him launch a career unlike any that he’d seen emerge from his hometown. Joy hearkens back to the sensitive showmen who thrived in R&B during the 2000s and earlier, but he’s also studied the rhythms of hip-hop and the layered harmonies of vocal jazz, gospel choirs and the Beach Boys alike. Still learning what his agile falsetto is capable of, he’s already putting it to charismatic use, usually wrapping it in the prismatic chorus of his own backing vocals. He likes to experiment too, not only musically, but also when it comes to considering songwriting themes from fresh angles. He’s got a ruminative take on seduction, and his youthful, aspirational fantasies often gesture toward the social significance of getting somewhere, a topic he’s already becoming an authority on.