Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Mar 13th 2010 9:04AM by Donna Rodgers
How did you get started?
I picked up a guitar in my early teens for the first time, and I enjoyed it. Then I started to write poetry later. By combining both elements, I became a songwriter and a producer. Writing poetry inspired me to perform my music. When you write a song, you're taking in everything, everyone you've met, and the experience is reflected in the song, in a story.
Where do you like to play?
Some of my favorite places to play are in Austin, Seattle and New York City. New York is my home right now, kind of the place that adopted me. SXSW is a great festival.
How would you describe your music?
I'm an urban poet and ballad beat-driver. The grittiness of the modern world plus a sense of narrative fiction through the poetry comes through my music. Exploring the world and some themes common to most people, my poetry and music are describing in this modern new language and perspective of the hip-hop generation and beyond. I don't necessarily have to write about something happening right now, because it might be something that happened to me long ago. Some of us tap into that universal kind of thing, into emotions that everyone has experienced, universal but individual joy, life, love or pain. Sometimes, people listening to my music can see themselves in the song and emotionally identify with it. Then it is their own. It may be challenging to explain what a song is about, because music and songs connect with us in many ways.
It is simple and truthful, It's minimalist, with a drummer, a bassist, two keyboardists, and my guitar. I'm mixing hip-hop, folk and blues, and the songs are mostly beats with a mix bass drum, snare, clap track and repeat. My signature uncommon chords make texture as the keyboards lift.
I'm not too much into the showmanship, and I used get stage fright before a performance. I'm a little shy. I was a producer and songwriter before, not a performer. But I am getting better at this part of delivering my music. Fans seem to like my presentation.
What are your musical influences?
Besides all the other music I've heard, my music is also influenced by films and folk art and stories. There are many dimensions to my songs. There's a real spiritual connection to the people in my stories and music. Sly Stone, Willie Nelson, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Willie Mitchell have all influenced my music.
What's in your festival survival kit this year?
I make sure to put my pass, ID, water and money in my survival kit. Can't get along without those things.
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Listening to so much music every day, I have almost a different song for every moment. I'm looking for the sounds that are sustainable, and they are everywhere. When I go back to a song and pay attention, that's more than a passing fancy.
Beatles or Stones?
I do like the Stones.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
When I was really little, I had a crush on Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter. Then I had a crush on Lisa Bonet.
What was your scariest/creepiest/craziest experience on tour?
Police busted into a hotel where I was staying in Burlington, Vt. They thought I was carrying a stolen ID and that I was a drug smuggler. They had no idea that I am a musician. It was really horrible. They chased me out of the hotel when they realized I wasn't a drug smuggler but there was no apology or anything. There was obvious profiling. Then this happened again almost six months later and upset us all over again. They're clowns.
Do you get into any mischief when you're on the road? Do you have any vices?
All of the above, but no narcotics!
What's next for Citizen Cope?
I'm promoting the label (Rainwater Recordings/Red Distributions, my own label) and 'The Rainwater LP,' my fourth studio recording. Headed over to Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, then to Austin. I'm touring and helping to promote Alice Smith's new record.
Donna Rodgers is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.