Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Creativity Blog # 1, Singer-Songwriter Joanna Smith

Creativity.  It means a lot of different things to different people.  I have begun to realize, the longer I have been an artist, that creativity is really what most interests me - above and beyond the technical capabilities of being able to paint a hand perfectly, or play a scale on guitar, or write a coherent paragraph - or act out those compelling lines.  At some point it occurred to me; since I have been fortunate enough to have some personal contacts with highly creative people in various fields - ie, the arts, music, etc, I thought it might be interesting to write up a set of questions on creativity and ask those same questions to different people.  So we could see the variations in their creative processes and how they view the act of being creative.

This is the first profile in what I hope will be an extended series of blogs on creativity!
This week's Q and A is with RCA Nashville recording artist Joanna Smith.  A few years back I stumbled onto several tracks by her on myspace.  I remember the first song I heard by her was a tune called "Let me Kiss You Again" and immediately I was hooked.  It was delicate, sweet, beautiful and crafty - and I found that she had an entire group of wonderful songs.  Perhaps my ultimate compliment to her is this - I am NOT a big country music fan.  I grew up in the south but was always a rock and 'southern rock' kind of guy.  But this girl had me hooked.  I always wanted to hear more.  And sure, she IS country - but she didn't hide behind any of the cliches of country music.  In fact she reinforced the fact that country, as a genre, is very wide and has room for all kinds of artists working under that stylistic umbrella.  She is an original.  When I first heard her I realized that, despite her being young in years, she was a very mature as a songwriter, and a very well polished performer.  And I have to say this too, she is an absolutely lovely person.  That matters a lot.  I met her at a show in Phoenix in 2011 and saw she was a charismatic performer, as well as being a natural with people one on one.  As a true artist herself, she was kind enough to answer my Q and A for our first blog on creativity...

Joanna Smith

Official website is: (This link has a direct link to her latest video, which is a must see, called "We Can't Be Friends".  Do check it out!)

Her music is also available on itunes!

1) What personal habits do you have that you feel make you more creative?
Caffeine!!!!  I love to have my morning cup of coffee and dig into a song idea I may have previously written down.  I get my brain going by first writing in my diary.

2) Who are the creative artists, in any field, that inspire you the most?
Springsteen, hands down.  Steinbeck.

3) What do you do when you are not feeling creative?  Or - how to you get yourself back to a point where you are feeling creative?
I hate that feeling!  I stress about it!  I feel like I'll never feel creative again, and surely it's the end of the world.  But then I remind myself.... it always comes back.

4) What are some creative outlets that you enjoy outside your own respective creative field? 
Studying others' creativity.  I love art of all kinds and it inspires me to make my own.

5) For someone who has talent in a creative field, how would you suggest they go about converting that talent into something original - something that stands out from the crowd?
Always, always be you.  Be open to the journey.  You may start by imitating others' work, then have what you do be criticized at which point make necessary changes as you see fit.  Be open to criticism but listen to your gut.  This is the most natural thing,  it takes time and years of experience to be better at it.  "It" being just being yourself.

Links and info:

Check out Joanna's latest release, the EP "Be What it Wants to Be" available on iTunes

Look for Joanna on tour with Maranda Lambert this spring!  Visit

Here is Joanna Smith's latest music video "We Can't be Friends"

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