Vance Joy was born James Keough in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He took his stage name from Peter Carey's 1981 novel, Bliss. He explained in an interview with Australian radio station Triple J: "The main character's name is Harry Joy and his grandfather is Vance Joy. He's the storyteller and a crazy old man. Plus, I thought it was a cool name."
Before pursuing a music career, Joy was an accomplished football player (soccer to Americans), playing for the Coburg Football Club in the Victorian Football League and winning an award for best first year player in 2008.
Joy earned Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Melbourne's Monash University.
Joy released his debut EP, God Loves You When You're Dancing, on March 22, 2013. The record's second single, "Riptide," proved to be his breakthrough hit, peaking at #6 on his home chart in Australia, #10 in the UK and #32 in the US.
Most fans are shocked when they first meet Joy because of his height. "I'm 6 foot 3, and 6 foot 4 with heels," he says.
The title for his debut studio album, Dream Your Life Away, was inspired by John Lennon's posthumous hit "Watching The Wheels." He explains on his website: "He has that line 'People say I'm crazy, dreaming my life away,' and I love that idea. That title feels like a good reflection of my life recently. It's still all totally new to me. I still feel new as, which is good. I still feel like I'm just chipping away."