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Posts Tagged ‘Anna Horvitz’

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Today I am pleased to bring you the very talented and very thoughtful Anna Horvitz. The way Anna and I got connected is actually a Facebook success story. It turns out Anna was friends with my late niece, Selene, when they were young. Anna saw my sister’s name and then mine and then she reached out to me. I am so glad she did. It has been great to get to know someone who was a friend of Selene. Additionally, she has a great voice and a beautiful mind (she’s not imaginary, really).


Copy of pelicangirlE compressedWhen did you first start singing?

It was somewhere between the time I was born and the time I learned how to speak. I grew up with a very musical family, and I have some great memories of singing old ballads and children’s songs with my dad around the piano when I was barely tall enough to see the keys. I was a very sensitive kid, too. I used to cry at the sad songs. I think I remember at one point we decided we weren’t going to do “On Top of Old Smokey” anymore because it was too sad.

What made you feel like you wanted to pursue music as more than a hobby?

It’s kind of weird how it happened. I guess you could say music pursued me. When I was a kid my mom signed me up for sax lessons. I was really good at it, but it was hell trying to get me to practice. I did the whole middle school band thing, but playing sax didn’t seem as cool as wearing dark eyeliner and dressing up and getting busted for smoking cigarettes outside of high school, so I stopped for a bit. In my early 20s I picked up the sax again and almost instantly landed myself in a Latin rock band called Cabeza de Vaca. I wasn’t even looking for a band at the time. But it was my first experience actually jamming out in a group, and the connection, the musical telepathic experience, was incredible. When that project ended, it was a big loss in my life. I didn’t have the leadership skills at the time to form my own band, so I wound up writing songs to the guitar with my self-taught finger-picking skills. It was like it took over. I would stay up so late with the music some nights and go in to work the next day totally exhausted and sometimes a little hung over. But I just couldn’t be responsible about it. It was just too important a part of my life to ignore. And it was about then that I came to the realization that music was going to be a part of my life forever.

Who or what inspires you most, music or otherwise?

Pain. When it comes to creativity, I mean. Good pain and bad pain, like love and loss. That sharp and amazing gasping pain when you realize you’re alive and the sun is bouncing off the leaves as they rustle in the wind. The magical aching pain of falling in love, and the end-of-the-world pain when you fall out. The pain-in-the-ass pain of being alive and trying to feed yourself and pay your bills and still have enough money left over to drown your miseries and successes at the bar. The immense emotional pain of being a living animal in the controlled environment often referred to as civilization. Music and the other arts are a very therapeutic way of dealing with all of this pain. I’m not a masochist or even a pessimist, in fact, I love life dearly, which may be why I make an effort to turn its intensities into beauty.

Tell me about Mojave Wild. 

Mojave Wild was born out of the songs that kept me up late and made me function poorly at work the next day. Once I had enough songs I began to perform at open mics at a local dive in La Mesa, California, a seedy bar called Joe ‘N’ Andy’s that no longer exists. From there I began to gather interested musicians to form a band, but it took a long time to build up a solid group of core members. A couple of years, in fact. Took a long time to figure out a name, too. The project started as Milk Duck and finally made its way over to Mojave Wild as we outgrew the ten thousand other names I had come up with. Once we were solid we started playing out. We got good responses from the crowd, but it’s really hard to build a following, especially in San Diego, what with the way the venues book local bands. But I had a great time nonetheless. I loved performing, and it was an empowering feeling to have such great musicians backing me in the music I had written. A couple of the members were really good with odd time signatures, too, which I love, and which allowed us to explore different styles and step outside the traditional singer/songwriter-turned-rock genre.

What is the future of Mojave Wild?

Mojave Wild is currently on sabbatical in the Mojave Desert for the next year or so while I do my best to straighten out my new life up here in Portland. Back in San Diego, the bass player had left the group, and it was around this time that the drummer (Salvatore, who was/is also my boyfriend) and I decided we were ready to move up north. I have been involved with some other wonderful projects since I got here, and I’m still writing songs, but MW requires a big investment of time that I just don’t have right now, and I wouldn’t want to scrimp on something that means so much to me. I’m working on that time thing, though, and by June of 2015 I’ll be out scrounging around for new members again. Sure wish my old guitar player would move up here!

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What do you hope to do next?

I’m currently singing in an eccentric group that we have temporarily dubbed “The Monday Night Band,” for lack of an official name. We’re just getting it started, but it feels promising. It’s a variety of musical styles that work around the West African djembe and dunun drums. Lots of deep and sensual vocals. When we’re ready to take on more members and start playing out, we can also promise belly dancers at our performances. It’s gonna be a pretty showy affair. I’m really excited about it, because it’s my first project that will incorporate some theatrics into my stage presence. Sal’s in it, too. And our keyboardist, Mike, is also a San Diego refugee, ironically.

I’m also considering getting back into the solo performances, but that might be a tough one, since I’m currently going to school and working. But I miss it. I love that damn stage.

Hmmmm, what else? Maybe get some of my artwork up in a local gallery in the next year.

What has been your favorite performance of yours?

I gotta say, singing live with Gerald Collier on Seattle’s KEXP was pretty fucking magical. It’s really something, to be performing in a little sparkly room with just a few people around, and knowing your voices are being carried out to thousands of ears. I feel very blessed that I got a chance to work with Gerald. That there is one talented, good-hearted guy.

 

What has been your experience in the San Diego music scene compared to the Portland scene?

I feel like the Portland audience is much more receptive to its local bands. But I’ve noticed that the general plight of the local band is pretty much the same everywhere. Venues don’t book bands to entertain, anymore. They book bands that bring their friends. It’s not quite the pay-to-play situation, but your friends are paying for you to play. So there’s no opportunity for exposure from a few gigs, especially when they book you on a Monday night, late.

Aside from my complaining, though, this city has some awesome musicians in it. I’ve seen some amazing bands for just ten bucks at Goodfoot, and a couple for FREE at Laurelthirst happy hour. I’m also impressed just by the people I meet randomly who say they are musicians, primarily because they actually ARE, not like the half-assed guitar players I met so many of in San Diego. Sal and I have surmised that it’s because during the winter there’s not much else to do but get drunk and practice. And there are no winters in San Diego.

Who, dead or alive, would you love to perform with most and why?

Eddie Vedder, but I’d rather he was alive and not dead when I sang with him. I’ve been singing harmonies with him since my teenage days, but he doesn’t know it. Ever since he started his solo career I’ve heard so many possibilities for collaboration in his songs. It’s actually a goal of mine, to one day sing with him, as far-fetched and dreamy as it may sound. But I don’t think it’s an impossible dream. I know I’ve got the pipes, so it’s just a matter of getting him to know I exist.

Favorite TV show ever?

It’s either Frasier or Deep Space Nine. During one season of Frasier a bunch of cast members from DS9 kept randomly appearing on the show. I felt like a five-year-old with a brand new Tonka truck.

God I’m so 90s.

 

Enjoy Anna at these fine locations:

 

 

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