I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Christina Perri for my school newspaper. This is a bit overdue considering the issue came out last month, but this is the first time I’ve been given the chance to sit done and type this back up again. So here it is! Hope you enjoy!
Christina Perri is a soulful musician who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 21 with a suitcase, guitar and big dreams. After struggling for a few years, she found herself and wrote the song “Jar of Hearts.” After performing “Jar of Hearts” on So You Think You Can Dance, she was rocketed to the Billboard Top 100. The music video for “Jar of Hearts” landed on VH1’s Top 20 Countdown, and the song has been played on the radio. She has a knack for putting heartbreak into words to which everyone can relate. Check out her music out at myspace.com/christinaperri and purchase her EP The Ocean Way Sessions on iTunes. Read the full interview at thisisjelli.tumblr.com.
Q: How long have you been into music and writing?
A: “I’ve been into music my whole life. I sang at my first holy communion when I was seven, so really since then. Definitely since I heard “Hero” by Mariah Carey, too. I got into theater programs. I started in the chorus, sang in choirs. Around my sophomore year of high school, I started to get more confidence and better roles in the school play. I didn’t start writing music, though, until I was sixteen. Then I started playing guitar and piano and singing my own songs about love and life. And I haven’t stopped.”
Q: How long have you been performing your own music?
A: “I would play little shows and open mic nights after I decided I wanted to be a musician, then I went straight to national television [laughs]. Crazy.”
Q: What or who inspired you to begin?
A: “My big brother [Nick Perri, former guitarist for Shinedown and current member of SINAI], John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Shannon Hoon and love.”
Q: What is your favorite part of performing?
A: “Feeling connected to the audience for sure. And also giving and receiving love! It’s my favorite thing to do!”
Q: Any pre-show rituals?
A: “Hmm, not yet. I’m assuming they’ll come the more shows I play. Right now, it’s just surrounding myself with friends and family.”
Q: Dream collaboration?
A: “Me and Jason Mraz [which happened when she toured with him the end of 2010], or me and McCartney, or me and Adam Duritz, or me and Fiona Apple. Eeek!”
Q: What has been the most surreal moment for you in all of this?
A: “Gaah! All of it!! But definitely looking over and seeing Jason Mraz playing guitar to one of my songs and Jay Leno!”
Q: Was “Jar of Hearts” inspired by a real life experience?
A: “Jar of Hearts” is about real heartbreak and a real dude and a real decision to move on.”
Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui are two best friends who make some pretty awesome music videos together. They also work with other talented YouTube stars to make mash-ups and duets. These two friends have been featured on both Oprah and Ellen. They have received over 139,000,000 plays. You can check out their covers, original songs, and movies at youtube.com/KurtHugoSchneider. I had the lucky privilege of talking to Kurt for this interview.
Q: How long have you been into composing, producing, and directing?
A: “I’ve always loved music, and I was always sitting here at the piano. Around the time I started high school, sitting turned into writing my own songs and playing my own things. Then I wanted it to actually sound good, so I learned how to record.”
Q: Did you teach yourself?
A: “Yeah. Basically. I mean, you have to start doing it when you want.”
Q: Where’d you learn how to put it all together?
A: “I learned it as I went. The first few things I made didn’t do great. They sounded bad and mixed up. But I learned from them and went from there. I’ve always tried to do everything for myself. I think I learned everything by doing it and fixing all my mistakes as I went.”
Q: Who or what was your biggest inspiration?
A: “There are a lot of songs out there and videos that I love. I like when a song or video is excellent. A song or video is excellent when it has an emotional impact on the person watching it. I’ve always strived to do that with the videos I make.”
Q: Favorite video you’ve ever made?
A: “I’d probably say “Don’t Want an Ending,” the song I wrote for Sam to sing. It’s an original song, and it means a lot to me. The video pieced together very nicely as well. The part at the end when they go back in time has an emotional impact on me, and I hope for others as well.”
Q: How long does it take to compose the medleys you put together?
A: “It really depends, because you can sit down and write a song easily. Or you can sit down and work on something and a month later still have nothing. If I get on a roll, I can stay up all night and write. I usually do that.”
Q: Which one took the longest?
A: “That’s hard. Each one differs, but I think the Michael Jackson medley. I sat down and wrote half of it one night. Then like two weeks later I picked a night and finished it. So really, just two nights. But it is the time in-between that takes the longest.”
Q: How long does it take to learn the songs for the battle videos?
A: “I had this recorder lying about, and I was playing it. I’m roommates with Jake [the one he battles against]. I wanted to make a song with the recorder and then the battles just started.”
Q: Life goal?
A: “I want to go into music and film. I majored in math from Yale though, sometimes I wonder why now. [laughs] Now, I just want to keep making videos and producing music for sure.
Q: I know this is a tad late seeing as you guys were on the show Dec. 2, but how did the whole Ellen Show come about?
A: “They just called us and said, ‘Want to be on the show? We are putting you on a plane that leaves in four hours.’ We went from there.”
A: “No actually. Just really excited.”
Q: What were you thinking as you sat backstage?
A: “That this is an awesome life. [Laughs].”
Q: What is happening next?
A: “Working on original stuff, another music video with Sam, probably heading out to LA soon. We just want to keep on making stuff and doing what we love. It’s what we’ve been doing for a long time now.”
Now go watch his videos!
Tyler Ward is a young musician who records in his home in Colorado. His YouTube page has racked up over 75,000,000 plays. He writes his own original music with a group of friends and also does many covers. He strives to help musicians too. He has a studio in his home where people can come and record their music. Tyler is rising to stardom fairly quickly and well-deserved. You can check him out at: youtube.com/TylerWardMusic.
Q: How long have you been into writing and performing?
A: “I have been into writing and performing for about eight years now. It was fueled more in college than ever before.”
Q: What or who is your biggest inspiration?
A: “The Goo Goo Dolls probably have to be my biggest inspiration.”
Q: What instruments do you play?
A: “Guitar, drums, bass and piano. My friends usually play all the instruments when we record though.”
Q: Dream collaboration?
A: “My dream collaboration has to definitely be Jason Mraz.”
Q: What made you decide to start producing?
A: “I have loved it since I was a child. My mom is a classical musician, so she really got me into all the music scene. Plus, I was too cheap to pay for recording time. Haha.”
Q: Who taught you how to produce?
A: “ I taught myself. It was quite a process.”
Q: What has been your favorite cover that you have done so far?
A: “Definitely “Breakeven” by the Script!”
Q: So, I found that you have shared the stage with musicians such as Kate Voegele, The Afters and Gavin DeGraw. How was that experience?
A: “It was great! They are all so polished and refined as artists. It is great to experience those who are better than you perform! It teaches you a lot about music and the business in general!”
Q: Working on another album soon?
A: “Yup, should be released in February!”
Q: I just have to know, how did you and Krista come up with “Facebook Lover”? The song cracks me up, but I can’t help but sing along.
A: “I just wrote some words on the spot, and then she helped contribute with her genius brain and wallaaaah! There you have it!”
Joe Brooks and Matt.
At the Parachute concert on October 22, I had the pleasure to listen to Joe Brooks, as well. He was finishing up his American tour and is now touring the UK. I have been a huge fan for a few years now, and it was an amazing experience listening to him live. He has achieved much success since I first heard him on MySpace. He has only improved, and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here. He is honestly my absolute favorite musician of all time. To see photos from the concert, check out http://thisisjelli.tumblr.com/post/1409407074/peectchas.
Joe Brooks is a soulful musician hailing from Southampton, England. He began as an acoustic musician on MySpace and has recently released his debut album, Constellation Me. His style is a very jazzy/old-fashioned feel with a unique acoustic twist. He takes his style from artists such as Simon and Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra. He has had the chance to perform with artists such as Jason Reeves, Parachute and he shared the stage with Le Roux. His first single, “Superman,” has since been heard on the radio. He is currently on tour in the UK and will be back for another U.S. tour in the coming year.
· Joe Brooks- Singer, guitarist
· Matt- Drummer
I spoke with Joe via phone this summer and met him at the Parachute concert in October.
Q: How long have you been into writing and performing?
A: “I started playing and singing when I was 16. I absolutely love it. It’s a learning process for sure; but it has been about three years since I’ve been doing the whole music thing professionally.”
Q: What or who is your biggest inspiration?
A: “I think the musicians that I look up to would be my biggest inspiration. They drive me to write better stuff. Types of bands such as the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel got me into it in the first place. The Blues music, really. But I think in recent times, it’d be the people that have said no. They don’t want to invest in it [his music]. They aren’t interested in helping me. To be honest, it’s all about proving people wrong. So many [people] don’t believe. You need people on your side.”
Q: Do you play any other instruments besides the guitar and piano?
A: “I started on the piano when I was 11. I took a year of lessons. I don’t play very well now [chuckle]. Singing and guitar is really it. I am getting better on electric, though. I’ve been playing for a year. I strum too hard on the electric because I am so used to rocking out on the acoustic. I was rubbish for a few years. I couldn’t change chords. I’m a believer in learning at your own pace, so I taught myself. I can’t even use a pick.”
Q: Pre-show rituals?
A: “Depends on the show, but I sometimes throw up. I can literally throw up right before I go on stage. It’s gross and weird, I know. I can be fine all day, but I need to be nervous to have high energy.”
Q: Favorite part of performing?
A: “I think when I get to rock out with the band. The people that haven’t seen me live have no idea what its going to be like. They are a little bit surprised. I play mainly acoustic, so we have quiet bits; but we go for it. I close my eyes and rock it.”
Q: Dream collaboration?
A: “Ray Charles is my biggest idol, but I don’t think our music would sound good together. I love swing and Frank Sinatra. I want to do a crooner album at some point in the future.”
Q: After reading the lyrics to “Lead the Crowd” and “These Broken Hands of Mine” off your upcoming album [already released, Constellation Me], I felt inspired to do more. I love lyrics that make me feel something, which these do, so are you writing from personal experiences or things you just witness or feel?
A: “Everything comes from one of those three things. I have been in situations where these emotions get to me. I am less inclined to write about what I don’t know. You don’t get the same feeling. I could care less what people think of me. The more I don’t fit in, makes me happy.
I’m finding that I went from un-cool to being cool. Now I hear, ‘I want to wear a bow tie.’ I was wearing those bow ties already so it makes me feel good [laughs]. As long as you aren’t self-conscious, it doesn’t matter.
“Broken Hands” is close to me. I went to Africa and helped build houses with my father. That song came from that. I was trying to figure out what my place is in the world. I was trying to figure myself out.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about being here in the U.S.?
A: “I can’t base everything from living in L.A., but I have never experienced a place such as Los Angeles. It’s weird. I have so much energy here. Musicians are phenomenal for the most part. It is a community of creative minds. And the endless views and endless beaches are wonderful.”
Q: What do you miss most from across the pond that isn’t friends and family?
A: “My dog, Molly. I miss my house and neighborhood, too. It’s where I grew up. I miss the English people. There’s like an attitude in the British people that is like reality for me.”
Q: Favorite cartoon movie?
A: Toy Story 1 I can say I enjoy.”
Q: How could you possibly have fallen asleep during Toy Story 3?!
A: “I was so tired. Jet lag. I sat next to my best friend and this ten-year-old kid and his mum. I fell asleep. I woke up and was looking at this kid. I was embarrassed. But the rest of the movie I liked. It was real sad towards the end, too.”
I also got the chance to talk to Matt, Joe’s drummer!
Q: How did your audition for Joe come about?
A: “My agent gave all of my info to Joe’s management, and they invited me to audition for a radio promo tour along with seven other drummers. I had five hours to learn three songs before the audition.”
Q: When did you receive the good news?
A: “The next day, Joe called me for a second audition, and that night he asked me if I wanted the gig.”
Q: What were your first thoughts?
A: “Considering that this was my first big audition, it was very surreal, especially knowing that I was going to fly across the United States with Joe two days later.”
Q: Are you continuing to tour with him or was it just a short-time thing?
A: “I have done two tours with Joe so far. I initially auditioned for a radio promo tour, which ended up being a week tour with Joe. This was exciting because we flew to all of our destinations. Then a month later, Joe asked me to go on the road tour that just recently finished.”
Q: What comes next?
A: “As far as I know, Joe is doing another full band U.S. tour in the early part of next year that he has asked me to be a part of in which I am very excited about.”
Q: What do you do to stay preoccupied on the road?
A: “From a drummer’s standpoint, the best thing to do on the road is travel with a practice pad and a metronome.”
Q: What has been your favorite experience so far?
A: “I would say that my favorite experience has been every moment that I get to play with Joe and play his music. He is INSANELY talented, especially live, and I am very proud to be a part of his band.”
Q: What is the best and the worst thing about being on tour?
A: “The best part of tour is all the places that you get to see in a short amount of time. The worst part of tour is being on the road six to eight hours a day and having to play a show that night. It gets very exhausting. It’s also very hard to keep a well-balanced diet when you’re stopping at gas stations all the time.”
Q: What got you into music, and how long have you been into it?
A: “My oldest brother Chris and the musician Dave Ghrol are the two reasons for me being in music. My brother bought a drum set when I was nine years old, and I would watch him play all the time. Before Dave Ghrol became Dave Ghrol, he was the drummer for Nirvana. I cannot even count how many times I listened to the Nevermind record just to hear Dave play the drums. I believe that 99% of the Foo Fighters success today is because of Dave’s musical creativity that he brings to his songs and instills in Taylor Hawkin’s playing, who is another musical influence, I might add.”
And that concludes my favorite interview of all time. These two guys are filled with such talent and excitement for the music. I cannot wait to see them perform live again. I am already anticipating it. So go by the album! You will not be disappointed. I promise.
My friends and I heard of a contest created by Parachute. The winner was invited to arrive early before a show and meet the band to hear new tracks off of the new album. The contest consisted of us gathering as many people as possible for a picture. With the help of the LPHS Marching Band, we actually won the contest. We arrived early for the concert on October 22. It was the best day ever (as stated in my best day ever post). Plus, the new songs sound amazing. So here is the result of the interview!
Parachute is a soulful rock band from Charlottesville, Virginia. They have had the chance to perform with artists such as O.A.R, Switchfoot, Secondhand Serenade, the Script and more. Their single “She is Love” was aired on VH1 Top 20 Countdown, and has since been heard on TV shows such as 90210 and Vampire Diaries. They are currently working on a new album set to be released in early 2011.
- Will Anderson- singer
- Alex Hargrave- bassist
- Nate McFarland- guitarist
- Johnny Stubblefield- drummer
- Kit French-sax and keyboard
I got the chance to talk to Will for this interview, who answered very enthusiastically.
Q: When and why was the decision made to start a band?
A: “We [the band members] were in high school and wanted a way to play music and talk to girls! We loved the idea of being in a rock band and just decided to try it.”
Q: As you were explaining about the stories behind the songs, I realized all or most were from personal experience. Is it hard to put your emotions into a song, or not really?
A: “I’d say it’s hard not to at all! Anything I write about has to have some type of personal experience associated with it, or else it wouldn’t be genuine.”
Q: Have any pre-show ritual?
A: “Lots and lots of Xbox!”
Q: What is your favorite part of performing?
A: “Getting to play music with my best friends, and getting to connect with the fans on such a different level through the music!”
Q: Favorite song to perform and why?
A: “Ghost, because we get to go crazy on stage and rock out.”
Q: What musician or band would be your dream musician or band to work with?
A: “Probably Bruce Springsteen or Dave Matthews!”
Q: While on tour, what do you guys do for fun?
A: “We like to play tons of Xbox. We also like to explore the cities!”
Q: Do you ever get annoyed or scared by the constant fan girl screaming? From what I have seen, teenage girls can be quite frightening.
A: “No way! It’s always very flattering!”
Q: How has the reaction been towards the new songs so far? As I saw in Chicago, I’m guessing everyone is pumped!
A: “Yes! We have been getting great reactions. We’re really excited for everyone to hear the new record and jam out.”
Unfortunately, Will was unable to give me any information about the upcoming album due to secrecy. The only information I could dig up was that the album is going to be released in early 2011, with the first single premiering in December of this year. From what I heard, the album is going to be fantastic. I can’t wait for it!
Check out http://thisisjelli.tumblr.com/post/1409407074/peectchas for pictures from the show. And take a listen to Parachute, you will not be disappointed.
Stars Go Dim.
I have recently been given the chance to interview bands for the Hi-Times paper for my school. So here goes!
Stars Go Dim is a pop-rock band from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have had the chance to perform with artists such as Jason Derulo, Switchfoot, Paramore, Daughtry, and more. Their single “Love Gone Mad” appears on an episode of The Real World: DC, and “You’ve Got Me” is featured in Hollister stores. You can go to starsgodim.com/free to download their album Love Gone Mad free of charge. So what are you waiting for?! Go download it!
Stars Go Dim members:
- Chris Cleveland- singer
- Michael Wittig- bassist
- Joey Avalos- guitarist
- Lester Estelle- drummer
I was given the chance to interview Michael over the phone for this interview.
Q: Now, the band started off as a side project of Pillar(rock group), but what made you guys go full force with Stars Go Dim?
A: “It got pretty busy with Pillar, and then Stars Go Dim just took off. It was fun. We felt like we needed to do it. Lester and I [Michael Wittig] were in Pillar for eleven years, so it was time.”
Q: How long have you been into music and writing and performing?
A: “Ever since I was in junior high, it’s all I can remember. When I was a teen, my church taught me how to play. I played in jazz band. I even knew piano, but not anymore. The band has been together since around 2007.”
Q: What was your main inspiration to start writing and performing?
A: “Me and my friend Sean had this idea to start a band. We never played together because we went to different schools; but out in California, we started jamming, and it was fun.”
Q: When you write intense songs like “Get Over It,” are you writing it from personal experience or just something you witness with peoples’ relationships?
A: “It’s not really personal experience, but we see it. We notice it. Chris, our singer, went through stuff like that. It is relatable to a lot of people. It’s funny; Joey, our main song writer, and his wife have a great relationship. They don’t fight at all. It’s weird how he came up with all these songs of heartache, and their relationship is nothing like that.”
Q: How do you guys perceive your own sound?
A: “Pop-rock. Chris has a very soulful voice. It is very easy to sing along with.”
Q: Do you have a pre-show ritual?
A: “We just hang out in the RV and get ready. We are pretty laid back. The nervousness passed a long time ago.”
Q: What is your guys’ favorite part of performing?
A: “To meet new people before and after the show. Seeing the faces and how the audience reacts makes the experience worthwhile.”
Q: What song do you like to perform the most?
A: “It changes on my mood and the crowd. “Hesitate” is fun to perform. But ballads are when people sing along. That rocks.”
Q: You guys have opened for bands like Daughtry, how did it feel to perform in front of sold out shows?
A: “Super exciting! We are super lucky to be a part of them [shows]. Huge crowds are fun. We have good memories from all our shows.”
Q: What musician or band would be your dream band or musician to work with?
A: “John Mayer would be awesome!”
Q: Future plans:
A: “We are finishing up some brand new songs. We just got vocals on a few of them. We are not sure if we are going to release an EP or full album or singles. We’ll just see what people think about them. For sure the songs are more rock this time around. It should be out around early fall.”
Q: Any last words to fans or soon to be fans?
A: “I want to thank everyone for reading this and learning about us. Whoever is reading this, go visit Facebook.com/starsgodim. If you guys are interested, post on the wall and tell us that you heard that from this, and we will randomly pick a winner for a free CD.” *
* Go to their Facebook page and send them a comment saying you heard about them from the Hi-Times, and they will randomly select a winner to receive a signed copy of Love Gone Mad.
So the first issue of the Hi-Times comes out on October 1. The first interview I will be posting in there will be my interview with Stars Go Dim. But rather than start then, I decided to go ahead and post my interview with Saige here before the paper. It’s going to kick-off my interviews. Now, I don’t a whole ton, so they will be spread out, but I have a good 11 now, and 14 more planned. So, there are a few. I’ll be working as hard as I can to get more responses from people. We’ll see. But anyways here goes the first one:
I got the awesome opportunity to interview Saige via Skype. He was an awesome guy to chat with and super nice! If you love to dance, his music is for you. Check out his MySpace at myspace.com/saigemusicofficial and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/saigemusic.
Q: How long have you been performing?
A: “I have been performing for three years with my original music, but forever with music in general.”
Q: What was your main inspiration behind the music?
A: “I found that I enjoyed singing at age four. It was just really fun to do.”
Q: Do you play any instruments?
Q: Do you write your own songs?
Q: What is your favorite song to perform?
A: “That is hard. Probably Danger Zone or Twisted.”
Q: Favorite part of performing?
A: “Getting to see the fans face to face. It’s much more personal that way.”
Q: Overall goal with your music?
A: “I want to get on tour and travel the world to show my music.”
Q: What has been the biggest challenge to overcome?
A: “The haters. The people that didn’t support you but now they want to. It’s unavoidable.”
Q: Any final words you’d like to leave with?
A: “Thanks to all my amazing fans! Couldn’t ask for any better people to have support me. I Hope you enjoy the record!”
So check him out! He rocks. His music rocks. And he is going to continue to make fantastic, fun to dance and sing to music for everyone to enjoy. Take a listen and start to dance. It’s always a fun time.