In Finland everybody knows Johanna Försti, alias Jo Stance, from the tv shows Dances With Stars and Obladii, but last year her first solo album, Jo Stance, put her right away to the highest level of Finnish soul singers, already a hot place with names like Tuomo Prättälä, Huba and Niko Ahvonen.
Appropriately for a daughter of official Master Folk Musician Kaisu Försti, Johanna started playing the violin at ten. She studied violin at the Kaustinen Music College and the Jyväskylä University, where her singing career got started by coincidence, when the vocalist of the Souldiers lost her voice and they moved Johanna from background singing to the front mic. The woman with great voice has since sung mostly soul/funk oriented music with the UMO, Sami Saari, Tuomo Prättälä, Niko Ahvonen and the Boston Promenade, to name a few. She was also the featured vocalist of the Kaarti Combo at the annual independence celebration in the Presidential Palace last year.
But if you want to hear Johanna at her best, check out her solo debut Jo Stance, produced in that warm 60’s like manner by drummer Teppo Mäkynen. Except for the horns, they made the album without outside help, as Jo also plays bass, guitar and keyboards, while Teppo naturally counted the rhythm. It’s sassy funky sound with great melodies was inspired by young Aretha Franklin, poppy motown and atmospheric torch songs á la Julie London. But the fire to this piece of dynamite is lit by Jo’s awesome high-energy singing.