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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interview with Sherree Chamberlain

Sherree Chamberlain played a gorgeous acoustic set at the Opolis this past Sunday, in support of the Seattle band Telekinesis, where she debuted new songs and performed old favorites as well. Her music is simply stunning, balancing infectious acoustic guitar, poignant guitar, and an alluring voice that culminates in a whirl of color and jubilation.. After the show Sunday night, she took the time to answer a few questions about her music, inspiration, and her plans for the future.


So what inspires your music?


Well, you know, it varies. But, I just bought this book. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s called The Artist’s Way, and it’s just these exercises. Just writing exercises that you have to do everyday, discipline kind of thing. Every morning, I’ve been getting up, writing two pages. You aren’t allowed to go back and look at it, but it really centers you, kind of just gets you in the mood. I’m learning that creativity is a muscle, and if you don’t exercise it everyday it atrophies. So I’ve been really inspired lately by this book I’m reading, and really working on these writing exercises and just letting it flow. It makes you acknowledge your doubts and your shortcomings and you have to write them down. It’s kind of emotional but it feels good once it’s out because you are like, there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.


What do you prefer about solo shows over the full band ones?


Well, it’s more fun because it is more intimate. I feel like I interact with the crowd a lot. And I don’t have to worry about messing up so much; I mess up all the time during solo shows. It’s fun and I don’t feel that pressure. I don’t know, the crowd gets to hear my voice a little more clearly, and what I’m trying to say a little more clearly too. I can talk in between songs and kind of explain what’s happening. I think sometimes I almost reveal too much and say too much. I really do like interacting and talking to the crowd. I feel like that’s easier when I’m on my own and there aren’t five guys behind me waiting.



So you’ve been playing since you were fairly young then?


Before I even played, in like second grade, I went to my first concert, which was Bryan Duncan. He was some cheesy Christian musician with like a purple suit and black patent leather shoes, so cheesy. I remember lying in my bed trying not to cry thinking about how I wanted to do what he was doing and how I didn’t get to because I was too young. My family has always been musical and I started playing guitar when I was about 14. I should be a lot better for the amount of time I’ve been playing. It’s never been a specific choice for me to play; it’s just always been apart of my family. Actually, recently I realized what it is to be proactive. There is a difference between someone who is creative and someone who is an actual songwriter, because there is a craft to it. You have to look at it in that way; that you have to work. That’s something I’ve never done, I’ve always tried to let creativity come to me. Now I’m realizing that if I want to do this I have to work. So I started taking guitar lessons, I’ve been reading books and working on exercises to better myself, because there is no shame in learning more. I’m enrolling in a music theory class in the fall because it is high time that I started learning that stuff that I needed to a long time ago. I decided to humble myself. I liked to think of it as a natural talent and I wasn’t “trained.” But during recording, it’s a handicap. I realized that I needed to get over my pride issue and admit that I don’t know everything, and that it’s ok.


Is that where all these newly debuted songs came from?


Yeah, I swear to God I’ve written them all in the past four days. I’ve just been really refreshed. Our record is finished in the duplication stage ready to be finished, and some of those songs are about six years old. I’ve just felt such this burden of ‘I can’t move on because I have nothing to show for what I’ve done’ and now that this is finished I’m ready to get in and start an EP because I’m ready to put new stuff out. In the future, I just want to keep writing music. I’m not sure what the main goal is, just that I want to be creatively fulfilled.


And what does music mean to you as an artist?


It’s just something that I’m still trying to figure out. Once again, as dramatic as this might sound, I always, growing up, felt like there was something inside of me; that it is my nature to sing and to play music. I feel so unhappy and discontent if I’m not creating something. I would feel so stifled and grumpy. For me, it’s just part of my nature, and either or not I do something amazing someday, for me that’s not the main goal. For me, the main goal is happiness, therapy and necessity. I’m still figuring it out, but that’s what I’ve got so far.


            Her debut record, “A Wasp in the Room,” will be released in the near future, and you can catch her live at the Marquee in Tulsa on June 16th

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