The Kardashian clan may be bonafide reality television stars but it’s official: There’s a new Latina in town ready to take the crown when it comes to family fare on America’s favorite genre of television.
That would be singer Joy Enriquez, who is the star of an all-new reality show set to hit the small screen July 18 on NUVOtv. Titled “House of Joy,” the show features the home life of Enriquez and hubby Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, the musical producer behind dozens of hits made famous by chart toppers like Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige and many others. The photogenic biracial couple have three children under the age of five (5-year-old RJ, 3-year-old Heavenly Joy and baby Hannah Joy). And to add to the crowd, Enriquez’s mom, dad, younger brother and older sister, music teacher and producer Tiffany Enriquez, also live with the couple in their sprawling Los Angeles, California-area home.
“We have three generations living under one roof because we all genuinely love and appreciate one another,” says Enriquez, whose brother is an attorney who manages the family’s affairs and whose sister, Tiffany, acts as her manager. “For a lot of people, it may be a little close for comfort, but we work together, cook together, laugh together, sing and make music together – we’re like our own little commune. We like to have outside people help us with the home, but when it comes to taking care of the kids and our business, we love having family for help and guidance.”
Much like the mega-hit “I Love Jenni” that featured songstress Jenni Rivera as she juggled her love of family with her passion for music, Enriquez says her new show will feature her journey to achieve the career of her dreams while balancing the needs of her young children and a healthy marriage. And make no mistake: Enriquez intends to create music and be successful while doing so, picking up where she left off more than ten years ago when her debut album was first released.
“A love of music doesn’t go away just because you stop touring and making records,” says Enriquez. “That never goes away.”
Enriquez first began singing at home in Whittier, California when she was just five years old. She was singing her heart out at a piano bar when she was asked on the spot to compete in Star Search. An audition lead to a 12-time win on the hit show and by 18, Enriquez had signed a record deal with LaFace Records. Signed to the same label as Usher, Pink and girl group TLC, Enriquez got to work and released her self-titled debut album in 2001. The album was released internationally and Enriquez toured the globe twice just as the record went gold. She had hoped to make a splash stateside, but when the album was released in the U.S. just days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the audience for a catchy pop record just didn’t exist.
“Being popular or having stardom was never my reason for pursuing a music career,” says Enriquez, who dabbled in acting after her ill-fated album. “I love singing and the way it makes me feel. I know who I am when I sing.”
And marriage, says Enriquez, has only helped to underscore her strong sense of identity. She met Jerkins in 1993 and he would have married her on the spot, she says, but it wasn’t until the two bumped into each other at a party hosted at Michael Jackson’s home a few years later that she truly felt sparks fly. That’s all history, Enriquez explains, and now she can’t imagine life without the man she married in 2004.
“As women, there’s a strong sense that you don’t want to miss the career-oriented opportunities in life,” says Enriquez, who is a third generation Mexican-American. “But I fell in love and I know God’s will for my life at that time was to marry and begin a family. I knew that someday, when the time was right, I would get back to music. ”
Timing really is everything, notes Enriquez. That holds true for her reality show debut too, as Enriquez and Jerkins were first approached by VH1 to do a Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey “Newlyweds”-esque show when they were first married (“this was the right time to show who our family really is, now that our marriage is established and we have good roots,” she says). And while Enriquez may be nursing an eight-month-old, running a music publishing company and wrestling with how to best lose the baby weight, she’s also writing music for an audience that needs encouragement and loves a good tune – just like herself.
“I would love for people across the country to be inspired by my music,” says Enriquez, who sings a new single on every episode of “House of Joy.” “I run a publishing company, I’m writing music again and I’m in the studio while balancing babies and a marriage just like millions of women do every day.”
“I love being a wife and mother, but I believe there’s a gift inside all of us. God always makes a way for that gift to shine and I want women to know that even though you may not have achieved big dreams when you weree 18, you’re never too old to make that dream come true.”