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State Theatre New Jersey

Music

Joanie Leeds is a Kindie Rockstar

Singer-songwriter and top kindie rockstar Joanie Leeds  is back by popular demand to perform her original children’s music for our Milk & Cookies Series Online, available from November 14 to February 14. Leeds will be performing songs from her nine albums, including her most recent release, All The Ladies. According to the New York Times, “Its 11 folk-rock tunes feature lots of fiddle, guitar and percussion as they extol independence, equality and sisterly solidarity… With a voice that can evoke the mellow warmth of Sheryl Crow or the pop brio of Belinda Carlisle, Leeds reminds girls that they’ll do fine without glass slippers (or a Prince Charming).” Her music is fun, energetic, and encourages children to be who they are and follow their dreams. 

We asked Leeds to answer a few questions about herself and her music and here’s what she had to say: 

What is your favorite song off of your latest album, All The Ladies?
I have SO many favorites but I think I have to go with "Glass Ceilings." I was inspired to write this song after reading the article from The Guardian, "Four Reasons Not to Tell Your Daughter She's Pretty." It really resonated with me since I have a daughter. I recently released a music video for the song and LOVE how it turned out. My friend Chava Mirel is singing the lead and I am singing her harmonies on the track.

Who are your favorite musicians?
I am a very big fan of Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor, H.E.R,  Phish, Ani DiFranco, and  the Indigo Girls.
 
How long does it take to create an album?
I always joke that my albums are like little babies!  It usually takes about 9-10 months and then the next three  months you are trying to get everything situated with its release!

Who got you into music?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't in love with music. I started singing lessons at a young age and was always in music classes and plays as a young child. I was in my Temple's choir and in every chorus imaginable from elementary school through graduation. I auditioned and was accepted to the conservatory-based musical theater program at Syracuse University which is where I went in the late '90s. I was lucky that my parents were always supportive and never encouraged me to fall back on anything.  I think if they had, I wouldn't have worked as hard as I did to get where I am today!

If you weren't a songwriter, what would you be doing right now?
I think regardless of the circumstances, I will always be a songwriter buuuut if I needed to start a totally new career, I would probably look into becoming a music therapist.

What's your favorite song to perform?
When I perform in real life, there is a song from my first album (I have nine  children's albums now) called "Freeze Dance." My live version is quite different from the one I play in person but it's the song where EVERYONE...kids AND grownups are on their feet pretty much every time I play it. It saves the day when energy is low in the audience and brings it to 11 when the energy is high. I just love it!

What's the best advice you've been given?
Do something productive every day.  Sometimes it's difficult to get through my task list and it can get overwhelming, especially during busy times or when the world throws you lemons. I just try to power through and accomplish one big thing a day, and then I always feel the momentum of movement in my life and in my career. 

What message do you want listeners to take away from your music?
With nine  albums, I know that all listeners can find the tunes that mean something special to you! Animal songs (check), dance songs (yup), clever lyrics (bingo), songs about saving the planet and kindness (oh yeah) songs about female empowerment (yasss). I have started a music video series on my YouTube channel called Joanie's Jukebox Jamboree which will be going through all of my nine  albums in order and a new music video for each song. Feel free to visit here! 

The Milk & Cookies storytelling and music series is perfect for children ages 3-10. Joanie Leeds video performance is available from November 14 to February 14. Your participation is a donation to State Theatre New Jersey’s family programs. Learn More about the Milk & Cookies series here.

The Milk & Cookies Series  Community Access Initiative Sponsor is The Provident Bank Foundation. Additional support by Colgate-Palmolive. 

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