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Joanna Sternberg Shares New Single and Video “People Are Toys To You”- New Album “I’ve Got Me” out June 30th via Fat Possum

June 1, 2023
Photo Credit: Michael Leviton

Joanna Sternberg Shares New Single and Video “People Are Toys To You”

New Album “I’ve Got Me” out June 30th via Fat Possum

New York City-based singer-songwriter Joanna Sternberg presents “People Are Toys To You,” the new single/video from their highly anticipated new album, I’ve Got Me, out June 30th 2023 on Fat Possum. “People Are Toys To You” is a rousing number steered by Sternberg’s ever-incisive lyrics – “People are toys to you //  You’ll play and play with one till you’re bored and through. //  You may want it back when it’s gone and flew ‘cause, // People are toys to you” – and is underscored by their steely instrumentation. In addition to illustrating each single’s accompanying video, Sternberg masterfully wrote and played every instrument heard on I’ve Got Me. The album is their recorded debut as a string arranger and drummer, and “People Are Toys To You” marks Sternberg’s first song credited as electric guitarist. 

Of “People Are Toys To You,” Sternberg adds: “I wrote this song while I was in a rush walking to the subway with my double bass. I was upset about something and the song sort of wrote itself. The funny thing is that Soundcloud Pro’s ‘who is listening’ feature told me the person I wrote this song about listened to it four times when I posted it on Facebook. Oops!

Sternberg creates this vivid creation, whilst the crunchy tonality and gritty rhythms start to build the landscape, enriched by the melodies, the theme of the sound brings this contrast to the very deep and intimate lyrics. The sound almost elevates this upbeat essence, but the lyrics, the sincerity of the vocal harmonies, and the emotion that Joanna laces in this vision, it’s a complete contradiction to the vibe of the release. And the ability to cut the lyrics through the illustrious patterns, the power and hypnotic strides, it’s simply remarkable.

I’ve Got Me is a Bat Signal from Sternberg’s NYC spire: the middle income artists-only residency within the towers of Manhattan Plaza. There is no place like it. A massive, 46-story universe of living New York City history, Sternberg’s Manhattan Plaza predecessors include Charles Mingus, Tennessee Williams, Alicia Keys, and more. In 2020, Sternberg returned to their family’s apartment, 40 stories in the sky, for what was meant to be a short stay. This being 2020, and for reasons no longer necessary to explain, society went sideways; but there Sternberg remained, writing in the towers.

Alongside producer MattSweeney and engineer DanielSchlettI’ve Got Me was recorded and mixed over six days of intensely productive sessions at Brooklyn’s Strange Weather Studios during the summer of 2022.  “I pretty much stayed out of Joanna’s way,” Sweeney says, “let them know they sounded great and allowed the music to happen.” The alchemy isn’t fussy: Sternberg’s voice just lands and illuminates. And its realness hits. There’s a cathartic experience to listening to Joanna’s music and that’s exactly why they chose to share their deepest and darkest. “I love people, I love to make people laugh, I love to make them feel better.” Joanna says, “Anytime someone reaches out and tells me my music helped them, my dream comes true.

Thelonious Monk said “a genius is the one most like himself”- in 2023 we’re lucky Joanna Sternberg knows the most vulnerable parts of themself well enough to make music that shows how strong each one of us can be. Sternberg’s got all this and more. 



Fri. June 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ WXPN Free at Noon
Wed. June 14 – Seattle, WA @ Here-After
Fri. June 16 – Portland, OR @ Show Bar
Sun. June 18 – San Francisco, CA @ Make-Out Room
Wed. June 21 – Los Angeles, CA @ Genghis Cohen
Fri. June 30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Public Records [I’ve Got Me release show]
Wed. Sept. 20 – South Deerfield, MA @ Tree House Outside !
Thu. Sept. 21 – Ithaca, NY @ State Theatre !
Fri. Sept. 22 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground !
Sat. Sept. 23 – New London, CT @ Garde Arts Center !
Sat. Dec. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall ^
Tue. Dec. 5 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall ^
Wed. Dec. 6 – Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl ^

! supporting Kurt Vile
^ supporting Angel Olsen


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