THICK AS THIEVES:
SCOTT WEDDLE OF AMELIA TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT THE BAND'S NEW CD 'A LONG LOVELY LIST OF REPAIRS', WORKING WITH PRODUCER MARK ORTON, AND BEING AT PEACE WITH THE WHOLE RECORD
LUKE MULHOLLAND TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HIS LATEST CD 'FURTHER', THE CHALLENGES OF BEING AN UNDERAGED ROCKER, AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.
LIKE FLOWERS THROUGH THE CONCRETE:
MARC PANNI OF LOS BLANCOS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR LATEST CD 'JUST THIS ONCE' REELING IN THE AUDIENCE AT MAKING FOLKS RECONSIDER MUSICIANSHIP(READ MORE)
A BIT OF TITILLATION:
SCI-FI-VIXEN AND AUSSIE SOCIETY WOMAN JANE BADLER TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER DEBUT CD 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE', FINDING HER VOICE, AND DOING SOMETHING ORIGINAL. (READ MORE)
SOUND AND VISION:
JEFF SHAPIRO ON CIAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR CD 'ANONYMOUS' MERGING ART AND MUSIC
AND APPEALING TO OTHER SENSES (READ MORE)
ALYSSA GRAHAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER LATEST CD 'ECHO'TAKING THE LISTENER ON A MUSICAL JOURNEY AND FILLING PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF HOPE
|ROCKWIRED INTERVIEWS AMY KUNEY
THE ACCIDENTAL TOURISTAMY KUNEY's debut CD 'BIRD'S EYE VIEW' is just the sort of pop debut that dreams are made of, with absolutely no filler in between KUNEY's densely crafted odes to whimsey and a life less perfect. Immediately following the album's release, AMY has garnered critical acclaim and the admiration of music's top-scriber ANN POWERS of THE L.A. TIMES, who calls AMY's smoky alto "...especially lovely." Fellow singer-songwriter KATE VOEGELE stated in PEOPLE MAGAZINE that KUNEY is "an amazing artist" and went on with the usual comparisons to FIONA APPLE and SARAH MCLACHLAN.
SINGER/SONGWRITER AMY KUNEY
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HER DEBUT CD 'BIRD'S EYE VIEW'
SNEAKING FIONA APPLE INTO THE HOUSE
AND KEEPING HER PANTS ON
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
In speaking with AMY KUNEY, being compared to another artist is something she can do without. "I don't hate it but I don't get the point of it." says KUNEY. "I could see where I could remind someone of another artist but that's not my goal to sound like so and so. When people start comparing you to another artist, you are automatically put in a box and I think it can kill your career. There are artists that I'm honored to be compared to like FIONA APPLE. She's a genius and that's a huge compliment for me, but for the most part, I'm trying to not get myself compared to another artist."
KUNEY is solely interested in approaching music as an individual. Perhaps this individuality stems from her conservative Christian upbringing in Tulsa Oklahoma, where secular music was not tolerated and a young AMY had to to sneak a copy of FIONA APPLE's debut CD 'TIDAL' into the house. This way of life, however oppressive, came to an end at the age of fourteen when KUNEY's family sold everything and moved to Honduras for missionary work. "I'm pretty sure that if it had not happened to me, that I would still be in Tulsa Oklahoma wishing that I were doing what I'm doing now, but not having the drive to do it." admits KUNEY. " I think that moving to Honduras really kicked my ass and put me in a place were I had to take control of my own life because it was getting away from me and it pushed and motivated me to decide what I wanted to do and do it."
Her debut album's mixture of humor ('LOVE IS TRIPPY'), abandon ('SIMPLE THINGS'), and wit ('ROCKET SURGERY') put KUNEY on the company of pop musics other great songwriters such as AIMEE MANN and FIONA APPLE, whether she likes it or not.
ROCKWIRED spoke with AMY KUNEY over the phone. Here is how it went.
Now that 'BIRD'S EYE VIEW' is out there for everyone to hear, what's all going through your head? How do you feel about it?
I'm really proud of it. There isn't one song on there that I didn't want to put on there. Nobody pressured me to put anything on there that I wasn't behind so I'm very happy with it. So far, it's gotten a pretty good response, so I'm very happy about it. So, we're trying to move as many units as we can.
As I was listening to it, I was thinking that it does sound like a debut album,. It doesn't have any filler on it at all. Everything is on there that needs to be.
I've been reading you press release and wow! What a life!
Yeah, so far. Up until now, things have been pretty crazy. Growing up in the beginning anyway
In the beginning, what drew you to music?
My parents had me playing piano when I was four. My family is very musical and all of my siblings have played an instrument at some time or another. I started with piano and I didn't like it at first because I was told to do it. Anything I was told to do, I automatically didn't enjoy. At first I had a hard time with it and then I learned how to improvise and I got away from the sheet music and away from having to learn to read music and just started to improvise on my own and that was when I started enjoying it more.
Were there any artists that spoke to you and guided you into the direction that you are in now?
My parents were Southern Baptists and and very conservative. We weren't allowed to listen to any secular music. Most of the music I listened to was classical music or hymns. Later on down the road I started listening to contemporary Christian music. My sister was at a music conservatory in New York and one summer she brought me 'TIDAL' by FIONA APPLE and left it with me and told me not to tell mom and dad. I listened to it religiously and learned every word by singing along to it. That was when I got my first glimpse of real music. I fell in love with her voice, her lyrics and her piano, so FIONA APPLE was the first person that really influenced me, I think.
Did your parents ever find out about that FIONA APPLE CD?
No. Actaully I listened to it so much that I wore it out and I had to buy a new one. I remember sneaking to Walmart and hoping that they weren't going to find out. Her lyrics at that time were kind of rough. It would've been a bad thing if they did find out.
Your family moved to Honduras at some point. When did that happen?
I had just turned fourteen nad my Dad felt called to the mission field and he quit his job and sold the house and th cars and everything at the spur of the moment. In March of 1999 they decided to go and by October, we were gone. I was a very fast transition.
What did this transition do to you? You grew up in what I assume are suburban surroundings and sneaking music from your parents and all of a sudden, you are off to Honduras.
It was really hard at first. I was really angry about being there. I was a pretty normal American teenager and did everything that normal American teenagers do with the exception that my parents are very conservative. It devastated me at first. I had no friends and I didn't speak the language. Basically, what we took with us was what we packed in our suitcases. I had nothing there; no computer and no television. For the first six months we had nothing and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was around complete silence. I had to listen to my own thoughts. I have a song called 'SIMPLE THINGS' that goes 'We take pleasure in the simple things/We take pride in little victories', and that was what I had to do. I had to find ways to entertain myself and take pleasure in very small things and learn how to be happy about nothing. That kind of thinking got me through, but at the time, I was not happy with it.
How do you think it helped you in the long run?
I'm pretty sure that if it had not happened to me, that I would still be in Tulsa Oklahoma wishing that I were doing what I'm doing now but not having the drive to do it. I think that moving to Honduras really kicked my ass and put me in a place were I had to take control of my own life, because it was getting away from me and it pushed and motivated me to decide what I wanted to do and do it.
When did you return to the states?
It was around 2004. I moved to Orange County and started attending Viola University.
How did music come back into your life or had it already done so when you were in South America.
It had when I was in South America. I had time to hear my own thoughts and think deeply about my life. Before we moved to Honduras, I had always tried to write songs before because I was always interested in writing songs and performing, but I didn't really have the motivaton. The songs that I did try to write were very shallow. They were like things that I heard on the radio and it wasn't my life. My life wasn't clubbing, and dating and going out with my friends. My life was in a thrid world country and I started writing about my life and myself and honest things. It started in Honduras and then it just grew and grew and when I came to the States, I started performing those songs.
Explain the songwriting process to me.
I'm always writing ideas down. I have several notebooks that I keep in different places. If I get an idea, I'll write it down. For me, it either starts with the punchline or the name of the song. I decide what it's about and come up with a story and build a song around that story. Sometimes, when I co-write, things just fall into place.
For the songs on BIRD'S EYE VIEW, are there any songs that sort of stnad out fo ryou in particular and why?
My favorite right now is 'APPRECIATE YOUR HANDS', but I think thats partially because it's one of the newer songs and I tend to like the songs that are new. I love all of my songs but 'APPRECIATE YOUR HANDS' was thrown on at teh last minute.
My favorite is 'ROCKET SURGERY'. It's got a a clever title and it's it's a catchy little song.
Thank you! That's one of the songs that emerged as a title first.
Describe the recording process. How did this album come together and who did you work with?
I knew that I wanted someone young to work on it. I had a lot fo ideas and I wanted to experiment and I wanted to work with someone who didn't have a systematic way of doing albums. My sister and her fiance had this friend SCOTT SEIVER who is a drummer and was starting to get into producing. I heard his stuff and it was so different from everything that I had ever heard before and I called him up and told him that I want to experiment and try all of these things, even if they don't work. When we got together we had about two months of pre-production so by the time we got into the studio, we had everything exactly how I wanted it. When we got into the studio and we knocked it out in a few days.
I was reading that you hate it when people compare your sound to other artists.
I don't hateit but I don't get the point of it. I could see where I could remind someoneof another artist but that's not my goal to sound like so and so. When people start comparing you to another artist, you are automatically put in a box and I think it can kill your career. There are artists that I'm honored to be compared to like FIONA APPLE. She's a genius and tha's a huge compliment for me but for the most part, I'm trying to not get myself compared to another artist.
There was one that mentioned a similarity between you and SARAH MCLACHLAN and I didn't quite get that one.
That was KATE VOEGELE. She told that to PEOPLE MAGAZINE.
I think as an artist you come from a quirkier place than SARAH does.
I can see that.
What do your parents think about what you are doing now?
They're very supportive. In the beginning, they didn't know what to expect because they had seen things on MTV and they saw what the music industry had produced at that time, and that was when BRITNEY SPEARS was going through her whole thing and so was AMY WINEHOUSE. My parents kept seeingthese images and not wanting me to end up like that but they've been watching my career for the past couple of years and they've learned that you can be completely normal and that you can keep your pants on and be fine.