Dallas singer-songwriter Slow Joy wants to connect with you on ‘Mi Amigo Slow Joy’

Wearing an orange hoodie, Slow Joy stands in a field
Slow Joy (aka singer-songwriter Esteban Flores) Photo: Courtesy Stunt Company PR

The moment Esteban Flores stopped trying, everything came together.

The Dallas-based and New Mexico-born singer-songwriter, who performs under the musical moniker Slow Joy, is gearing up to release a new EP, Mi Amigo Slow Joy, on June 7. As he does, Flores finds himself contending with a career he did not necessarily aim for.

“It was definitely not an intention to make this a career,” Flores said during a recent conversation. “Which is funny, because most of my life, it was the intention to make it my career, and right when I gave up on it …”

Flores (and Slow Joy) has TikTok to thank for this shift — initial singles “Crawling” and “Soft Slam” racked up millions of views when first released two years ago. That burst of visibility led Flores to release Wildflower last year, which found him sifting through the emotional aftermath of his mother’s passing. Mi Amigo Slow Joy is Flores reckoning with the world, and his place in it.

“Music, initially, for me, was a cathartic thing that was really, really special — ingrained into my family’s life,” Flores said. “Like, if you’re in the family, you played multiple instruments, because that was just what you did. It was just a part of me. For a while there, it became this ugly pursuit where, wherever the wind blew, that’s where I ended up musically — it was writing songs with no substance and just trying to make it.”

Shifting the focus from what others think to how the music makes him feel has made the burst of attention a bit easier to navigate, allowing Flores to revel in new experiences like decamping to the East Coast to work with producer Mike Sapone, who helped Flores create the crunchy, alt-rock-inflected soundscapes for his searching, vulnerable lyrics.

“I’m so filled with gratitude,” Flores said. “If I would have had this when I was younger, it would have been a little bit easier … but I don’t think I would have had the gratitude that I do now. … I value those moments more at a show, where I’m just like — this group of people will never be in a room together again. What a special moment we all get to enjoy.”

One such shared moment for Flores will be an appearance close to home at the annual So What?! Festival in Fort Worth on June 1, just days before the arrival of Mi Amigo Slow Joy. Beyond that performance, he’ll spend most of June on the road, traveling from one side of North America to the other, even as he chips away at writing and recording a full-length release.

“These are snapshots of something I believe in,” Flores said of his songs. “If you connect with it, you connect. If you don’t, you don’t, but I want people to see that there are other people struggling through the same things … I want people who connect with it to realize that they’re not alone in these crazy times that we’re in.”

Slow Joy at So What?! Festival in Fort Worth. 3 p.m. June 1. Tickets are $74.95-$394.95.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.