Front woman and lead singer of Mad Satta, Joanna Teters, has been chosen as the Spring Artist Ambassador for eco-conscious jewelry and accessories magnate Alex and Ani. “Joanna is an incredible talent; it almost doesn’t make sense that someone her age would be so deep musically,” stated Mark Coleman, VP of Entertainment, Alex and Ani. As part of this new partnership, Teters’ main role will be using her refined and polished musical skills to write music for the brand’s spring campaign. The artist shared with us important parts of her dreams and vision!
Elena: You’ve lately got announced as brand ambassador for eco-conscious jewelry and accessory brand Alex and Ani. Which elements of your artistic identity match the brand’s vision?
Joanna: There are a number of values that Alex and Ani uphold that I, too, as an artist keep at my core. Both myself and the company are huge believers in the effects of positive energy, of using a brand to promote empowerment and enlightenment and to make an honest and mindful impact on the world.
Elena: As the lead singer of the Mad Satta, how would you describe the music genre or direction it stands for?
Joanna: We describe ourselves as a future-soul/R&B band. We are an eight piece group complete with a full rhythm section and a three-piece horn section. Our main goals as a band are to write feel-good songs and to do our part to keep organic, original, fresh, live music alive and well and on the airwaves.
Elena: Lately, Marketing focuses increasingly to the music-and-fashion mix. Where do those two artistic worlds meet?
Joanna: For me, my style and my music are very much intertwined. Who I am as an artist, is directly linked to my fashion sense and both are always developing. Musicians have always been my social and cultural icons, and the ways in which they dress and act have impacted me greatly. I have always tried to look to my favorite musicians for fashion points, but instead of finding specific things to copy, I’ve just come to understand that like my music, it is about living my truth and learning to be comfortable in my own skin and clothes.
Elena: Being a brand ambassador and endorsing certain products is usually part of a mutually beneficial strategy. What this collaboration offered to you and how do you feel it’s helpful for the brand? Which was your actual contribution?
Joanna: Working with the team at Alex and Ani is a wonderful opportunity. I love wearing and representing their jewelry because I resonate so closely with their business ideals and they have beautifully classic and timeless pieces. The company is so supportive of independent artists like myself and I’m grateful for their vision when it comes to linking their brand with soulful music. They have asked us to write songs to accompany their commercial campaigns, which for us, means that our original music will be played on TV, the radio, in taxi cabs, etc. Mad Satta is also playing twice this summer at Carolyn Rafaelian’s Sakonnet Winery in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Elena: Do you have certain favorite design elements, symbols and pieces from the SS15 collection?
Joanna: I love the whole look book. I love the new necklace designs and the ring collections.
Elena: How would you describe your relationship to fashion, jewelry and accessories?
Joanna: My relationship to fashion, jewelry and accessories is quite simplistic. Putting too much focus on outfits and fashion can really wear me out, so I mostly stick with what I know is flattering to my figure and what I know I am comfortable in. I grew up wearing my brothers’ hand-me-downs so that certainly set me on a certain foot, fashionably speaking (haha). As cliché as it is, I feel most comfortable in jeans. The only accessories that are constants in my everyday life are my hoop earrings and my silver rings. My mantra for jewelry is usually less is more, mostly silver or gold, and deep gem tones. I love the Alex and Ani charm bangles because they have meaning and they can go with any outfit.
Elena: In what sense do you keep an environmentally responsible attitude in your life?
Joanna: I grew up on Mohonk Mountain in New Paltz, NY and near the Hudson River, and was fortunate to be raised in an environmentally conscious family and community – I grew up eating food from local farms – learning from a young age the importance of recycling and cutting down on waste and generally taking care of my environment on a larger scale. These values have undoubtedly impacted my adult life and I try everyday to make my environment a better one. One change I really hope to see made soon is the banning of plastic bags and disposable water bottles in New York City.
Elena: Which are the themes and inspirations in the music you are representing as a band? Which are your references and idols?
Joanna: Our inspirations are ever changing; I think right now we draw a lot of inspiration from what’s going on in our world, current events, love, heartbreak, confusion, responsibility, oneness, learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, power, purpose, and self-discovery.
Elena: Is there a cohesive fashion approach among the members of the band? How do you style yourselves when performing?
Joanna: With eight band members on stage, it is key to keep everybody on the same page stylistically. The band is usually wearing dark colored, semi-casual dress which then gives me a bit more freedom to wear brighter colors or more patterns as the frontwoman. It’s most important to me that my band members look and feel good in what they’re wearing because that confidence always improves our performance.
Elena: Too young, too talented! How do you see your career evolving in the near future?
Joanna: I see a lot more music being written and a lot more shows being played! I really look forward to playing a larger part in the production of our next project, and to continue shaping and fine-tuning our live performance. Working with Alex and Ani is my first foray into a “brand partnership” and I do hope to work with other forward-thinking brands in the future to build a really strong platform where I can positively impact the world through not only our music, but through humanitarian and environmental efforts.
Elena: You’re releasing a new EP this month called ‘Break Me Free’. How do you feel about this work and what’s your own definition of freedom?
Joanna: I am so excited about the release of ‘Break Me Free’ on June 30, 2015. This is our follow-up to our debut album ‘Comfort’ which was very well received. The ‘Break Me Free’ project is four songs that were recorded at a creative incubator in Oakland, California called Zoo Labs, where we spent two weeks tracking and producing the songs and participating in workshops designed to help bridge the gap between artistry and entrepreneurship within the music industry. It was a time of immense growth for all of us in the band, and we are all really proud of how the music came out. The four songs are each very different from one another and I think are a very good reflection of how many genre lines we cross as a band. My own definition of freedom is utilizing the power that have within myself to act, say, produce, sing and be who I want to be first and foremost, before taking into consideration what others may want from me.
Thanks so much!!!
About the band:
Mad Satta is a New York-based future-soul band comprised of eight members who bring original, positive, eclectic, thoughtful music to a wide array of listeners. This ultra-tight outfit is held down by edgy bass lines and a sophisticated mix of guitar, organ, drums and horns that surround and support the rich alto of powerhouse vocalist Joanna Teters. Teters confidently fronts the band with grace and depth of soul beyond her years, with her own musical roots deep in funk, reggae, and jazz. Mad Satta’s debut LP Comfort, produced by Grammy Award-winner Prince Charles Alexander (Mary J. Blige, Sting, Aretha Franklin), was released in October. The lead single, “Reach Out,” now has nearly forty-thousand views.