Joanie Samra – Biography
Growing up in Paterson, New Jersey, Joanie Samra always knew music would be
an important piece of her life. Her love of song seemed to begin at the moment
she could speak. From the early years of elementary school right on through
college, she often demonstrated her talent for singing, which was expanded
through dance, piano and voice lessons. Her performance experience continued to
grow through her involvement with high school and college musicals and weekend
bands. Sometime after her college graduation, Joanie’s calling changed as she
developed an interest in educating children with special needs.
After moving to Pennsylvania, staying home to care for her three children and
returning to her profession as a special needs teacher, Joanie’s passion for
singing was still very much alive. Joining a community chorus in 2003 sustained
her enthusiasm until November of 2007 when she became a vocal student of jazz
pianist, Jesse Green. Throughout their association, he produced a great many
custom arrangements of her favorite songs and subsequently provided her with
opportunities for live performances; all critical toward the development of her
own unique style. In November of 2011 Joanie and Jesse released a CD of
twenty-one unforgettable songs entitled Serendipity.
In August of 2015, Joanie began her association with jazz vocalist Nancy Reed in
order to gain additional performance skills derived from a female perspective.
Throughout this experience, Nancy was responsible for encouraging some risk
taking on Joanie’s part in an effort to gain more spontaneity. During this period, an idea
for another CD took shape and Still Me was conceived, produced by Nancy, featuring
pianist Skip Wilkins, guitarist Spencer Reed, bassist Evan Gregor and
drummer/percussionist Daniel Gonzalez. Released in June of 2016, this was indeed
another labor of love as Joanie continued her musical journey.
Always looking to refine her vocal skills while absorbing more understanding of
the jazz approach to singing, Joanie was pleased to further her instruction under
the guidance of jazz pianist Skip Wilkins in September of 2016. Since that time he
has been instrumental in increasing her collection of jazz standards, as well as
assisting her with finding suitable keys, improving her ability to use vocal color
and cultivating numerous, interesting endings for many of her selections. The
development of these skills is typically focused on a specific set of tunes, compiled for a
particular performance, where Joanie receives the added bonus of Skip’s extraordinary
talent as an accompanist. And so the journey continues.
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