Her destiny became obvious to Joanie Leeds’ parents when, at the tender age of two, Joanie grabbed a band 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 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 and generated material for seven full length CDs: City Kid, Challah, Challah, I’m A Rock Star, What A Zoo, Bandwagon, Good Egg, Meshugana and Brooklyn Baby! Joanie has also released 2 full length DVDs, City Kid Live and Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights- Live from Madison Square Park. Joanie is currently touring the country performing at concerts and leading songwriter workshops while maintaining a busy teaching schedule, song commission work and of course her favorite job is mama to her 3 year old daughter.
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