JOANNA STERNBERG

Joanna Sternberg is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, and teacher who lives in New York City. Joanna was born on August 18, 1991 in Manhattan. At the age of two, Joanna’s parents heard them humming “Oh What A Merry Christmas Day” from Mickey’s Christmas Carol.  From the ages two to five, Joanna experimented with “playing” the piano, singing in pre-school with their first music teacher Anita, dancing to Little Richard and Chuck Berry records, and drawing and finger painting. From the ages five to eleven, Joanna took piano lessons at The Suzuki School For Strings. They wrote their first song “Junk Yard Dogs” (part of a musical that was never finished) at the age of six.

In middle school at Baruch (MS. 104), Joanna taught themselves how to play the guitar and electric bass. Their father Michael Sternberg and the school music teacher Mr. (Keith) Carroll were also very helpful and supportive.  Joanna taught themself how to play all of the James Jamerson (Motown) bass-lines.  They attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, and graduated in 2009. Joanna started learning the double bass freshman year, and studied classical bass with Judy Sugerman and jazz bass with Neal Miner.

Joanna attended Mannes College of Music for a year studying classical bass with Orin O’Brien, the first woman in the New York Philharmonic bass section. While Joanna loved and still loves classical music, they decided it was too challenging to pursue as a career.

After Mannes, Joanna took a year off and did nothing but stay in their room and draw comics, go to therapy and sleep.  A year later, Joanna transferred to The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and graduated in 2015.

Joanna has been a professional freelance musician and visual artist since they were 18-years-old. Joanna never thought they could sing, due to confidence issues. They were lucky enough to take lessons with Kate Baker for one year, and she showed them their “real singing voice.”

Joanna started writing auto biographical songs at the age of 20. They never thought they would be able to write and sing their own music until they heard Elliott Smith.  Joanna realized that songs can save lives and heal people, and writing songs was something they simply had to do.

The only reason Joanna writes songs is to try to make people feel like they are not alone. Joanna performs a lot around town playing their songs solo, and a variety of other music on many different instruments. Joanna does not like using genres to describe music:

I do not like to think of music or any forms of art in genres or categories. I don’t even really like the word art because it has the ability to make people feel bad about themselves (for example when people say “I am bad at art.”) I view it all as magical love that helps people heal. It also helps me heal every single day.

Joanna listens to what some people would think of as a lot of random music that doesn’t go together, but Joanna believes it is all one. Some major influences of their music are: The Beatles, The Funk Brothers, Elliott Smith, James Brown, Randy Newman, Judee Sill, James Brown, Daniel Johnston, Shooby Taylor, Bob Dylan, Ornette Coleman, Brahms, Beethoven, Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Weird Al, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Tchaikovsky, Aretha Franklin, Mac Miller, Tupac, and, most of all: the great Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, Blind Willie McTell, Scott Joplin, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Ray Charles.

Joanna signed to Team Love Records in November 2018 and has an album called Then I Try Some More coming out July 12th, 2019.


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