Credit | Dylan Dawkins

Local singer-songwriter Grace Joyner’s new somber pop song, “Vampira,” which dropped today isn’t technically new for her, considering she wrote it five or so years ago. 

“I just decided recently to record it,” Joyner told the City Paper. “For some reason it never made it to the list of songs I wanted to put on a record.” 

The song was inspired by the story of Vampira, a late night horror TV host persona that actress Maila Nurmi created in the ‘50s, and the brief affair Vampira had with James Dean, Joyner said. The story goes that Vampira couldn’t let go despite Dean ending things, and she sent Dean a postcard a week before he died that said, “Darling, come and join me.”

“There was this hullabaloo that she put a curse on him and he died a week later,” Joyner said. “I thought it was an interesting story.” 

The new track, “Vampira,” captures a picture of someone who is getting lost in an idea of something and losing their own magic, Joyner said.

“I feel like I’ve been in that position myself in the past,” she said. “I felt for [Vampira] when I learned about that story. I’ve fawned after a person that wasn’t showing up for me — kind of got lost in that moment and lost myself, you know? So that was the perspective I used to write it.”

“Vampira” is one of a few additional singles Joyner has recorded at The Space with Wolfgang Zimmerman.

“I recorded it on a Hammond organ first, I think,” Joyner said. “And then we added some other organ sounds. And then Wolfgang did drums and bass, and we kind of called it a day. Hunter Park of She Returns From War did a couple background vocals as well.”

Grace Joyner will perform with a full band Feb. 5 at The Royal American benefit show in support of The Goodmood Fund, a project of The Giving Back Fund, that raises money to provide assistance to independent touring musicians across the United States. Sharing the bill for the event will be local acts Jack Fortune and Argot joined by Columbia-based duo Admiral Radio.