Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Here is Part I of the interview with singer-songwriter, Antje Duvekot!
Antje Duvekot website
Debbie: Do you enjoy all the traveling youíve been doing?
Antje: Itís kind of a mixed bag. Iím glad that Iíve gotten to see so many places. That part has been really nice Ė places like Alaska and Colorado. Really beautiful places. But being on the road too much is really exhausting.
Debbie: Do you play a couple of nights in one place?
Antje: No, I never stay in one place. The whole idea is that you have fans presumably all across the country so you want to come to their town every 6-10 months so they can see you and the next time they go they can bring friends. This is how your following grows. In fact, promoters ask that you not play anywhere near there within a certain time span so people just have the one show that happens. Then I will go to another town maybe 3-4 hours away. Thatís kind of how it works. You go out for 2 week stretches of a certain region and go from town to town. Sometimes there is quite a bit of driving too.
Debbie: Do you perform with other people?
Antje: Not with other musicians much, no. It doesnít make financial sense at this point. I canít afford to take a band out. Sometimes I will do co-bills with other singer-songwriters. Presumably they will bring 40 people to the show that know their music and I can bring 40 people that know my music, then we can kind of cross-pollinate our fan base and grow that way.
Debbie: Do you enjoy performing?
Antje: The performing part is really fun. The staying in a hotel part instead of with my boyfriend is hard. Thatís been tough being away from home. The performances are really fun though.
Debbie: You seem kind of shy and yet you like to perform. A lot of shy people like to perform so thatís not unusual. But what do you find performing gives you?
Antje: I think itís related. In college, I was painfully shy. I think that music was my bridge to people. I was just too awkward to get myself integrated naturally into the social life but then I started writing songs and playing them for my dorm-mates and so it was a way for them to notice me. It feels less nerve-wracking to be on stage because you have the full control. Iíve always had a hard time in groups knowing how to get into the conversation but when youíre on stage, you have to do something because everyone is looking at you. It allows you to be yourself and communicate. I think shy people benefit from a forum or structure.
Debbie: How many CDís do you have?
Antje: You have my new one. I have one other fully produced studio album and then another unofficial live record that just has acoustic stuff. So I have three.
Debbie: So how do you write your songs? Do you have a certain approach?
Antje: I feel like itís changed a lot from the ďold daysĒ . Now that I am doing it for a living, I actually have to write. In the old days, meaning when I didnít do music for a living, I would write when I had something to say. I started writing for some of the same reasons that we were talking about. I was really shy. I moved from Germany to the States when I was 14 years old. My parents were very strict and it was a rough time. Thatís when I started writing because I really needed to have some sort of an outlet. I wrote about my feelings and struggles. In the beginning of my writing, it was an artistic need. Lately, it has changed a little bit because I am happier and donít have the cathartic need. Iím trying to find ways right now to keep it going. Most of my songs are about an aspect of my life. They are very confessional and direct.
Debbie: Your lyrics are beautiful. How did you learn how to write? Have you taken classes in songwriting?
Antje: No, I donít know that I ever thought that I was good at lyrics. In early years of writing, I was more concerned with sounds and making things sound pretty. As my English got better, I decided to say things with my songs. Lyrics come fairly easily. It is melody that I struggle with. I usually craft a melody obsessively and add different chords. When I finally have a melody I like, I will add the words. Words are easier and melody is the hard part.
I will be teaching at two adult education centers in the next month. On September 26, Saturday, I will be teaching two classes at the Brookline Center for Adult Education. "Instant Piano" will be from 9AM - noon and "You Can Play the Blues" will be from 12:30-3:30PM.
Brookline Adult and Community Education
I will be teaching is at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education on Saturday, October 3. "Instant Piano" is 10AM - 1PM and "You Can Play the Blues is 2-5PM"
The Cambridge Center for Adult Education
You can register for any of these classes on line by clicking on the links.
The Concert/Potluck with Tim Ray last weekend at my house was incredible. The music he made come out of my piano was nothing short of sublime. The whole audience was mesmerized. It is my great fortune to be able to have yet another Potluck/Concert on Friday, September 25th, in my home with Kim Nazarian, a singer from the Grammy-Award Winning vocal jazz group, The New York Voices, accompanied by my very own teacher from Berklee College of Music, Mark Shilansky.
I'll take some pictures this time and will send them out with the next issue of eNotes. It promises to be another inspiring event. Tickets are $20. All $ goes to the artists. If there is some space available, I will let you know.
Next issue of eNotes will have a continuation of my interview with Antje Duvekot plus an audio lesson.
Debbie Gruber, B.M.,M.M.