Her destiny became obvious to Miami-born 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.
Fast forward to her teen years as a musical theatre major at Syracuse University, Joanie began composing her own songs. After graduation, she moved straight to New York City and began bartending at The Bitter End when not onstage performing. While making the rounds as a singer/songwriter in New York clubs, 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.
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. The songs that Joanie began turning out reflected this sense that life is a joyful adventure.
Over the past decade, her band, Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights, has been one of the top-touring "Kindie-Rock" bands. Performing a mix of rock, folk, country and soul songs from her 8 high-energy albums, they have rocked The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Theater in the Woods, Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, The Smithsonian, CMAs, Hang Out Festival, Skirball Center and Symphony Space.
For her original music, Joanie has won an Independent Music Award, Gold Parents' Choice Award, NAPPA Gold Award, Family Choice Award, first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, is a John Lennon Songwriting Award Finalist and an International Songwriting Competition Finalist.
Her music received praise and raves in People Magazine, Parents Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, NY Post, USA Today and on TV networks such as Bravo and NY1. Over the past decade, several of her tunes have climbed up the charts to #1 on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live and WXPN's Kids Corner as well as dozens of other radio stations across the country. As a proud PJ Library artist, Leeds' music has been licensed and distributed to hundreds of thousands of families across the US and she is the face of PJ Library Radio.
In addition to performing with The Nightlights, Joanie also teaches music at several nursery schools in Manhattan and has recently started a new Folk-Americana-Bluegrass duo, Joanie and Matt (for adults). Joanie and Matt (JAM) will be releasing their debut album, 'Sterling' in late May 2019.
Joanie is also a proud mama to her beautiful 3 1/2 year old daughter.