Conor Oberst joined his first band at the age of 13 and has been releasing music since 1993. Over the next two plus decades, he’s released cassette-only recordings, split 7-inches, and a dozen albums of uncommon insight, detail, and political awareness with his band Bright Eyes, under his own name, as a member of Desaparecidos, as leader of the The Mystic Valley Band, with the Monsters of Folk supergroup, and in Better Oblivion Community Center with Phoebe Bridgers.
“I have always believed there’s salvation through music and love. At least for me. It’s gotten me through the worst of things. But I want it to be that way for the people who listen to it, too,” explains Oberst. “I feel I always make an attempt, even when writing what is a pretty depressing number, to sew some silver lining into it. I think the secret to happiness is making yourself believe that happiness is possible. The first step in overcoming anything is to believe that you can do it. So in my songs there’s always a point where something pulls you out of the hole you’re in” -Jaan Uhelszki
Joanna Sternberg is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, and teacher who lives in New York City. Joanna was born on August 18, 1991 in Manhattan. At the age of two, Joanna’s parents heard them humming “Oh What A Merry Christmas Day” from Mickey’s Christmas Carol. From the ages two to five, Joanna experimented with “playing” the piano, singing in pre-school with their first music teacher Anita, dancing to Little Richard and Chuck Berry records, and drawing and finger painting. From the ages five to eleven, Joanna took piano lessons at The Suzuki School For Strings. They wrote their first song “Junk Yard Dogs” (part of a musical that was never finished) at the age of six.
In middle school at Baruch (MS. 104), Joanna taught themselves how to play the guitar and electric bass. Their father Michael Sternberg and the school music teacher Mr. (Keith) Carroll were also very helpful and supportive. Joanna taught themself how to play all of the James Jamerson (Motown) bass-lines. They attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, and graduated in 2009. Joanna started learning the double bass freshman year, and studied classical bass with Judy Sugerman and jazz bass with Neal Miner.
Joanna attended Mannes College of Music for a year studying classical bass with Orin O’Brien. While Joanna loved and still loves classical music, they decided it was too challenging to pursue as a career. After Mannes, Joanna took a year off and did nothing but stay in their room and draw comics, go to therapy and sleep. A year later, Joanna transferred to The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and graduated in 2015.
Joanna has been a professional freelance musician and visual artist since they were 18-years-old. Joanna never thought they could sing, due to confidence issues. They were lucky enough to take lessons with Kate Baker for one year, and she showed them their “real singing voice.” Joanna started writing auto biographical songs at the age of 20. They never thought they would be able to write and sing their own music until they heard Elliott Smith. Joanna realized that songs can save lives and heal people, and writing songs was something they simply had to do. The only reason Joanna writes songs is to try to make people feel like they are not alone. Joanna performs a lot around town playing their songs solo, and a variety of other music on many different instruments. Joanna does not like using genres to describe music.
Joanna signed to Team Love Records in November 2018, and has an album called Then I Try Some More coming out in July 2019.
If it were to be put into genres and categories, Joanna has experience doing the following things: playing klezmer music, Yiddish Folk Music, blues, ragtime, jazz (from hot jazz to modern)... free improvisation, American folk music, gospel music, classical music, country music, bluegrass, r&b, soul, funk, rock n' roll and rock and accompanying rappers/poets and comedians. Also, Joanna loves to make visual art and has drawn/painted the following things: comics, cartoons, murals, illustrations, logos, concert posters, portraits, letter art, greeting cards, patterns and decorations on furniture and clothing.