Johanna Sillanpaa
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Johanna Sillanpaa

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band R&B Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Featured Artist: Johanna Sillanpaa"

Featured Artist: Johanna Sillanpaa

CD Title: One Wish

Year: 2007

Record Label: Chronograph Records

Style: Jazz Vocals

Musicians: Johanna Sillanpaa (lead vocals), Tatiana Lund (background vocals), Chris Andrew (piano, Keyboards), Aaron Young (guitar), Kodi Hutchinson (bass), Tyler Hornby (drums)

Early in December, Johanna Sillanpaa, who is quickly establishing herself as a top R&B singer in Canada released her first Christmas album, One Wish. The advance publicity for the CD billed it as being unique among holiday recordings, particularly because of its diversity, and this writer would concur. While there are a lot of very good, and timeless Christmas recordings, One Wish has the potential to reach a much wider audience than most, because it covers traditional carols such as, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” original compositions like the funky, “Cinnamon & Sugarcones,” and nods to her Swedish heritage with songs such as “Bright Shining Star,” which Sillanpaa translated into English, from the original “Jul, Jul Stralande Jul.”

Sillanpaa, who has been singing professionally since her early teens, is proficient at covering songs, or performing her original compositions, however, as one would expect her strongest connection is with the tunes that she has penned. By far the best three songs on this album were written or co-written by the singer. Her superb R&B vocals shine on “Grateful,” a song that she co-wrote with co-producer Chris Andrew. Tatiana Lund’s background vocals for “Grateful,” are incredibly beautiful, and compliment Sillanpaa nicely.

For the fanciful, original composition “Cinnamon & Sugarcones,” co-written with her old friend Aaron Young, Sillanpaa is joined, as she is throughout the CD, by longtime friends, including the virtuoso acoustic guitarist Young, and bassist Kodi Hutchinson whose work on this record, is only surpassed by seeing him perform live. Also on hand are drummer Tyler Hornby and elegant pianist / keyboardist Chris Andrew.

It is however the title track, the soulful “One Wish,” that will blow your mind, pull at your heartstrings, and have you firing up your computer to see how you can purchase this CD. About eighteen months ago, when I first heard one of Sillanpaa’s songs on the Calgary radio station California 103, I recall being struck by how emotive her vocals were. The larger American markets may not yet be familiar with the name Johanna Sillanpaa, but it is only a matter of time, because she can more than hold her own with any of the great R&B / soul singers, whose music is now in high rotation. Aaron Young’s guitar bridge is as beautiful as the singer’s voice, and as elegant as Andrew’s keys. “One Wish,” is a song that will be with us for many years, and our children will probably be listening to it for many Christmases to come.

The last four tracks of this thirteen song CD are sung in Swedish, but just before she gets there, Sillanpaa delivers a beautiful interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” For those unfamiliar with the Mitchell tune, this is a peaceful, contemplative song.

Since I do not speak Swedish, the insights that I can provide to the remaining four tracks are restricted to the instrumental portions of the songs. The gentle, “När Det Lider Mot Jul,” has a pretty piano solo. “Ett Barn Är Fött På Denna Dag,” is the second song featured on One Wish that has music originally penned by Martin Luther, the other being “A Child Is Born Upon This Day.” Lyrics for “Ett Barn Är Fött På Denna Dag,” were written by Olaus Martini and Johan Olaf Wallin. If like me you do not understand the Swedish language, don’t worry there are enough great instrumentals provided by Andrew, Young, Hornby and Hutchinson to keep you listening. The remaining songs are, “Jul, Jul Strålande Jul,” recorded in English on an earlier track, and “Dagen Ar Kommen.”

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Artist's Website:

Reviewed by: Joe Montague
- Joe Montague - Jazz


“Her marvelous voice begins in the smoky lows of Norah Jones, and effortlessly climbs into the powerful, confident ranges of Lisa Stansfield. Since Magic 99’s sign on in December of 2005, we have added two of her original compositions into daytime rotation. A number of other cuts have found their way onto our station as well. Magic 99 and Rawlco Radio are delighted to have played a very small part in the evolution of this very talented individual”. - Kurt Leavins, Program Director Magic 99 Edmonton


“a bluesy Erika Badu meets Billy Holliday groove and Johanna's voice is silky, classy and sophisticated." - Steve Quirk Smooth FM, UK


“A confident performer much able to compete on an international level” - Mike Bell, The Calgary Sun


“Johanna favors a style-free way of music, combining the best from all worlds (Pop, Soul, jazz, Lounge, Blues, Folk....) and creates a handful of small melodic pearls with a nuance of Nordic coolness…” - Joerg Schmitt, Music critic SONIC SOUL, DE


“One wish will blow your mind, pull at your heartstrings and have you firing up your computer to see how you can purchase this CD” - Joe Montague, Jazz Police &


The Make of Me (Johanna Sillanpaa) 2011
A new refinement and evolution of Johanna's signature sound. She brings an evolution to her music and writing. The album is mixture of original Soul and cool groove music! Supported by her world class band, this album helps Johanna truly display who she is an artist!

One Wish (Johanna Sillanpaa) 2007
A beautiful reinterpretation of classic Christmas music interspersed with new and original holiday songs by Johanna Sillanpaa. One of Canada’s finest artists reinventing a holiday tradition!

Good Life (Johanna Sillanpaa) 2006 - Reissue 2008
2007 WCMA Nominated album, 'Good Life' is a soulful and sultry collection of songs that show off a confident artist very much able to compete on an international level. This cross-over album of all original music has received rave reviews from around the globe since its release in mid 2006, calling it an achievement in minimalist complexity and a beautiful fusion of Soul, Pop and Jazz.

Under My Feet (Sillan & Young) 2008
While Sillan & Young's new album may salute their first CD Better Thing, there is certainly an evolution and newness they can’t wait to share. The folk, jazz and acoustic roots are still there, but there’s a fresher more streamlined presence that Juno winning producer Russell Broom helped make possible.

Better Thing (Sillan & Young) 2004
With a rare mix of melancholic lyrics tempered with beautiful melodies, this acoustic quintet will be releasing it’s second album under the direction of Producer Russ Broom (Jann Arden) for the Fall of 2008. They are best known for their honest songwriting and moving live performances.



About Johanna

For every style of music that Johanna Sillanpaa explores, be it jazz, groove, R&B or soul, there’s a vibrant colour in her voice to match. She can play it slow and solemn, smooth and silky, as strong and rousing as cognac’s burn, or as soft and tender as a lingering kiss.

Sillanpaa’s confidence in her own eclectic sound - and in her own skin - has come with time. “It’s something I’ve grown into,” says the Swedish expat. “I’ve always had a certain amount of flexibility to my voice, but it feels like there’s an agility to my voice now, and I’m really enjoying it!”

This fresh zeal is unmistakeable on her upcoming third solo record, The Make of Me. Her perseverance has been stoked by the “comfort of working in such a small musical family,” referring to guitarist Aaron Young, bassist Kodi Hutchinson, pianist Chris Andrew and percussionist Tyler Hornby -- whom she’s been collaborating and crafting music with since 2004. Sillanpaa and her acoustic soul ensemble have played everywhere from the intimate jazz joints in their small-but-tight musical community of Calgary to the Montréal Jazz Festival’s 60,000-plus crowds. Beyond filling venues in Canada and abroad, Sillanpaa’s sound has also drawn its fair share of accolades and award nominations, including a Western Canadian Music Award nod in the Urban music category. At the 2010 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, she was nominated for Best Female Vocalist and Group/Duo of the Year with Sillan & Young.

The New Albumn - The Make of Me (Jan 2011)

Sillanpaa’s new record signals both a refinement of her wide-ranging tastes and some new creative watermarks. Already an accomplished writer, one of Sillanpaa’s goals while putting The Make of Me together was to pen originals showcasing an evolution in her music - hereafter known as “Always” and “Linger.” She also broke character a bit by laying down a happy, old-school Motown-style style track called “Soul.”

“Vocally, this is really, truly who I am now,” says Sillanpaa. “There’s definitely an element of melancholy and moodiness to my music, but on this album I wanted to lighten it up a little bit. I wanted some songs that have a mood, almost like a relaxing, ambient record. But it’s not just a CD you pop in at a dinner party. I also wanted something you could groove to too when you’re getting ready to go out.”