Made up of equal parts soul, folk and blues, JoAnna James is a gifted singer/songwriter from St. Paul, Minnesota whose live performances leave her audiences longing for more. The way she wails would make Motown proud. Her delicate phrasings would have made Nina Simone grin. Her heartfelt performances would elicit a knowing wink from Bonnie Raitt. Whether singing in a sultry whisper or a gale-force wail, JoAnna James was born with "a voice guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up" (Pulse of the Twin Cities).
JoAnna got her start in music when she was seven years old on a violin her grandfather purchased from a nun for $100. It wasn't too long before the guitar lured her in and she began to teach herself chords by listening to everything from Patsy Cline, Prince and Nirvana, to Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan. Singing was next, and it wasn't long before she found herself on stage at local coffee shops. Fast-forward ten years, which found JoAnna playing nearly 250 dates over the course of 2005 and 2006, in addition to receiving two consecutive Minnesota Music Awards for "Female Vocalist of the Year." (For a select list of past tour dates, click HERE )
In the past two years, JoAnna has also enjoyed the privilege of sharing the stage with national and international touring musicians such as UK jazz sensation Jamie Cullum, Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins, Jessy Greene (Foo Fighters, Pink), Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers), Josh Grange (k.d. lang, Dwight Yoakam), Joe Ayoub (Enrique Inglesias, Shakira), Marco Meneghin (Liz Phair), Meghan Toohey (The Weepies), Ken Stringfellow (REM, The Posies and Big Star), Joseph Arthur, A Girl Called Eddy, The Honeydogs, Mason Jennings, Steve Poltz, The New Standards, Slim Dunlap (the Replacements), Alain Whyte (Morrissey), Dessa, Cloud Cult, Mary Lou Lord, and Dan Wilson among others. JoAnna has been a studio musician on many local releases, as well as Grammy Award winner Dan Wilson's latest, Free Life (American, 2007).
JoAnna currently has two full-length recordings and two EPs. She released a self-titled CD in the spring of 2004 and her sophomore album, Desire, in the summer of 2005. In autumn of 2006, she travelled to Lexington, Kentucky and teamed up with producer, Duane Lundy, to record a new EP that was released in the spring of 2007 on Eclectone Records. The newest release is a 4-song EP, Try, recorded and produced by Alain Whyte who has worked extensively as both songwriter and guitarist for Morrissey of The Smiths, and also has completed projects with Rhianna, Kelis, Kid Cudi and Blake Lewis. Songs from the Try EP have been featured on Season 5 episodes of Gossip Girl. JoAnna is currently working on music for the independent film, Statue of David, set to release in 2012.