Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Artist Interview: Lindy LaFontaine

One of the many cool music events about the Bay Area is Kate Burkart's Under the Covers Acoustic Series, which features three artists performing covers of three other artists in rotating sets. On the bill at this month's Under the Covers is Berkeley singer Lindy LaFontaine who'll be performing the songs of Peter Gabriel. 
I first met Lindy via her fellow Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts alum Francesca Lee, was impressed hearing her sing at a gig in Oakland shortly thereafter, and thought her that much more cool when I learned she covered  “Low” by one of my favorite bands, Cracker. That effort won Lindy 'Best Cover Song' in The 10th Independent Music Awards and gives you an idea of the caliber of homage she's likely to give Peter Gabriel on Friday. I asked Lindy about her process as well as what else music fans can expect from her this year.
Q: You're playing Under the Covers this Friday. How did you go about choosing your artist and selecting specific songs?
Originally I had chosen a different artist, Tori Amos. I was ecstatic at the idea of doing an impersonation and trying to imitate her vocal style and overall performance. Shortly thereafter I had a conversation with Kate who expressed that the essence of the show was to do my own unique interpretation of the music. I love to cover music, but what was challenging was finding just one artist with several songs I can emotionally relate to. My first thought was Nirvana because I love to bring out the classical essence in their music and I have at least 4 songs in my repertoire already. But for the same reason I decided to go with someone I hadn't yet explored creatively. Peter Gabriel's music is so versatile and inspiring to me that it was a very easy choice. The song selection was a cinch. The songs selected me.

Q: Who are your 3 biggest musical influences? Who currently inspires you?  Any songs you're obsessively listening to?
Tori Amos for her immense talent, her creativity and her passion. Peter Gabriel creates arousing cinematic atmospheres, his lyrics are thought provoking and often politically driven, and I am very into the South African influence in his instrumentation. The third is Michael Jackson. He's the ultimate performer. I could fill a page.

I'm listening to a lot more electronic music these days. It takes some time to sift through the crap but there are some wobble basses that will shake you to the core.  I especially like it when there's a mix of acoustic and electronic. It creates a laid back but very powerful feel. (See acoustic Trip Hop artists such as Morcheeba, Zero 7, Air, and Massive Attack...)

I'm obsessively listening to Peter Gabriel songs right now, lol. I thought they'd be a lot easier but they're kind of kicking my ass. And I have to know these songs inside and out so that I can finally make them my own.  There aren't enough hours in a day, but it's a high quality problem :)

Q: You've lived a lot of different places. What's keeping you in the Bay Area?
I was born in Berkeley but grew up mostly in Egypt.  I've lived in several countries but never for longer than a few years at a time. My family is overseas still (dad in Egypt, mom in Afghanistan) and I have no siblings so I can choose anywhere as home! ... And it changes. Home is where my piano is. Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd love to be in the UK but they won't let me in unless I marry one of them. I already tried that and it didn't work, hehe. I lived in Liverpool for 4 years in college and I felt a very strong connection to the UK. Speaking as a musician, the place I really want to be is the place with best music and music scene. My precept being, the best music scene is wherever you can tolerate the Pop. For me, that's England.

But Berkeley's OK too! :) If I have to be in the US, this is the only place I will live. I tried New York, DC, Las Vegas and various short stays in other parts of the country. The Bay Area is, as far as I'm concerned, its own country.

Q: Do you have any projects in the works? What can listeners expect from you in the next 6 months?
I'm working on finishing my full-length album, "This too, In time, Shall pass". It's been in the making for longer than I'd like to divulge... but I can honestly say that this thing is gonna be done within 6 months come hell or big earthquake. The poor thing has been dragged around from state to state, producer to producer and has now finally landed in my personal studio. I learned a very valuable, albeit a lengthy, costly lesson. I now know how much of a perfectionist I am when it comes to my music so I must produce it myself. I'm workin on it. ;) 
I've also got a few side projects going. One is very complex, involving multiple musicians, multimedia, live performances and has been in the works for a while. It's very cool and you'll know it when it happens.... I'm always doing various studio session gigs and will continue to play live performances around the Bay area. I have a gig coming up in LA at the infamous Whisky a Go Go. More details to come...
 I'm full of surprises! My suggestion...sign the mailing list.
 Lindy LaFontaine performs the songs of Peter Gabriel at Kate Burkart's Under the Covers music series Friday, February 10 at 8pm. at The Subterranean ArtHouse in Berkeley,

1 comment:

@lecs said...

Lindy is a super bad ass singer and an incredible performer. I cant wait to hear what she does next