If ‘This Is Not Who I Want To Be‘ is anything to go by – and we’re certain it is – New York’s Joanna Sternberg is on course to be our favourite discovery of 2019. From the moment you hear the opening notes of the piano you just know you’re in ‘classic’ territory. This becomes even more concrete when Sternberg’s voice arrives, an intoxicating mix of Randy Newman and Fiona Apple. It’s a near abomination that Sternberg had little to no confidence in their voice before they attended singing lessons a few years ago.
Lyrically they have no equal, ‘This Is Not Who I Want To Be’ is a searingly honest reflection on Sternberg’s battle with addiction: “I wish I was scared of poison, pills and pain, I wish I was scared of damage to my brain” Joanna bemoans.
As alluded to before addiction isn’t the only front Sternberg’s fighting on, confidence also casts an almighty shadow for Sternberg; their lack of it quite literally imprisoned them in their bedroom for an entire year. It’s no exaggeration to say that without Elliot Smith there’d be no Joanna Sternberg. It was Smith who made Sternberg realise that songs could save lives.
‘This Is Not Who I Want To Be’ is a life-saver. I’m lucky that addiction plays no role in my life right now, yet this song has had a profound effect on me. Just imagining the effect it’s having on people with addictions right now, gives me goosebumps. Joanna Sternberg, we need you.
Then I Try Some More is out July 12 on Team Love Records