Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Interview with Amy Sheehan

The thing I love about visiting NYC is that I always meet very creative artists. Last summer was no exception. I met Amy Sheehan through a friend and later found out what an amazing musician and songwriter she is. Below, is a short interview she graciously granted me for my blog. Please check out her myspace page to sample her music or her website to book her for your events.

i noticed you were born in seoul, south korea yet adopted by italian-american parents when you were only 9 months old. has the seperation from your native country or being adopted by a family of a different ethic background influenced your music in any way? if so, how?

My parents were really great in trying to expose me to my culture early on - they bought books and put me in Korean classes but I was 8 so I wasn't really into it:) Since I was so young when I came to the US I've never felt like I had ever left 'my country.' This is where I was raised and I really don't know anything about Korean music (although it would be interesting to learn about). If my parents influenced my music in any way it's because of their own practice in the arts - my mom is a dance teacher and my dad a musician (formerly of NRBQ) I grew up in a house with a dance studio above our garage and a recording studio in the basement. Sometimes when I explain that to people it makes it sound like we lived in a mansion but no it was just a normal house but it was really cool that my parents could raise their family but still keep their passions at arms reach (or down a flight of stairs:) They support me 120% in both my acting and music. They're artists themselves so they understand that if you have a passion you have to just go for it otherwise you'd regret it.

when were you first introduced to music and what were some of your earliest musical influences?

Like I mentioned I grew up in a house that had music blasting from my mom's dance studio where she taught. Sometimes I would fall asleep on the floor in the middle of an adult jazz class dozing off to Paul Abdul and Michael Jackson. My dad would play guitar and we'd have sing-alongs. I'm really not into country and neither are my parents but for whatever reason the first songs I learned to sing were the Judds and Dolly Parton when I was 2. Although I'm proud to say I've been to Dollywood twice! My mom also choreographed for alot of community theater so I'm sure that somehow sparked my theater buzz.

you are a singer/ songwriter. can you tell us a little about your songwriting process? do you think poetry and songwriting share similar traits? if so, can you give me an example of how you use form in one of your lyrics e.g. "the ballad of jack jill."

I don't have a standard way of writing. Sometimes the idea comes first or sometimes lyrics come first or the chords and then lyrics. It totally depends on whatever I'm feeling or if there's something I just have to get out. (I notice I usually get into writing spurts after a break-up:) Songwriting is total poetry. I don't really go by form when I'm writing. Most of the time some sort of rhyme scheme develops as a result of the thoughts. I usually just get into a specific idea or theme for a song and the rhymes just develop from that.

whose your favorite poet? what's your favorite poem?

Pablo Neruda -Drunk as Drunk

i really enjoy listening to "jumper." can you tell me a little about this song and how it came about / what it means?

Thanks! I wrote it when I felt like I was losing a really great friend. It seemed like they were just getting caught up in something at full speed ahead and I wanted to bring them back down to earth. Thankfully we're still friends and they eventually landed with their feet on the ground:)

what are your future musical plans? will you work with electronica? any collaborations we should be on the look out for?

I've been jamming with some friends here and there. I might want to eventually get a full back up band. But I also really just love the sound of a simple acoustic act with hand percussion so we'll see. I'm not a huge electronica fan :( I'm still really new to music so I don't have any particular expectations. Right now it's another creative outlet for me in addition to acting and writing and anything new that comes out of it is icing on the cake!

do you play video games? if so, what's your favorite game?

No unfortunately I always wanted Nintendo when I was little but my parents wouldn't let me get it. I was more into computer games like SimCity and I would play Myst with my dad but the background music kind of freaked me out and I couldn't really play it by myself cause I got too scared.

what's on your ipod? give us a playlist?

Jay-Z - Heart of the City
Amy Winehouse - Me & Mr Jones
James Morrison - If you don't wanna love me
No Doubt - Bathwater
Bob Marley - Redemption Song
Jason Mraz - Butterfly
The Fugees - Ooh lalala
Fiona Apple - Criminal


Kabuki Katze said...

Interesting interview with a really talented artist! I'm glad to have discovered her through you!

the amplified bard said...

she is an amazing artist. that's why i love going to new york. glad you stopped by and read it. hope you got to listen to some of her music.