Finally, what’s going on with my career as an artist? Honestly, nothing was happening with me as an artist until June of this past summer. I hadn’t gigged in L.A. for nearly nine months when I made a visit to the Hotel Café one night. I began to realize I missed the bars and the live music scene. While I was burnt out on gigging earlier in the year, I began to feel the pull once again. Yet, I realized I didn’t exactly miss the Hotel stage. It got me thinking “What stages do you miss and want to play again?” Also, “What type of songs do you want to play for people?” After much thought and consideration, I realized after getting all of the pop out of me (with my pop writing team) and after getting all of the singer/songwriter & indie out of me (through the Music Dept.) that the country side of me was left.
I started taking stock of the Texas music scene that, I believe, as one of the last frontiers in the music industry. As a Texas country (aka “outlaw country,” “red dirt country,” “southern country/rock”) musician you can still get radio play, people will still pay to see you play (and maybe even buy a record instead of steal it), and its a smaller music community in which you can make your mark.
Ergo, I ran the idea past my friend, Aaron. Aaron grew up around Texas Country Music as his dad is Ray Benson of the legendary Asleep at the Wheel (and is a nine-time Grammy winner). When I explained my thoughts on the opportunity, Aaron agreed and said he would like to help. The next thing I knew, I was meeting with Ray Benson back in Austin at his Bismeax Records offices. It was there, amidst analog recording tools & a console that even Elvis recorded into, that I felt like my country/roots music would be given due diligence.
Honestly, I had no idea what was going to happen when I met with Ray, but he liked my music and thought I was a “smart kid.” Before I knew it, we started talking about me working on some demos with Ray’s co-producer, engineer, and son, Sam. Those recording sessions are scheduled for October and I am currently focusing more of my time on writing Texas country songs for this project. Once the demos are recorded, I’ll be hitting the road opening for larger acts in the scene.
Can you describe your sound and what instruments you use?
Well, my sound is different according to who I’m working with. YET, when I sit down to a guitar by myself, I would have to say a Ryan Adams/Lucinda Williams alt-country sound comes out of me. That is sound I’m hoping to capture in my Texas music project. When I’m writing by myself, I usually end up on the couch or floor with my acoustic guitar and imagine all of the other parts. While I can still play the classical pieces we all love, I have been challenged by my teacher to fill & roll chords on my own while playing Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein. It has gotten me to write a bit more on the piano.
How does the typical Amy Wallace song come together? What is the songwriting process like?
I would have to say my songwriting process starts with a concept. Some people can start with a melody and build from there, but I usually need an idea on which to build & mold the melody (sometimes I write with a melody first, but not usually). Once I have a concept, I usually work on nailing down the chorus. Once the punch line, or rather the hook, is written I go back and work on verses, pre-choruses, the bridge, etc. YET, one of my favorite songs I just wrote a few months back started with me smoking a cigarette outside of my apt building. It saw the cigarette smoke in the cast of the streetlamp and it inspired the first few lines of the song I wrote based rather than the overall concept. The first verse goes:
“cigarette smoke silhouette
in a streetlight glow
You said I’d never be alone
You said I’d never be alone
running from fate spending pay on pain
a little to numb the weight
I’ve never felt so lonely
never felt this lonely..."
The song is called “Worst of Ways” (which is the tag in true old country form) and I’m hoping to get to work on it with Sam & Ray back in TX.
As 2010 is coming to an end, what are your plans to finish the year strong?
I can’t believe 2010 is already coming to a close. To finish the year strong, I would like to get more primetime placements/licenses with The Music Dept., have a successful time in the studio in Austin, and hopefully get a hold on one of our pop songs. I’d also like to get a strong live band & touring schedule started on the Texas country music project to allow me to be touring in 2011.
Having had a busy and successful first part of 2010 with her multiple projects, expect to hear big things on TV or your radio from Wallace in the very near future.