Dirty Dozen: Joanna Weston

Joanna Weston writes from the heart and will have you hung on every word. Her finely woven melodies wrap around the lyrics perfectly, taking you on a journey through beautifully crafted life experiences we can all identify with. But it’s the voice that is most remarkable. Clear and unmistakable, Joanna’s unique sound is at times vulnerable, but always enchanting.Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
I’m a London girl, and ever since I can remember we’d moved around quite a lot. Eventually, I settled in the Guildford area and stayed for many years… and now you’ll find me over the pond in The Netherlands.

How would you describe your music?
Feel good music, uplifting…

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
I have so many influences from way back such as Joni Mitchel, Nina Simone, Beth Orton, and Eddie Reader from her Fairground Attraction years, and then there’s Feist, Fink, John Martyn, Cat Power, Alena Diane, and Lissie to name a few.

What are you currently promoting?
Right now I’m promoting my second single ‘What Are We Fighting For’, from my debut album ‘Inside Out’. It’s a thought provoking song about humanity and the way people can be treated, even through difficult times,
after all, everyone is trying to live the best possible life they can, so as the title says… What are we fighting for?

And what’s really exciting is that this song has been chosen as the title track for a short film, written and directed by Christopher Schonning, and will be sent to the top 100 film festivals including Sundance, Cannes and Palm Springs International Short Film Festival to raise awareness of his work as and up-and-coming British filmmaker. I’m so excited about this opportunity, as it gives me the chance to have my music heard by those who might not have already heard of me!

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I’m proud of all the songs I’ve written because songwriting (for me) takes time. I can’t write a song in a day, I have to really sit with it, play around with the melody to make it interesting for the listener and myself (as I’ll be performing it for forever). Most of all I want to, make sure I’m totally happy with the flow of the lyrics, the story I want to tell, and that’s what takes the most time. Soooo, in answer to your question… the one that most defines me would be ‘Don’t Stop’, because this was one of the first songs I ever wrote when I decided to hold my nose and jump into becoming a solo artist. And it was a boyfriend at the time, who had encouraged me to sing higher notes on the chorus, which of course was way out of my comfort zone, but after a little time and practice, my vocal range grew and grew and I believe that’s what defines me today.

What are you currently listening to?
Right now I’m listening to many different artists both old and new. I’m a little bit in love with the Cinematic Orchestra, especially their song ‘To Build a Home’, which I’m learning play on the piano. The more recent breakthrough artists include Charles Bradley, Dotan, Valerie June, Villagers, Rag’n’Bone Man, Aurora, Ady Suleiman, and Maggie Rogers.
And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Hmmm, difficult question, but ‘Bob Marley – ‘Exodus’ springs to mind right now, when I passed my driving test, this was the only tape I had in my car all summer, and when I listen to it now, I can’t help but smile, move to the beat and sing at the top of my voice.

What are your hopes for your future career?
Between now and Christmas I have a series of shows coming up in The Netherlands, but my main focus is to write new music for release next year, and then take the music on tour, with a visit back to the UK for sure.
The most important thing for me is that I keep writing and performing as much as I possibly can and for as long as I can. Long may the creativity flow, and if not through me, then I hope to pass this on to my daughter who already has a strong interest in all things musical.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
If I had a big fat suitcase packed full of money I’d be knocking on the door of one of the top orchestras in the world asking if they’d be up for recording my music with me and then travel the globe performing at venues like the Royal Albert Hall. Not asking for much huh?!

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Meeting so many great people, being on stage performing the songs I’ve taken the time and energy to write and to see people enjoying them, and most of all feeling what I’m singing to them about, you know really feeling the stories and lyrics behind the melody.

And the worst?
Since day one of going solo, I’ve done everything myself… all the online and printed promotion, graphic design, booking gigs, the works…. So I spend far too much time in front of the computer seeking opportunities for myself which takes me away from spending time writing which is what being a singer/songwriter is all about.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Well thanks for taking the time to read about lil ol’ me and I hope you are curious to hear some (if not all) of my music. Head on over to my website and find me on many other social media sites, and if you like what you hear, be sure to follow me so I can stay in touch about all the exciting things that are coming up in the near future, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to meet you at a show sometime. Stay happy, and a big warm hug from me!

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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