For Singer and Dancer Joie Shettler, It’s Often Been “Get Me That Redhead!”
Best foot forward.
- Written & photographed byKat Monk
When Joie Shettler was an ambitious, 19-year-old brunette living in Tempe, Arizona, she won a scholarship at a dance competition to attend Joe Tremaine’s dance school in Studio City. Determined to get her start in the business, Joie packed all her belongings and purchased her first car from an auction—a sketchy, lime green Chevy Nova for $200. Sporting a bouncy Paula Abdul hairstyle and boasting strong technical dance skills, she headed straight to the studio ready to take the dance world by storm.
“Although I loved dancing, when I started singing it was like a whole new world opened up.”
In Los Angeles she became a body double for British singer/songwriter Cathy Dennis, requiring Joie to bob her hair and go red. With her new vibrant color, she stood out amongst her fellow dancers and carved herself a niche. By the mid-’90s, she was a Laker Girl, performing with Prince at the American Music Awards and dancing in music videos for Michael Jackson, Beck and Smash Mouth.
A big shift came when she started to sing. “Although I loved dancing, when I started singing it was like a whole new world opened up,” shares Joie. Her favorite gig was when she nailed a job as a backup vocalist for The Brian Setzer Orchestra with the former front man of the Stray Cats.
After starting a family with husband Dave Birznieks, she teamed up with David Stark, guitar player from the punk band FEAR, and created an ’80s and ’90s tribute band called the Radio Rebels. The band is often on the rosters at Saint Rocke, The Standing Room and The Lighthouse Café.
Now that her children are teenagers, she’s on the road singing backup vocals for Kind Heaven Orchestra, the band of Perry Farrell (also lead singer of Jane’s Addiction). They toured with Lollapalooza in Europe last year and will head to South America this spring.
“Beyond being a multitalented, dynamic performer, Joie is one of the hardest-working, most ethical people in the entertainment business,” David says. “People trust what she says, and they should because she speaks from the heart.”