ALICE MARIE

*How has music inspired you?
*Who are your musical inspirations?

*Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

My first musical memory was riding along in the backseat of my mother's
Plymouth hearing Minnie Riperton coo "Loving You," and even if I wasn't old
enough to articulate wistfulness and desire, I was able to feel that in her
voice. My kindergarten soul somehow grasped that music speaks in a
 language that's not age-restricted! And later when I was seven and having a
difficult, confusing year, Olivia Newton-John's records were a refuge for
me. Not just Grease (although that introduced me to her), but her whole
catalogue, whose lyrics I transcribed religiously and quite erroneously, I
might add! Words were obviously important to me then and they've only
 become more so.

Later on, Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, and Tori Amos would be key "mentors"
 for me  Not to say chaps like Sting, Bryan Ferry, Neil and Tim Finn, and
 Vivaldi weren't on my radar, but the women definitely called out to me and
 took me by the hand.

*Are there any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

Kate Bush's Hounds of Love is a perfect album. The haunting ambience she
sustains throughout it inspires me again and again. So much of her work was
risk-taking. I wish she'd come out of her little English cottage and wow us
with some more. Roxy Music's Avalon is another perfect album I never tire
 of listening to. And of course, Rumors can't be left out. "The Chain" and
 "Gold Dust Woman" are sexy and haunting. Can't beat that combo!

And I cannot neglect to mention books, the art form that fills my well. I
read lots of nonfiction mostly metaphysical material like Julia Cameron's
The Artist's Way and Caroline Myss' Sacred Contracts. But I also love a
 good gothic novel. I'm currently into Carol Goodman, but I remember being
 really into Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca back in eighth grade, when
 shadows are particularly seductive.

*How did you get into the music business?

I suppose once you sell your CD's and perform publicly, you're in the
business, but as an indie with a spate of past lives' I was an English
teacher, magazine editor, freelance writer, and television producer before I
recorded my "closet songs".  I remain detached from it in a healthy way.
Equilibrium, my first commercial EP, was released in 2002, but I've been
performing since I was a kid and writing songs for 13 years now. I keep a
quote from songwriter Steve Seskin near me, and I think it encompasses my
approach to the business: Get your music out into the Universe any way you
can.

*Discuss the creative or songwriting process

I think it was Ray Bradbury who compares creativity to a cat. You cannot
smother it or give it too much attention, or else it hides from you. But you
do need to hang out in the same room nonchalantly of course and make
your lap as inviting as possible. The cat will notice you and eventually
make you both (and whoever witnesses your lovefest) purr.

All creativity is about being available. Making time, carving out "white
space" in an otherwise dense schedule, keeping notebooks and recording
devices handy. Staying open during the mundane tasks. Knowing when it's
 time to take a walk. Knowing when it's time to turn off the phone, get off the
computer, and tune in to your muses. For the record, I like to think of
having a whole team of muses that can back each other up when one is on
vacation or has mono. A muse with mono can leave you hanging for a long
time!

*Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that your music can have on a person

It's pretty much impossible (and maybe even dangerous) to assess the impact
of your music on other people (specific feedback is wonderful, of course,
but only one part of the picture). I can speak for myself, though, and say
that writing and performing have changed my life many times over and healed
places I didn't know were still hurting. It comes back to that transcendent
quality I sensed back in my mother's car. Songs have a way of distilling
complicated thoughts and feelings and getting past your mental barriers to a
level where real healing can take place. And sometimes just the act itself
of sharing your art gives someone else the permission to explore their own
art, and well, that's why we're here, right?

www.alicemariesreveries.com/     CDBaby.com     www.myspace.com/

CHARLOTTE MARTIN

*How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations? --

Music is the one thing I both understand and don’t understand and that’s what keeps me interested. My musical inspirations range from Bach to The Cure to Kate Bush.

*Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Yes, especially through growing up and moving to LA

*Any meaningful CDs or songs?

Disintegration  by The Cure

*How did you get into the music business?

I moved to LA. It’s hard to get away from it here.

*Discuss the creative or songwriting process --
 
It’s different every time-I write in journals every day which are where    most of lyrics come from.

Charlotte Martin

“…Take it as it comes and take me as I am…”
“Every Time It Rains”

It was only four songs in length and built on delicate piano-based arrangements, but Charlotte Martin delivered 2003’s In Parentheses with electrifying intensity. Provocative and intimate, the EP offered a keyhole peep into her recorded diary and garnered rave reviews for its confessional storytelling, emotional resonance and mesmerizing vocal melodies. Details described her as “a seductive performer” and “a skilled lyricist who writes with surgical precision.” The New York Times and The Boston Globe praised her riveting live show, and Interview called her “an impressive newcomer” with an “unforgettable display of emotions.”

If In Parentheses served notice of Charlotte’s arrival, then the stunning new full-length record On Your Shore confirms that she’s here to stay. The album delivers on the promise of its predecessor with achingly beautiful meditations on faith, hope and love. “It’s a record about rescue and finding peace from within,” says Charlotte. “I wanted the songs to be completely honest and real, which made the writing sessions pretty intense. Staring down the darkness isn’t fun, but it’s part of the healing process.”

Behind her piano, Charlotte lays herself bare, confronting old ghosts (“Haunted”), parsing conflicted feelings for long-term love and a lust for someone new (“Madman”), and struggling to hold onto some slender sense of self (“Something Like A Hero”). On Your Shore’s emotional centerpiece is the powerfully raw title track, in which she pulls herself from the wreckage of a failed relationship (“When I was melting in your hand you didn’t understand/You slip through me like grains of sand you still don’t understand/Overboard I’m thrown out to see what you are and what I mean to me”).

Among the album’s many highlights are rapturous lead single “Every Time It Rains,” which Charlotte describes as a song about “lying on the couch and wanting the world to go away but finding the voice inside that tells you to shut up, get off your butt and be thankful for what you have,” and the big, tom-tom-drums-driven “Limits Of My Love.” “That’s probably the most upbeat track on the record,” she says. “It’s a happy and hopeful declaration of love.”

The warmth and clarity of Charlotte’s sumptuous vocals match the emotional complexity of her lyrics, alternately rising and falling with passages about love and fear, longing and regret, joy and rage. She’s defiant in “Steel,” lonely in “Your Armor” and soars over the supple grooves of “Up All Night.” The musical backing-most of which was recorded live and features bassist Justin Meldal (Beck, Macy Gray) and drummer Joey Waronker (Nelly Furtado, Air)-is deceptively simple, but equally impassioned and filled with beautiful, bittersweet melodies and creamy textures. Charlotte co-produced the album with Ken Andrews (Pete Yorn, Year of the Rabbit). “In the studio, I’m usually in one of two modes: Either I’m very self-deprecating and think that everything I do sucks, or I think everything I do is right and all your suggestions suck,” she laughs. “Somehow, Ken manages to make it all work and keep me challenged at the same time. He’s pretty amazing.”

On the surface, On Your Shore is catchy and compelling and swims in lush, piano-drenched balladry. But those who remember how to really listen to an album will also discover an artist determined to broaden her range by digging deeper. By taking a fearless and open-hearted approach to songwriting, Charlotte transforms the personal to the universal, making On Your Shore a shared and moving catharsis.

A classically trained vocalist since the age of seven, Charlotte originally planned for a career in opera before going to college and discovering the Cure, Joy Division, Kate Bush and Depeche Mode. “I got into all that stuff really late because I’d been focused on an entirely different style of music,” she says. “I was in choirs and doing two operas a year. Then I heard Disintegration by the Cure and it was like a whole new world opened up.”

Over the course of the past few years, Charlotte’s paid labor-intensive dues on the Los Angeles club circuit, garnering a loyal local following among fans and critics alike. She hit the mainstream last year with In Parentheses and supported the EP with tours opening for Howie Day and Damien Rice.

Picking up where its predecessor left off, On Your Shore is the sound of an artist mining new emotional territory and making music on her own terms.

“We’ve all experienced loss and pain and abuse and neglect and rejection and been spit on and made fun of because of what we look like and who we are,” says Charlotte. “I want this record to give voice to those people and let them know that they’re not alone. I had some very specific things I wanted to say on this record. It isn’t background music.”
www.charlottemartin.com   www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlotte

MONICA SCHROEDER

* How has music inspired you?

Great songs inspire me to think differently about my life or the world
around me. Sometimes it's a song that I've heard so many times and then
suddenly something in it hits me. It’s beautiful to be inspired by someone
else's thoughts or words and realize that you're not the only one that
thinks a certain way.

 * Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

I know that writing has helped me to work through difficult experiences and trying periods in my life. I wrote the songs on my first album after the
death of someone close to me and I was able to work through my grief in this way.

*How did you get into the music business?

I had always wanted to be a singer and performer, but I just thought that it was too far out of my reach. I'm from a small town in Canada and that dream always seemed too big for me. But I guess I just carried it with me for so long that I couldn't ignore it anymore and I started looking into what it would take to record an album. Then I started booking gigs - It just started growing from there. It has actually, taken alot of work.

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

The theme of a song comes first, either through a phrase or melody and then I fit the lyrics and song structure into what I started with. I always know what I want the song to be about, and then I play around with the lyrics and the melody until it feels right to me.

 * Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects
 that music can have on a person --

Music can be such a personal and intimate experience - sometimes you feel that a song was written just for you or about you. And I love that. That's what allows music to enter us and change our thoughts and the direction of our lives.

www.monicaschroeder.com   www.cdbaby.com/cd/monicas2

MATT BENOIST

* How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations? --

Hearing another musician's song and knowing that they pulled those feelings out of your head by the way they have said something. It challenges and inspires me to write everything with as much emotion and not settle on even one line in the song that doesn't mean something to me. I think the best feeling in the world is when you have written a song and you can't stop playing it. You play it 500 times in a row and still like it as much as you did the first time. You want to play it for anyone that will listen. That one moment alone inspires me until I can write something that makes me feel that way again.

* Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

One of the tracks on my album was written shortlty after a friend passed away and I never got the chance to tell her how I felt about her. I wanted to tell her that I had a crush on her, but I was always too scared to tell her. That song definitely gave me an avenue to help me deal with my feelings. It was one of the first songs that I have written that is still around, but I knew it had to be included for her.

* Any CDs or songs that are meaningful for you?

Not to jump on the bandwagon, but I am a John Mayer fan and have been for a while. His first album, Room for Squares, was so introspective that it is hard not to relate. As cheesy as this may sound, his first album is my bar for lyric writing. Dave Matthews was a huge reason I picked up the guitar in the first place. Being a drummer, I really liked his percussive style and rhythm. I love Coldplay for their stage presence and drive. If I had to pick a few songs, they would be "Why Georgia" by John Mayer (I ask myself why Chicago everyday) and "Seek Up" by Dave (I think we could all be more compassionate).

* How did you get into the music business?

I used to play my originals whenever anyone would ask and more people started telling me that they would listen to them if I ever recorded them. Then one night my best friend and I were coming back from Chicago and he told me he would rather hear my music than most of what was on the radio, and that I was cheating myself by not pursuing it. So I started playing at open mics wherever I could and paid for some studio time to lay down my debut album, "i wrote this letter." The rest just seemed like the next step.

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

I always write the guitar/piano part first and then follow with the lyrics. I just ask myself what the music makes me feel like and I try to paint a picture in my head. I always carry a piece of paper and I pen around with me because I will get an idea for a song just about anywhere. I am definitely a concept writer in that the song has to have a direction to go in or I get lost. Some songs take five minutes to write and some songs have taken me years. I still have my next album in guitar/piano music done that I am waiting for lyrics on in my head. I don't want to rush it because I know that the lyrics will be right when they come. I owe the music that much.

* Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person --

Music makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. I know that it is the one thing for me right mow that I can count on to make any bad day better. All I need is my Taylor guitar and a little time......
 
 www.mattbenoist.com   www.cdbaby.com/cd/benoist

ANDREA KLAS

  • * How has music inspired you?  Your musical inspirations? --

    Music has always been a part of my life. My Mom started singing to me very early on and I was harmonizing with her at 3 yrs of age. I was brought up in a very diverse musical family where my Mom listened to Opera, my Dad listened to country and my two older siblings listened f to everything from heavy metal to light rock.

    I was in my first Musical theatre production at the age of 12 and then I started my own band at 18. So I guess you could say that I have been inspired by many different genres. I love all types of music and I think this is reflected in all the songs I have written. ORION , my debut album, has an array of influences in the songs and I think the type of fan that enjoys my album will appreciate that all the songs are NOT the same.

    I can truly say that I am inspired by many different genres as well. I love great music no matter what the genre . A song or band that the speaks to my soul are the ones that inspire me to write more songs.

    * Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

    Music has always been the one constant thread through any time of my life. I would have to say that the most difficult time in my life was when my parents got divorced . I was just out of high school and trying to find my way. They both moved out of the house, my Mom went to Toronto and my Dad moved to our Cottage outside Edmonton. I moved into this dinky little basement suite that I could barely afford. This was the time in my life that I had Musical Theatre and my band to give me sense of purpose . I was happy and really found myself . I became the person I am today and have written the songs I have written because of those hard times in my life. I will always have those times and thank God I had my music. When I was performing I always felt I was "Home" and I didn't need to have anything , a house or material things to be happy.

    * Any CDs or songs that are meaningful to you?

    I am listening to Coldplay and The Best Of Crowded House . At the moment , these two bands are inspiring me to write more songs

    *How did you get into the music business?

    My Mom took me to my first vocal coach at age 7. I have been in it ever since!

    * Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

    WOW that is a big question. I co-write with Adam Popowitz, my producer as well. We get together and just start playing different chords on guitar and piano and then listen to see if anything catches our attention. This can take the most time. Once we get the chord structure , I begin to sing different melody lines in and out of the chords and let it flow. We tape everything in case I am in a trance and can't recall my moments of brilliance..ha..ha. No really, all the melodies and harmonies come from my head at this point. Then we cut and paste some of my melodic ideas and come up with the melody. We end one session with a chord structure and melody . I then take the melody back to my studio and work with it until it speaks to me . I listen to the melody over and over and then the words just start to come. Then Adam and I meet again and we finalize the lyrics. That's how it goes for me !

    * Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person--

     I believe that music is the basis for all life changing experiences. If you ask people to recall an important time or life changing event like a break-up of a boyfriend or graduation or divorce they will always mention a song that reminds them of it.

    A lot of songs inspire people to be more active politically or socially or to just get up and change their situation( if it is a bad one). Music by REM or Moby has that effect on some people. Music that is gospel in nature helps those to connect more with their faith. I have heard that some of the most inspirational music ever is heard in the churches in the BRONX or in Harlem.

    www.andreaklas.com   www.cdbaby.com/cd/andreaklas

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