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INTERVIEW: Amanda Abizaid

August 3, 2010 by  

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INTERVIEW: Amanda Abizaid

1. Tell us who you are and where you’re from.: I was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an American mother and Lebanese father. I travelled the Middle East and Europe with my family until the age of ten when I moved with my mother and brother to the U.S. My first exposure to music was Middle Eastern combined with the American influences of Elton John, Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Beatles. I lived in Poughkeepsie, NY, Great Falls, VA. and worked as a runway model and hairstylist during my college years in Washington, D.C., Miami and London before making my way to Los Angeles to pursue my real love for music.

2. Describe your music.: I would say my music is story driven- lyrically, obviously, but I also try to take the melodies on an interesting journey. Usually when I sit down at the piano or guitar, I’ll find a couple chords that strike me and sometimes it’ll just turn into a full blown song. It might take a while to get the lyrics right, but harmonies, which I love just come naturally and help give my songs their sultry sound. Of course, to talk about my music style means mentioning influences like Ricki Lee Jones, Kate Bush, Heart as well as Massive Attack, Morcheeba and Annie Lennox to name a few.

3. Tell us how the band formed in three sentences.: I came to LA with songwriter Shane Soloski and quickly met musicians Eric Dover (guitarist for Alice Cooper), Ron Dziubla, (keyboardist/guitarist/saxaphonist for Ricky Martin), Brian Head (drummer for John Doe, Wilco) , Mike Mennell (bassist for Tom Jones) and Taylor Mills (singer for Brian Wilson). We formed the band “Blue”, gigged around town and in classic fashion broke up just before releasing our first album. Fortunately, this lead to my solo career with my remaining band mates Ron and Mike an occasionally Brian.

4. What did you do before you were in a band?: I pursued a career in modeling at the age of 16 and worked as a runway model in Washington, D.C., New York and Miami with designers such as Jacques Fath, Nina Ricci, Oscar De La Renta and Alberta Ferretti. I also traveled to Germany and lived in London and modeled for designer Zandra Rhodes and others. I then moved back to New York where I began to train as a hairstylist/colorist with Oribe and Louis Lacari travelling back and forth to Miami.

5. List the first CDs/records each of you bought.: Michael Jackson- Off The Wall, Led Zeppelin- all of them, Pink Floyd- The Wall, The Beatles- Abbey Road, Elton John- Yellow Brick Road, Stevie Wonder- Conversation Peace

6. What’s the band up to over the next few months?: I am having my record release show with my band Aug. 25th in Los Angeles. I will then tour solo, up and down the coast for shows from San Diego to San Fransisco in September. For the month of October I will be headed to the east coast for the rest of the tour to Florida, Washington, D.C. and New York and returning to LA in November for the holidays.

7. Best item of fan mail you’ve ever received?: I have received a lot of fan mail and pictures. My very favorite is a pencil drawing of me from a fan in San Diego, CA.

8. What music do you have on repeat in the tourbus? : Beck, Annie Lennox, The Beatles, Cypress Hill, Aretha Franklin. I like to listen to ZZ Top as well to get crazy.

9. What gear do you use?: I have a Sennheiser microphone, Takamine acoustic guitar, Selmer flute, Yamaha P80 keyboards, Shure wireless microphone and Behringer amp.

10. What’s your best on-tour story?: In Decatur Georgia, no one showed up at our gig because it was storming like crazy. We were ready to leave and in walked a lesbian couple asking when the show was going to start. We pulled up two chairs for them and gave them a private performance of my music. As we were about to leave, one of the women came told me how I had inspired her to start writing again and handed me a folded check. I forgot about it and as it turned out it was for 0. Beautiful little miracles.

11. What do you demand on your rider?: Smoke free room, water, healthy snacks, a backroom to hang out and sound check for the gig. Two monitors on stage, DI box for the acoustic guitar, piano if available (OR I have keyboards), guitar stand, 2 mic boom stands. I do have a stage plot on Sonicbids.com which you can access from my website.

12. What’s your website?: http://www.amandaabizaid.com




 

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