Writer Michael Gonzales pens a tribute to the singer’s lost second album.

Before receiving the advance of Joi’s brilliant, but cancelled sophomore album Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome in 1996, I’d never heard of black rocker Betty Davis. “She never had a hit record, so a lot of people don’t know who she is,” explains Joi, who is currently on the road with D’Angelo and the Vanguard. “In her music, you can hear the passion and artistry as well as the complexity and discipline. But, most of all, there is also a sense of freedom.”

20 years ago, as Joi was mentally collecting ideas for her second album, that sense of musical freedom began swirling through her mind as well. “Prior to hearing her, the only people I felt kindred to in that way was Minnie Riperton, LaBelle and Sade, but Betty Davis was the missing link. Listening to her voice, I felt as though I’d been adopted, but now I had found my natural soul mama.”

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