Joanna Newsom Biography

Joanna Newsom, an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and actor, is best known for her folk albums ‘Divers’ and ‘Have One on Me.’ Born into an affluent doctor family from Nevada, she was raised without television or films until her teenage years to protect her from negative influences. Growing up in a household where music was cherished, she developed a passion for it and began taking music lessons at a young age, particularly excelling in playing the harp. After studying creative writing at ‘Mills College,’ she pursued a career as a full-time musician. Her debut album, ‘The Milk-Eyed Mender,’ released in 2004, achieved both commercial and critical success. Throughout her career, she has continued to create music that resonates with audiences and has also ventured into the world of acting, appearing in films such as ‘Inherent Vice’ and ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.’

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Joanna Caroline Newsom
  • Age: 41 Years, 41 Year Old Females
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Andy Samberg (m. 2013)
    • Father: William Newsom
    • Mother: Christine
    • Siblings: Emily, Peter
  • Musicians
  • Folk Singers
  • Height: 5’4″ (163 cm), 5’4″ Females
  • Notable Alumni: Waldorf School, Mills College
  • U.S. State: California
  • Education: Mills College, Waldorf School

Childhood & Early Life

Joanna Newsom was born on January 18, 1982, in Nevada City, California, to Christine and William Newsom. She grew up with a brother and a sister in a household where her parents, both doctors, were open-minded and liberal. However, they believed in restricting their children’s exposure to TV and films until a certain age. As a result, Joanna did not have any exposure to music or TV until she was a teenager. Despite this, she developed a love for music through her parents, as her father was a skilled guitarist and her mother was a trained pianist.


Joanna’s passion for music led her to join harp classes at a young age. By the time she was 14, she had decided that she wanted to become a songwriter and musician. She enrolled at Mills College to study creative writing but dropped out soon after to pursue her musical career.

While in college, Joanna joined a local band called “The Pleased” and later joined an experimental music band named “Nervous Cop.” She struggled to find the right music label for her debut effort and recorded two EPs titled “Walnut Whales” and “Yarn and Glue” at home. These EPs were not meant to be publicly released, but her then-boyfriend convinced her to promote her work. Through a friend, famous musician Will Oldham discovered her talent and helped her get a contract with his record label, “Drag City.”

Joanna released her debut album, “The Milk-Eyed Mender,” in 2004, which received critical and commercial acclaim. She embarked on a tour to promote the album and gained recognition in the “neo-folk” genre. Her second album, “Ys,” released in 2006, became her first album to be featured on the “Billboard 200” chart. It continued to receive success and sold over 250 thousand copies by 2010.

After a four-year break, Joanna released her triple-disc album, “Have One on Me,” in 2010. Despite some mild criticism, the album received positive reviews and became a hit in the US and Canada. She took a break from music to pursue acting and returned with her fourth studio album, “Divers,” in 2015, which received widespread critical acclaim.

Personal Life

Joanna has dated several musicians in the past, including Bill Callahan. In 2013, she married actor/comedian Andy Samberg, and they have a daughter together.

Overall, Joanna Newsom has established herself as a talented musician and songwriter, known for her unique approach to folk music and her skills on the harp and piano. She has also ventured into acting and has received praise for her work in both music and film.

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