Midnight tangos with ghosts, journeys into the minds of suicidal insects, childhood memories set off-kilter by bad dreams: reality is sometimes elusive but always uniquely beautiful in Johanna Kunin’s melodic meditations. She may sing you an infectious pop song, but not without twists of harmony and turns of phrase that set it refreshingly off the beaten track. She also possesses the kind of sadly angelic voice that compels you to follow on whatever journeys she has in mind, strange though they may be.
Although Johanna Kunin now makes her home in Seattle, it is her upbringing among the “10,000 lakes” and meteorological extremes of Minnesota that tends to appear in her lyrics. In particular, childhood summers spent in the Boundary Waters have left a strong impression on the 28-year-old; one from which she now draws both metaphor and insight as a songwriter. Her thoughtful, minimalist piano parts form the strong sonic backbone around which her melodies are built. She writes for the piano with a subtle complexity that calls to mind the music of Chopin or Erik Satie while still having a decidedly pop language all her own.
In August, 2006, Johanna Kunin self-released her debut full-length Clouds Electric. It was produced by Tucker Martine, who also took the helm on the latest from Laura Veirs, the Decemberists, and Jesse Sykes. Influential LA radio station KCRW selected "Fireflies," a song from Clouds Electric, for its “Today’s Top Tune” podcast twice in the latter half of 2006. She also performed live on KCRW’s flagship show, Morning Becomes Eclectic with Nic Harcourt, in December, 2006 – no small achievement for an independent artist. In addition, Johanna's live performances across the US have earned her high praise in the press, as well as a coveted slot at the 2006 Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival in Seattle, where she played on the same stage as Vashti Bunyan, Jose Gonzalez, and CocoRosie. During 2007, Johanna has toured the US as main support both for iconic folk-rocker Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, and for Portland band Horse Feathers. In the past year, she has also shared the stage with such diverse talents as White Magic, Mirah, Joan as Police Woman, Calvin Johnson, Tom Brosseau, Marissa Nadler, Juana Molina, Adem, Julie Doiron, The Capstan Shafts, Karl Blau, and Alela Diane. She begins work on her second full-length album in January, 2008.