Tag Archives: songwriter

Interview w/Kate Diaz (Pop/Singer-Songwriter) Chicago, IL

When did your love of music begin?
When I was in second grade, I really wanted to get a guitar. At first my parents thought it was a phase, and also because we had a piano they were saying that I should just use that instead, but I kept asking so they got me a guitar and lessons for my 8th birthday.  I loved it from the first lesson and played all the time.  After a few months I figured out that I could put chords together and sing over them, so that’s when I started singing and writing songs as well.
What artists do you recall hearing first?
Probably the Beatles.  My third grade teacher was a huge Beatles fan and used to play their songs all the time as we did worksheets in class.  By the end of the first semester, every kid in my class knew all the words to many of her favorite Beatles songs, and I used to go home and figure them out on the guitar.  From third grade to fifth grade, I really didn’t listen to anything else. 
Describe your songwriting, what influences it? Does the music or lyrics come first?
Melodies always come easier to me than lyrics.  So, I come up with a rough melody and chords, and then I work on the lyrics.  Usually the melody changes a little bit once I put the words in because the syllables kind of shape the melody.  After that I edit my lyrics a lot.  My songs are mostly based on things that happen in my life or lessons I have learned.
Tell us about your best experience so far as a musician. Also tell us your worst!
I got a message on youtube from K’naan.  He said someone showed him some of my covers of his songs and that he liked them.  We exchanged a few messages about music, and to me it was so cool because I was in 7th grade and didn’t really even email with anyone back then, let alone a music star.  Then he even had me come and perform the next time he had a concert in Chicago, which now it is all a blur but it was amazing.
I get my shows off of Sonicbids, but before I heard about it, I was using Craiglist and I did get some really great shows from it, but I guess my worst experience would be some of the pretty sketchy shows I got off Craigslist.
If you could tour with any singer/band who would it be?
OneRepublic has been my one of my favorite bands for a few years because I love their songwriting and the way they use string instruments and orchestral sounds in the production of their songs.
What is your goal for your music?
My immediate goal is to keep getting better shows because I love performing and seeing people’s reactions to the songs I write.  I also would really like to have a fully produced album, and also have a band.  I also would like to hear opinions about my songwriting from someone who is an expert at it.  Eventually I want to get a team of professionals so that my songs can get radio play and to have someone booking my shows so I can have more time for songwriting.
Name three albums that you can’t live without.
1 by the Beatles, Waking Up by OneRepublic, and Nothing Like The Sun by Sting
Describe your music to our viewers and why everyone should be at your next show.

My songs are pop with some rock elements, but because I’m solo acoustic the sound is more mellow than it would be if fully produced with a band.  My upcoming summer shows are at the House of Blues Chicago, Six Flags Great America, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Taste of Chicago, and I’ll be playing new songs that I’m finishing up this month, so please come out!






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Interview w/ Aoede – (Pop/Singer/Songwriter) San Francisco, CA



When did you realize you wanted to play music?


I’ve always been musical! Since being a kid and singing on stage as part of Children’s Young People’s Theater, through junior high and high school drama classes and theater productions. I didn’t try my hand at being a “singer-songwriter,” though, until I was an adult: I was “finding myself” after a separation and was a lead singer in a cover band in 2002! After I started taking voice lessons and writing my first song, my muse started flowing and hasn’t stopped…


What is some of the music/artists that influenced you?


Over the years there have been many pop, top 40 and British bands, from 80s and 90s bands like The Church, Chameleons, Pixies, Nick Cave, New Model Army to blues such as Billie Holiday to many modern women singer-songwriters such as Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Feist, Lily Allen, Sam Phillips, Adele, and even bands such as Keane and Muse.


The name, Aoede, is that a middle name or something you came up with?


“Aoede” was the first muse of song in Greek Mythology, and the name means “song.” I wanted affiliation with the muse and a reminder to continually inspire and be inspired. Aoede is quirky, child-like, folky-pop and musical stories for kids of all ages. Ingrid Michaelson meets Regina Spektor or Feist. Aoede is compelling pop for your heart by an Award-Winning San Francisco-based Singer-Songwriter with an enchantingly quirky soprano voice…


Tell us about your songwriting process. Do you write lyrics first or music?

I usually write music first, but it goes hand in hand with lyrical ideas. I might have some ideas for a song lyrically, but I don’t often realize them until I hear the music. I most often compose on guitar. My musical ideas can suggest the lyrics too.


What is the best experience, as a musician or being on stage, that you’ve had so far?

There have been a few! As a musician, I have been so privileged to receive multiple awards over the past few years and industry recognition from being a Winner for Children’s Music in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition, Finalist for John Lennon Songwriting Competition, to receiving multiple awards for Artists in Music Awards (2012) and Indie Music Channel (2013, 2012), as well as LA Music Awards and my albums being considered for the Grammys. They have all been amazing experiences for me as a musician and very empowering and affirming of my life path and dreams. In terms of being on stage, the highlight was playing a festival for CureJM in Oregon in 2012 , for children afflicted with a skin and muscle disease, the same condition that I have as an adult. It was so empowering to show them that despite what life throws at them, they can still dream and live their dreams, and I was living proof of that! I also really enjoyed a CD release/music video premiere multi-media show I put on in June 2012. It was so much fun to combine live music, readings and video!


What is the worst? (We all have our moments!)


I was about to go on stage back in 2006 for a benefit show at 12 Galaxies in San Francisco. There was a riser that I didn’t see and I hit my head on it hard. I knew I had hit it but just continued onto the stage, started playing and singing, and the audience started gasping and pointing. Apparently, I had blood dripping down my face! My boyfriend and bass player Dave (now my husband) scooped me up and brought me upstairs to stop the bleeding, and I actually played a set about an hour later (with minimal bleeding)!


What do you hope to achieve with your music? Any specific goals?


Yes! My big dreams are Grammy Awards for Children’s Music and placements in film, tv and advertising. 


My ongoing dream? I want to continue to write and record music for my albums, musical stories, a web series, and singles and for advertising, film and tv. I am in production on my next musical story: “What Are Dreams Made Of?” I hope to complete it and have it considered for the Grammy Awards in 2013.


Tell us three artists that you have been listening to lately.


Greg Laswell, Erin McCarley, Lisa Mitchell


As we can all hear, you are a very talented musician. What else does Aoede do well? What are your other trades?


Writing! I wrote my first script and musical story “Is Love A Fairy Tale?” last year and enjoyed the process so much I am writing my next story: “What Are Dreams Made Of?” now as a follow up. I have started a few books as well. Also, I was an Environmental Scientist for 10 years focused on coastal water quality protection. I have always had a passion for water!


Finally, tell us about your upcoming show/shows and why everyone should be there!


I am mainly focused on production of my new album this month, but I do have a show coming up: a momentous multi-day RipStar Productions Red Cross benefit at Live Worms Gallery for their 10th Anniversary. It is on SAT JUNE 22nd in San Francisco in North Beach. Aoede is on early for FOLK Night. I will be playing some acoustic songs and also doing some fun multi-media stuff. I always like to mix it up, so you never know what I might do next! If you are in the SF Bay Area, come on out and say hello!!







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Katie Ainge (Singer/Songwriter/Pop) Salt Lake City, UT





    I am most at home on stage. My dream is to make music that will change peoples lives. Just as music has changed mine.”


    Katie Ainge is often seen as a breath of fresh air, bringing out the strongest of emotions and passions. She is reminiscent of  Natalie Imbruglia, Lisa Loeb with maybe a hint of Nora Jones and even Sara McLaughlin.


   Katie Ainge has always described music like colors on a canvas. While studying psychology in college she realized that she has auditory synesthesia. This explains the unique texture and imagery that her songs exhibit. Her interesting melodic veins and powerful lyrics keep you listening and wanting to hear more.


   A gift with Katie Ainge. She began by playing on her musical toys at a very young age. Her parents noticed her aptitude and soon she was on her way to a lifelong musical journey. Katie Ainge immersed herself in the piano at age four and then moved on to other instruments. She played Clarinet, Oboe and bass guitar throughout her school years in band and orchestras. “When I was young and taking piano lessons, I would skip ahead through lessons and memorize all the songs in every book,”.


   She participated in children choirs and loved performing. Katie Ainge added, “After my first experiences on stage I knew this is where I belonged.”


   Katie Ainge was drawn to the bass guitar when her older sister bought one to remember their grandfather who had passed. Katie Ainge’s grandfather played bass guitar during the 60’s in a band called the “Blues Society” in Akron, Ohio. “I picked up that bass guitar at age 11 and fell in love with Jazz music,” she said.


   At the age of 14 Katie Ainge had become a keyboardists, bassist and guitarist, and started down the road as singer/songwriter. Katie Ainge began to perform on stage every chance she had. As a soloist or and as a part of several local bands whatever it took to get up on the stage to share her music.


   At 17, Katie Ainge found herself drawn to a Christian church in downtown Salt Lake that was known for it’s worship music. She fell in love with Jesus through worship and singing of His glory. Since that first night in that congregation, her songs have changed. She writes of the transformation Christ has done inside her and the wonderful things she has found in His presence.









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Dina Valenz (Singer/Songwriter/Pop) Los Angeles, CA




Emerging as a formidable artist these past few years on the SoCal music scene, singer/songwriter Dina Valenz currently performs on a monthly basis at the Long Beach Town Center as part of their Live Music Series. The multi-talented performer has also played at numerous clubs throughout Los Angeles, including recent gigs at Lola’s Martini Bar in West Hollywood.


The San Pedro, California native is a familiar presence on the L.A. club scene from the handful of years she spent with Not Like The Other, where she was the lead singer and only female. Joining the band while enrolled as a Drama major at UC Irvine, Dina continued with them for several years after earning her degree, performing No Doubt, 311 and Sublime covers at hotspots like the House of Blues Foundation Room and the Cat Club. Working later with female quartet …Everything Nice (and Then Some!), she developed a keen ear for harmonies, an experience that plays an instrumental role in her songwriting today.


Emerging now with a completely different musical style in line with key influences like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Jewel, Dina is gearing up to release her four-track debut EP, which was executive produced by veteran contemporary jazz singer-songwriter Mark Winkler (who also co-wrote with Dina the infectious jangling pop/rocker “Favorite Pair of Jeans”) and arranged by renowned jazz pianist/keyboardist Jamieson Trotter. Other tracks include the happy, carefree love song “All My Tomorrows,” the haunting, bluesy heartbreak tune “Miles and Miles” and the infectious and edgy, attitude driven “Skinny Bitch.”


My music is very much inspired by the pop music of the late 90s,” she adds, “and those were the artists who inspired me to pick up the guitar, sing and write what I feel. The four songs on the EP offer a pretty good spectrum of my writing these days. I feel like I’m in a great creative place and after going through many ups and downs, I’m writing about the things that have gotten me here.”


Dina’s musical destiny began taking shape at age 12, when she picked up the guitar for the first time. She remembers practicing every day after school until her mother forced her to go to bed. “Ever since then,” she says, “my guitar and I have pretty much been inseparable.” Spending much of her lunch hours at school playing and singing for tips for the kids (Skittles, lunch tickets, etc.) She later joined the high school Vocal Ensemble and participated in every performance and talent show she could sign up for. During her senior year, Dina played her first open mic night, where she had the opportunity to play six songs in a row. “I got all my friends out to see me and I was hooked!” she says.


Dina is still hooked (and writing hooks!) – on the joy of performing for audiences, on singing and playing her guitar and writing more songs which she hopes to licensing to television and film as she builds her solo career. She says, “I’ve done a little of everything, from acting to writing screenplays to singing in bands and a capella – and none of those experiences are as meaningful to me as writing and singing my own songs. The best part of the creative journey has been finding myself in the process. This is always going to be what my life is about.”






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