|Kat Calvosa CD, "Chrysalis"|
Kat is number five in our effort to bring you the people behind the wonderful music in the venues of New York City! To get to know them and how they feel about the Greatest City in the World.
Here is a review of Kat I did in April...
Here is a bit of a chat with Kat Calvosa, and some thoughts of New York...
Q; Since it's "Artists From New York", coming from Wisconsin, tell us of the dramatic changes you had to adjust to, if any?
Kat...I grew up in rural Wisconsin, where my nearest neighbor was a half mile away. Lots of trees, lots of fresh air and lots of open space. To be honest, I hated NYC when I first moved here. It was loud, people were rude, men were lewd, and it was smelly. Additionally, at the time, Manhattan School of Music, (which is what brought me to the city) and located at 123rd and Broadway, housed all first year students on 101st and Broadway and the living conditions were less than wonderful. My first introduction to cockroaches sent me running to the local bodega for a big can of raid. They still give me the creeps. Anyhow, I spent any extra money I had on music or food, so transportation was walking, which I often did two or three times a day, adding up to between 4 - 6 miles of walking, plus not having a lot of money, plus being a health nut and gym goer....to put it mildly, I lost a lot of weight. Additionally, I had come into MSM as a transfer student, so although I was a first year student, I was about two years older than most of the students I was housed with and my work ethics were those of a junior, not a freshman. It was a trying year, but NYC started to grow on me as I explored its many wonders and opportunities, made friends, and just grew accustomed to the beauty of this marvelous city. Although I still remember those days, I think they definitely helped shaped me as a person and I developed a tougher skin as well as compassion for others, which are definitely helpful in the life a musician.
Q; Were it not for your career, would you still live in new York City?
Kat...I don't know. I'm not sure what I would do if I weren't a musician. I love the city, but I can't say there haven't been times in the distant and current past that I don't long for something simpler. However, there is just so much NYC has to offer that, having been here for fifteen years, it's really difficult to imagine living somewhere without so much diversity. I also have so many dear friends and musicians here....but, well, I don't know. I just don't know.
Q: I find your lyrics both poignant and universal, did that always come easy to you, or is it hard work?
Kat...I love this question!!!! First, thank you; what a wonderful sentiment about my lyrics. At this point, lyric writing is a little easier, and sometimes they just "come out," but more often than that, I spend many hours, days, and sometimes months, crafting a lyric that it can stand on it's own. "Brooklyn Dodger" took me a year to write, and I didn't even have any music when I was finished with the lyric. I firmly believe that as a singer, a lyric is the most direct way to communicate with my audience on a level that anyone, whether they are a student of jazz or not, can understand. I feel that if they are taking the time to listen, I should craft something worth listening to. I have spent a lot of time reading about writing lyrics, taking lessons in crafting lyrics, and most importantly, listening to the wonderful breadth of songwriters that are available to us from the past and present. I find that it's really fun to find all the pieces of the puzzle that is a lyric and figure out how they all fit together to form a cohesive idea and while sometimes it can be very frustrating, in the end, the results of all the time and patience are worth the wait.
Q: I see you have Joni Mitchell as one of your favorites. Why her?
Kat...I really got into her when I started writing original music. As a master songwriter, she tells wonderful stories from an honest place and her lyrics and music make you feel something. She gets into your soul because she sings from hers.
Q: I see you have taken a master class with Annie Ross, one of my all time favorites. What was she like to work with? What did you learn from her?
Kat...Oh dear, that was so long ago. She's such a wonderful artist. To be honest, I don't remember many details. I was about 19, very green both to NYC and jazz, and nervous beyond nervous, but I do remember she was kind and encouraging and told me never to stop doing what I believe in. I probably sang something stupid....but I remember mostly her just being very nice and helpful.
Kat...LIC Bar at 8 p.m.
.......you will be hearing lots more about Kat Calvosa here on this blog, her latest CD is "Chrysalis"
by Pete Carma, follow Pete ...www.twitter.com/petecarma