YohannaThere was never any doubt that Yohanna (Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir) would become a singer. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 16th 1990, she was a gifted child and started singing even before she could talk!
Yohanna and her parents moved to Reykjavík in Iceland when she was just two years old and she continued to show great interest in music. The family moved to Hafnarfjörður when Yohanna turned eight and that’s where she had her first real opportunity to put her talent on show. She was one of seven hundred children participating in a song contest when singing teacher María Björk spotted her potential. María offered Yohanna a place at her children’s singing school, and it was there that she learned the basics of performing modern pop songs. Everyone was amazed not only by her perfect pitch, range, and maturity, but also by the control she displayed when performing. Besides this she showed an innate ability to quickly memorize, learn and adapt songs to suit her own individual vocal style.
Yohanna recorded her first album at the age of nine, and it was released on her tenth birthday in the year 2000. The debut album was a huge success and was followed up by a second album in 2001, confirming her status as a true child prodigy. Her third album, consisting of popular Christmas Carols, was released in late 2003. This proved to be her last album for a number of years as it was a joint decision between her manager and parents to give Yohanna some space to grow up and work on her musical skills away from the spotlight.
In order to develop both her voice and her own personal musical style, Yohanna’s teenage years were spent working in and out of the studio with musical instructors, songwriters and producers. Educationally speaking, this was a busy period for a young lady who also tried her best to attend school regularly and have some fun with her friends along the way. Yohanna was nevertheless away from home for considerable periods, rehearsing in New York or Los Angeles and meeting with music business people all over the world. After turning down a recording contract with a major label, Yohanna spent some time in Denmark working on her vocal techniques. During this time she also recorded her first adult album Butterflies and Elvis with British songwriter Lee Horrocks and sound engineer Thomas Yezzi. Asked to say what he thought of Yohanna, Yezzi commented ‘She is a young, white Icelandic girl with the soul of a fifty year old black woman. She’s really amazing.’
The album was well received upon its release in early 2008. Yohanna’s years as a child recording star were now well and truly behind her and she put all her heart and soul into her newly honed sound. When songwriter and producer Óskar Páll Sveinsson set out to ask Yohanna to interpret the song Is It True? for the 2009 Icelandic National Eurovision Preselection Song Contest, he was looking for Yohanna’s particular R’n’B sound and style and indeed it soon proved to be the right decision.
At the age of eighteen, Yohanna has come full circle and now she herself teaches children to sing at the school where she started her own career some ten years ago. Moreover she is still concentrating on developing her own vocal technique yet further by attending classes at the Reykjavík Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts. Yohanna has successfully blossomed into a soulful, hardworking and highly motivated young vocalist who has now taken full control of her own destiny.