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Stacking The Deck with Joanna Teters
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

As the frontwoman of Mad Satta, Joanna Teters has been using her soulful vocals to inspire crowds to move and groove for years. Now, with the January release of Warmer When It Rains, she finally has a full length album out under her own name.

Longtime fans can rest easily knowing the change in name does not mark a change in style – the New York native’s groove remains as soulful as ever.


I caught up with Joanna before her album release show at The Acoustic, in Bridgeport, CT, to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about stadium tours, Stevie Nicks’ driveway, and a controversial finish to a high school talent show.



U2

When you see a band like U2 doing giant stadium tours, does the concept of a stadium tour enliven you, or is it something you’re not really interested in because of your style of music?

I’m definitely enlivened by it. Absolutely.

Some of the first stadium shows that I saw while perusing YouTube in high school were Sade’s. Sade is like the first person who I felt was writing music akin to the stuff that I was, and was really selling out arenas worldwide while still maintaining that energy, that specific, super soulful, vibe.



Paula Abdul, Stevie Nicks, Belinda Carlisle

Here we have three really strong women, two of whom fronted groups. This immediately drew me to you being that you’re now a solo artist, but you’ve always fronted a group. You mentioned Sade, but who were some of the other women you’ve drawn inspiration from?

The first name that popped in my head was Lauryn Hill. I still, to this day, listen to The Fugees all the time, and I also listen to Lauryn Hill’s stuff.

Stevie Nicks is an awesome example as someone who has a name for herself, but obviously Fleetwood Mac is a superpower in their own right.

I was listening to Chaka Khan all afternoon. Rufus is still one of my all time favorite bands, and Chaka is somebody that I am constantly trying to emulate as an artist in sound, and in energy. She’s also somebody with an incredibly long and powerful career whose reputation hasn’t been marred by anything. That’s the amazing thing.

A controversy-free career is tough. How are you going about being a controversy-free individual?

I’m a pretty non-controversial person, I’d say.

What’s the most controversy we can get you into right now?

Honestly, the thing I think of first is that I am at controversy with myself, all the time, about the fact that I love dancehall music, and a lot of the lyrics, and content, is controversial, especially to the things that I stand for, and try to be as a human being.

So that’s almost a guilty pleasure.

That is absolutely my guilty pleasure, because I actually draw a lot of inspiration from people whose beliefs I don’t necessarily align with.

We’re incorporating a lot of reggae into our sets. In New York I have a residency where I only sing reggae, and a lot of the songs that I choose, I have to go through the lyrics first before I decide if I want to sing them on stage.

Looking at this trio of cards, Belinda and Stevie had success with a group, went solo, and switched the vibe a little bit. How much do you switch the vibe between the band and your solo work?

(My new album) is the first thing I’ve released under my own name, which is super exciting for me. I still haven’t quite grappled with the idea of whether I want to be referred to as “going solo.” I assume that’s the first thing people think when they see it’s just my name, but to me, “going solo” means really going solo – you’re on your own, and you’re hiring (band members) to support you.

My band are the same guys I’ve been playing with for seven years, they’re all the same rhythm section from Mad Satta. We started off together as a band called The Joanna Teters Experiment, and the bass player and I, even before that, were a bass and vocal duo.

So since 2009 we’ve been playing together, solely. I don’t really hire any other people, so even though it’s the first project under my own name, it’s still the band. I really only made the decision (to use my own name) so I could finally have some music out so when people are looking up my name they can find something.

And we can be sure you never did the amount of crazy stuff Belinda Carlisle did.

{laughs} I think Steve Nicks probably did about the same. I was in Steve Nicks’ driveway at one point, I think.

You were in Stevie Nicks’ driveway?

I think so. I was in the Hollywood Hills, driving around with some friends one night, and it was a classic LA thing, somebody was like, “Oh, there’s the Fleetwood Mac house. Stevie lives there.”

It also coulda been the Fleetwood Mac house from years and years ago, but the house was pretty big.



MC Hammer

MC Hammer had some of the more interesting fashion choices of the ‘90s. What are some of your favorite regrettable fashion decisions you may, or may not, have photographs of at home?

Good question. Well, first of all, I must mention that the pants I’m going to wear tonight on stage are not quite MC Hammer pants, but they’re like a sister to some MC Hammer pants. They share some common threads … pun intended.

But let’s see here … regrettable fashion decisions … I mean, honestly, a lot of women can connect with this – low-rise jeans, or like ultra ultra low-rise jeans.

Where the underwear shows?

Yeah. Exactly. Super low-rise, like they don’t even have belt loops low-rise. That was definitely many years of a regrettable fashion decision.

Are there any still in your closet?

I don’t think so, but I do have some hand embroidered ones, from like one of those Klutz packages. I don’t think you would necessarily have fooled around with Klutz products, but they were like lanyards, and things to bedazzle clothing, and I have some jeans that are embroidered with a really lovely embroidery machine that I got when I was like seven.

Did you put your whole name across them?

No, I didn’t, but (there are) some really nice flowers all up and down the leg.

I feel like if Klutz is still in business they should hook you up after this.

I know, right? Then I just start bedazzling all my clothes.

It would be great if it was the same stuff, and they just had overstock they never got rid of.

So much stuff is coming back.

I went to an ‘80s party once at B.B. Kings and wore a real, honest to God, Walkman.

There are some people very caught in the ‘90s around there.

I have seen Tower of Power there, though, a couple of times.

I saw Mya there back in the day.

Our drummer LOVES Mya. He’s a big Mya fan. He’s been trying to get us to cover a Mya song for a long time, so maybe we’ll have to do that someday.

Do it, record it, and get it to her. It’s not like she’s busy on one of those Love & Whatever shows.

My high school prom date, who was/is also a friend, was on an MTV reality show, and that was the only time I sat down and binge watched every episode (of something), because I had a familiar face on the show.

Please tell me it was NEXT.

It was Are You The One.

Oh wow, that’s more recent! So one of your exes may have found love on MTV.

Yeah, but we actually never dated. He was just my prom date.

To make it even more interesting, he was one of the first people that I ever wrote a song with. We adapted a 10th grade English class poem into a song, and we got second place in the high school talent show.

Second place?

We got gipped. You can still ask people from high school, they’ll tell you we got gipped, we should’ve won.


For more Joanna Teters, check out joannateters.com.

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