In Tempo with…Joanie Leeds

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, there is no better way to celebrate than with All The Ladies, the latest album from Joanie Leeds. Along with her band the Nightlights, Joanie made a name for herself on the kindie pop/rock scene with albums like Brooklyn Baby! and I’m a Rock Star. Filled with catchy lyrics and rhythms to get kids moving, Leeds’s music was surefire fun for the whole family. On All The Ladies, Joanie changes things up and takes her music in a new, welcome direction. The most obvious change is that, in a real departure from previous albums, on All The Ladies, Joanie performs without the Nightlights. But that doesn’t mean that she performs alone. Instead, she has gathered a whole crew of incredibly talented women from the children’s music industry to join her in making music to empower girls of all ages.

From the opening track, “If Girls Ruled the World” to the albums beautiful closer, “Half Of The World,” you still get that upbeat Joanie style, but with a more folk-pop twist. All The Ladies features songs about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, breaking the glass ceiling, the importance of lifting one another up and glorious Mother Earth. The messages in Ladies are clear and easy to grasp, but never didactic. Each song is filled with gorgeous harmonies that quickly become the hallmark of the album.

In order to learn more about the origins of this female-driven project (*from Joanie, “99% of the participants in All the Ladies – instrumental, vocal and all of the technical jobs including Producer, Engineer, Mixer, Master- even my photographer and graphic artist are women! “), I went right to the source. Even though Joanie is in the middle of preparing for Friday’s big music festival (more on that a bit later), she was kind enough to answer a few questions.

You collaborated with a lot of amazing women on All the Ladies. How did these partnerships come about? 
I knew that I wanted to work with all women on this project and it was important to me to utilize their incredible talents and lift them up. I had a very long list- one person being the amazing Lucy Kalantari. Once she was signed on as producer, we worked together to create a list and assigned everyone to the songs, taking into account with regional logistics (who has remote studio capabilities etc.) We didn’t get to use everyone but we did get a bunch of incredibly talented women involved and I am so happy with the outcome! {Ed. Note: That list of women who are part of the album includes Polly Hall, Suzi Shelton, Sonia De Los Santos, Lori Henriques, Lisa Loeb and Carly Ciarrocchi.]

You return to your folk music roots on this album. What prompted you to move in that direction?

After 10 years of singing with my band Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, I wanted to switch things up and rebrand. I had a new logo created and am in the middle or redoing my website. I took a step back and realized, I’m not in my 20s anymore and while I love singing rock and pop (and still do) I have always loved just sitting behind a guitar and strumming along, it felt natural to return to my roots. 

When I was a teen I loved reading about fierce, strong, caring females with unbreakable spirits. I get that same feeling of empowerment from the music in your new collection. What advice do you have for the girls and young women of today?

Something I wish I could have known when I was younger was to be more confident and love myself more. With self-love, girls and women will automatically feel the confidence to raise their hand in class, put themselves into the room, be part of the conversation and speak out against injustice. If we come together as women and lift each other up and have each other‘s backs, the climate for inequality will surely diminish. Between the media and living in a patriarchy we are up against a lot- but together, I believe we can accomplish anything.

That we can! All The Ladies the album is set to be released this Friday, April 3. But that’s not all that is happening on Friday! From 12:30-4:00 pm, fans of children’s music can see some of the top female artists perform as part of the FREE Joanie Leeds Presents: All The Ladies Online Music Festival!  When asked about the origin of such a large undertaking, Joanie said, “All the Ladies album launch concert was supposed to be held on March 14th but was canceled due to the corona virus pandemic. It was to be a large gathering featuring many of the women from my album. One of the women who was supposed to perform (Tina Kenny Jones) dm’ed me upon cancelation about the idea of holding the concert online instead. I took the idea and ran with it, producing my first online Music Festival! All the Ladies Music Festival will be held this Friday from 12:30-4pm featuring every singer on the album. They will each play for 15 minutes and then as hostess, I will pass the baton to the next performer. You can attend for free on Facebook: @alltheladiesmusicfestival.”

 

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