Across the Table with Joanna Yaeger

Joanna Yaeger has been singing since she could talk, openly admitting when we met last week at Frothy; “family and friends couldn’t shut me up.”

“I used to be a lot more shy,” she confessed. “At five years old I proclaimed I was going to be a singer, but I would always hide behind doors to sing for people,” she laughed.

Growing up in a supportive, musical family, her mom was one of five girls who all sang and her cousins are the same way today.

“I feel like what starts out as a bush in one generation, grows into something bigger in the next,” Joanna said.

Originally from upstate New York, she took a big leap of faith and free-fell with her move to Nashville. She describes her move as one of the moments you’re totally unclear on what you’re doing, but you know it’s worth it – a way I think most of us Nashville transplants would describe it.

“I couldn’t imagine being in a different city,” she started when I asked about her time in Nashville thus far, “I knew when I got here I needed to find a church, job and friends – in that order,” she laughed. “In my past year of being here I’d say I’ve built my foundation. Brick by brick.”

Joanna said she knew the next question was coming from reading other Across the Tables, but it didn’t make it any easier to answer.

“I should’ve thought about this more,” she joked. “I grew up on Southern Gospel, but my current inspiration would have to be Carrie Underwood. She’s pretty lovely and conducts herself so well. That’s exactly how I aspire to be.”

I think Joanna is not only following in Carrie’s footsteps, but forging a path of her own that is unmistakably beautiful. In just our short time chatting, Joanna had a poetic outlook on life that was refreshing, much like the music she chooses to share with anyone willing to listen.

As far as her writing process, Joanna says it comes to her in many different ways.

“In the car, lyrics and melodies will just come out. Co-writes are a totally different thing, though. I usually try to go in with something, even if it’s just an idea or an unfinished snippet.

Co-writes and coffee – that’s the currency of Nashville,” she declared.

Joanna says the song that currently means the most to her is her latest single, “Won’t Be Moved.”

“I usually end shows with it. I wrote it with incredible songwriters, Brooke and Jackie. It’s about coming to a new town and not letting other people shake you.”

This single will be a part of her larger E.P. which hosts a variety of songs and stories.

“Every song has an amount of who you are in it. There’s a song called, ‘Piece by Piece’ that I wrote with my friend, Erik Halbig, about the things that shape you into who you are. And another called, ‘What If I,’ kind of talking about those leaps of faith like we spoke about earlier – ‘what if I fall?’ you know? And then realizing that no matter what, you won’t let anything stop you.”

“The best thing about Nashville is that there’s always something going on. There are always inspiring people and opportunities, if you take them. Music flows through my veins and I’m so grateful to God for giving me this gift. It’s amazing to be in a city where so many other people feel the same way.”

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