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Joanie Leeds is a New York-based singer and songwriter who is now preparing to release her eighth family-friendly album—“Brooklyn Baby!”—on May 19, 2017. Joanie lives and works in the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which mostly inspired the music on her latest album. Songs about the subway, parks, and pizza are all present on the album which mixes soul, rock, and folksy blues. Joanie was born in Miami, Florida, but she is now a proud New Yorker who was happy to discuss her most recent album that was directly inspired by the city that she adopted and loves.

Music

Blasting News (BN): How and when did you decide to become a musician and how did you break into the industry?

Joanie Leeds (JL): I wanted to be a performer from as early as I remember and performed in all the musicals, choruses and summer camp plays.

I went to college for musical theater, and I started writing songs. Classic Rock was a big part of my life. After graduating from college, I moved to New York City and played in bars and clubs; at The Nightlights it all took off! I started writing angst-ridden love songs in college and made my first full-length CD my senior year. After working with children while managing a Gymboree, I decided to switch gears.

BN: Can you describe your latest album “Brooklyn Baby!” and its songs?

JL: It is a collection of songs that were 100% inspired by my neighborhood. I wrote about the East River Ferry (“Ferry Nice”), the Yiddish phrases heard around town (“Shayne Punim”), finding truth and education at the Library (“Library Book”), embracing community (“Love is Love”), and the title track which was inspired by my daughter.

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One of the oldest trees in Brooklyn, a magnolia tree, is the only tree in New York that has landmark status. There is something about this old tree that kept reminding me of strength and growing bigger each day -- just like my baby. That's my favorite ballad, but “Pizza” is my favorite upbeat tune.

Brooklyn

BN: What is your favorite thing about Williamsburg and Brooklyn in general?

JL: In Brooklyn, everyone belongs no matter where you're from or what you do. Everyone doesn't just deal with each other, they thrive on diversity and welcome it, and I love every second of it. I grew up in Miami, so I am used to living in an international city, but Brooklyn is SO much more culturally diverse. You really can learn a lot from your fellow neighbors and friends, and some of the outfits in Williamsburg are hilarious!

BN: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career and where do you want to be in ten years?

JL: Connecting with my fans in person is why I love to tour so much. I have heard the best stories from parents explaining how they've worn out my album and need to buy a new one and that their little ones pretend that they are "Joanie Leeds" and they have to pretend to be the audience.

I once sang a line during a show incorrectly, and a child noticed my error and corrected me! I have a little fan that every time I perform, her mom asks me what I am wearing early so her daughter can wear the same outfit. Parents email me pictures of their kids dressed as me for Halloween—it's TOO cute! I want to keep making albums and write a children's book series. I am looking to connect with book publishers about several ideas I have and can't wait to make this a reality. I also want to do an international tour since I have many fans abroad, particularly in Asia and throughout Europe.

BN: What advice can you give to aspiring musicians and what is next for you?

JL: Becoming a successful musician requires business skills, hustle, and persistence. Promote yourself, stay organized, arrive on time, take a business class and learn Pro Tools! As per upcoming events, our free Brooklyn Album Release Concert is on May 7th at 11 am at the City Point Atrium in downtown Brooklyn, with an album signing after the show at the Flying Tiger store. Over the next few months, I will travel the country playing my music in concerts, check out my website for details.