"Pettit is an artist to watch in 2011"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
I recently had
the privilege of reviewing the latest CD by Kelly Pettit entitled
From start to finish “These Days” is an amazing collection of music.
In fact it’s one of the best CD’s to come across my desk this
year. The music is highly passionate, uplifting, and extremely
entertaining. Kelly's songwriting is world class, consistently
taking you on musical experiences, each one possessing a unique
personality, flair, and signature groove. There isn’t really a weak
piece in this entire catalogue. The writing and playing abilities of
Kelly Pettit are rock solid, the melodies and harmonies are well
crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with
conventional wisdom. Last but not least the vocal presence of Kelly
is world-class. I look forward to hearing more material from Kelly
IMD How would classify your music?
KP I think my music is a mixture of folk rock based around a catchy melody and strong lyrics. Think of Rob Thomas, Train, the Jawhawks and Crowded House sitting down to write an album and it might sound similar to my stuff.
IMD Who are some of your top 5 musical influences as far as musical acts or artists go? Starting with the most influential?
KP While there are some new bands out there that are influential in my writing, the songs I grew up listening to as a teenager probably have the biggest impact. So, I’d say bands like Crowded House, Bryan Adams, The Waterboys, Beatles, and Counting Crows were pretty inspiring at the time.
IMD What inspired you to start singing & composing music in the first place?
KPBeach boys “Endless summer” and my dads acoustic guitar where always lying around the house. At age 12 I started trying to play those songs and it was almost simultaneously that I started writing my own stuff. Probably because it was easier that trying to figure out the chords to those songs by ear. My friend down the road had a band and I wanted so bad to be in it. So I practiced hard and also brought some very bad originals to their jam sessions. That was enough to get me started, and the bug has been with me ever since.
IMD Is there on particular song of yours that really stands out as your personal favorite or most memorable piece? Why is that?
KP That’s a tough question. Usually my favorite song it the most current song I’ve written. Once they get recorded, the excitement kind of leaves me. You hear the song in the studio a million times as you try to craft it, that the vibe of the song usually slowly escapes me. I suppose currently I really like track 2 off my new album. It’s called “I Remember”. I know it’s not most of my fans favorite but for me, I really enjoyed the way it turned out sonically.
IMD What is the best concert you have been to over the years?
KP There are two and they are extreme opposites. One was a Crowded House gig that was at an outdoor event. I thought the sound was amazing and they had great stage presence. They just had a way of interacting with the audience that made that show a blast. But the icing on the cake was sneaking back stage and eventually jamming with Neil Finn. The other was a singer/songwriter named Paul Kelly who captivated the audience with just his acoustic guitar and vocals. He taught me that if you can write amazing lyrics you don’t need a full band to push you through. It was a really intimate experience. He took each song and made them their own event. Something I try to do when I perform alone.
IMD I especially enjoyed the pieces ‘Airplane” & “You, the Melody” what else can you tell us about those particular songs? What inspired them?
KP Thank you very much Cyrus. “Airplane” was written with a play around some “E” voicing’s on the guitar. The lyrics are probably something many people can relate to if they’ve ever lived far from home for too long. Living in Japan has been a great experience but as the lyrics point out, sometimes there is no place like home and this song really rings true for me with lines like, “This city served me well, but I can’t stay”. “You, The Melody” came about after reading all the bad news in the world and realizing that we better get busy enjoying the moment. Then I took it a bit further and made it about trying to make the moment you spend with someone you truly love as special as you can.
IMD I understand you’ve spent some time in Japan over the last few years? How did that come about?
KPI was in a 3 piece band during my University days and when I graduated, I submitted a video tape of us performing and sent it to a Tokyo music agency. I always wanted to perform over here. Well, they unexpectedly showed up at one of our shows in Vancouver Canada and after the gig invited us to Japan. A week later we were sitting on an airplane to do a bunch of gigs all over Japan. The band members were married so after a couple months, their wives wanted them home. I however, was single and opted to stick around. Little did I know I’d still be here all these years later. Japan has been a wonderful experience musically for me. I’ve performed at least twice a week and in many cases 5 days a week, for over 10 years. I’ve been able to save money and continue to do what I love – music. But the downside of the whole thing is that deep in my heart I am still Canadian and I greatly miss western society. So, I continue to write songs and pray that someday, somewhere, somehow, the music I’ve made gets heard and liked enough to get me back home. A song in a movie, TV show, commercial, or whatever that could put that extra cash in the bank to make me say “Time to go home”.
IMD What’s the one thing you want fans to take from your music?
KP With my latest two CDs, I’ve really wanted to give them the best I could. My Grandmother used to always say, “If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right”. Of course with any form of art, that’s very subjective. However, I really do put my heart on my sleeve with these projects. I have pro tools, and I could have recorded the album at home like so many others are doing these days. But I always want the feel of a real band. I want to utilize musicians that know their instruments well. And I want the input of others ideas to be a part of the album. Because for me, at the end of the day it’s all about the song.
IMD What’s next for Kelly Pettit?
KP I am heading back to Vancouver Canada this winter to be with family and while I’m there I have booked some studio time to record two more original songs. This is new for me. Usually I wait until I have around 30 songs and then I go and make a 10 song album. But I want to keep the creative juices flowing and I’m looking forward to recording with some great music friends again. I’ll be sure to send the songs to you Cyrus when they are complete. And then if all goes well, I plan on making another album in late 2011 or early 2012. Thanks a million for the interview Cyrus. It means a lot.
interview conducted by Cyrus Rhodes. Property of Indie Music Media LLC.
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