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May 1, 2022

Interview with Becca Stevens

We had the pleasure of interviewing Becca Stevens over Zoom video!

GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Becca Stevens and GRAMMY Award-winning Attacca Quartet recently released their collaborative album Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet, on GroundUP...

We had the pleasure of interviewing Becca Stevens over Zoom video!

GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Becca Stevens and GRAMMY Award-winning Attacca Quartet recently released their collaborative album Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet, on GroundUP Music.

Nearly a decade ago, Stevens was approached by pianist, composer, and conductor Stephen Prutsman to reimagine some of her songs with string arrangements for a performance at San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival. It would become a life-changing opportunity—introducing Stevens to her husband, the acclaimed violist, composer, and Attacca Quartet member Nathan Schram. This concert would ultimately inspire her career-spanning album—one which blossomed alongside her relationship with Nathan, resulting in the collaborative full-length. Becca’s family also played a vital role in the shaping of Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet, including string arrangements from her father (composer William Stevens) and arrangements/co-production by her brother (producer/engineer/composer Bill Stevens). Hailed for their stylistic versatility, Attacca is the perfect foil for Becca, who has long explored a wide range of genres - from folk and jazz to funk and pop. The album’s tracklist honors the project’s origins while reflecting Becca’s development as an artist.

Since the recording of Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet, much has transpired. Among the highlights are Becca’s first GRAMMY® nod (2020’s WONDERBLOOM) and Attacca’s first GRAMMY® win (2019’s Orange). Nathan also released a solo debut, Oak and the Ghost, while Becca earned praise for her latest record, Becca Stevens & The Secret Trio. The quartet meanwhile continues to push their creative boundaries—particularly with their latest record, Real Life, which finds them further exploring the work of electronic artists.

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Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Becca Stevens over zoom video, Becca was born and raised in Winston, Salem, North Carolina, and she was pretty much birthed into music. She's the youngest of three. Her parents both are musicians. Her siblings are also musicians. So when she was born, they already had a family band that was touring, doing different children's songs. And we're ready to cut a record. She was actually on a record for her family band when she was three years old. 3 (2m 8s): And then they recorded again a little bit later, just a few years later though. So she's a bit older. She had more parts on, on the second album. She talked about learning the flute at an early age. She started off on piano and I believe violin, but never was truly interested in that until the flute around fourth, fifth grade, she ended up attending an arts high school for classical guitar. She talked about being in a band with her brother, attending the new school for college in the vocal jazz program. From there, she started a band and her first record T by the sea was all the songs or a lot of the songs that she had written while she was in college for different homework assignments and assignments for the school. 3 (2m 54s): So it's kind of a snapshot of her college experience and the songs that she wrote. Then she talks to us about putting out the record. Wait-lists eventually meeting her husband, who's in the TACA quartet, and they've collaborated on this brand new record together, which has been like a four year in the making process. She tells us a story of how she met her now husband and the process of putting this record together. You can watch our interview with Becca on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be amazing if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, we would love it. 3 (3m 37s): If you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five-star review, 4 (3m 41s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 3 (3m 47s): We're bringing it backwards with Becca Stevens. Well, I appreciate you doing this. 5 (3m 52s): Yeah, no problem. 3 (3m 54s): I'm Adam, by the way. And this is about you and your journey in music and how you got to where you are now. 5 (3m 60s): Awesome. Sounds good. 3 (4m 2s): Cool. Cool. First off, talk to me about where you born and raised in North Carolina. Is that what I read? 5 (4m 7s): That's right. It is my audio. Okay. Do I need to plug in a microphone or anything like that 3 (4m 13s): Sounds good to me. 5 (4m 15s): Okay, great. Yeah. I was born and raised in North Carolina, Winston Salem. A bunch of my family still lives there and I grew up in a musical family. My dad's a composer. My mom and dad are both singers and I'm the youngest of three. So by the time I was born, there was already a family band that existed that I was born into and we would travel around and perform for other little kids. And, Yeah, so it was a, it was a very rich musical upbringing. I would say. 3 (4m 48s): You said you guys would travel and perform for, for kids. It was children's songs. 5 (4m 53s): Yeah. I mean, it was like for families, so it was fun for kids and their parents, you know, like quirky, funny kind of Appalachian bluegrass influenced. I can send you, I can send you the link to the record. It's on Spotify. You can check it 3 (5m 13s): Out. Cool. Yeah, that's awesome. 5 (5m 16s): We actually made two albums, one in 1989. I think when I was like, no, no, no. It would have been 1986 or seven was the first one was I think I was like two or three. And then there was another one in 1990 where I was a little more active singing words and stuff. 3 (5m 37s): Wow. When you were that young where you, you were actually on the record at two, three years old. 5 (5m 41s): Yeah. There are like little moments where I'll say things like one more time, like in blues, in a blues song. I think that was my big moment. And, and then my brother and sister were singing choruses and I was just doing my best to keep up, you know? 3 (5m 57s): Wow. So you were in the studio all your life? It sounds like 5 (6m 3s): Pretty much. Yeah. I have distinct memories of recording with that band. Probably the second record, but I remember taking it very seriously and just loving every minute of it. 3 (6m 17s): What did you start a plant? What was your first instrument and aside from singing 5 (6m 22s): Flute. 3 (6m 23s): Flute. 5 (6m 24s): Yeah. I mean, if you don't count, like I took Suzuki violin, but I don't even think I got to the point where I was like touching the string to the bow. I think I was doing all the preparatory stuff when I was like four 3 (6m 41s): Or something that 5 (6m 42s): Wasn't into it. And then I, I also took piano before flute, but I didn't, I didn't love piano either. And then I loved flute that was like probably fourth or fifth grade or something for, for five years or something. And then I really took to guitar. So my dad noticed me getting into the guitar, getting interested in it and he's a multi-instrumentalist and he had a bunch of guitars in the house and he like really fostered my passion and relationship with that instrument. 3 (7m 17s): And you played what? Classical guitar? 5 (7m 19s): I started out kind of more in like a finger style, full self-taught and also dad taught realm on the guitar. But then in high school, I auditioned for the, the classical guitar program at North Carolina school of the arts and got in so that I spent two years in high school studying classical guitar. And that really put, that really had a lot of influence on my, on my approach to the instrument, I would say. 3 (7m 47s): Okay. And did you, were you in a regular standard high school before going to the arts academy for guitar? 5 (7m 56s): I went to like an Ivy league prep boarding school in New Jersey. Hightstown New Jersey called petty for my first two years of high school. And it didn't go well. So 3 (8m 8s): Were you living there? Like, did you move out of North Carolina? Wow. 5 (8m 12s): Like in dormitories, not day student dormitories. Yeah. 3 (8m 19s): It was 5 (8m 20s): Horrible. It was like, so not right for me. I mean, I think at the time I found things that I liked about it, but it was not a good fit. And then I ended up 3 (8m 33s): Seems like a lot, like, so you're living. Are you ever, like, I had another conversation with somebody that did that, but they were from like California and they moved all the way to the east coast to do this. Right. I feel like you're all, you'd be pretty much always at school. Like the, I mean, if you're a ninth grade, you can't really leave or you're like, what? 14 years old? They're not going to be like, oh yeah, it's a weekend. Go do what you want. Are you kind of stuck there? 5 (8m 58s): They were very strict about you not leaving. So, I mean, they were strict about everything, but like, there was like a, a boundary that if you went outside, that boundary, you had to sign out so that they knew where you were obviously, But 3 (9m 15s): You probably had a good reason. You'd have to have a good reason to leave the boundary. Right. You can't just be like, you know what, I'm just, I just need to get some air I'm outta here. They'd probably like, <inaudible> 5 (9m 24s): No, you would have to be saying, you know, I'm going for a sleep over with my friend and here's a signature from her mom, you know, it was, 3 (9m 32s): Oh, so you could have out, I mean, I guess how would you have side friends if they're not in the school that you're in? 5 (9m 39s): Some of them, like a lot of kids who went to school, there were from New Jersey. 3 (9m 44s): Oh. So they didn't live there. 5 (9m 45s): Or they were boarding students with their parents lived close by, so they would go home and hang out with them on the weekends. 3 (9m 51s): You know, it 5 (9m 52s): Just so happened that I, you know, my family lived in North Carolina, so I didn't have family there, but, but a lot of kids had Pete had family, like in Trenton or Princeton or, you know, near neighboring New Jersey towns. 3 (10m 7s): Okay. Okay. So you just went, what was the reason to go there? Just wanting to have that experience? 5 (10m 14s): Well, I'm trying to think of, I think that it, like, th th th these were like my tumultuous teenage years. And at the time I was in a house with my sister and two stepsisters and a step mom and a dad. And it was just like really intense all the time. And I really wanted to be in an environment where I could focus more on at the time I was really interested in acting, which is no longer, but I was like reading about different boarding schools. And for whatever reason, the, the like brochure of petty really hyped up their acting program. 5 (10m 55s): Even though when I got there, it seemed totally like they could care less about their arts programs. And it was more what you would expect with like sports. 3 (11m 5s): Oh, okay. College prep supports that type of thing. 5 (11m 9s): The swimming program was incredible. So I got there and it was all right, but it was just like, I think it wasn't really nurturing like me, who I am and what I needed to be kind of pouring myself into. So I was just very, I was just, I was very like tortured, but until I went to art school, I was very like distracted and, and kind of add, like trying to focus in these classes that I didn't care about and not being nurtured in the, in the way that makes me who I am. So then when I went to art school, it was like, the guitar thing was kind of random. 5 (11m 52s): It was like the best option to go there because I was too young for the acting program. And I wasn't too interested in the opera program at the time. Cause both of my parents were opera singers and it just didn't seem very cool to me. And so guitar was like, just the option that was left, even though I wasn't at the time, I wasn't very serious about the guitar, but it ended up being kind of the greatest thing that could ever happen to me because it, it peeled back all the layers of the onion. Like up until that point, I was like, I want to be an actress and a dancer and a painter. And, you know, and when I was studying the guitar for those two years, it became so clear to me that all I needed was music. 5 (12m 36s): And that, that was not only all I needed, but more than enough, like that could, that could be an ever appealing onion that I'm like going through for the rest of my life. And it really, it really ticked all the boxes. So it was, it was a, it was a breakthrough. I remember at like 16 years old being like, oh, music is more than enough. I don't need all these other, all these other passions to be fulfilled right now. I just wanna, I just want to focus on music, 3 (13m 6s): Music. Were you practicing guitar when you were at the boarding school? Or like, how do you, okay, so it wasn't like you just got home and you're like, okay, I kind of have a knack for this guitar thing. Let me try to get into the school. 5 (13m 20s): So when I auditioned, I was, I think I even auditioned with like a Robert Johnson blues and I was, I had no classical chops or repertoire and they were into that because I think that it's easier to start with someone who doesn't have bad habits than maybe someone who's further along. That's already like on this other tip. And so I was accepted and sort of started from the beginning and, and there was a lot of practice, like a lot of very structured practice of classical repertoire. And I really took to it. I really, I really liked the practicing a lot. 5 (14m 2s): In fact, I was just talking to my husband about these practice techniques that we would follow, where you had to like first sting, the re you get a new piece of music. You have to sing through all the rhythms before you can even look at the notes on Tata Tathata or whatever. And then you have to sing through all the notes in Solfeggio before you can touch the guitar. So don't worry me if I, so lotto. And then, you know, there was like this whole system of how you learned the piece and structure in other realms of my life had always been very stressful to me, but for some reason in music, it was like a match made in heaven. 5 (14m 43s): Like I loved the structure of how to learn these pieces and it really, really spoke to me for some reason. 3 (14m 49s): Wow. You went to the school, correct. For college 5 (14m 53s): That's right. 3 (14m 54s): But you went for vocal for, for voice. 5 (14m 57s): Yeah. And you know, between high school and college, I took a year off To seeing in this rock band that I was in with my brother called <inaudible>. And I was like playing rhythm guitar, singing lead and backgrounds on some songs. And we were like really starting to make a name for ourselves. So I took a year off to just focus on that. And I was also teaching at a daycare. So it was like a crazy schedule. It's very tired all the time. And then after a year of that, I was really craving using, I was really craving, like just being focused on the voice because that is the most, oh, I'm getting somebody broke through, do not disturb somebody to know, know me. 5 (15m 53s): And they're like, oh, I'll call her twice. Because I guess the easiest way to say it is that voice was my first instrument. And so it feels the most natural to me of anything of, of any way to express myself through music that, and maybe like songwriting, which I used to make up songs when I was a little kid. And so there was something just very comforting about the idea of going and studying somewhere and just being focused on the voice. And also in this rock band I was in, it was a lot of like loud singing over loud instruments. And at the time I was really into jazz, I would do, I was like taking a lot of jazz gigs in the summertime, even when I was in high school. 5 (16m 43s): And then in that year off, I was taking jazz gigs all the time and just like obsessively learning the repertoire and playing through the changes and figuring out how to like solo and scat over the changes. And yeah, it was just like really digging the repertoire. So there was a, there was a pool to studying jazz, to focusing on the voice and also to being in New York, which at the time that was like, my dream was to be here. My sister was here and also, I just was, I had been in love with the city for a handful of years. So at that point I auditioned just at the new school, no other schools. 5 (17m 23s): And luckily I got in and I've been here ever since. So that was like 2003. So it's been almost wow. 3 (17m 32s): Wow. Okay. So when you get to you finish up at the new school and when do you start, like, you know, you're, you you've led a bunch of bands, right. And put a bunch of records out. And when does that start? Like, how do you even begin when you finished school? 5 (17m 50s): I started, I started that road before I finished school. So I would have put my band together. I would say sophomore or junior year. I think it was junior year. I think it was like 2006. I started dreaming about it in 2005. And then 2006 was my first gig with the Becca Stevens band. And by the time I graduated in 2007, my senior recital, like the performance when you graduate was all original music. So it was all with the Becca Stevens band. And it was all original music, which was a goal of mine. 5 (18m 33s): And then within, I think it was that summer. We went into the studio and recorded all the music from the senior senior recital. And that became this record TBC. 3 (18m 47s): Oh, wow. So that was all the music that you wrote while attending college. 5 (18m 52s): Pretty much some of them like lullaby. I had written before, I'm trying to think of any maybe day I had written before I went to college as well, but the rest of them, like some of these were even homework assignments 3 (19m 12s): Off the 5 (19m 13s): Chart was like, I was in Jane IRA, Bloom's linear composition class. And off the chart was a homework assignment for linear linear composition where every, every part in the song is like its own linear melody. And then in the midst was I think a homework assignment in advanced rhythmic concepts with Rory Stewart. And it was like a mixed meter assignment. The riddle was something I, I feel like I wrote for that class too anyway. Yeah. 3 (19m 45s): That's really cool to be able to have those songs and they're good enough obviously. And they make a record, right. When you finish, like, okay, not only do I have the songs that helped me get through college or my assignments, but now I actually have like a full, like, you know, snapshot of what I did while I was there, like a portfolio, almost of songs 5 (20m 6s): That was always a goal of mine to try and kill two birds with one stone in that way. Like, I didn't want to just write something that I would then throw away. I wanted to try and write something that I could use, you know? 3 (20m 18s): And from releasing that record, did, was it something that you took your band and you played around what New York city at all? Or like, how does that lead into lists? 5 (20m 28s): Yeah, so at that point I was, you know, taking any gigs I could get. So especially in New York, you're, you're not gonna get like high paying gigs at the beginning of your career. It was like, oh, this place will feed us dinner or this place will pass around a tip jar. And that was, those were the kinds of gigs we were taking in those early years. We were lucky to find a venue that had a piano. And, and so that was actually one of the big reasons why the early version of the Becca Stevens band was accordion. It was because it was like easier for us to play, 3 (21m 4s): To find places that you could play instead of having a piano. 5 (21m 8s): Totally. And I really loved the sound of the accordion because I felt like especially the way that Leah Robinson uses it, it felt more orchestral and full like it, you know, this like look Otto, really filling the space in this kind of, it had like a string ensembles since it sensibility. And so we had Liam on the accordion for most of the songs early on. And then also similarly I loved the sound of paired down drums and percussion. And also it was easier to tour when Jordan was not bringing a whole drum kit and he was just bringing a Cahone. 5 (21m 52s): And I think the earliest version was like Cahone snare, the CU Cahone. He had like a bass drum pedal on it for, 3 (22m 2s): I've never seen that before. 5 (22m 3s): If you watch the music video for waitlist, you can see his setup. He had like one high hat. I don't think he had any symbols at all. Aside from the high hat, a snare and a Cahone with the kick drum pedal. Wow. 3 (22m 18s): Yeah. That's cool. Yeah, I've seen, I mean, obviously seeing people play cone, but not in like, not use it as like a bass drum, like, 5 (22m 26s): And then ironically Chris was on upright, so everyone else was pared down, 3 (22m 31s): Except for him. He had the behemoth of an instrument to bring out that's funny. 5 (22m 38s): And the waitlist video there's, there was a part where we're all in the car and it was sort of just a play on like our reality, which is when we went on, when we went on tour, we often were in the car, that's in the video with all of our instruments, but it's like, everyone's instruments are like coming out of the windows and the four of us are in the car. And I think the neck of the upright is coming out the window, but those were the days. 3 (23m 7s): Oh, wow. And then, you know, from the area was, was it more touring and just, was that kind of like the regimen, like tour put a record out kind of supported on the road and 5 (23m 17s): Yeah, like I was kind of starting to mention in those days, touring with my band was not my main source of income. Obviously it was an investment into where I wanted to go. And so at that point I would have been doing a lot of work as a side man, but booking tours for my band because that's where I wanted to that's the direction I wanted to go in. And then I was also taking music related jobs. So I, I became a Suzuki guitar teacher and I also took a class on this like early music readiness course that you sort of like a music together type of thing that you do with little babies. 5 (24m 5s): And it was Suzuki based. It's called music in the box. So I was going, I was taking a train out to the Suzuki school in Connecticut every week and doing a few days of teaching there, teaching little kids, Suzuki guitar, and then doing this like rhythm baby music class with, with little ones. And I was a receptionist at a jazz club or radium jazz club and, you know, a bunch of odd music related jobs and then doing a lot of touring and singing with the group called the orchestra, which is a, a big band that plays Bjork's music. 3 (24m 43s): That's awesome. 5 (24m 44s): And just sort of saying yes to anything at that stage. Like in my early twenties, I was like, I didn't have the luxury of being like, Hmm, I'll do this. And not that you know, so I was saying yes to a lot to get my name out there and to make enough money so that I could take my band on the road. And yeah, that, those, those years where a lot of that, 3 (25m 9s): Did you say you were the singer for <inaudible>? That's awesome. I mean, yeah. Her voice is insane, right. I mean, 5 (25m 20s): So they, they already existed before I joined. I remember going to see them when I was in college and I was like, oh my gosh, I want that gig because I am such a huge Bjork fan. I mean, I'm just like, I know every song and every B-side. And at that point, like, you know, I had like the whole, everything she'd ever created, all her little, like the Japanese imports and B sides. And like, I was like, I know every single song I want that gig. So I, my, my theory teacher was in his name is Aroon Lutheran. And he was teaching me theory at the time music theory. And I went up to him after one of our classes cause he was in the Bjork Austra. 5 (26m 3s): And I was like, I don't ever do this. But if, if that group ever needs a sub for the singer, please let me know because I'm like such a huge fan. And, and it worked out like a few months later they needed a sub and I came in subs and then the senior at the time left and I replaced her. So I was, I was already touring with them when I was in college, which was pretty cool. 3 (26m 28s): Wow. Wow. Yeah. That debut album is so good. And like I could, I remember having the cassette tape of it, like just constantly playing and I'm a car, so good. 5 (26m 43s): Yeah. 3 (26m 45s): Wow, amazing. So when does a musical lead you to the opportunity of like, not having the side gigs as much? 5 (26m 54s): I don't remember the exact year, but it probably would have been. I do remember when I quit the Suzuki job, like I had a, a talk with my dad. I was getting really depressed because I was getting sick all the time, going out and like being under slept and then going out and working with little kids, you're like, you're just constantly getting sprayed with germs. And so it felt like I was always recovering from colds and that I, at that, for some reason, like even when I was in college, I was able to get writing done. 5 (27m 36s): But during that period after college, when I was working the Suzuki job and the jazz club receptionist job, and then doing sideman stuff, I just didn't have any time to write music. Or at least that's what it felt like. I didn't maybe I didn't know how to make time yet, but I, I called my dad and I was like, I just feel like I'm not chasing my dreams anymore. Like I'm off course or something. And he was like, why don't you save up? And then set a year aside. And in that year you don't take any other odd jobs. Like you can still do work as a side man, but quit the stuff that you don't really want to be doing that feels like it's pulling you in the wrong direction and just for a full year, devote yourself to what you want to do and then see where you fall at the end of that year. 5 (28m 25s): So that's what I did. And that, I remember that being a real turning point in being able to, as you, as you say, like say no a little bit more, you know, and, and take myself a little more seriously as a songwriter and as a band leader. And then it's just been, honestly, it's been like, it's just been a constant slope up since then. Like I'm still not to the point where I could buy a yacht from, 3 (28m 57s): I don't think many people are at that level unless you're maybe Beyonce or something. 5 (29m 2s): Yeah. 3 (29m 4s): Wow. Well, that's still a really incredible, so, and your husband is in band and you've collaborated on a record with, with his band, correct? The most recent stuff that you've been doing. 5 (29m 15s): Yes. He's in the taco quartet, really fantastic string quartet. They won a Grammy for their, for their collaboration with Caroline Shaw a couple of years ago to, was it two groups? Two Grammys ago? Yeah. Yeah. They're fantastic. And that quartet has been around for something like 14 years. Nate joined them, I think six years ago or five 3 (29m 40s): Years ago. Wow. Yeah. They're awesome. I mean, I watched their tiny desk concert. I'm like, this is incredible. Like so good. 5 (29m 49s): Yeah. I love that's my favorite string quartet, obviously. I mean I'm 3 (29m 53s): Yeah, I was going to say maybe a little bit, but they are awesome. When did you meet your husband then? 5 (29m 59s): So I met him back in 2013 at the time I had boyfriend and I was, I was asked to I'm throwing that in because it becomes a love story, obviously. So I was, he was in like a, an ensemble that was being hired to play string quartet arrangements of my music. And 3 (30m 23s): Wow. 5 (30m 24s): There were four members of the Dakota ensemble. 3 (30m 27s): Okay. And were you hiring these people are like, wow, 5 (30m 31s): No, it was very serendipitous. So a composer named Steve Pressman, Steven Pressman was basically curating this series called the mainly Mozart series where they it's based in San Diego. And they choose an artist who their pitch is like, what Mozart would be doing if he was still alive today or something, you know, like modern day Mozart kind of a thing. And then he wrote string quartet arrangements for my music. And my dad actually ended up writing some too. They like became buddies. And it's this whole long, beautiful story that I'll tell you the whole thing sometime. But long story short, my dad and I both flew out to San Diego because he wanted to hear his arrangements get played. 5 (31m 16s): And Nate was in the quartet. And as Nate tells it, he had an immediate, huge crush on me, but I already had a boyfriend. And then a few months later, my boyfriend and I broke up Nate and I went on some dates and it was like too soon, it didn't work out. I was still heartbroken or something. It was like just not the right timing. And then a year later, this is the crazy part. My brother, totally separately from this whole thing, met a guy at the college that he was going to graduate program that he was going to in Vermont. And they struck a deal to record each other's music and Winston Salem to do this like bartering thing. 5 (31m 59s): And that the cellist invited Nathan to play in the quartet of that barter. So Nate ended up Back in Winston Salem at my brother's studio and my brother brought me in to sing on it. And so Nate and I ended up like, again, in the same collaboration In North Carolina, my dad was there. My brother was there. Everybody was like hitting it off. And the rest is history. We 3 (32m 25s): Fell in love 5 (32m 27s): And didn't, you know, didn't park. 3 (32m 29s): Oh my is, is he from San Diego? 5 (32m 33s): No, he actually, he was born in California, but only lived there for a couple of years. His dad was in the, in, in the Navy 3 (32m 42s): Maybe or something. Yeah. I'm from San Diego. That's what I was curious. That's awesome. That that's kind of where you originally met and I haven't even heard of this. Yeah. So w what is this like done through like a school in San Diego? Or like, 5 (32m 57s): No, I don't think so. I think it's just a, I mean, you can look it up. It's the mainly Mozart festival and I'm, I'm pretty sure they're still doing it. 3 (33m 5s): I'd have to check it out. Cause I haven't, I never heard of it. And I was born and raised there and I guess that wasn't my niche, so yeah. But that's awesome. That's really cool. 5 (33m 16s): And Steve Pressman was like the, the front runner of it at the time. I don't know if he's still involved with it, but the crazy thing is those arrangements are on the album that you're asking about. So those were, those were the first six arrangements three by Steve three by my dad. And then when we came back a year and a half later to record more in my brother's studio, there were more arrangements added on. And then another, I don't know, three or four years after that. I mean, rerecorded everything with the taco quartet. And then after two or three years of working on that, that became the record that is coming out in this month, April 22nd. 5 (33m 57s): Just in a couple of weeks. Yeah. 3 (33m 59s): Wow. Okay. So this record has been like a work in progress for awhile. 5 (34m 5s): Yeah. And it's our, it's our love story, you know, it's like how we met and it's, it spans the course of our entire relationship thus far. So 3 (34m 15s): That's so special. That's amazing. Where were you? I'm just, I mean, amazing that you, you, you just had your daughter, but before that, like when COVID happened, did that allow more time to work on this record or is that, did that change the course of the record at all? 5 (34m 32s): COVID was like, or the pandemic was like, you know, the, the year of, or the two years of, of, of finishing records for, I think for a lot of people like finishing stuff that you started, that you never had the time to finish, you know, so there was that one got finished. I made a record with the secret trio during the V at the started at the very beginning, actually started it in January, 2020. So before the pandemic and then finished it during, and then also made a record with a collaboration called mirrors, which is Mike Lee, Justin Stanton, Louis Cato, and Gisella Joelle, we made her an album in Portugal and yeah, it was just 3 (35m 16s): Like during the pandemic. 5 (35m 18s): Yeah. We escaped. It was like 3 (35m 21s): A little pocket. I 5 (35m 23s): Mean, it was, it took us like three days just to get out of Newark. Like it was so complicated. We had to get a lot of, we had to get clearance from like the Portuguese embassy or something. And then we had to get obviously tested within a certain period of time. And then our test results didn't come back quickly enough. So we were turned away and then we had to get tested again. You know, we were like stuck in Newark for three days. 3 (35m 51s): Oh, wow. Was it, were you kind of concerned about going outside of the country at that time? Or what was, or was it just like, this is a killer opportunity. We're going to go for it 5 (36m 2s): At that point, all the studies were saying that if you wore a K in 95 or in 95, that you weren't going to get it on an airplane. And we were, we were still worried, but we were like really wanting to it have been, it had been almost a year or I guess six months, however long of just like doing nothing and seeing no one. And this was the first kind of little law I think. And so we look at the time, I remember Mike who lives in Spain at that time. He was like, there are no cases here. And I think things were pretty chill in Portugal too. So it seems like a, a good place to be. 3 (36m 44s): Was that a cool experience? 5 (36m 46s): Incredible. It was incredible. I mean, it was like, these are some of my closest friends, like Mike and Justin are like brothers to me. And I remember we got there and I just fell to pieces. Like just, I like wept in Mike's arms. I was like, I haven't hugged someone or like been able to be in a room with people, creating things without a mask, or even with a mask in, it had been so long. And it was just like the most heavenly experienced to get to create. I remember the, the original reason for this trip was that Justin was trying to book some sort of like vacation with his, with his girlfriend and, and, and to meet up with friends. 5 (37m 36s): And then he was like, screw that. I want to write with people it's been so long since I've collaborated with the people that I love. So this became our version of a vacation. All of us missed, missed collaborating so much that, that was, that was the vacation, was writing music together and making a record. 3 (37m 53s): That's amazing. Was this, was this new record coming out with your husband and his quartet? Was that the first time you guys had worked directly on music together? 5 (38m 5s): Yes. Yes and no. I mean, it was the first time we'd done an entire project together. We had done a few things of like, you know, working out in arrangement of one of my songs for like a NPR special where it was like a, I think it was like a Valentine's day, like couples and music. I don't remember what it was, but we like worked out arrangements of a couple of my songs. And then also he had written the string arrangements on Regina. So we worked together on those a little bit and he's played in the studio on me and my music. 5 (38m 46s): And I had done some light performing with the talker, but this was, this was the first like full on for sure. 3 (38m 54s): Wow. And with the record coming out this month and a new baby in the house, like, are you going to be able to like showcase the record at all in an alive environment? Or is it just going to kind of go out to the world and 5 (39m 8s): Yeah, we have, we have, I'm trying to remember if it's May 1st. I think it's June 1st, we have an album release show at Joe's pub. And so we'll be playing the music live there. I'll double-check here. I really should know these things. And the hope is that we end up getting to do some touring for this record too. But I also, I feel like I hope that this record has legs. That it's because it's because it's the debut of a new project. I hope that it's not the kind of thing where just in the first year it's relevant and then we can't tour anymore. And I hope it's more like this is a project and it can tour anytime it's appropriate, you know, anytime it's relevant, but yeah, the, the Joe's pub release is June 1st. 3 (39m 58s): Awesome. And is this a project that will continue or is it just like a one record deal or 5 (40m 5s): I hope it's a lifelong thing. I hope it's. I hope it's something that like, whenever the time is right, that this is this it's, that it's almost sort of like a band, like it's like the debut of a band. Like this is a beautiful collaboration between this string quartet and this songwriter and when a venue or a promoter or a person is looking for this kind of thing that, you know, 10 years from now, it's still relevant to book us and to, to have this music, you know, 3 (40m 39s): I love that. And I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for doing the spec. I, this has been great. 5 (40m 44s): Absolutely. Thank you for supporting my music and for having me here today. 3 (40m 49s): Course. Well, last question for you. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 5 (40m 55s): <inaudible> absolutely yes. Make the music that you want to make. If you make the music that you think someone else is going to want to hear, you make, you could end up making something that they like, but maybe you're not fully behind it. And then you're responsible for like, regurgitating that, like, what if you, what if you write this amazing song, but you're not really, it doesn't feel authentic to you and then people love it. And then you have to like play it at every show for the rest of your life. That's one outcome. 5 (41m 35s): Another outcome is that you make something that you think people are gonna like, and they don't like it. And then it's like a double waste, you know, make the music that you want to make and that you believe in. And that is authentic to you. And that feels like an authentic expression of who you are. Something that inspires you, that you'll be inspired to share forever. That's I think the path to happiness in this, in this crazy music career journey that we're on. So stay true to yourself.