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Joanna Newsom (born 1982 in Nevada City, California) is a San Francisco harpist, pianist, harpsichordist, singer and songwriter.
Though a former music and creative writing student at Mills College, she sees her harp style as being distinct from that of classically-focused harpists, often referring to herself as a "harper" rather than harpist. She also previously played keyboards in San Francisco bands Golden Shoulders and The Pleased.
She is considered one of the most prominent members of the modern psych folk movement. Her songwriting incorporates elements of indie pop, Appalachian music, avant-garde modernism and a sensibility that some listeners describe as quirky. Having received no formal vocal training, her idiosyncratic vocal style, described by many as being child-like and weathered, has been a sticking point for many as it is very unconventional; nevertheless her songs' artistic merit, especially her songwriting ability, has generally been acknowledged.