English singer-songwriter, known for mixing elements of folk and electronica, has released a powerful, mercurial ten tracks of her own “folktronica”. Orton seizes technology with a refreshing passion delivering a truely unique sound. It just feels good!
Denver-based Folk-pop songstress Katey Laurel grew up drawing pictures, writing stories, riding horses and playing in the woods in the Colorado mountains. This is the idyllic foundation from which she crafts her life and her music. Katey’s songs range from radio-friendly pop tunes to lush, cinematic songs for film and television. With background in Classical piano and French horn as well as guitar and voice, her artistic roots are both deep and diverse. Laurel draws her musical inspiration as a songwriter from many musical styles including bluegrass, classic rock, alternative, country, and even 80s dance-pop.
Katey has performed hundreds of shows via venues, radio, television stations and festivals in Colorado and around the US, including Hotel Cafe (LA), The Bitter End (NYC), Bluebird Cafe (Nashville), Hard Rock Café Denver and Nashville, Colorado State Fair and the Greeley Stampede. She has built a solid fan base with her unique voice and a satisfying blend of folk and pop, garnering airplay on Triple A and AC radio stations around the country including KALC, KMNT, KBCO, KFMU and KOTO. Most recently she is a Great American Song Contest Top 5 Winner and NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Regional Finalist, and has had two songs in rotation on Starbucks overhead programming.
As a live performer, she has shared the stage with Howie Day, Bill Mallonee, Katie Herzig, Matt Morris, Trevor Hall and others. With her latest album “Periscope” produced by industry veteran Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith), Katey Laurel is now poised to reach an even larger audience in the days ahead. Here’s your chance to get three of her songs free!
Walnut Valley Festival New Song Winner
Tucson Folk Festival National Finalist
Great American Song Contest Finalist
NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Southwest Regional Finalist
Texaco Country Showdown Southwest Regional Finalist
International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist
Natalie Gelman is widely recognized for her tireless cross-country travel and performances. She’s just released a new album, “Streetlamp Musician” with producers Charlie Midnight (James Brown) and Mark Needham (The Killers). The album is reflective, titled after a song she wrote about street performing and watching New York City change over time.
She was raised in the West Village, NYC, an area of the city considered as “off the grid” and noted for having been home to artists and writers dating back to the 1800s. Living amongst songwriting greats, Natalie came to know artists and true bohemians. She borrowed a friend’s guitar at 16 and started writing songs on it immediately and began busking on subway platforms.
Natalie has been compared to Sheryl Crow, Jewel and Joni Mitchell. She writes honest, heartfelt songs addressing current affairs and revealing parts of her inner self.
Yes, our friend, the troubadour, Natalie Gelman, is back at Sundance. The activities surrounding the Sundance Film Festival and Park City, Utah could do no better than to feature this New York born and raised singer. We’ve been following Natalie for sometime now and we had the privilege of interviewing her for the HorizonVU Music Blog last October http://blog.horizonvumusic.com/?p=7543 .
It was much to our pleasant surprise to learn that on Thursday, Natalie was a featured guest with Jenn Hardmann on KSL-TV, the NBC-affiliated television station in Salt Lake City. We’re really excited to pass along the clip to you. Natalie sings her original song “Lion” with all the energy we have come to know and enjoy!
If you’re at the Sundance Film Festival, catch Natalie’s live performances at NY Loves Film Lounge, 545 Main Street, (Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday) and Koffeehouse Show at Flanagan’s (Tuesday), 438 Mainstreet, Park City.
Gareth Dylan Smith IS Dr. Drums, and in addition to his own blogging, he’s agreed to join us on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP. Drawing from his teaching, and most definitely, his experience as a heavy duty rocker and drummer of the band “The Eruptors” http://www.eruptors.com/ Gareth is going to bring us great VUs and reVUs in keeping with HorizonVU Music’s focus on women in rock, alternative and folk.
Rachael Travers is a folk singer from London, England. There are plenty of these, and they seem to be especially prevalent at the moment, following the collective decision of mainstream media to focus their gaze for a season on ‘nu-folk’. However, against a backdrop of Marlings, Mumfords and Staves, what sets Travers apart in this nebulous UK ‘scene’ is her voice – a uniquely beguiling instrument in which she combines the purity of Alison Krauss, the playful agility of Dolly Parton and a heart-wrenching emotional palette approaching the depth of Jeff Buckley. With lyrics that are direct and suggest a youthful naiveté, Travers visits some deeply personal spaces in her music; her songs are strength and tenderness, conversation and introspection, confidence and uncertainty. She reels in her listeners, addressing all of the songs to ‘you’, with memorable original melodies She tends to perform either alone with her guitar, or accompanied by a band that includes banjo, mandolin, double bass, drums, and harmony vocals reminiscent of Emmy-Lou Harris with Gram Parsons. I attended a performance in the spring of this year where Travers showcased new material at a songwriters’ circle in North West London. The songs were disarmingly honest, her performance powerful, and the entire audience wrapt, spellbound.
With live shows being rare (a delicacy not to be missed) and often announced at short notice, a selection of Travers’ music is available on her 2011 Ivy Road EP. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Travers disrobes emotionally on this touchingly intimate clutch of songs that take the listener on a journey through an undulating landscape of love. On the opening track, ‘Forgive Me’, she sings of love unattainable, and leaves us ‘clenching on to the night, with nowhere else to go’. She declares frustration at God, whom she later rejects completely in the final song when she sings ‘I don’t believe in God no more, I’m sorry to say’. The title track is a soothing, beautiful and impassioned reminder to a companion about a path taking him or her to where ‘you’re loving again’. ‘All I ask’ sees Travers at her breathiest and most needy, and also her most defiant, in a song of unrequited love in which she ultimately confesses in the poignant final line that ‘all my world would fall apart, if you weren’t in my heart’. On ‘You are the One’ she is upbeat and feisty, angry over more unrequited love. She dismisses her would-be suitor, admitting nonetheless that ‘I dream of your hand for me to hold’. It is on this cut that she sounds most like Dolly Parton, showcasing a Nashville finesse that few of her contemporaries pull off with such alacrity. The final song, ‘No More’, features Travers’ voice at its most intimate. A slow crescendo, this might be the cream of the crop. It is a plea for autonomy and some space of her own; her pure, crystal voice soars high into the distance, away from her suffocating, controlling lover.
Travers tells listeners that ‘all I ask is for your love’. You can start by accessing most of the songs from Ivy Road here: http://soundcloud.com/rachaeltravers, where Rachael Travers sings of her heart.
Andrea Soler is a genuine gypsy. Music is her life and she lives it with a nod to the cultural tradition of the troubadour, travelling the world, singing songs, telling tales and lifting spirits with a beguiling, bohemian flare and an authentic joie de vivre. Her music is nomadic too, wandering the realms of indie folk, jazz, roots and world music. With touches of calypso, flamenco, reggae and more, Andrea intuitively blends a myriad of global influences to create music with universal appeal.
Hey there friends!
It is with great pleasure that we present to you our brand new
film clip for Daydreamer! Created on a $20 budget, this is our
first home made clip, and it couldn’t have happened without so
many people involved!
Directed by Nora Savona
Lighting and Effects – Tim Tonkin
Extra Lighting – Jim Spriggs
Edited by James Ross, Goba and Andrea Soler
Special Thanks to – The Nimbin Bush Theatre, NORPA, Tropical
Fruits, Vinnies, James Ross, Shay Henderson, Elvis Callaghan,
Angus Graham, and all our friends, family and fans who came along
to help make this clip so special!
Hope you enjoy it, and we’d love to hear what you think!
Andrea Soler is an Australian singer songwriter with compelling vocals and insightful lyrics who has just recently toured the UK summer festivals including Isle Of Wight, Larmer Tree and the Sunrise Festival. Musically inspired by the passionate joie de vivre of her French ancestry she exudes a distinctly European influenced sound, yet maintaining her own take on indie folk. Likening herself and her music to the old ways of gypsies and travelers; expect a swathe of moods and emotion from Andrea’s soulful live performances.
Andrea, it’s really a pleasure to meet you and to be part of your journey! We know a bit about you from earlier talks and your bio, but tell us a bit about your musical path and how has your career has developed.
AS: When I was 18, I went to the Woodford Folk Festival here in Australia. I’ll never forget the feeling I had watching band after band blow me away. I knew then, one day I would play that festival, all I wanted was to be a musician! So, I then bought a guitar and started playing and writing songs. I went busking on the streets with my sister. After recording a home made demo, I decided to try my luck overseas and bought a one way ticket to Paris. I ended up living there for over a year and played in bars in Montmatre and even Fete De La Musique in 2007! I then went to the UK where I was then sponsored to record my first EP ‘Better in The Sunshine’ at The Sonic Kitchen Studios. I played festivals such as the Larmer Tree, Isle of Wight and Sunrise Festival, UK. I got on so well with my producer that I went on to record my debut album ‘Earth On An Axis’ with him as well. Since coming back to Australia I achieved my dream of performing at many festivals and lastyear I played at the Woodford Folk Festival, the place that kick started my musical career!
Is there anybody who has really helped you along you path, Do you have a mentor?
AS: I am very lucky to say that I have had so many people help me along the way. My biggest mentor is Alan ‘Big Al’ Hill. He was the incredibly brilliant man who produced my first two records. He believed in me and taught me so much about the recording process, about music and about life. He truly was an incredible man, a world class musician (played bass for Jack Dejonette – Miles Davis’s drummer, produced for Shirley Bassey & many more). Sadly, Al passed away a couple of years ago, is greatly missed today by so many people around the world. I still count him as my biggest mentor. I always think – what would make Al proud?
What’s next for you? What’s coming up for you live and recorded?
AS: I have just finished recording my brand new EP called Daydreamer. I’m going to be launching it here in Australia at the beginning of June, and then embarking on a twelve week tour through the UK and Europe! I’ve booked 18 shows already which includes four festivals in the UK. We’ll also be making a documentary about this tour to inspire independent musicians to manage themselves and book their own international tours. I am very excitied about this trip, especially to return to Paris!
Do tells us a bit about your latest album.
AS: Daydreamer is a five track EP. It’s a collection of songs I’ve written on the ukulele. A lady once said to me that you can’t write a sad song on the ukulele. Well, one day I was sitting at home and wrote a song called ‘Heart Break Floor’. It’s about my first heart break. At least I can prove to the lady you can write a sad song on the ukuele! Then there’s ‘Love at First Sight’ which is a true story about a guy who was lost, walked into a cafe to ask for directions and fell in love with the girl behind the counter, and there’s Daydreamer which is the title track. It’s a song to remind people how important it is to believe in their dreams. Lonesome Traveller is a haunting tune, and The Palmreader is a song about.. well, I guess you’ll just have to hear it and find out!
It’s hard to believe that anyone would have the nerve to break your heart! Let’s take a few minutes out to let everybody in on what’s going on as we watch “Daydreamer EP”
We work with a lot of young emerging artists. Can you share a certain moment in your career – good or bad – that’s kept you moving on?
AS: I think I’ll share a good and a bad if that’s ok? The bad moment was when I lost one of my best friends and producer Big Al. He means so much to me. He always assured me along the way. Gave me advice, feedback about my songs and made me laugh too! He brought out the best in me, and I’ll never forget all that he did for me.
A good moment – I think it was just recently, when I walked onto the stage to play at last years’ Woodford Folk Festival! It had been my dream for over ten years to play at this festival. I had to pinch myself a couple of times to realise that I was literally living the dream. It taught me to never give up on my dream, keep working hard, and enjoy the journey!
I always like to ask our guests about personal heros, so here goes…who is your hero? Why?
AS:There are so many people that inspire me. When I read the biography of Edith Piaf, I felt so inspired by her zest for life and for everything she achieved from her humble beginnings as a homeless girl on the streets of Paris. Then there’s Joni MItchell who got Polio at the age of 8 and started singing to get better. She is another woman who overcame obstacles in her life and achieved her dreams. I think another of my heroes would be Sally Dastey. She is an Australian singer and is such a beautiful person and gives her whole heart to her audience. I like artists that give their all.
I have to tell you, that my colleagues here at HorizonVU Music are not to wild about that question (they’ve heard me ask it so many times), but I think you saved me…we’re all Joni Mitchell fans! Andrea, again, thanks so much for your time and we look forward to going live in September. We’ll be posting your gigs!
Recently, we had the pleasure of being introduced to Maria Brodskaya. Maria is a singer, songwriter, pianist and violinist, as well as an actress and photo model.
She was born into a musical family Belgorod, Russia. At age four Maria began studying music, playing the violin and piano. By the age of seven she began writing music. With her first two songs she earned her first composer award at the famous Ukrainian contest “Young composers” in Kiev. Maria has won many contests as a singer and songwriter. She has performed in Moscow (Russia), Kiev (Ukraine), Berlin (Germany), Copenhagen (Danmark), Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Maria’s debute album “Apple-Moon” is now available. The CD brings to the fore a blend of pop, soul, slavic folk, jazz and ambient music. It unites the modern and ancient musical traditions. East and West.
So, tell us a bit more about your background and your introduction to music?
MB: I was born in Russia, in a small town Belgorod, in a family of professional musicians – my father was a composer and a pianist, and my mother is a concertmaster and music teacher. When I was six I entered The Special Musical Schoolfor Gifted Children, affiliated with the Conservatory, that was a border school in Kharkov (Ukraine), and five days a week I was living there, because that was the nearest special music school. Then when I finished it ahead of time, cum laude, I entered the Conservatory in two departments – violin and piano. And then, after my studying there for two years, I moved to Moscow and entered the Russian Academy of Music as a singer and songwriter. And I graduated from there cum laude too:) So, now I’m in Moscow. And actually, when they ask me about my nationality and etc – I always answer: “no matter where I am from and where I am know – I consider myself a person without age and nationality, and I’m just a human creature of this world and a citizen of the Earth planet:)
Once you had your focus on music, how did you begin your journey towards becoming a professional ?
MB: Well, actually, apart from my musical education, that was starting when I was four – I began studying music, playing the violin and piano in a music school in my home town before the special music school – I’ve been participated in many contests and festivals, starting from the age of 7. By this age – of seven – I began writing music and, with my first two songs, I won my first composer award in the “Young Composers Contest” in Kiev (that is the capital of Ukraine). Then I’ve had a lot of different awards as a singer and songwriter, and also as a composer of instrumental music. And also I have a lot of performances as an artist-violinist of a chamber and symphony orchestra. And at the age of 16 – when I was a student of the Conservatory – I had my first jazz quartet and sang jazz in club with them. And then, when I came to Moscow I organized my acoustic jazz quartet. Its name was ‘Soft-M”. We played jazz in Moscow jazz clubs, and I performed as a vocalist, violinist, arranger and art director simultaneously. But the last few years I’m focused on my own original music, and I’m working in the studio, writing a lot and recording my albums. I have some performances in Moscow clubs and some events – I play the piano and sing my jazz-folk songs in English, Russian and Ukrainian languages, and I even have a song in Hebrew. And this April I had two concerts in Buenos-Aires with my both programs – from my first album “Apple-Moon” and with my jazz-folk program that I’m singing and playing the piano. But still great part of my time now I devote to my working in the studio. And now I’m recording my new album – my second album in English.
Who were your earliest sources of inspiration?
MB: Well, there was a lot of different music sounding in my parents place. And my first names from my childhood, that have formed my musical world outlook and taste and inspired me were: Diana Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday. And then – who became my gurus more: Bob James, Bill Evance, Pat Metheny, Shirley Horn, Sting, Seal, Sade.
In the classical music I can emphasize my lovely great and important names for my musical life: Sergei Rachmaninov and Claude Debussy.
And also one of the spring of inspiration for me is Ukrainian Folk Music.
Tell us about your travels and exposure to international audiences?
I haven’t had a lot of international performances yet. I recorded my debut album in English in 2011, and my second album in English is getting ready very soon. But I had a few performances in Berlin, and with my new album “Apple-Moon” two concerts in Buenos Aires, that were very successful, and audience was very kind, and people were coming up to me and asking me for my album. And though I have never been to America yet – I’m just getting ready to come -, now I receive a lot of letters from my fans – most of them are Americans and English people, who has listened to my album on Internet, iTunes and on Radio, and they write me how they love my music, and how much they are waiting for my concerts in their countries. So, now I’m doing my best to come to develop and realize myself in the US. Because that is my main professional goal for now, and also my dream.
Let’s take a few minutes to watch your video “Empire of Music”.
Your CD “Apple Moon” is available on iTunes and Amazon (as well as SHOP HorizonVU Music). Give us some background on the album…what’s the message?
MB: Well, this is my real debut album, that is the mix of pop, soul, slavic folk, jazz and ambient music. And the idea of the music in this album was to unite different musical traditions – East and West. I wanted to make the modern music, but to save in it the tones of the slavic folk music with its great history. And telling about some background of this album I’d like to start from the name – “Apple-Moon”, and there is a short funny story:
I didn’t have any name for the album, but I had a few songs for it. But suddenly… – the new song is born via iPad – it was created and arranged on iPad..:) And this song became the “key-song” and also brought the tittle for the album: because of I love Apple, I love apples, and I love moon – so, the name has come: “Apple-Moon”!
And the interesting thing more is this key-song – “Apple-Moon” is based on the world known old Ukrainian song “Shchedrik” or “Carol of the Bels” – it’s English version of this song. The sense of this song has a big magic, as well as all of the slavic folk music has. And as for the lyrics in this album – I can say they are the mix too: I was trying to compile some kind of the slavic folk poetry images and the magical sense, figurative style, strong emotion of love, drama and tenderness. I wanted to make the songs soft and dramatic one and the same time, emotional and deep, magical and sexy. And I hope I did that, because now people tell me about these things in my music:)
And by the way, I have to say, that here in this album I’m acting not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a piano-and-violin-player, and also as an author of the arrangements of some songs.
And now “Apple-Moon” airs on different radio stations in the US and UK. And by the way, here in this album I’m acting not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a piano-and-violin-player, and also as an author of the arrangements of some songs.
What’s is Maria’s plan for 2012? What should our readers be looking for as far as Maria is concerned?
MB: Well, first, now I’m finishing my second English album, that will be very interesting, beautiful and strong music. Something new, I guess. I don’t like any kind of copy-cats in music and in arts on the whole. I really think the most important and interesting thing that artist can do and have to do in their arts is to express their own inner world in their doings. And that is the only thing that the creative work is for.
Second, my main goal is to realize and develop myself in the US, now I’m preparing a lot of different papers to get american visa, and hope very much to get it as soon as my new album is ready. So, I will have two recorded albums in my hands – that are my original music and lyrics. And that will be my completed concert program. And more over, there is two hundred songs in my composer baggage, and by this moment thirty songs from them are in English. So, I’m also planning to record not only the second, but also the third album in this year, at least.
I’m planning to come to the US with God’s help, create a band there, and of course I hope to have the touting through the US, and realize all my skills and creative ideas on the stage, in my music and my performance. I hope to get a serious contract with the label, maybe major – I know I can be a very good asset:)) Of course, I am setting the goal and have a big hope to win Grammies as an interesting artist with interesting music – these are grerat goals and aspirations for any musician. I am not the sort of girl who is going to give up, I’m intending to keep fighting for my dreams and for myself, for my right to be heard and realized in this world, and I’m going to win that!
Maria, we appreciate you time and we certainly wish you all the very best going forward. Maria’s album is available on iTunes and Amazon (directly and through SHOP HorizonVU Music). Let’s talk again soon!
Commenting on singer/songwriter and actress Chantelle Barry, Lionel Richie comments ”long overdue,..the best kept secret on the planet”. We couldn’t agree more. We first came to know her through her music – “You” and “Like You Do” (Elvis-like).
She’s intelligent, talented and strikingly pretty. If that isn’t enough, talking with her is just…fun. You come away from meeting her feeling like you have a real new friend. A native of Perth Western Australia, Chantelle Barry won Australia’s version of POPSTARS, earning a coveted spot in the all-girl pop group, Bardot. The group’s debut single, “Poison”, entered the ARIA Singles Chart at 1, where it spent two consecutive weeks, earning a double platinum certification. It became the sixth highest selling single in Australia in 2000, and was the highest selling single by an Australian act that year. Since leaving Australia, she’s lived in London and now resides in Los Angeles.
Chantelle, thanks so much for taking time to talk to us. It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. We know a little bit about you – we know you are Australian, you left Australia to pursue you music and acting career, stopped of in London and now you are in Southern California. Fill in the blanks a bit if you will…how and where did you start your career in music and acting?
CB: I started singing when I was 5 or 6. I sang in a lot of competitions and really loved being on stage. Acting came later. When I was in my last year of primary school my music teacher who was from California, Mr Mike Leaderbrand wrote a musical based on the C.S. Lewis novel ‘The Silver Chair’ and made me the star of it. I was like “Wait, I can act AND sing at the same time?, I’m in!!”. Mr Leaderbrand was a huge inspiration to me. He taught me how to read music and introduced me to a lot of great music like The Beatles and Pink Floyd. My dad was also a musician and an audio engineer so when I wasn’t at school I had my dad teaching me about decibels and country music. Yep, he insisted that if I wanted to be a good singer I needed to be able to sing country, so I had an eclectic style from a really young age.
I went to a performing arts high school and buried myself in theater. I just really had a passion for learning about different techniques and playwrights and loved the idea of becoming a different person to tell a story on stage. I wasn’t a ‘cool kid’ that’s for sure, but I truly believed that everything I was interested in was cool.
When I finished high school I moved to The East coast (Sydney) to study acting and that’s when I really started to get into songwriting. Then I auditioned for a TV show called POPSTARS. It was a making of the band type show, I made the final cut and the rest is a hop, step and a google click away
How do you describe you music – your sound?
CB: That’s always a tough question for me but I think I’d call it ’singer songwriter/pop’. If I had to do a pitch I’d probably say Sade meets Bruno Mars. Old school meets new school. I have a lot of musical influences and I think they all make an appearance in some song or another.
Tell us a bit about your journey from Australia to LA – were you performing along the way?
CB: And what a long journey it’s been!! I’ve always felt like there was more for me out in the world and I felt a little stunted in Australia- for lack of a better word. So I moved to London first, it was an easier transition seeing that there are so many Aussies in the UK, but after 8 months of cold and writing too many songs about being lonely I moved to sunny Los Angeles CA. I’d visited the states before and since I was a little girl I had dreams of one day living here so it seemed like the natural next step for me to take.
Your first CD, Simple Things…tell us about that…what inspired you to do the CD?
CB: Simple Things was my first album and a really big deal for me. Being in a place like LA, it’s easy to get swept away in all the excitement and
Scott Whyte and Chantelle Barry
opportunity, but on the flip side it’s just as easy to feel jaded and to personalize the daily rejections that this industry deals out. So one day I was sitting in my car thinking about my life and my (at the time) evident lack of money and out came the song Simple Things. People really took a liking to the song and it was the first time I’d written something that organic that didn’t come out of me asking “Ok, what do the labels wanna hear? Would this sound good on the radio?”. It resonated because it came from a real place. So a few years later I met a really talented actor/musician on a movie I was working on, by the name of Scott Whyte. He came out to see me perform one night and once he heard my music he wanted to produce an album for me. At the time he was a first time producer so it was a fun and bumpy ride for both of us. The thing about Scott is that he really got my music immediately. He wasn’t wanting to change my style or put beats to my songs- he just wanted to produce something really organic that showed the songs in their best light. And I think that’s exactly what he did.
Now Scott and I are writing partners and have a song that we wrote on hold for the new Footloose movie. Fingers crossed.
Let”s take a few minutes right now to watch your video, “Letting Go”…
We’ve mentioned the support you’ve gotten from Lionel Richie…tell us about how you came to know Lionel and a bit about the direction he has given you.
CB: I met Lionel years ago when I first moved to LA. His manger at the time was trying to sign me (and get into my pants, but that’s a whole other story) and mid meeting in walks Lionel Richie. I tried to play it cool given that he’s an absolute legend and I grew up listening to him on the radio but I think it was obvious that I was really star struck. We immediately clicked. He reminds me a lot of my dad in some ways so early on we established a fun relaxed relationship, and I always fee like he’s someone I can be myself around and really trust. He’s alway given me the most honest advice in regards to my music and he respects the fact that I’m still here pursuing my passion, and admittedly it’s really nice to have that kind of support from someone as like him. He’s a pioneer in the music business. He’s also one of the most generous people I know- when I told him that I was going to make my album Simple Things he bought me an Apple computer completely decked out with all the music programs that we’d need. We’ve talked about me opening for him one day,…that is definitely one of the most exciting prospects I can imagine.
Do you recall a special moment in your career – that memory that keeps you going even when it’s been a really bad day?
CB: When I was just out of high school I auditioned for big show and got really close on it. My mum flew to Sydney with me for the callback and when I didn’t get the part I was so disappointed, but my mum gave me a huge hug, told me how proud she was of me for getting that far and took me to see Showboat that night. I know that no matter what I always have my family and my friends and they love me no matter how successful i am. That is a constant in my life and that keeps me going for sure.
A lot of our young friends dream of going to LA and becoming a star…Be frank, tell us about what’s it’s like to be part of the LA music scene…the great, and maybe the not so great…?
CB: I always tell people to do it because you love it,..because there’s nothing else you wanna do. For me, when I wake up music’s the first thing on my mind and when I go to sleep it’s still there. There are so many ups and downs (welcome to life),…I get a lot of joy from performing live because I know that my music is reaching people immediately, and I love getting letters from people telling me how they could relate to my lyrics or how one of my songs helped them through a breakup. That’s really rewarding. On the not so fun side often it feels like you’re fate is in other peoples’ hands. Waiting for someone to say “yes” , which could be the one yes that changes your entire life. But I think finding a way to say “yes!” to yourself is key. Approval has to start from within, and I’m still learning that.
You seem to have your finger in a lot of different pots. Do you get much free time to pursue other passions?
CB: I try to stay really busy. Kind of like the concept of throwing a bunch into the air and seeing what sticks, ya know. I recently performed at the NAMM conference at the Sennheier booth and received an awesome endorsement deal with themhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBGJ_dLqO0g . I couldn’t be happier, especially since this satisfies my microphone fetish As a result of that Scott and I made a cool making of video where that showcases my songwriting process from start to finish featuring Sennheiser gear. The company loved the video so much that they’re now going to put the video on their home page. Making the video was fun.
I also just became the face of a new skincare lone called KEVO Naturals (www.kevonaturals.com). I have really sensitive skin and this product is amazing. It’s made from all natural ingredients like certified organic shea butter blended with jojoba and essential oils,..and having a free life time supply isn’t a bad deal!
What’s next for you? We know you are working with Gerry Ceagle…what do you two have planned?
CB: Believe it or not I met my music manager Gerry on Facebook. (I will NEVER talk sh*#t about an online social network again!) He’s managed some really amazing artists, has an impressive career as a radio programmer for many years, and above all he’s a real fan of my music. At the moment we’re shopping to major labels. It’s been a weird time for me because I’m such a proactive person and have a difficult time not being in control of my career (ha, clearly I chose the wrong business), so I had to take a lot of my content down from websites and online stores and haven’t been pursuing the same opportunities that I usually do just because we’re waiting for labels responses. I think the biggest frustration for me is that it seems like major labels wanna find the next big ‘unique’ thing but no-one’s really willing to take the risk on someone that doesn’t sound familiar or like an artist that already on the radio. I trust Gerry though and I trust my own instincts so at this point it’s just a waiting game. Maybe I’ll try to master the art of patience in the meantime
I always have to ask my friends…who is your hero?
CB: I have a couple. Judy Garland for sure. That is a woman who took so much crap from the industry from such a young age- she wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough or whatever, and she never quit. There was something so beautifully melancholy about her and yet everytime I listen to her singing I feel so happy. What a gift.
My other hero is hands down my mother. An amazingly strong woman who didn’t have much growing up in terms of material wealth, but she has never let her circumstances define who she is. My mum is one of those rare people that lives by example. Not to mention the fact that she made every costume of mine when I performed as a kid and has done nothing but support me and every crazy idea I’ve ever had. I’m very lucky. Oh yeah, and she cooks up a storm!
Chantelle, it’s been a real pleasure chatting with you. Please know you have friends at HorizonVU Music…five stars for you and all the best of luck! Stay in touch!
Well, once again, I’m loose on the Blog. Recently, I had the good fortune to be introduced Stephanie Griffin. She’s an eighteen year old musician singer/songwriter from the U.S. (Connecticut). A student at Quinnipiac University pursuing a major in Communications & Media Studies and minor in music, she’s been playing piano since she was eight and guitar since since was thirteen. She started writing songs at the age of twelve.
It’s clear that her true passion is music and a music industry career. Over and above Stephanie’s talent as folk, folk-rock artist, she’s sends of the off the kind of electricity you like to feel from young artists with talent, head on shoulders and energy to deliver.
Hi Stephanie! Thanks for taking time out to talk with us. We’ve given you a bit of an introduction. Is there anything I missed?
SG: No problem, Phil. I think you picked up on the main points. I am orginally from Hamden, Connecticut. I moved to Wallingford, Connecticut [about twenty minutes away] when I was ten. I seem to have always had an interest for music since I could talk. I remember singing all the time and even dancing to Motown music around my house. Whenever my teachers from elementary school would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded with the clever response: a singer. Yet, once I started songwriting, I thought I would like to song-write as a career as well.
From Motown to acoustic - that’s a journey! Tell us a bit about your musical development. Formal training, your current view toward your development and what you really would like to do in music.
SG: The only real formal training I had with voice was through middle school and high school in my chorus classes. I regret not being able to have formal lessons with my voice, yet, I’ve learned many important skills singing through school. For example, I have learned the importance of diaphragmatic breathing, pronunciation, and singing in a higher voice. When it came to guitar, I took lessons over a summer learning the basics of a guitar, like how to hold it, strum, finger-pick, etc. As for the future, I would like to go into the music industry as a music journalist or find a career in radio or music production. I would like to song-write as a career as well.
Tell us about your major influences…where did your interest in music start and what made you Stephanie?
SG: My first major influence when it came to my passion for music was my mother. I remember her always playing the piano, guitar, and singingto me. In a way, she was a big inspiration for my musical traits. Other influences include Taylor Swift, Hayley Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Mariah Carey. All of whom have unique voices and styles that I have tried to incorporate into my own musical style.
We’ve all had our good days and bad days in the music business…putting the tough days aside, what do you consider to be the high point along your career path?
SG: The best moment in my musical path so far has been picking up the guitar and starting to write music. Whenever I’m going through something in my life, I could most likely get a song out of it. Song writing has been my way to express myself and my emotions. I know it will be something I don’t give up as a musician.
You have performed many songs…your favorite? Which video do you consider to be your best so far – the one you most want our readers to hear and see.
SG: I have performed many covers and originally pieces. My favorites include anything by Taylor Swift or Sugarland. I suggest the readers to check out my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/stephii17xo to view videos from when I was at least fifteen to now. The video I recorded recently is just a rough recording of my original song “Erased”. The song is about a break up, where one person pretty much erases every memory of the other person. Towards the end of the song, the other person pretty much redeems themselves and learns to be okay after the separation. “Erased” is also one of my favorite original songs to date.
Very cool! Let’s take a time out to watch the video…”Erased”
Great! thanks for sharing your work work with us. Before we let you go, I want to back up and “return to the future”. We covered off on your interests in being a singer/songwriter, but we know you azre culivating other interests as well such as being in the industry in the industry as a music journalist or even finding a career in radio or music production. Sum it all up for us. What’s ahead for Stephanie?
SG: My dream has always been to perform. Yet, being realistic, I believe I can find as much success being behind the scenes of future music. I’m very interested in working in the music and focusing on production and songwriting. In the career of music journalism, I could also focus on promoting future musicians and writing about them. I am confident though that my major and minor will prepare me well enough for a career in the music industry. I always want to keep music in my life and want to follow a career that I will enjoy every day.
Stephanie Griffin, thank you again. We wish you the best of luck going forward and hope you’ll keep us in mind here at HorizonVU Music!!!
It was last June that we first posted a review of Kacey Cubero’s new CD, Fill Your Cup http://www.kaceycubero.com. The self written and produced album was mixed in Nashville by the Grammy award-winning David Z (Prince, Etta James and Jonny Lang). There’s a little bit of everything: the raw rocking anthems I Want More, It’s Alright, and Reserve the Right; a bucolic Old Cadillac; the folksy Feather in the Wind; organic, soulful ballads, What if I Really Love You and Whatcha Gonna Do; the bluesy Set You Free; the evocative steaminess of Under My Skin; the bluegrass tinge of Two Trains; the plaintive longing of Sunday Mornings; and the love letter that is the title song, Fill Your Cup. The CD hit #18 on the EURO AMERICANA CHART in August http://www.euroamericanachart.nl/0810.html.
The range and versatility of her music is evidenced by her winning the MAVRIC Independent Music Award in 2009 for Folk Song of the Year for Feather in the Wind, and for being named 2006 Artist of the Year by the Santa Barbara Blues Society—the oldest blues society in the U.S.—and representing them in the International Blues Competition in Memphis.
Now Kacey’s on her way to Europe, so note the following dates: