Spotlight of the Week: Joanna Kim

Joanna Kim is a renowned fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitarist who started her musical journey at the age of six, teaching herself to play from YouTube. She’s become a phenomenal performer who has won prizes at local, national and international competitions from a young age.

ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

JOANNA: So, I wanted to do a fingerstyle guitar competition and I found one that was Wisconsin-based that was at the Wilson Center. Allison saw me in that competition, and I didn’t win but I made it to the finals. She reached out to me and asked if there was any way she could help me; that was two years ago and I was fifteen at the time. That was when she introduced me to Wisconsin Music Ventures.

ME: That’s pretty cool. It’s crazy how the world works like that!

ME: I saw that you played a few shows in Wisconsin a couple months back. What were your thoughts on Wisconsin?

JOANNA: I didn’t get to go around too much because I was pretty tired from performing (laughs). But the experience was really fun; that was the first time I’d taken a flight to a different state, and I stayed there for a week. It was tiring but definitely fun and a good experience.

ME: That’s awesome. Was your first flight okay?

JOANNA: Yeah, it was okay. I don’t like airplanes though (laughs).

ME: I don’t like them very much either. Good for you!

ME: What was your most recent competition?

JOANNA: It was like a year ago actually; I haven’t been doing competitions recently because I was preparing for my college auditions. I opened for Willy Porter a few months ago and that was the last big event I’ve done. The last competition was called Marlow Classical Guitar International Competition. I got Grand Prize and it was a pretty good experience.

ME: Congrats! That’s awesome.

ME: Who are your biggest influences as a guitarist?

JOANNA: I used to be obsessed with this guitarist Marcin Patrzalek; he’s a percussive fingerstyle guitarist. I really liked what he did because he’s doing new stuff with the guitar; there’s definitely no one doing quite what he’s doing right now. He’s taking orchestra and symphony music and arranging it for one guitar, which is really impressive. He’s showing people what the guitar can actually do, because a lot of people think that the guitar is just playing chords in the back of the band. But it can be a solo one-person show, and that can be very entertaining.

ME: That’s pretty cool. I’ll have to check him out!

ME: My last question is, what are you working on now? I know you’ve started school so I can imagine that’s your primary focus. Musically, what are your plans?

JOANNA: Right now I’m studying with a classical guitarist named Troy King; I met him at one of my competitions so he kind of knows what my goals are. There’s a small competition at the school for the music majors here in October so I’m probably going to be working towards that. It’ll be a good experience.

Visit Joanna Kim’s website here.

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