Joanna Teters has been carving a place for herself in the hearts and minds of today’s music lovers with original, forward-thinking, new-school soul. Increasingly recognized for her ability to switch effortlessly from lush, deeply sultry tones to rugged reggae and blues, Teters’ serves her audiences with playful and energetic yet poised performances of both original compositions and covers. After many formative years in the mountains of upstate New York, she then went on to pursue her degree at Berklee College of Music where she began to develop her craft.
Recently, Teters released her new EP Back to Brooklyn, the follow-up to her debut full-length Warmer When It Rains. The album continues in the same vein, proving that lyrically and stylistically, she’s really an old soul. Vocally, she brings to mind other powerful singers like Nina Simone, Macy Gray, and Joss Stone. The album marks yet another exciting solo step for an artist who has put it her time fronting a slew of popular jazz, reggae, soul bands in NYC. To celebrate the release of Back To Brooklyn, Teters has shared the tracks with Glide along with her own commentary on the meaning behind each song.
“Back To Brooklyn”
Back To Brooklyn was our stab at a “Ghetto Superstar” type track (Mya and Wyclef) – the kind of track that bounces and slaps and makes you want to dance. This track was inspired while riding the M train to Broadway – Myrtle in Bedstuy (an intersection that I think is inherently New York) on a hot summer day. There are so many emotions and energy that swirl around in a subway car… these lyrics are about the push and pull of New York City, but alludes to the playfulness of it all too. This song, like Zero to a Hundred and Day One, all began as beats that Carrtoons made and sent to me for lyrics as melodies. We tried to write this song a few different times – but it wasn’t until we started making this EP did it really show us what it was all about. We are honored to have Braxton Cook on sax on this one too.
“Zero To A Hundred (Pretty Well)”
This track was about a situation in Brooklyn one night and how the situation changed from what seemed to be a light-hearted interaction to a really ridiculous situation. Just like the title and lyrics allude to, this song was initially written as a poem about an overly pushy person under the impression that things are going one way, when really they’re going another way. Just like the last lines of the song “don’t want you to change for me, don’t write any songs for me,” this is a really straight up song saying “you’re really overwhelming and I’m fine on my own, thanks” This is another Carrtoons beat, featuring Yoh the Shaolin on vocals and Braxton Cook on sax.
Day One is a song about friendship, and more specifically, the sticky situation that can come with new love interests coming between friends. Navigating the waters of new, deeply enveloping love, while also maintaining important relationships with friends can be tricky. This song was written, in a way, to myself through the eyes and ears of people who have known me and have playfully accused me of “falling off the map” when I have a new love interest – this song was kind of a way to hold myself accountable for the relationships that I have to uphold in the face of distraction. Produced by Carrtoons and Drew ofthe Drew.
This song is a resurrection/revamping of a tune that my band used to perform, called “Dreaming” that was written about my extremely vivid dreams and the belief “there’s only so much that we can see with our eyes” in this world. I’ve always believed there are so many layers of reality that we can’t see – or that some can see more clearly than others. Déjà vu is something that we all experience – but there’s also been times when I’ll dream clearly about someone or something random, and then literally trip across it the next morning. Coincidence?? I think not. This song features Yoh the Shaolin with the fire guest verse.
Written by Zane West – mastermind drummer and musician – who I’ve been playing with and writing with since 2010. Zane created this D’Angelo-esque banger in his bedroom and immediately we all fell in love with it. It’s a feel good, funk anthem that says “I hope you love yourself” which to me, is just a reminder that we all have moments of doubting yourself or judging yourself too harshly – especially in this day and age where everyone is performing in their own impressive “theatre of reality”- and it’s important to remember to get back to that place of loving on yourself… “if not you’ve gotta try again.”