AFTER STARRING IN THREE ACCLAIMED ONE-WOMAN SHOWS IN NYC, THE MULTI-FACETED SINGER SONGWRITER REDISCOVERS HER LIFELONG DREAM TO PURSUE POP MUSIC STARDOM
Paving The Way For Joanna Mosca’s Upcoming Full-Length Debut— Featuring Collaborations With Jay Levine and Grammy Winning Producers Tyrone Corbett And Robert Donzella, As Well As Top Nashville Songwriters—The Popular Performer Scored Two Top Ten Adult Contemporary Airplay Hits in 2007-2008
With a soon to be released adult contemporary summer single and her full-length independent album debut due in the fall of 2009, Joanna Mosca’s (www.joannamosca.com) exciting emergence onto the pop and adult contemporary scene this year makes an inspiring statement on the power of dreams.
While great musical talents can cast their true passion aside for a time, outrunning their destiny is quite another matter.
The multi-talented performer, singer and songwriter, who captured fans of adult contemporary music in 2007-2008 with two Top Ten FMBQ AC40 hits, “Not Enough” and a dynamic re-imagining of The Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around,” boasts a story that rings true for anyone who ever chose the safe, practical route over their heart’s longings.
Like everything else, Joanna embraced her detours wholeheartedly and with no regrets. She fell in love and became a wife, a devoted mom and, after earning her Master’s in hospital administration, became very successful in that field. As we know, there is something magical about the rekindling of a dream deferred, and it’s hard to imagine her country, light jazz, R&B and pop influenced originals having the emotional impact they do without the wisdom she gained from the trials that have shaped her over the past few years.
Looking back, she could scarcely have realized that one day she would have the chance to fly to Nashville to work on her songs with writers who have penned hits for artists like Martina McBride and Rascal Flatts. While working on her debut album this past year, she has also collaborated with Grammy Award winning producers Tyrone Corbett and Robert Donzella, who have collectively worked with several American Idol artists signed to J Records and Wyclef Jean’s label. Corbett’s studio and touring credits also include R&B singer Will Downing, urban jazz greats Gerald Albright and Norman Brown, and folk legend Pete Seeger.
Joanna also has six songs on her personal Web sites, along with the extremely popular www.numberonemusic.com/Joannamosca. Her popularity on the site, shown via live performances/airplay charts, rivals that of many top country and adult contemporary artists. These songs include her two top ten hits as well the songs “Tear in My Beer,” “Find Your Way Back Home,” “Out Of My Life” and “Take Me Or Leave Me.”
One of the songs she is currently working on with award winning producer Jay Levine is “I Just Keep Going,” an autobiographical track that could be a mantra for her life—as well as one that inspires people to think beyond their circumstances during these hard economic times.
“It’s about lighting the pathway when it’s too dark to see,” Joanna says, “and choosing to climb the mountain no matter how steep it is……. I wouldn’t trade all the things I’ve been through for anything, because all the songs I write draw on these life experiences that have shaped me.”
One of the most important stepping stones on the way to emerging as a musical performer was studying to be an actress. While living in Connecticut, she commuted regularly to Manhattan, where she studied with Anthony Hopkins and famed acting teacher Uta Hagen at the prestigious HB Studios. In the midst of these pursuits, the sudden death of her father reawakened her passion for singing.
“He was a singer who never pursued his craft professionally, but because of his love for singing would sing with friends as street corner groups in Hartford,” Joanna says. “All of these memories came flooding back of him singing to me as a child. I even wrote a song about this, which may be on the album, called ‘He Sang To Me.’ I started telling people about my passion for singing and began getting opportunities to sing in front of people. With the recommendations and encouragement of many people, I quit my job to fine tune my voice in Manhattan.”
“Within two years,” she adds, “I found the perfect way to blend my love for acting and singing by creating a one woman show that I performed on and off for a year at Don’t Tell Mama, a renowned club in the theatre district on restaurant row in Manhattan. Not surprisingly, ‘My Life in Crime’ (the name of the show) was very autobiographical, covering some of my crazy antics growing up. It was unique from other one-person shows in that I wasn’t singing show-tune type material. I did arrangements of some of my favorite pop songs that fit into the narrative flow, and the audiences really liked the way I was able to integrate them.”
“Because it’s New York,” Joanna continues, “most performers incorporate Broadway classics in the mix, but I was singing everything from Bruce Springsteen to Patsy Cline. That’s my love, that’s my music, and I quickly realized it didn’t meld well into the theatre world. All of which made the popularity of my shows that much sweeter. I was doing them on my own terms!”
“My Life In Crime” was the first of three one-woman shows Joanna performed in from 1997-2003. The others were “Well-Healed,” fashioned as homage to her medical career, and the slightly less autobiographical “Home And Away.”
Her love for so many varying styles and music, and especially the influence of female singer/songwriting greats like Annie Lennox and Bonnie Raitt, led her to start writing material with songwriting partners Frannie Burke and her husband Mark Mosca, and later Corbett and Donsella. Part of her development as a writer in her own right was performing at clubs and industry showcases in Nashville and singing at NYC’s The Sugar Bar, which is owned by classic Motown songwriters and performers Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson (aka Ashford & Simpson).
“I think the key to becoming a good songwriter is that you have to be unafraid and honest about yourself and what you observe,” says Joanna. “It’s also a good idea to keep paper and pencil at your bedside because you never know when inspiration is going to hit you. Earlier this year, I was in D.C. for the presidential inauguration. While walking down the street with my housemates there, an attractive guy walked by and one of my friends said in response to another, ‘he’s cute, but relationships are too distracting.’ Another friend replied, ‘I could use a good distraction.’ That line hit me as a great hook and so I wrote ‘I Need A Good Distraction,’ which is part of being attuned to the world around us, and I think that is helping me to grow, become more confident and continue to be self-assured as a writer all the time. We all have ups and downs in life but we must all believe in the future and do our best to persevere.”
Most artists wait till they’re rich and famous before giving back and contributing to charitable causes; Joanna has made this a lifestyle for a number of years. She tutored and mentored a local student in Stamford, Connecticut all through her schooling as part of the “I Have A Dream” program, which is geared towards breaking the cycle of defeat, despair and poverty for inner city kids. She was also involved in the Million Mom March for gun control and is currently sponsoring an Egyptian child through the Child Reach network.
“My passion for helping people and contributing to the quality of their lives ties in perfectly with my love for singing and performing,” she says. “Writing is always an interesting process, but nothing tops being onstage, connecting emotionally with the audience. I’ve noticed that a lot of great singers sing with their eyes closed, which to me cuts off that personal connection that I think is the most exhilarating and important aspect of being an artist. Once we’re rolling and have the summer single released, I can start touring, and I’m really looking forward to that more than anything.”