First, I loved your originality indeed. Well done! I was checking your bio, but I was wondering where you were originally from and when did you start this impressive music journey?

Thank you very much, Mena. And thank you for the review of “Tequila Kiss” on you’re Rock Era Magazine site. Much appreciated. What a great site! Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to me.

I was born in the Alps. Right at the border between France and Switzerland near Geneva. Music was always around as I was growing up. My parents had the radio on almost all the time, especially in the morning when everyone was getting ready to go to work and school. No one in my family played an instrument other than my cousin who had a couple of guitars and played for fun. Becoming a full-time musician was a bit frowned upon. Everyone knew it was a very difficult career path.

I started playing the guitar around the age of 16. A high school friend and my cousin taught me a few chords. My aunt bought me a guitar. She has always been very supportive of my music dreams. I joined a blues band and then went to the Conservatory of Music of Geneva in Switzerland where I studied singing, composition and classical guitar. I played in a Champagne bar cover band for a while and a couple of rock bands. While visiting a school friend in New York City I auditioned for a band and was offered the gig. I’ve been living in New York since. I played with various bands and eventually started my own.

I noticed that your music is characterized by a mix of classic and modern elements, is this one of the things that you focus on while songwriting?

So glad you picked up on that. There are so many great writers that I admire ranging from Chopin to Bach to Billy Joel, Diane Warren, Freddie Mercury, Sting, Paul McCartney, etc. I guess all writers have a unique mix of music in their brains. Mine is a combination of classic and modern elements indeed. I don’t think about it until I have a chance to sit back and listen to my songs when they are completed. I start with a melody in my head or one that comes up while I play the guitar. Some of these melodies just keep “nagging,” if you will. They keep playing in my head over and over. I have to follow through until a song is finished. It’s an organic process. I never know where it’s heading. It’s only after a song is completed, lyrics and melody that I sit back and think about what elements are in it.

I am amazed by “Ride the Wave” diversity. How was the recording and preparation process for the album?

Thank you. I love albums that have surprises and various influences in them. I write a lot of songs. I wrote 30 songs for this album. Caleb “KBC” Sherman, who produced the album, picked 12 songs that he thought would make a great well-balanced album. I was thinking that I would make an acoustic album initially, just voice and guitar. Then Caleb reached out and produced a couple of songs. The tracks were just amazing. Caleb took the songs to the next level. He has a great feel for that.

I prefer an album that has diversity. Like the Queen albums for instance or Billy Joel’s albums. Caleb did an amazing job orchestrating the songs based on the lyrics, melodies and original guitar tracks. We went back and forth sharing tracks as Caleb’s studio is in Nashville and I am in New York City. I guess this is one way to make an album nowadays. It worked great for RIDE THE WAVE.

 

The industry now it’s all about how many streams, shares and followers do you have. I believe that it’s not one of your main concerns. Is it true?

Yes. It is true. Believe me, I am so grateful for every connection that listeners choose to make with me and my music. First, I am so appreciative when anyone takes the time to listen to one of my songs. Time is precious. You can’t buy any and I am happy when people take a few minutes to listen and choose to give feedback whether it’s through a “like” or becoming a follower or adding songs to their playlists or downloading songs from my website, etc.

As far as the industry and how it chooses to value these measurements, I leave that to others. You are right. My main concern is to write, sing and record the best songs I can come up with. That is all I can control really. I write and sing songs because I love to listen to great songs from other artists myself. I love the hope and energy that I get from listening to great songs. I strive to pass on positive energy to listeners through my songs. That’s what matters to me. That is what I focus on. Beyond that, I do everything I can to share the music of course. But, I have no control as to what happens on social networks and streaming services. I am constantly bombarded by offers to buy streams and likes, and followers, etc. It’s not my area of expertise. My measurements of success are different. Someone just asked me for the chords and lyrics for one of my songs recently. That made my day. Someone who is going to sit with a guitar and sing and play one of my songs… Great!

 

It’s been a while since you released a music video. Are you planning to film one soon?

What a timely question! Caleb “KBC” Sherman and I are working on a video for the first single from the album RIDE THE WAVE. The title of the single is MISS MESS. It’s about a girl who is both reckless and flawless. She is reckless from the standpoint of the guy she is dating and flawless in everything she does in his eyes as well. I asked my friend Adela Sutac if she would dance for the video. She did an amazing job dancing to the song. Adela is flawless in her dancing.

Making a music video is challenging. What a wonderful art form. I have yet to explore the possibilities. Some folks make fabulous videos, including lyric videos. I look forward to trying a few things out in the future. The next video after MISS MESS would be for the second single TEQUILA KISS. I wrote that song about Nina Dobrev (@nina), the star of The Vampire Diaries TV series. Nina is quite amazing on and off-screen. I follow her on Instagram and I find her very inspiring as a fan and follower. I am not sure what we’ll do in that video yet. The song is about a fan who enjoys living life vicariously through Nina as she travels the world, swims with sharks, jumps off aeroplanes, etc. I would not do any of these things. I just sit in my studio and write songs about it.

Based on the previous question, the music video of “Song Of Ruth” by Margaret Dorn. Was it a collaboration between both of you or what exactly?

Exactly that. A collaboration. Margaret Dorn is a brilliant performer, singer, songwriter and piano player. Her new album, THE ESSENTIAL MARGARET DORN, was just released on Halfmoon Records and Publishing. We talked about what Margaret wanted to convey and the mood she wanted to express in the video. We filmed the video in the recording studio where she tracked the album. It was a lot of fun. She wrote and produced the song. I just helped with the video.

 

I won’t deny that you’re doing a great job with your solo project, still, are you planning to add members someday?

Thank you very much for the compliment. I look forward to adding members of course. There are so many great musicians that I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years. We’re all so busy though. It’s always a challenge to schedule a “get together”. Even for a quick chat. But, I have faith. And it’s going to be a blast when it happens.

 

Finally, thank you for the chat and tell us more about your upcoming live plans.

You are very welcome. Thank you for the opportunity. As venues continue to open up, I am hoping to meet fans in the flesh soon. In the meantime, I am writing and preparing new songs for my next album. I look forward to performing new songs live and getting some feedback from fans before recording them. 

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Mena Ezzat

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