THE fantastic Evan Petruzzi…
has been telling me about her new single, Breathe, and what she hopes to achieve with it. I ask the Long Island-based artist how her career got started and which artists are important to her; a few albums that are important to her – I ask whether there are any approaching artists we should be keeping an eye out for.
Petruzzi talks about her touring plans and what she hopes to achieve by the end of the year; whether she gets any time to relax away from music; the advice she would give artists coming through – she ends the interview by selecting a fantastic track.
Hi, Evan. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. I’m doing pretty well, thanks! It’s been a good but busy week gearing up for the release of Breathe.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Definitely. I’m a singer/songwriter from Long Island, New York. I’ve been playing music all my life and learned many different instruments like piano, trumpet and guitar, to name a few. I write about personal experiences a lot, but I love to write about real world issues because I think one of the best ways to reach a person is through music.
You can be blind to movements like MeToo and Time’s Up, but music always has a way of opening your eyes. My music is influenced by what I listen to so the style of music I write is very hard to define because I like pretty much any genre from any decade. I like to say I have a James Bay vibe with an acoustic guitar.
Breathe is your new single. What inspired the song? Does it come from a personal perspective?
So. I actually wrote this song years ago when my best friend was going through a rough time. I wanted her to know that, no matter what, I’d be there to lessen the burden and ‘breathe’ for her when things got too overwhelming. It's meant to be a feelgood song that inspires people to never give up and to help those who are troubled and can't help themselves. There’s also a surprise meaning to this song which will be shown in the music video which will be released October 8th!
Might there be more material coming next year? Are you working on other stuff?
There’s definitely going to be more material next year and possibly this year, as well. I write every day and some songs I keep to myself but others I share with the world. Writing music has always been an outlet for me and I always say; I’ve yet to write my best song.
Long Island is where you are based. Is there a good and varied music scene there at the moment?
Long Island has a cool music scene. My first gig, not including talent shows, was at this hip little coffee shop. There’s a ton of venues around the island and we pretty much have every genre you can think of. It definitely has a great indie vibe for sure.
In terms of musical influences; which artists are most important to you? How did you get into music?
I was actually born into music. My dad is a professional trumpet player who has his own big band and used to sub on Broadway and my mom has been studying voice since I was in the womb. I’ve grown up listening to some great music ranging from Miles Davis to Carole King. Some of my top favorites are James Bay, Foy Vance; Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse and Lily Kershaw. I could probably go all day naming artists I love but I’ll stick to those.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
By the end of 2018, I would love for Breathe to have touched and helped one person who has listened to it. Whoever it is, I hope by the end of the year it reaches someone who needs to hear these words; who needed to feel the support and give that person the courage to reach out and ask for help. I hope when people watch the video, it opens their eyes to other issues.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have a few top memories but I think my all-time-favorite was playing at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Just standing inside that place knowing all the incredible legends who’ve played there was incredible - but to be able to say I played my original tunes there is surreal.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Ahh…this is always such a hard question for me.
The Wild Swan from Foy Vance
The entire vibe of that album always transports me, but I especially love Fire It Up and She Burns. His writing has always inspired me and I think that album has influenced my music in so many ways.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures or Back to Black from Amy Winehouse
Lioness was released after Amy passed and it is filled with unreleased recordings that always hit me hard such as Our Day Will Come and of course, to no surprise to anyone who knows me, Valerie. However, I will forever be haunted by Back to Black and Love Is a Losing Game.
Rumours from Fleetwood Mac
It’s such a classic and songs like Songbird and Go Your Own Way, I could listen to them forever. I actually covered Go Your Own Way recently and it was such a fun experience arranging it in my own style.
I kind of cheated with this question but these answers probably change every day.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d want to support James Bay. My ultimate dream is to support him, even for one show.
Everyone knows I love food am a health nut. I’m also a vegetarian so my rider would be some money for food so I can go find a nice Italian place to get eggplant parmigiana from. I’d like to have some comp tickets for my family and friends.
Can we see you tour soon? Where are you playing?
Yes, you can! Right now I have two shows coming up and one in the works. October 7th at 7 P.M. I’ll be playing a free show at Rockwood Music Hall in N.Y.C. with my band for the release of Breathe. Then, I’ll be headlining a show November 18th at The Bitter End in N.Y.C. as a ‘What We’re Thankful For’ show for Thanksgiving. That one starts at 7 P.M. and there are some great acts supporting.
Might you come to the U.K. and play soon?
Honestly, one of my goals is to just travel the world with my guitar and play wherever I can. The U.K. would for sure be a goal to play. Maybe sometime in the next year or so.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I feel like I’m a new artist myself but, if I were to talk based on my experience thus far, I’d say never let yourself get discouraged. You have to be willing to put in the work, play any shows you get and, most importantly, you have to be ready for rejection. The music industry is a constant uphill battle but, if you hone your craft, love what you do and never lose sight of yourself and your goal then you’re golden.
IN THIS PHOTO: Julia Knight/PHOTO CREDIT: Galore
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
It’s funny; music has always been my way of unwinding. When I’m stressed, I find myself making playlists or writing it all out. If that fails, I’ve been training in Krav Maga for years, so that’s one way I let off some steam. Otherwise, I do the classic Netflix binge and hang with my dog. Sometimes, I’ll just plop down on the floor and my dog will curl up next to me (or walk all over me) and I just let myself be and hang with her for a bit.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Hmm; let’s do Valerie ’68 by Amy Winehouse…I know, what a shock
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