Talks with Joanna




This Crazy Life







CEV:  When was it that you realized that singing/music was something  that was going to be very important in your life and was it your idea to sing in your father’s barbershop for tips? 

 Joanna: I think I was singing from the time I was walking and talking. As a baby my lungs weren’t fully developed. So, the Dr told my parents to have me sing…  it would make them stronger. My Dads barbershop is below my house… so as a proud parent always does he would call me downstairs to give the customers a laugh. I was always over the top with my performances. But after a while... I really started to take it serious. 

CEV:  What kind of material did you find yourself leaning towards in those early days of barbershop and local TV talent shows and how much did that influence you in what you eventually decided to pursue as you got older? 

 Joanna:  I sang a lot of the oldies… that’s all my parents listened to. When I started listening to the radio… I would sing Whitney Houston songs. I think I always related to other singers that had “big” voices. 

CEV:  Tell me about the one role that got away, how disappointed were you that you did not get to follow the touring company of Annie back to Broadway and how did this change your attitude towards music and your future in it? 

 Joanna: Well, at the time – playing Annie was a dream come true. So, when it was taken away I was devastated. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me a taste of the life I would be determined to have forever. And also made me realize what I DIDN’T want to do. I wanted to write my own music and tell my own story. 

CEV:  Had you always been writing poems and was it a big leap for you to start taking your poems and turning them into what would become the lyrics of your songs? Are you trained on a particular instrument and was this what you wrote your music on? 

 Joanna:  I have always written poems. I won a contest when I was in 1st grade… and the poem I wrote was published. It was called “I Wish”. I play a little piano and guitar but not the best. It’s enough to write but not enough to feel comfortable on stage with it. 

CEV:  Was your family supportive of your efforts to succeed in music and how did this translate into actions towards helping you achieve your goals? And while we are on the subject at this point what goals had you set out for yourself in regards to getting your music out there and making a career in the industry? 

 Joanna:  My family has always been supportive of whatever is it that I wanted to pursue. They were skeptical in the beginning about the industry… it can be a nasty business. My Mom ran all over the country with me as a kid for auditions and shows. Poor thing. Haha I was always setting goals for myself and once I reached it… there would always be another. I  looked at it like I was planting my seeds… and eventually the baby steps would lead me to where I am today. And I still believe that. 

CEV:  Tell me about your trip toCalifornia to make your demo, was working in the studio and putting your ideas and melodies down in permanent form what you thought it was going to be? Was it more challenging that you thought or did you breeze through the process? Why was that? 

 Joanna:  When I came to LA to record my demo… I learned so much. It was the first time I had ever really been in a recording studio. The only challenging thing for me(which is always a problem) was to have the recording sound exactly like what I do live.

CEV:  Once you had your demo in hand what was your next move in getting yourself recognized by the industry? How hard was it to get your music in just the right hands? 

Joanna:  After the demo was finished we sent my package off to every record label at the time. Then I was lucky enough to have my demo reviewed in Billboard Magazine. After that we got a ton of calls. But my mind was set on meeting Ron Fair first. 

CEV:  Your bio says that you were fielding offers from some labels but you were holding out for a meeting with Ron Fair. What did Ron represent to you at this time and why did you want so much to have his input before talking to anyone else? 

 Joanna:  Ron Fair is a musical genius. I did my homework and learned that he is very hands on with developing his artist. In other words… he eat, sleeps, and breathes them. You don’t find that often. 

CEV:  Were you surprised at all when you were signed to Geffen records? 

 Joanna:  Well, it was a goal that I set for myself… so I wasn’t SURPRISED but I was beyond excited! It was a huge achievement. 

CEV:  How did MTV’s True Life documentary series become involved with you during your efforts to record and deliver your CD This Crazy Life? 

 Joanna:  They came to the record label and said they wanted to include an artist in one of their upcoming documentaries. I went to NY to meet with MTV and agreed to be a part of the project. They started filming right away. 

CEV:  Were you aware always aware of the cameras or did you settle down into working on your music and push them to the edge of your consciousness? Did their presence make the process harder than it was already?  

 Joanna:  The cameras weren’t there in the morning to catch me brushing my teeth and were never invasive. The only time it got a little strange is when I was writing… it’s such a private thing. 

CEV:  Why choose the title “This Crazy Life” for your CD? What does this signify to you personally and did it influence the songs you chose to include on this project?

Joanna:  “This Crazy Life” represents my journey so far in life. The title of the album didn’t come until the end… the songs were already chosen. The song T.C.L just fell right into place. 

CEV:  When you heard some of your material translated into finished products in the studio what were your gut reactions to what the finished songs? Were your songs everything that you had hoped they could become when you wrote them? 

Joanna:  I remember crying my eyes out in mastering. We were in a studio in NY… and it was the last step before it was sent off to the factory. It was everything I ever had hoped for… my thoughts and dreams were brought to life. 

CEV:  A lot of this work was going on when you were still quite young. How did this change things like school, friends and just being a normal teen? 

 Joanna:  Well, I went to high school for the first 2 years and got to be a normal teen.  I just felt like I was on a different maturity level and had plans for myself.  I had already been on tour and making my own money for the past 5 years. But it never changed who I was. 

CEV:  Once the CD was finished and ready for release (August 2006) were you happy with how it all turned out? How has it been received by your fans and the critics since it was released? 

Joanna:   I was and am extremely happy with the way things have been going. As always I am taking baby steps towards building a career of longevity. The more I am out there… the more fans recognize my raw talent and want to be a part of my journey. I feel like a lot of people relate to me and my music. 

CEV:  From your bio it sounds like you pretty much had control to present yourself or create your image along any lines you chose. What did this freedom mean to you in terms of who we see on stage when you are singing live while you are on tour or doing videos?

Joanna:  I have been lucky enough to be given the freedom to just be myself. My image and my style change constantly depending on my mood.  I am able to start out simple and relatable… and have somewhere to grow with it.  I love fashion! I’m a girl. haha

CEV:  Do you enjoy the interaction you have with your fans while you are singing live? How much touring are you doing in support of this new CD? 

 Joanna:  Touring and performing is my favorite part of what I do. It’s why I am who I am. I have been on the road since July of “06”. I love it! 

CEV:  Any plans for your next CD at this point or is it too early to think about the next one? 

 Joanna:  I am always writing and I keep a second record in mind of course. But this album “T.C.L” will be around for a while. 

CEV:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share with your fans about the whole process of taking your music from something in your head to a finished CD and how a dream can be achieved? 

Joanna:  PATIENCE!!!!