By MIKE CHAIKEN
In his homeland of Australia, Vance Joy watched his new album “Nation of Two” debut at No. 1.
In the United States, the singer’s sophomore effort debuted in the top 10.
In doing so, Vance, who had the hit “Riptide” in 2014, avoided the sophomore jinx that has bedeviled many pop stars since the advent of albums.
“It feels great,” said Vance of the success of his sophomore effort. “It was something I was really focused on (after the first record)… I saw it as a challenge.”
From the moment, his debut, “Dream Your Life Away,” was finished, Vance said he was busy accumulating new songs for a follow-up
“It takes awhile to write them,” Vance said, acknowledging the four year gap. “It’s nice to have that second piece of work out,” said Vance.
Vance comes to the Mohegan Sun at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8.
Having had a chance to play the new songs live, Vance said the fans have quickly embraced the new songs.
With the new album, Vance stretches himself with his musical arrangements. There is a fuller, more complex sound than his debut.
“I work very closely with my drummer Ed White (who also co-produces),” said Vance. White used his experience working with other artists to help shape the sound on “Nation of Two.” Vance said the sound was further honed by working with outside producers.
However, Vance stopped short of calling the expansion of sonic tools an evolution of his sound.
“This wasn’t a reinvention (of my sound),” said Vance. “At the core, it’s still my guitar and voice.”
“I guess, we were trying to do something different and new.”
When he takes to songwriting, Vance said music will come to him from many different directions. Sometimes, he will hear a story told by someone else. Sometimes, he will hear a string of words that he finds memorable. Sometime, he dreams up a series of notes that will lead to a song.
Plus, Vance said, “It takes a bit of trial and error.” Sometimes, an idea seems great but then it runs down a dead end, said Vance. Other songs may seem as if they will turn into nothing and they turn out great.
Vance likened songwriting to making shoes. If you make shoes, you know what to do to get them right. The same goes for a songwriter and songs.
Lyric wise, Vance said he is always chipping away at ideas. He said he writes down words in a book when they come to him. Later, he goes back to review what he put down and from there an idea will be sparked.
In the past, Vance said he didn’t rely on memories of his own life for inspiration. But on the new album, “Nation of Two,” the song “Little Boy” tells a story from his own life. “This was a new way to write,” said Vance. “That was cool.”
When Vance first began his musical performance journey, he could be found singing at open mike nights in his native Australia.
While he was standing in front of small audience, just him and his guitar, Vance said he never dreamed he would be touring the world, and headlining arenas in America.
When he first took to the stage, Vance said, “I just needed to see if I could do it.”
“My dream was just getting out there playing,” said Vance. “If I could get out some quality recordings of my music that was a plus.”
However, Vance did more than just get his music to the public. He had an international hit with the song, “Riptide” from “Dream Your Life Away.” That opened the door for an American tour opening for superstar Taylor Swift.
The tour with Swift was a learning experience for Vance.
“She’s very masterful (on stage),” said Vance of Swift. “I watched her and saw the way she captured the audience.” Vance said Swift is great at making the audience feel as if they are having a one-on-one conversation with her, even if she is playing before a sellout at a football stadium.
“She’s a veteran,” said Vance. “It’s inspiring to see how well (live performances) can be done.”
Now, when he takes the stage, Vance said, “You want to feel connected. You want to be yourself and be comfortable.”
At the Mohegan Sun, Vance said fans can expect to hear selections from “Nation of Two” and a lot of songs from “Dream Your Life Away.”
Additionally, Vance said he is touring with a full band. “It will have a real live, real band feeling,” Vance said of the show at the Mohegan.
“I will tell stories. We’ll dance… There will be all different colors and flavors,” said Vance.
“It will be a little escape for an hour and 20 minutes (from the stresses of your lives).”
Vance Joy performs at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.