That did not stop her from eventually pursuing music as a career. But it took years for her to acknowledge that the disability she lives with is a fundamental part of who she is – and instead of trying to cloak it, she could use it to stir creativity in her compositions.
“My journey went from completely denying it, to questioning ‘Why did this happen to me?,’ to [going through] a gradual process until I felt the joy of discovering more of my artistry by working with my disability,” Joyce said.
This fall, she released her second album of experimental music, “Perspective,” which includes tracks with the voices of people with disabilities. She asked them a series of questions, such as “What is weakness for you? What is resilience for you? What is interdependence for you?”
Joyce selected some of their comments and composed background music using what has become her favorite instrument – an electric toy organ that she bought on eBay while in college at the Juilliard School in New York City. It’s no longer made, she said, calling it “vintage.” She plays the keys with the fingers of her right hand and pushes the chord buttons with the side of her left hand, because she can’t move those fingers.
Although Joyce took violin lessons and played the piano before the accident, the limited movement in her healed left hand meant she would have to reshape how she pursued music.