I've Got Me

I've Got Me

“It was very easy to do,” Joanna Sternberg tells Apple Music of making their second full-length. “I was having fun and as comfortable as could be. It felt like the right thing.” Recorded over five days in the cartoonist/singer-songwriter’s native New York—with indie guitar hero Matt Sweeney producing—I’ve Got Me certainly sounds like it came easy. But Sternberg—a virtuoso musician who studied jazz, blues, and ragtime at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music—has a way of making difficult things sound simple and obvious, whether it’s self-acceptance (the huglike title track), resilience (“Mountains High”), or playing every instrument here. Yet, somehow, every line feels like it might weigh a ton, too. “It’s hard for me to get up the courage to show people one of my songs,” Sternberg says. “I have to really, really, really, really consider if I show people. I haven’t shown people a lot of them, but I have, like, 200.” “I’ve Got Me” “It’s kind of just about what it says it’s about—being very isolated and not having any friends. I think it’s kind of the theme of the whole album, because writing songs and stuff is what got me to have people wanting to be my friend. I mean, the song is about not feeling lonely—like I stopped being upset about being alone.” “I Will Be With You” “I just wrote the song while I was waiting for an orchestra rehearsal to start. I was at the piano, just having fun. I was trying to write an Irish love ballad. I wrote it in, like, three minutes; it was fine.” “Mountains High” “I was listening to lots of Cajun music with accordion in it, where they’re repeating accordion patterns. In my building, there’s a practice room in the basement because it’s artist housing. And after 11, you could go in as long as you want, so I would just go in and try to write songs. And I wrote this song in one of the rooms—just came up with the melody, and it kind of just wrote itself very fast.” “I’ll Make You Mine” “My mom wanted me to put that on the record, so I did. But that was one of the first songs I wrote, because I just kind of made it up on the piano. I don’t really like the song very much because it’s cheesy, but she said I had to put it on the record.” “Stockholm Syndrome” “I thought it kind of sounded like something that reminds me of middle school and the music everyone liked in middle school, and I didn’t like it. So, I didn’t think it was even good. But then all my friends were loving it. So, then I just forced myself to get used to it, and now I like it. I’m very lucky to play my songs, and I love to do it, but that song took a while to write because I thought it was really, really annoying and embarrassing. Then I just kind of accepted it.” “The Love I Give” “Sometimes, when I’m walking around, I come up with melodies. My producer Matt Sweeney really encourages me to take walks, so I can come up with melodies. So, that’s really, really helpful that he does that, because I forget to do it. I wrote that song while I was just walking to the train, and I just wrote it really fast. It was just about being around people who are hurtful to you, but you don’t want to change who you are.” “She Dreams” “I wrote that song when I was asleep. I wrote it in a dream, and I woke up, and it was all written. It was the only time that’s ever happened. And I think it was the first song I ever wrote. It’s pretty.” “The Song” “I kind of wrote it based on the first melody in Dvořák’s New World Symphony, of the English horn solo. It was a really nice melody, and then I just went off of that. That was all I needed to just write the whole thing.”

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