Tag Archive: New York

Dirty Hit

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New York guitarists-singers Dan Lardner and Alex Niemetz have released their 10-track album, which opens with one rockin’ track “Rodeo” (released last year as a single) and closes with the exceptionally well-crafted “Salvation”. Great male/female vocals combine with solid instrumental performances to deliver often brilliant compositions/lyrics. Though the recording was actually done in London with London with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, the duo (or foursome seen live) really is New Yorker and there are most certainly some “Lou Reed” flashbacks to be heard. “Dress/Undress” is our selected favorite track for all of the above reasons with emphasis on the finely executed vocals. Besides, it does bring to mind day-in/out life in The Big Apple”.

“You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back.” Heather Boo, Beau

On 1 April, HorizonVU Music’s Phil Cartwright met up in Paris with Beau – Heather Boo and Emma Rose – for an informal conversation about the duo’s background, development and points-of-view toward music and expression. Many thanks to Viviane Bres, Kitsuné Records, for making the meet-up possible.

HVMU: This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit with Emma Rose and Heather Boo – together known as Beau. It’s a real pleasure for HorizonVU Music to have the chance to hear your live performance and meet you for a visit today. We can talk a bit about your background, what’s been going on with Beau and talk a bit about the future.

We’ve done our homework reading your profile and interviews that you have done (The Village Voice and Numéro, for example). We understand that you are from New York City, you met through family connections and you have been friends for a long time. You are basically self-taught as far as your musical background is concerned which is quite incredible. Developing on your own is quite amazing.
Can you tell us a bit of the backstory? We have a following of young female emerging musicians and they like to hear from success stories. Surely, you didn’t decide just to have a band one day and all of a sudden you had a manager, a label and went on tour. Can you tell us how your story evolved?

Beau2HB: Well, we were always writing music. We started writing songs. This was after we knew how to play the guitar. This is before I started singing. I thought I was going to be a guitar player. We were writing songs, we got inspired by other musicians who are songwriters and we just knew that is what we wanted to do. We started writing and playing guitar together and that’s when things came full-circle. We realized that we have a lot to say. Not only that, but were not going to be self-conscious and be held back. We were going to write, write, write and produce until we thought we had something we felt good about. We made a lot of music. We recorded music on our iPhone and someone heard it.

I started singing and Emma started playing the guitar heavily. She got really involved. She started when she was twelve years old. She just grew. I started singing and became more confident. There’s a thing about music. You do not need to take lessons. You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back. We are human beings in a society where we have been chanting and singing melodies for years, so that is natural.

So, a friend of a friend heard our music and introduced us to the head of our record label. He popped the question whether or not we had a record label and whether we would like one. We said “yes”.

HVUM: That’s fabulous; a great story. When you look back from where you re today and thinking about people that are starting out, were there any real bumps in the road that you hit and you haven’t forgotten them? How did you get over the bumps?

ER: There are bumps in every road. I don’t think it was one big thing that happened. It was a bunch of little things that happened
Beau3 all the time. That’s where the magic happens, too.

I think the attacks in Paris were really crazy for us. We were on tour in Europe at the time. We were in The Hague at the time. We had the day off the day after the attacks. We started asking ourselves what we should do. That’s one time we questioned whether or not we should take a break. It was scary and it first seemed like musicians were targeted, but of course, it was everyone. That was a big eye-opening event for us in the world. Other than that no real problems.

HVUM: That’s great. So far, so, good. One thing that we’ve noted about your music is that you have a very cool eclectic sound. As we listen to the album we hear rock, folk/rock, a little blues, folk, and some punk and even some jazz. The punk came through more in your live performance last night than it does on the album. The album is beautiful. There is some more “mellow” sounding music. Many musicians have a hard time being eclectic. They hit on a genre and stay with it. They never get outside the borders. How did you pull it off?

ER: We never thought about it. That’s how we pulled it off. When you start thinking about things, nitpicking and judging your music that’s when it all goes wrong.

HB: We are inspired by a lot of people growing up in New York. Every day we wanted to write. I feel like performance-wise making a genre for a band can be a big mistake. Either the band makes the genre or the people make the genre. If the band makes the genre they stick to one thing. If the people make the genre they need to put a label on each song.

BeauOur style and the style of our producer shows through on our Beau album. This gives the album a more specific genre than the live performance, but each song is so different that it should be put under its own genre like “open” or “worldly” or “confusing”. What makes a really good performance is the range a person can give to the audience. You’re expressing yourself. You are expressing the truth of the song, the emotion of the song. You have to be honest with the song and if you are honest each song will be different.

ER: On our set list we also try to put different kinds of songs.

HVUM: You mix it up very well. Can you help us tie together the title, ”That Thing Reality” with the tracks.

HB: Since all of the songs are so different, “That Thing Reality “ is a really good title. For me it felt right. Emma came up with the title and I felt very comfortable with it.

HVUM: What’s the story behind “Animal Kingdom”?

HB: It’s a funny story. Originally we didn’t know what to do with it. It sounded great; great melody, great hook. We weren’t sure if we wanted to talk about the relationship between man and beast or politics…

We had a crazy drummer and we produced a different version of it. It was crazy pop-punk. We all struggled with it. Writing with three people s difficult. We decided to put it on the album. Emma came with final lyrics that were solidified. Emma put it together. It was almost like a book; so detailed. We still didn’t feel comfortable. In the studio it was the last song we worked.

ER: It’s fun to play live.

HVUM: We’ve posted the video and it gets a positive response. Keep it up! Other than music, what do you do for fun?

Beau Photo Credit: Amber Byrne Mahoney Photography

Photo Credit: Amber Byrne Mahoney Photography

ER: Walk a lot.

HB: We like to walk and write and draw. In New York anything can happen; a naked guy walking down the street and somebody gives him a pair of socks and a shirt.

ER: I like Chinatown.

HB: We never get tired of New York. It’s always changing. No store stays there for more than five years. It still feels like home.

ER: And we have ridiculously creative and talented friends from New York. Sometimes I’ll call one of them. If they’re in a move I’m with them just because they’re so “out there”.

HVUM: Thanks for your time and we hope you’ll keep us up to date. Hopefully you’ll come back to Paris and have a night to yourself so you can play all twelve tracks. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and we wish you all the best!

Visit Beau on Facebook and Twitter

That Thing Reality
Kitsuné / RED Music Solutions

Debut album from the NYC-Greenwich Village duo of Heather Golden and Emma Rose. Shades of ’60s folk and ’70s punk.

Visit Beau at Facebook and iTunes


What’s The Buzz ?

Katie Garibaldi Follows Her Heart To A New York Tour And Debut Show At Rockwood Music Hall!

If “heart follower” could be used to describe a career title, Katie Garibaldi would be called just that. Refusing to be labeled as a singer/songwriter in a one-trick box, Garibaldi’s musical genre teeter-totters between country and pop-esque elements, all the while keeping her modern folk roots with true to the gut lyrics, strong melodies, delicate and soul-filled birdsong vocals, and her driving steel string guitar’s finger-picking and syncopated rhythmic styles.

She picked up a guitar at age 11, unaware of how much it would awaken her deep-rooted purpose, wrote her first song that very day, and has been devoted to a life of music ever since. A DIY independent artist from the get-go, Katie Garibaldi has built her career from the ground up. Now, two decades later, with her seventh full-length album, Follow Your Heart, newly released, an endorsement deal with Breedlove Stringed Instruments, who worked with her to build her a custom Master Class guitar, several songwriting awards on her mantel, and recent rave reviews from Guitar Player magazine, who called her “a gifted songwriter with a gorgeous voice,” this Americana songstress has proven to be an artist with staying power.

Based in the golden city of San Francisco, this determined and enthusiastic singer/songwriter/guitarist is an avid national touring performer who has acquired a devoted fan base, due in large part to her engaging live shows, and personal katiegaribaldi_photo_gal__photo_392328942_lrconnection to her listeners through her music. She sings with an emotional nearness that, in combination with her melodic and catchy songs and her soulful and expressive vocals, captures her audience wherever she performs. Her new album, Follow Your Heart, which was recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Recording Studios in San Francisco, CA, and engineered by Ian Pellicci, features some of the writer’s most personal songs, includes performances by notable musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Max Butler and the Magik*Magik Orchestra, and spreads her message loud and clear of the importance of listening to the voice inside one’s heart.

A regular name along the California and West Coast, as well as frequent visits to musically ablaze cities like Austin, TX and Nashville, TN, Katie Garibaldi is following her heart’s compass this summer to the East Coast for her first ever New York tour, including a debut performance at the highly esteemed venue Rockwood Music Hall on June 29, 2015.

Katie Garibaldi Current New York Tour Dates:
Wednesday, June 24 – Silvana
Thursday, June 25 – Map Room at The Bowery Electric
Saturday, June 27 – Muchmore’s
Sunday, June 28 – The Parkside Lounge
Monday, June 29 – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1
Tuesday, June 30 – American Trash

All shows are free to the public.

“Not all those who wander are lost,” according to poet J.R.R. Tolkien, which can certainly be said about musical troubadour Katie Garibaldi. In an industry full of critics and naysayers, Garibaldi has stayed true to herself as an artist and songwriter throughout her fruitful career, and has demonstrated that as long as she follows her heart, she will always be exactly where she needs to be.

See Katie Garibaldi live on her first New York tour this June 2015, featuring a special debut performance at Rockwood Music Hall on Monday, June 29th at 6:00 PM on Stage 1.
Rockwood Music Hall is located at 196 Allen Street in New York, NY. This show is free and 21+.

For more information and tour dates, visit www.katiegaribaldi.com.

Chetti is a pop-soul singer and songwriter based in NY. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Chetti’s music reflects her upbringing, her values as a person and an artist, and of course, her hometown. She recently released her debut EP “In The City.”

Chetti: Our Responsibility As Artists

Things have changed so much for women in the music industry over the years. A business that was once dominated by a male force has now become a business in which there is a balance of power. Some of the highest paid entertainers are women and many have broken the mold even further by becoming female rappers.

As a female pop artist, I feel we have to keep in mind that we are making music for the masses, and that being said, we are molding the minds of so many. Not very many female artists are considering that young people are listening to their music and mimicking their every move. For that, I feel that female artists should really take into account how their own actions may translate to a person that might not have enough experience or knowledge to make the right decisions for him or herself.

I think Taylor Swift is doing a beautiful job of this. She’s been super creative and artistic and she talks about adult subject matter in a classy way. She’s an artist for all ears, and that’s huge for women. It’s easy to fall into the groove of being overtly sexual, mainly because it corrals easy attention. Disclaimer: I am not mother Mary. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being sexy, but I do think everything is best in moderation.

I feel that it’s our responsibility to promote being the best versions of ourselves we can be – to encourage women to continuously better themselves, to learn, to experience, to dream, to adventure, to love and to always remember that we can be as many things as we please. We are limitless. That is what I feel will bring about longevity and respect and inspire people who listen to our music.

I want to be the type of woman and artist that mothers encourage their daughters to look up to and their sons to marry, and from there set an example for the women that will come after me. I believe the presence of women in music should represent an indistinguishable force, one of complete substance. We have an immense power and we need to apply as much positivity and light as we can – we hold the future in our hands.

Visit Chetti at


Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor is Director Industry and Artist Relations, HorizonVU Music. Tony has been involved with the music scene internationally since his teenage years. He has written for several music publications, most notably the Country Rock and American Lifestyle magazine, Dreamwest, for which he spent five years as the International Artistic Director. His ambition now is to help to bring together the Music, Film, and Fashion scenes in order to spread the message about the dangers of Climate Change.

Patricia Vonne

Patricia Vonne

Patricia Vonne is an American singer and actress. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Vonne, moved to New York City 1990-2001 to pursue her artistic ambitions. She has worked extensively in Europe and America and has been featured in international commercials and film work. She formed her own musical band and performed the New York circuit from 1998-2001 before relocating to her native Texas where she currently tours extensively in US, Mexico and Europe. She toured as a member of Tito and Tarantula in 2002 (band featured in the film “From Dusk Till Dawn”). Her song, “Traeme Paz”, was featured in the film “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”.

Her most recent album, “Rattle My Cage” is a collaboration on songs with some of the most distinguished Texas musicians that have inspired and informed her music; the late Doyle Bramhall, Alejandro Escovedo, Rosie Flores and Johnny Reno alongside some of her other favorite musical talents.

TT: What was it like to grow up in San Antonio in a multilingual/multicultural household, where music and movies became the backbeat for you and your siblings?

PV: It was a nurturing environment in that my parents always encouraged music and the arts in the home. My dad was a drummer in college and a travelling salesman. My mother was a nurse and a home maker. They sacrificed everything for us and put us all through private school. For special occasions they would invite the Mariachi’s to our house which gave us a taste of our musical heritage. My mother would play Spanish guitar and have us sing and harmonize on her favorite Mexican folksongs. This childhood memory inspired all my albums to be bilingual because it’s who I am and I’m proud to be Latina…plus she taught me how to play castanets! My mother would also take us to the movies every week to watch MGM Musicals and Hitchcock double features as well which inspired a love for film. Since there was always an infant, we would sneak in a diaper bag stuffed with hotdogs, hamburgers and soda pop for the ultimate movie experience! hahaha!

TT: You have produced some great albums in your career, but many critics agree that your current album, “Rattle My Cage”, is the best to date. Can you describe the circumstances that led up to the recording of this great album?

PV: I had co-written the title track with Johnny Reno who also plays my leading man in the music video! It was filmed during the hot rod fest in Austin, Texas. I was then on tour in Germany with Del Castillo and the lead singer Alex Ruiz and I started to write “Tequileros” after the show about my grandfather. While on tour I started writing “Dark Mile” and I sent a version of the song from Zurich Switzerland to Doyle Bramhall in Alpine Texas. When I returned from tour we completed it together. “Ravage Your Heart” was also being written on the same tour and I strongly felt Alejandro Escovedo attached to the melody and the mood of the song. I presented it to him once I returned and he agreed to write it with me. While in Paris recording a TV performance, Rosie Flores sent me the rockin’ title to “This Cat’s in the Doghouse” and I began writing it on the spot. We had two days off in Holland so I recorded a demo for “Que Maravilla”. These were the songs I had to get started on the full length album. It was my European tour that allowed me the freedom to pen these songs and to be inspired to write them with these amazing song writers.Vonne_HiRes 2

TT: Listening to the 10 tracks in the album, it feels that not only do the lyrics tell stories, but, that many of the songs could form the basis for movies in their own right. When you create a track, do you vision its lyrics and music as if it were a film scene?

PV: I have to credit my musicians for the epic sound. Robert LaRoche on lead guitar, Scott Garber on bass, Dony Wynn on drums, David Perales on violin. Guest musicians are Rick Del Castillo on Spanish guitar & Alex Ruiz on vocals on “Tequileros”, Joe Reyes on lead guitar for “Dulce Refugio” and “Paris Trance”, Michael Ramos on keys for “Ravage Your Heart”, Carl Thiel on piano on “Bitter Need” & “Que Maravilla” and Johnny Reno on sax and Ian McClagan on piano for “This Cat’s in the Doghouse”. I always try to start with a song title and it seems to write itself. I usually like to start with music first then lyrics to paint the canvas… but my musicians are tremendously responsible for the ultimate result and I am extremely fortunate.

TT: With the album, “Rattle My Cage”, you have included some amazing collaborations with folks such as Peter Kingsbery, Rosie Flores, and your brother Robert Rodriguez, to name but a few. Did you find that each of these artists had a very different approach to the creative process of making a song come to life?

PV: Yes. Rosie brought me that incredible title of “This Cat’s in the Doghouse”. I used her as a muse for the music which is spitfire and a bit cowpunk rockabilly-esq and we wrote it fast as fire. Thanks to you Tony, I found Peter Kingsbery! We tracked him down in France thanks to your help in finding his manager. He went to college in Austin and grew up there and he’s one of my favorite songwriters. I sent a request that I would love to write a song with him and in 24 hours we were in contact with each other. He was scheduled to fly to Austin, Texas the very next week to visit family so we met on his last day. What were the chances of THAT?? I sent him a demo which was initially a rock version and in five days he sent me lyrics to the entire song and an added B verse with just his piano and vocal track. I used every word of his contribution and I replicated his sparse piano and vocal style to keep it faithful to his vision and it sounds so heart breaking. I recorded a rock version as a bonus track on ITUNES. My brother Robert had given me a Stevie Ray Vaughan signature Stratocaster for my birthday and for this album I decided to write an instrumental with him on the very guitar he gave me. This turned out to be “Mexicali de Chispa” the final track and I play the lead guitar on the recording to let my fans know it’s never too late to learn a new instrument!

TT: Although I love all the tracks on the album, I have to admit to being completely blown away by “Rattle My Cage”, “Dark Mile”, “Ravage your heart”, and “Tequileros”. What was the inspiration for these tracks in particular?

PV: “Rattle My Cage” was a full blown rock anthem about steel metal cruisers and mad love running you down like a high speed chase! Reno was the perfect collaborator because he rattles all kinds of cages! haha. “Dark Mile” I used Doyle Bramhall as my muse for the pulsating music and since he was a drummer I wanted the drums to sound powerful and epic. He was a beautiful kind soul. “Ravage Your Heart” I felt Alejandro Escovedo would be perfect collaborator for this romantic tune with the melody and dynamics. We met during his two hour break between a radio show and his performance that night and completed the song. I was so grateful! “Tequileros” was written for my grandfather Valentin Rodriguez. He was a ranchero, curandero, carnicero and a tequilero! He loved to make his own moonshine much to my grandmother’s chagrin so hence the title! It’s a fun sing along!

TT: We have a clip we’d like to share with or readers. Patricia Vonne and “Rattle My Cage” live at Antone’s in Austin, Texas!

TT: As HorizonVU Music is based in Paris, we couldn’t overlook that dreamy French gypsy rhythm that’s found in Paris Trance. Would you say you have a special place in your heart for the French capital?

PV: OUI!!! I love the film “AMERICAN in PARIS” and when I was on tour with Tito and Tarantula, our opening night was in PARIS, FRANCE and I’ve been aching to return. It’s a magical city that fuels my imagination and makes me believe in true romance and ardent love.

TT: Besides writing music for the films of your brother Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, you are also a dab hand at acting and have had roles in the films, Sin City, and Machete Kills, and play the character of “Zorro Girl” in the recently released, Sin City 2 : A Dame To Kill For. How do you manage to juggle the two worlds of music and film and still find time for a private life?

PV: I’m also a rock ‘n’ roll Realtor in Austin, Texas so I feel like I am three people sometimes. But in order to do music and pursue the arts I know it takes hard work to finance everything and I don’t like waiting for investors…so I work twice as hard to forge ahead and do what it takes to get to the next level and to make the next project. My parents have a strong work ethic and they taught me well. Last year I was one of the top salespeople at my realty firm and I was able to go on my spring tour which included the Montreux Jazz Festival, a fall tour and my “Rattle My Cage” CD Release. I felt like Zorro Girl by the end of the year!

TT: Can you share with us your plans for 2015?

PV: I’ll be returning for a European Spring tour and working on a summer tour as well. I’d like to make more music videos, write short stories, do more animation, write more instrumentals, visit friends and family and enjoy each day as if it were my last

TT: Patricia, thanks so very much for your time. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you and we and we hope that you’ll let all of us at HorizonVU Music know when you’re next in Paris.

Visit Patricia Vonne at http://www.patriciavonne.com/

What’s The Buzz ?

The Met’s spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, examines punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today. Featuring approximately one hundred designs for men and women, the exhibition will include original punk garments and recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” the seven galleries will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Themes will include New York and London, which will tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by Clothes for Heroes and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic—Hardware, Bricolage, Graffiti and Agitprop, and Destroy.

Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.

The exhibition is made possible by Moda Operandi.
Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.

Find out more at http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/punk and read Robert Smith’s New York Times review.

What’s The Buzz ?

Hey Anna, a blossoming New York-area based band, brings you the salty shores of the coasts and the fast-paced excitement of the city. The band came to life when 3 sisters–who’ve been making music together since since before they could eat solid food–met up with two long-time best friends in an overheated 8 by 8 practice room in Newark, NJ. The result: a mixture of intimate vocal harmonies perched atop poppy melodies that meet soaring,atmospheric alt rock.Along with their favorite shirts, the sisters swap lead vocals and instruments, with Anna and Erin Rauch-Sasseen on keyboards/rhythm guitar and Katie on the bass. Completing the band on lead guitar and drums, Andrew Smolin and Matthew Langner energize the outfit with their enduring hooks, restless drive and intricate, foot-stomping rhythms.”The live show makes you want to dance and hug a stranger; usually both at the same time.”

Visit Hey Anna at

Break Through Radio- http://blip.tv/btrlivestudio/hey-anna-btr-live-studio-ep198-6537647

Bandcamp http://heyanna.bandcamp.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heyannamusic
Twitter https://twitter.com/heyannamusic

Nikolitsa Boutieros

Nikolitsa Boutieros

Nikolitsa & The Comrades deliver on a promise of high voltage alternative, grunge, post-punk, and industrial rock. If the description, a blending sub-genres, doesn’t catch on at this point, we can only suggest taking time to listen for yourself.

The group’s leader, Nikolitsa Boutieros, is a multi-media artist from New York City. She’s an acclaimed photographer (who’s work has appeared in Spin , TimeOut and various galleries). Nikolitsa has risen above her early life challenges to divert raw experiences towards the passion in her music, and the mysticism of her application to the arts. She has blossomed into one of New York’s major rising talents!

Her music reflects her artistry in offering up an opportunity to indulge one’s senses giving rise to the feeling of being caught in a pleasure ridden undertow. The music can be harsh, but smooth at the same time, and fortunately, unlike some other bands cutting across the genres – the lyrics are not lost.

“Under The Moon” the album by Nikolitsa Boutieros was released Oct 9, 2012 on the CD Baby label. On the album, Nikolitsa is joined by Brett Hestla. The album was recorded at Brett Hestla Productions. It took over three years to craft her recording, “Under the Moon.” Creating the record was both a welcomed personal struggle to continue growing as an artist, and a joy to see through to it’s completion.

During the the time that the album was being produced, Nikolitsa found like-minded spirits with etymological hearts and they began playing live shows around New York calling themselves the Comrades. The Comrades are: 17 year-old guitarist Tori Knops who weaves the beautiful melodic stories together, rock-wizardbassist David Schwab who creates a soulful driving groove and Tony Nugent on drums who keeps the trio positioned on the track.

In Nikolitsa’s own words, “”My main focus is to capture the truest essence of my material with
honesty, integrity and heart.” We spent most of our time submerging ourselves in Nikolista & The Commrades on YouTube and we recommend “In My Head”.

Visit Nikolitsa & The Comrades at http://www.nikolitsa.com/ and on Facebook.

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.

Natalie Gelman Photo Credit: Brent Florena

Natalie Gelman Photo Credit: Brent Florence

Hi, Natalie. Thanks so much for taking time out to join us. You have quite a colorful and exciting past, is there anything we missed in the introduction that you’d like to add – something else we should know?

NG: Thank you. I think you touched on it all. I loved growing up in NYC and both my parents were artists, so I was raised with a lot of music and art around me both creating and appreciating it. I also think busking and the process of going down to the subway for years over and over again really shaped me as a musician and how I communicate on stage.

I love the tradition of street performers and troubadours, but I actually really fell into it because I was dying to perform but wasn’t old enough to play most of the venues in NYC because they were bars.

Tell us a little more about life in the West Village. Do you have a special memory of those early days you can recall for us?

NG: It was just a wonderful and enchanted part of the city. Maybe some of my opinion is because I was a child at the time, but I think it’s changed a

Photo Credit: Chris Zedano

Photo Credit: Chris Zedano

lot recently and that’s a big part of what inspired Streetlamp Musician. It was one of Manhattan’s little neighborhoods but it felt very free and had so much character.

I was pretty free to do my own thing and entertain myself growing up. I would climb trees, hide in them and then whisper from the tree to people walking by who would laugh, I took a lot of walks with my mom and sister and we would see prostitutes hanging out of windows from a building on 14th street trying to seduce potential customers – that’s now a posh restaurant. It was just a wild place where no one was trying to be something they weren’t but they still were passionate at creating a beautiful life and beautiful art.

In addition to your current work, you’ve shown quite a range of ability in the past – opera to rock. How did you come to music, and in particular, acoustic folk? Tell us a bit about your journey.

NG: Well I always loved singing and music. I started out singing what I was watching in the movies, lots of songs from Disney and then some musical theater songs. I ended up getting into the High School of Performing Arts in NYC (the FAME school) and there I was able to study more classical music as a way to build good technique. I think that’s a great way to start and I ended up in college studying opera having just picked up the guitar before I left for school.

Having been raised around classical music it took me a while to realize that I had actually been a songwriter of sorts. Growing up, I used to compose on the piano and make up songs a capella. When I got to college I started writing as a way of coping with the changes in my life. I was listening to a lot of Jewel’s “Pieces of You” album and that definitely shaped my sound when I was starting to write.

Now I surround myself with a lot of music from friends and artists slightly off the beaten path and I’m definitely continually inspired by their work.

Let’s talk about your first album, “Natalie Gelman”. Standout songs include “Rest of the Way”, Sweet July” and “Always Was”. Can you tell us what was behind that work?

Photo Credit: Craig ONeal

Photo Credit: Craig O'Neal

NG: Most of the record is about my first big relationship and breakup. My favorite song on there is actually “Never Had You”. It surprised us in the studio because it wasn’t one we were expecting to be great, but I think sometimes the simplest ones are.

As far as the recording, I was lucky that a friend asked if she could record an album for me. I had already been in the studio with different people to make demo’s and an EP, but we made the decision to dive into the unknown of recording a record together. She had a few friends she brought on and then it was up to me when she was done recording to really see it through mixing/mastering and then all the logistics of creating a physical CD and having it printed and released. It was a big learning experience for me at the time.

You’ve recently released “Streetlamp Musician” http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/streetlamp-musician-ep/id559892889?ign-mpt=uo%3D4. From the get-go, this work has a lot to say about love along with disappointment, hope, perhaps frustration…It opens with “One More Thing” – a sharp opening drumbeat and lost or broken love. There seems to be hope in “Long Stemmed Roses”…tell us your thoughts about this latest work.

NG: I grew up a lot since I made my first album. “Streetlamp Musician” definitely deals with the deep heartbreak of love lost. It wasn’t just inspired by different important relationships in my life though. I did a lot more observing to write the record both as an artist on “Most the While” needing to make music, as someone watching people who are in a long term relationship maybe not love each other as much as you think they would on “Long Stemmed Roses” and in what is probably my favorite song to play live “Laugh So Hard You Cry” which is that balance of hope and going through the trials of life.

Does any one track strike you as particularly significant?

NG: I haven’t lived with it long enough for just one song to be significant. They all have felt significant, sometimes two or three times over at one point or another. I am really proud of the writing on them all and the feedback that it’s been getting. “Most the While” was a very hard song for me to write emotionally. I didn’t think that it would get shared with anyone but realized after playing it for a few close people how much it helped them process things themselves and that it had to be on there.

We’ve taken a liking to “Long Stemmed Roses”. Let’s have a look and listen to your studio vid released in August.

Fantastic! You travel a lot…You played out in Utah at the Sundance Film Festival…how did that come about? Good time?

NG: I try to keep playing as much as I can where people are interested in listening… and sometimes even for people who aren’t so interested too! I went to Sundance for the first time a few years ago to play at the New York Film Lounge, but I was only scheduled to play for about 15 minutes each day.

I’m always looking for new places and chances to play and after seeing some folks busking I jumped into doing that in the freezing cold and also found some other chances to play at parties. I just put myself out there and it came together little by little growing every year as I keep going back.

What I love is that your surrounded by interesting and creative people. There are so many artists there not only filmmakers and musicians but also the crowd that is drawn out to come watch the films. I always enjoy conversations with people there, I love the Q&A after a film is shows there hearing from the folks involved what they went through making it and I just leave inspired to start off my year creatively.

What’s next for Natalie? Any particular goals in mind?

NG: I want to get back on the road a lot more next year. I’ve even started looking into a European tour and getting out there finally! If that comes together it would be later in the year 2013. Right now we are gearing up to put out the record (it’s just out digitally right now) and I know I’m going to be working hard on that but I already have plenty of songs I want to put out besides what made it on to the EP so hopefully the wait for the next album will be really short too.

Okay. I usually finish interviews by asking you if you have any particular personal superheroes [and I am going to ask, but first, I have to ask…what’s the story behind the red fox SpiritHood in your “Sundance in Your Eyes” video?

Thank you for asking. That’s one of my favorite songs lately. It’s a little love song I wrote when the opportunity to play on the Sundance Channel

Photo Credit: JL Cummings

Photo Credit: JL Cummings

came up. It happened so fast because I was asked if I had a song I could change the words to be somewhat about the festival and if so maybe I could get to play it on the Sundance Channel. I thought I would have a better chance of the opportunity if I had a song about Sundance so I told them I did already and they got back to me saying could they film it the next day at 10am… It was already dinnertime on the first night of Sundance last year and I didn’t even give up my first night of seeing people and a bit of partying to write it. I had the chords, melody and some lyrics right away and was just pushed to finish it.

It was pretty magical the way it was written and then became a bit of a theme song at the festival everywhere I went. As I said earlier Sundance is somewhat the start of the year for me and has been a catalyst for change in a lot of ways in my life. I just had so much love for the event, the films and the artists that come out and put all of that into the song. I also am blessed to have an amazing man in my life that I met when at Sundance. Brent and I ended up connecting and being together and the song was very much about him and our relationship. He’s an artist as well and has a hilarious comedy out that’s about two filmmakers struggling to follow their dreams called Eagles in the Chicken Coop. You will probably see some collaboration from us in the future too.

Connecting with Spirithoods and the making of the video for Sundance in Your Eyes happened because one of the creators, Ashley Haber, is a good friend of Brent’s and had heard the little rough cut I made of the song the night I wrote it. Spirithoods happened to be at the festival in a gifting suite raising money for charity. Part of the fun of Sundance is running around meeting friends of friends and connecting with lots of creative and wonderful people. We all met up towards the end of the festival and Ashley got the idea to film the song in the snow outside the suite we were in. We did a little one take of the song with some soft snow falling down and within minutes he had posted it to Youtube. It all just came together like a lot of things do at Sundance and was amazing to watch it become a favorite song of people who have never even been to the festival. I plan on recording and releasing it soon.

Wow! Glad we asked the question…great story! And now…personal superhero?

NG: I don’t know about a superhero but I’m a fan of people who follow their heart and dreams even when it’s tough. I’m often moved by other artists work and Brent, nature and playing with life in everyway I can inspires me a lot too.

Natalie thanks so much. Getting to know you has been very interesting, and honestly, good fun. You have an interesting story to tell and it’s a pleasure for us to work with you. It’s been a real pleasure and we wish you the very best of fortune going forward. We hope to see you in Europe – hopefully a HorizonVU Music live event!

Visit Natalie at

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