Joy Williams grew up in a Christian family and recorded three Contemporary Christian music albums. After recording several EPs of popular music she formed the Grammy Award winning duo The Civil Wars with John Paul White, in 2009.
Joy Williams signed a recording contract with the label Reunion Records (a division of Sony BMG music) at age 17. She released the albums Joy Williams (2001), By Surprise (2002), and Genesis (2005), collectively selling more than 250,000 copies. Her song "Hide" won an ASCAP Music award for the "Most Performed Song" in 2005. Williams terminated her contract with Reunion Records in 2005.
In October 2008, she and her husband founded Sensibility Music. In the Spring of 2009, Williams released a four-song EP called One of Those Days. One of the songs, "Charmed Life" appeared on the season finale of the TV show Grey's Anatomy in 2009, and "One of Those Days" was heard on Drop Dead Diva. In May 2009, Williams released another EP titled Charmed Life (Remixes).
In 2009 she released a double EP titled Songs from This and Songs from That. "Sunny Day" from the former EP was featured on 90210, while "Speaking a Dead Language" from the latter EP was featured on Grey's Anatomy. "Sunny Day" was featured on Grey's Anatomy on the Nov. 12, 2009 episode and also in the 2010 movie "An Invisible Sign" during the credits. "Sunny Day" was also in a Dutch commercial which made the song well known in the Netherlands. Williams released the EP We Mapped the World in 2010.
In February 2009, Williams formed The Civil Wars with John Paul White and released the album Barton Hollow. The duo received 2012 Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album.