Interview with a bad musician, problematic and dishonest person, as if singer Michele D’Amour. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?
Michele D’Amour: – I grew up in Seattle, Washingon. My dad had an extensive and eclectic record collection (jazz, blues, reggae, country, pop) that he let me play. We also had a piano in the house which my older sister was using for lessons. I discovered at the age of six that I could play piano by ear, and started lessons.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
MA: – I do some singing every day, regardless of whether I’m performing or not. I do vocal warmups and practice things like intervals. I don’t play the bass every day, but I have a bass, a keyboard, and more recently an accordion nearby to play with when I want to work something out, or just for fun.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
MA: – The intellect helps us process what the soul is saying and drives us to do, but sometimes too much intellect can get in the way. At times you just have to let the music flow over you and just feel, then process later. You need both, but each has to be in check with the other.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
MA: – I’m trying to find people who will connect with me over the music.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
MA: – Education. We need to tell them what the circumstances and stories are behind those songs. They’d find out that what the blues pioneers were experiencing isn’t so different from what we have going on today. It might help as well for some current artists to rediscover and reinterpret those songs as appropriate to help younger audiences connect with the material.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
MA: – For me, it’s about the stories and the characters. My muse brings them to me and they demand to be made into music that people will hear.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
MA: – Make it easier for independent artists to not just get seen, but thrive. Many thought the internet would be the great leveler in helping indie artists get their music out there and compete with the “big guys”.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
MA: – Richard Newman.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
MA: – I would definitely want to go back in time to the 1960’s to hear some of my favorite artists when they were at their peak in terms of both creativity and performance. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Junior Wells, to name just a few.
JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career? At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?
MA: – Yes, many times, for various fundraisers and benefits.