Joanne, best known as the singer and song writer with the band IONA was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Her father is a Presbyterian minister and her mother was a nurse. Joanne, her three sisters and two brothers lived in Randlestown until she was 7, when her father was called to a congregation in Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry.
   There was always music in Joanne's house especially at Christmas, when her mum would accompany carols on the family piano. Joanne started piano lessons at the age of 10 and continued for four years until it became difficult to find piano teachers in the rural area where they lived. Joanne went to Queens University in Belfast to study medicine. 
   After her third year, she received information through the post about an event in DeBron, Holland called Christian Artists which she thought would be an interesting experience. When Joanne arrived in Holland, she discovered that unknown to her, someone had entered her into the talent evaluation session. During the week, she came into contact with Adrian Snell who encouraged her and asked her to send him a demo tape. Joanne was also heard singing at the talent evaluation by a staff worker for Youth For Christ, Denmark who immediately invited her to work with them for a year doing schools ministry work. She managed to talk her University into the idea and completed her year with Y.F.C. in Denmark. As a result of the encounter with Adrian Snell, he invited Joanne to sing on his Alpha and Omega recording, her first introduction to professional Christian music.
   Whilst working with Adrian she met Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald. After Y.F.C. in Denmark, she returned to University to complete her remaining two years and graduated.
   After graduation, she worked as a junior Doctor in Belfast Hospital to complete her registration. Six months into working in the hospital, Joanne was taken seriously ill and was struck off work for seven months. After recovering, Joanne completed her registration as a doctor but she was advised on medical grounds not to continue in full time medical work. During her convalescence, she had been contacted by Dave Bainbridge and Dave Fitzgerald who were beginning to think about the possibility of forming a band. In 1989, IONA was born.

   Joanne has sung with Iona all over Europe and in America and their recordings are sold world wide making them Europe's best selling contemporary Christian band. 
   The idea for 'Looking Into Light', her first solo work came from Joanne's father who had been very moved by Iona's recording of "When I Survey". Not being much of a fan of contemporary music, he made the suggestion that Joanne should record a complete album of hymns. The idea was quickly dismissed by Joanne and given little consideration until the sudden death of her mother in February 1997. The gradual selection of hymns which had been so much a part of families life began and continued over the next year. Some songs had Celtic melodic qualities such as "Be Thou My Vision", "O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus" and "I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say". Having grown up in a Presbyterian environment, Joanne had access to many hymn books and the net was thrown even wider. A hymn that simply could not be left out, even though Joanne has recorded it twice before and has sung many times is "When I Survey" as this was definitely one of her Dad's favorites and had given rise to the original idea of recording an album of hymns. Another hymn which is special to Joanne's family is "Brightest And Best". This Carol was first introduced to Joanne's parents by a visiting minister in 1947 when they were missionaries in India on their first Christmas away from Ireland. Joanne remembers her father introducing this song to the various congregations they later joined as she and her siblings grew up. It was natural that Joanne was joined by her three sisters on the album to record this song which has become so familiar to them all. The album also features the atmospheric sounds of the sea which Joanne recorded on a DAT recorder in a cave in Maghera, Donnegal which helps transport the listener to one of the places which has inspired Joanne's song writing so many times. "Looking Into Light" features many old friends who contribute their array of musical talent including: Dave Bainbridge - Guitars, Keyboards, Bouzouki; Troy Donockley - Uilleann Pipes, Low Whistles; Phil Barker - Bass Guitar; new IONA member - Frank van Essen - Percussion, Drums, Violin; Nick Beggs - Fretless Bass, Chapman Stick;Terl Bryant - Drums, Percussion; Dave Fitzgerald - Flute, Tin Whistle; Chris Redgate - Oboe and the Emperor String Quartet and not forgetting Joanne's sisters Helen, Doreen and Muriel who join her on 'Brightest and Best'. The album has been superbly produced by Dave Bainbridge, engineered by Nigel Palmer and contains twelve classic hymns which run to more than an hour of listening. 

Instruments: vocals, piano, keyboard

Looking into Light
Looking into Light
Joanne Hogg