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Miranda Joan’s Diaries Play Out Like A Modern Day Songbook on Overstimulated

Putting friendships first, the rising songwriter shares the most intimate parts of her life through song.

by Julia Dumbrell

Photo by Savannah Scott

Miranda Joan dropped a profoundly personal album at the end of 2023 which she cleverly titled Overstimulated, as if mirroring the fast-paced world we live in today while looking back on the formative years that shaped her.

Like the soulful expanse of her latest project, her relationships with both friends and family identify a vulnerability which has defined the rising songwriter since childhood. She remembers “filling diaries with emotions and experiences” through her formative years, born among the red bricks of Montréal and raised under grey Vancouver skies. Still assuming form, now in her New York borough of Brooklyn, Overstimulated brings Joan’s entries to life with heart, shining through her willingness to share with friends and her dedication to expressing herself. 

We’re welcomed to Miranda Joan’s “Circle” the title of the album’s opening track as a spoken mantra cues listeners in, professing Joan’s insecurities and wanting to be whole. As the introduction sheds a layer, this contribution to contemporary jazz connects listeners through musings on modern life’s excessiveness. It’s a feeling which is as steadfast as it is curious. As Joan puts it, the album is “bookended by songs of returning to oneself.” We’re invited to hear her read from a dogeared, coffee stained and well-loved journal, filled with entries that reflect the coming-of-age innocence in all of us. 

Grounded by activities like “writing, singing and time outside,” Joan’s comfort in returning back-to-basics reveals her wholesome Northern roots. This proverbial deep breath is sung from the heart on “I’m Good,” where Joan acknowledges her relief to be present in a singular moment with beloved friends, nourishing food and soulful music. The recordings that emerge here are phone calls from a friend, Joan giving us the clarity of an hour talking through our equally entangled thoughts. 

As I try quiet my own distractions, the lyrical progression on “Coffee / Too Much” resonates. Joan hums through my headphones with an over-caffeinated confession“I think I’ve had too much”accompanied by the toe-tapping bass, steady beat and smooth voice of a coffee house performance. In her heartfelt honesty, Joan pulls listeners into the present, grounding us in her own creative process and moments when the project finally flowed together. 

Collaborating with NYC-area producer CARRTOONS, the album was pieced together over several months of untethering diaries in the studio. The duo captured bookmarked feelings in Joan’s womanhood, from the weightless freedom of “Zero Gravity,” which features Sly5thAve, to the lingering heartache on “Where Did You Go?.” Joan also found her soulful articulation as the co-host and co-founder of Brooklyn’s Femme Jam, letting NYC’s first all-female led jam session power the strength and sensitivity in her work. Overstimulated was “many years in the making,” she reveals, with these professional relationships fine-tuning her penmanship. 

“I used to think I was just lucky,” Joan says of her most profound friendships. And while she “still [does],” Joan now recognizes these relationships are something she chooses to build, gaining strength as she lets her guard down. The final single “She Knows” is a tribute to this intimacy, embracing the longstanding relationships that remind Joan who she is. The song was released with a photograph of childhood friends representing the single artwork, with lyrics telling the sentimental honesty of a love letter and chords invoking Joan alone at her piano. Bringing us into the last moments of “Kiss a Stranger,” listeners’ respective relationships with the LP should reach peak intimacy as Joan signs her name with emboldened vulnerability. 

As nervous as she is excited to bare her journal entries with the album’s release, Joan speaks to the meaningfulness of having personal and professional friendships “who can help ground, support and celebrate this accomplishment.” Her music conveniently creates space for listeners to grow with her and reflect on their own dreams. The tracks emphasize, with resounding clarity, that anybody who listens to Overstimulated is a friend of Miranda Joan’s. 

Keep in touch with Miranda Joan’s journey on Instagram and TikTok.