written over 1 year ago

Many Christmases ago, Scott Melnyk, Jordan Leibel & myself recorded this version of "Favorite Things/Carol of the Bells". I recorded the vocals behind an office divider in the middle of Scott's living space where a drum kit sat in the dead center and no kitchen table was ever seen. That year, we gifted this to our families (along with some other Christmas tunes and ON CD!) This year, I offer it to you from the comfort of a streaming platform (and FOR FREE) cause I still think it's great. Plus, it's the longest thing I've ever recorded and the longest phrases I've ever tried to sing... gasp. 

Merriest of Christmases!


written about 4 years ago

Before a singer, a recording artist, or a performer, I’ve always been a writer. Writing songs for me began accidentally. I had always sung on one side of my life and had written poetry-ish-isms on another side of my life. At some point, I started singing the words out of my journal and thus began songwriting. 

Lately, I’ve just been leaving my words on the page and allowing the rhythm to take place in the mind. Since this is a place for my music-related things, the only writing I leave up here is the stuff that intersects with my music. I want to invite you to also check in over here... …where I am attempting to be more intentional about some unsung writing in an effort to build my writing portfolio. 

There is no focus except to write whatever I feel like writing, in the way that I feel like writing it. Not even I know what will appear on these pages. 


written about 4 years ago

Sifting through my mind, working on the citadel
Must be a way I can find the other world
Sand-filled ears buried in the underground
Listening to the sounds of the ocean, trying to find their way
Cause I can't find home anymore, cause I can't find home anymore

This song, to China, is kind of about resisting the urge to do exactly what is happening in that photo above. It’s about the pains of growing older, which involve the nostalgia of being younger. It's a play on the imagery & juxtaposition of building sandcastles & digging holes. Building sandcastles is like creating a grandiose kingdom out of a fleeting substance while digging holes in the sand (perhaps to China, as the cliche goes) is a gruelling & fruitless attempt to find a kingdom elsewhere.

I wrote this song while throwing rocks into the lake with the 3-year-old girl I used to nanny. We were crouched down on the sand, overlooking the water. That moment probably meant nothing to her, but that’s because I was the one in charge. I was responsible for her life while feeling very unqualified to take care of my own. Things just kind of came together in that moment. The thoughts, anyways. I was very aware of the conflicting space we were in; she was creating and I was escaping; she was unaware of the movement of time and I was all glazed over on a race track. Yet, we were standing in the same place... on the sand... where we could build or we could dig. 

All that thinking and I learned nothing. I still have the urge to stick my head in the sand and dig myself to some alternate reality, but maybe now it’s just out of curiosity. Either way, I wrote a song about it.


written about 4 years ago

Here it is! The final thoughts on last month's EP release party. I'm not one to share a lot of my personal story. In fact, I find it very uncomfortable to do so, but all these people keep convincing me that there's somebody out there in the internet vortex who cares to hear this stuff. So for those of you out there who are watching and listening... this is for you.

Thanks to Mike Vlastay - for putting this together!

Google Play:


written about 4 years ago

Since the release of my album, I have had so many people congratulate me and say nice things about how proud they are of me or simply acknowledge the amount of work involved in releasing an album. It’s such a funny feeling to have that conversation over and over again because it’s not like we’re sitting around a table, chatting about a meal that we’ve all just enjoyed. Having people engage with my album seems to be a theoretical discussion because I am not (physically, tangibly) a part of their experience listening to my album. When they chat with me about it, it’s not while either of us are listening to the music or experiencing its effects or even staring at the .wav files. It all seems a bit disconnected. When referring to “my album” it’s like referring to some hypothetical, cloud of a product that’s somewhere, ambiguously out there, making it seem as if people are congratulating me on an idea that has no matter and fills no firm place in time.

Yet, the strangest feeling is the sense that it is a “finished” but “just begun” kind of product. I’m done my work - it’s out there, ready for listeners to consume, but I cannot say when or if anyone will consume it, so it’s still very much in-process in terms of its ability to influence or have value to anyone but myself. 

No physical CD copies exist, I have received no payment for any downloads, no iTunes ratings, no Grammy, no record deal, no Q interview. It has yet to produce fruit. So far, it just existsAt the end of an iTunes search; attached to a handwritten download code; paused in time, waiting for someone to hit that little play button on their keyboard and bring it into reality… waiting for someone to give it space and time. 

I can feel, at the back of my little creative heart, a rising plea that someone would just “let me out; allow me to exist”.

And it’s got me thinking about how things come alive. Got me thinking about the intangibles that don't yet have metrics I can calculate. Got me thinking about what else is standing still in the universe, waiting for someone to press play.

written over 4 years ago

Hey everyone!

I've entered CBC's Searchlight competition. The initial rounds of this require audience participation (voting) and I would love your support in gaining the chance to be the CBC Searchlight winner. I would earn $10,000 in gear, radio play, a spot on Q Radio and a bunch of other stuff!

You can vote once a day until April 20th. Follow this link to vote:

Thanks for your support!

xx joh

written over 4 years ago

Well if you've been on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or that SnapChat thing in the last month then you're probably aware that I've just released my first EP called "Come Back Next Year". 

Thought I'd take the chance to give you a bit of insight behind the title "Come Back Next Year".

I named this album "Come Back Next Year" because I felt it was an accurate synopsis of my personal struggle to develop a creative voice and to respect the process involved in doing just that.

Call it a generational thing or call it a Johanna-thing, but I'm a bit impatient with the process of growth. I would like to be at my prime right now (that's the feeling, but I know that's not actually what I want because it would be terrible to ride the rest of my life on a plateau or - worse - a downward spiral). However, I've felt that if I have to be in process then I definitely don't want to do that publically - a place where people get to see the undeveloped, insecure moments of my attempt to "be a singer". Alas, I contemplated not releasing this album. I thought "oh, I've written better stuff since this" or "maybe I should just treat this as a learning experience and wait until I have something really really REALLY good to reveal to people". (Whatever that looks like.) I've also thought about performing in front of the mirror of my bathroom so I can better develop my stage persona before ever being on stage and I've contemplated drafting scripts of things to say so I don't have to endure any awkward pauses between songs. All for the sake of avoiding the discomfort & vulnerability of being in front of people while I figure it all out. I'd rather have an Instagramable life. You know, where the lighting is always right and I always say the right thing at the right time (or I can just delete it). 

That said, I am finally beginning to come to terms with the fact that in 20 years I will (hopefully) be better than I am today. And that's cool; it's not a hindrance. If I don't engage in the process then I'll never move forward. I can't perfect in private what I will need to live out in public cause bathroom mirrors are not the same as chatty (or captivated) audiences. Plus, I can't read pre-written scripts anyhow because the paper is always too far away from my face & I never have my glasses with me.   

"Come Back Next Year" is both a statement accepting my journey and it's a reminder to myself & to the rest of the world that I'm here. I'm in this. Come Back Next Year and I'll still be around, but a little further along in time & a little stronger in my voice. This album alone will not be my 'claim to fame' or my 'glory days' or my life's work. It'll be a piece of me. A stone in the wilderness. My levain. And I'll be the sustaining perennial that comes back year after year, taking more ground & bearing more fruit with every sun risen & sun set. 

Thanks for listening/reading. 

To hear some of my thoughts behind the songs on the album, check out this video by Maurits Nienhuis:

xx joh.

written over 4 years ago

Each morning my husband wakes up and begins jumping on the bed/roaring like a lion/composing a song about the day/lovingly greeting our fish/ grinding the world’s supply of coffee beans… 

When I wake up, I’m what he calls “Morning Johanna”. I like to ease my way into the day with silence & solitude. Too much activity or volume can awaken the parts of me I try to keep asleep for good.

But his way of going about life forces me to adjust how I go about life. And it’s a tragically, annoyingly, mature thing to experience. 

But I’ve got to say that this principle is one of the reasons I want to sing music for other humans and not just my fish. I’m hoping that our lives will intersect and there can be some radical change brought about by this divine collision. 

Your world is being rocked. Can you feel it? 

EP coming soon...

written over 5 years ago

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I'm a sucker for cheesy Christmas tunes, a reason to make sugar its own food group, and a chance to glitter up my home. Thankfully for me, nobody criticizes this at Christmas time! 

Hope you are enjoying the merriment of this holiday season.

Here's a Christmas song for your listening pleasure. Like glitter to your ears! (This glitter thing is a bit of a problem...)

xx Johanna


written about 6 years ago

Here's another video sent to me by our kind audience member. This song seemed to be the hit of the night! 

We even had someone do some amazing artwork after hearing this song. Life goal accomplished: Inspire A T-shirt Design. Yes!


written about 6 years ago

Thanks to all those who have been checking out my tracks and showing up at my gigs! I'm working on getting some more songs together so that I can share them with you. I've also been writing, writing, writing. Just thought I'd share with a you a little video from last week's gig at the Streaming Cafe (full performance can be found here). Thanks to Ulli who took this video and passed it on to me. I'd love to know what you think! Feel free to send me a message to say hello. :) xo joh


written over 6 years ago

Hey Friends!

Jordan Leibel ( and I spent some time in the studio last week recording a track of our song "Winds". Here's a performance of it from the summer: 

Can't wait to share with you soon! Until then...


written over 6 years ago

I just got back some photos that my dear friend, Sammi Lukan (, took at a show in November. Not the most awkward facial expressions I've ever made, thankfully!

written over 6 years ago

Happy New Year!

Thanks for visiting my site. I'm continuing to work on some original stuff and hope to reveal it to all of you in the upcoming months. 

See you soon!