Her destiny became obvious to Joanie Leeds’ parents when, at the tender age of 2, Joanie grabbed the performers mic at a party and belted out the entire song “Tomorrow” from Annie. Jaws dropped! No one could remember ever hearing a big voice like that coming from one so tiny.
As a musical theatre major at Syracuse University, Joanie began composing her own songs. After graduation, she did the New York City thing, bartending at The Bitter End when not onstage performing. While making the rounds as a singer/songwriter in New York clubs (her favorites were Rockwood, The Bitter End, The Living Room, Arlene’s Grocery and CBGB’s), Joanie tried her hand at about ten different day gigs until a friend suggested that she get a job where she could sing with kids during the day and perhaps sleep at night. You could say that Joanie found (as in “discovered”) herself, managing one of the Manhattan Gymboree locations and singing with and for kids all day long. The nocturnal club scene was fun, but making music with children was real fun.
Life clicked into place when Joanie realized that when she was with children, they transformed themselves into amazing creatures of joy, forgetting how to hold back. Seeing the kids get in touch with their true selves gave Joanie a sense of fulfillment that far surpassed playing for adults on the club circuit.
The songs that Joanie Leeds began turning out reflected this sense that life is a joyful adventure. Entertaining at birthday parties and pre- schools soon progressed into concert performances nationwide back in 2008 and has since generated material for nine full length albums: City Kid!, Challah, Challah, I’m A Rock Star, What A Zoo, Bandwagon, Good Egg, Meshugana, Brooklyn Baby and most recently, All the Ladies! Joanie has also released 2 full length DVDs, City Kid Live and Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights- Live from Madison Square Park.
Over the past decade, Joanie has won 1st place in the USA Songwriting Competition, an Independent Music Award, a GOLD Parents’ Choice Award, NAPPA GOLD Award, Family Choice Award and is a John Lennon Songwriting Competition Finalist and International Songwriting Competition Finalist. She has performed at venues nationwide including Lollapalooza, Clearwater Festival, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Wolftrap and Levitt Pavilion. Her music has been featured in the New York Times, People Magazine, Parents Magazine, Billboard and The Washington Post and played on radio stations and risen to #1 on Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live.
Joanie released her 9th album in April 2020 during the ongoing pandemic and is working on song commission work and performing from home until it’s safe to tour again. Her favorite job of all is mama to her almost 5 year old daughter.
Joanie is proud to endorse:
“Its 11 folk-rock tunes feature lots of fiddle, guitar and percussion as they extol independence, equality and sisterly solidarity… With a voice that can evoke the mellow warmth of Sheryl Crow or the pop brio of Belinda Carlisle, Leeds reminds girls that they’ll do fine “without glass slippers” (or a Prince Charming). And where better to learn new vocabulary like “notorious” and “jabot” than in the single “RBG,” a tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg?” – The New York Times
“The title track co-stars musical icon Lisa Loeb and more than lives up to its name… The song’s sunny intonation is infectious, and the backing vocals ebb and flow with inescapable warmth.” – American Songwriter
“All the Ladies, appeals to all ages, and it was written, performed, produced, and recorded entirely by women. Her honest approach to deconstructing the patriarchy is courageous and infectious.” – Audiofemme
“The All The Ladies album was inspired by Joanie’s life as an outspoken artist and as a single mother raising a daughter. The powerful and truthful messaging by the singer-songwriter reminds listeners to be bold, be true and to stay united. ” – Broadway World
“All the Ladies is especially geared toward young girls, featuring a selection of songs about empowering girls and women. The original songs include encouragement to reach for one’s dreams, celebrations of motherhood, and difficult topics such as ingrained sexism addressed in a child-friendly manner. All the Ladies is a superb gift for young girls, and a choice pick for both school and public library children’s music collections, highly recommended.” – Midwest Book Review
“When I heard that Joanie had spent the last two years channeling her emotions (and some life hard experiences) into a record that celebrates women’s empowerment — and features women instrumentalists — I was pleasantly surprised. At the same time, it made total sense. Based on Joanie’s previous work, it’s pretty clear she’s a creative, multifaceted rocker mama — a lyrical badass who writes songs that are universally catchy and relevant.” – Rock Mommy
“The songs were inspired by Leeds’s daughter and the experience of raising her as a single mom. She takes difficult subjects, such as systematic sexism, and creates kid-friendly lessons.” – Toy Insider