JoAnna, was born and raised in Detroit Michigan to proud parents, Joe and Marian Johnson in the fall of 1972. The only daughter of seven children, JoAnna began her musical career in the Detroit Public School System. Before playing the violin, JoAnna began her musical journey playing the song flute (recorder) where students developed basic music rhythms, and technique. Her natural ability was realized early on and her love for music was born.
JoAnna asked to play the violin from the time anyone can remember her talking. No one knows why she chose that instrument. She began playing the violin at the age of 8 and quickly became a star pupil. Although things started off pretty rocky, from the first day she brought the violin home, she was hooked. She did not put it down all day and was asked repeatedly by her parents to give their ears a rest, put it away, and try it again the next day. By the next day, either her skills had improved, or her parents had grown more tolerant of the noise. Whatever the case, her determination to achieve worked and she continued to shine. Pretty soon her parents were begging her NOT to stop playing.
It was suggested to her parents that they seek outside studies for her to grow in her technique and skill. She blossomed as a student of the Detroit Community Music School where she furthered her training using the Suzuki Method.
Known from a very early age as the girl who heard everything, JoAnna loved to listen to music and try to imitate what she heard. She used her ability to play by ear to help write and compose the 80's hit Sweet November for both the band and orchestra to perform at her 8th grade graduation. During this time she also competed in many MSBOA (Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association) competitions where she received numerous 1st place ribbons. She auditioned for the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra in 1984 where she continued to play through both Junior High and all of High School. Upon graduation she received a number of school offers including a full scholarship to Jackson State University. Although she did not attend this university, JoAnna continued to submerge herself into music and became a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Orchestra.
Being painfully shy and afraid of the limelight, JoAnna relied on the crutch of playing with a number of members on the stage as in a symphony setting. But deep down JoAnna carried a secret desire to play music on her own. Not playing classical music, but doing what she had heard many others do before her such as Noel Pointer who has always been her favorite, Jon Luc Ponty, Karen Briggs and fellow Detroiters, Regina Carter and Jerald Daemyon. She longed to be the one playing every genre she heard and loved. Always known as the girl with the big ears, not because of their physical characteristics, but because of her ability to hear everything and repeat it. JoAnna continued to secretly train her ears, playing whatever she heard on the radio.
JoAnna's life has not been free of tragedy and struggle. After a few life journeys, including motherhood, JoAnna relocated to the Atlanta area to escape the cold weather that was exacerbating all of her now existing health condition which included Lupus SLE, Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynauds, Fibromyalgia, and a rare Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Wondering what her next move should be and wanting so much to re-invent herself, JoAnna felt that her life was missing something and that desire for music was still very much so boiling in her heart. However, struggling with a number of health problems where pain and fatigue are a daily occurrence, JoAnna thought being a violinist was only a childhood memory; something that she would have to tell people that she USED to do. Then she met a local jazz violinist Ken Ford. This energy charged violinist gave her a taste of life on the stage as a jazz violinist. This unlocked all the hopes and dreams that had been tucked away for a number of years and thus was the beginning of life for the Cinderella of strings. Ken lit a fire in her that has remained ignited by the loving support of family, friends, and other seasoned musicians and mentors such as great jazz violinists Jerald Daemyon, Michael Saxon; and saxophonist Lord Yancyy. Now ignited, this flame will forever burn in her soul with the love of music. No longer a slave to her fears of being in the limelight, she is now the Belle of the ball. Sacrificing her own fears for the encouragement and enjoyment of others.
JoAnna has always felt like music heals people and can touch the very depths of one’s soul. Finding healing in music for herself, JoAnna's goal is to touch the souls of many and allow music to speak and heal. JoAnna brings a sensuous, sultry, elegant, sassy yet classy vibe to the art of strings. Her very presence and her sincerity is felt long before you see her or even hear her first note. She has already done many studio recordings for various artists and a number of live performances throughout the area. Look out for her as she continues on her journey to fill many hearts with the joys of music.
Stay tuned for various performances and her solo project coming soon.