Press Clips and Interviews
REV￼IEWS OF “The Spring Thing”
"Spring's album, The Spring Thing features an exceptionally developed vocal performance that envelopes like the warm waters of a soothing pool. Spring is not only an accomplished musician, but she also creates an atmosphere and mood." - NEWS TRIBUNE
“This CD is most impressive - or should I say that the artist, her composing, arranging, producing, performing ability is impressive. The frequent theme is that in the bouncing back from social and psychological setbacks there is much wisdom to be gained, and the mood is decidedly melancholy, but somehow this artist offers a brightly melodic and rhythmic underpinning which at times is captivating: "The Earth and Sky," Beneath Her Smile," "Frustration" and "The Whole Point is..." are home and car-worthy tunes; not exactly background for a Saturday afternoon barbeque, but something quite palatable for the, shall we say, art-folk afficionado. "Style Of Life" has a Native-American sonic insistence which should be appreciated in every listen.” FAN REVIEW ON AMAZON. COM
"Her talent is in the ability to pair her angelic, otherworldly voice with music that will find you dancing around your living room...Do yourself the favor of ordering this CD. Every song on it is absolutely FANTASTIC. It hasn't left the CD player since it came into the house." - Gina Grega, Editor-In Your Face Magazine, CA
Chorus & Verse Magazine, NJ
Singer/songwriter Spring is the archetype of an independent musician. Working hard to develop her craft, as well as promote her career, she has earned recognition both for a tireless work ethic, as well as an angelic voice and the inspirational quality of her original music which has gained the New Jersey resident critical recognition, radio airplay and growing popularity among her fans.
While in the midst of recording new music and recently back from a successful tour of Florida, Chorus and Verse caught up with Spring to ask about her approach to music, her style of performing and recording, creativity and the relationship with her fans.
The reviews about your music and your shows often talk about the mood that you create, both with your music and your voice. Can you describe how you want fans to feel during your performances and how you want them to walk away talking about your performance?
The last thing on my mind is about making someone feel a certain way. Every person is a unique human being with their own life experiences. And it is based on these experiences that they will interpret my music. The same song that makes one person feel depressed, might make another feel comforted However, I do enjoy getting compliments on my voice and talents. That always feels nice for people to walk away from a show saying that they were moved in some way that makes their life a little better.
The only expectation I have, is of myself, to put every bit of sincerity behind each note and lyric that I sing. I enter every performance with an offering of my experience for them to take and do with what is right for them. That focus and freedom is what probably creates the mood that has been described in reviews.
You promote your music to spiritual retreats, as well as more typical venues. It is fair to characterize your music as having a religious element, new age, spiritual, or something else?
One of the more difficult aspects for me as an artist is that labeling thing. If I had to choose a word, I would pick "spiritual." I wish I did not have to characterize myself as anything, because that leaves little room to grow and change. The songs all come from the same place - from a place of inner adjusting/human condition/soul searching, asking questions like, "what does this thing called life mean anyway?" Many people seem to be asking similar questions.
Are there specific spiritual or religious topics you are trying to focus on in your songwriting? I think that answer could change minute by minute. But, in this minute, I am enjoying the goal of spreading inspiration. I try to take the victim out of struggle and just embrace the feelings, letting them pass and moving on. I like to present a "problem" or "struggle" in the verses and then resolve them in the chorus. That is so rewarding for me. It is fun to inspire and uplift people and watch them having a good time. They approach me saying, "I feel a bit brighter and less alone after hearing you sing." And, I am still being true to my artist's heart, which is everything right there! Who could ask for more?
Let's backtrack a little bit. Your web site briefly mentions your time in Greenwich Village, New York City. Can you talk about your time in New York, some of your venues you've played at, and how you enjoyed your time there?
Before moving to NYC, I had not spent too much time there. So, living in the Village was a great opportunity to learn the ropes of how to get around and just immerse myself in the energy of the place. I had a full-time video production job that supported me. On my off times I would walk by Washington Square Park and people watch; the street performers and regular people. I also volunteered time with Fast Folk Magazine - where I attended a weekly songwriting group. We had to write at least one new song each week and what a great exercise. I performed at open mikes in small village venues to get over some debilitating stage fright at that point. Then I recorded my first album, The Spring Thing.
How did you come to live in and become a New Jersey-based artist? What are some of your favorite places to play in the Garden State?
I was born and raised in NJ by the shore, so there you go!
I love singing in concert style settings where there is a piano, great acoustics, lots of audience silence so everyone can enjoy the music without distraction, no smoking and mood lighting. Churches and theatres have great acoustics and ambience. My favorite place to play up to this point was the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. To hear my voice radiating in that huge room, was a privilege and honor!
On your album, the spring thing, you are credited with playing seven instruments, as well as the vocals. How did you handle this in the studio? Which instruments were laid down first, and how were the tracks put together?
This was the joy of my life. The making of this album was so much fun, because it was this amazing process of layering sounds and watching the songs, my babies, grow and grow to be larger than I could even imagine.
I always swear that angels were in the studio guiding me every step of the way. Whatever I needed at the time, seemed to appear. I did not even know how to play piano very well, but I taught myself the chords I needed, as I went along in the studio. The parts I played were very simple, actually, but once layered, you would not really notice. In fact, my mastering guy, Alan Douches, said that it was better that I did not have too much going on, on each track, because it would have sounded cluttered.
Often, I had no idea where the song was going to go, like "One Deep Breath" on the spring thing album. I sat down and said "What am I gonna do with this one?", and as I started playing the guitar and then singing, the mood began to form. I put background vocals on and then the breathing parts. The dynamics began to appear, including the percussive hits which were added last. That is unusual, to add percussion last like that. Usually, a recording begins with the drum beat, then guitars, bass piano/keys for atmosphere and vocals are always last, lead then backing.
Is playing so many instruments while recording something you intend to keep doing?
Originally, I played the instruments because it was faster and easier to experiment. So much of my recording is sitting there in the moment and strumming or tapping the keys and saying "Mmmm. Do I like this?"
And I love watching the magic unfold that way. Being alone in the studio with me and my muse!
However, I have never been totally an island unto myself. For The Spring Thing, Frank Rafferty was an instrumental contributing creative force for me. He played guitar, bass and helped tremendously in the mixing. He has a great ear in terms of creating tasteful, moving productions of songs and he is a great writer himself. When I would get stuck on a song mix, I would bring him in, and he always had the perfect touch to make the song come alive.
How have you come to perform so many different instruments? Which came first, and how did you develop an interest in learning one new piece after another? I first began playing guitar, when mom dug hers out of the closet and put it in my hand. An old, rusty stringed nylon acoustic. I could not put it down! I was really bad at first, but loved playing so much, I kept at it until I got good.
As soon as I learned three chords, I was writing songs. I was primarily a guitar player and songwriter. I had stuff to say as a teenager and writing music was always a safe place to express feelings. The singing came, as a way of expressing the lyrics. Then, while singing with my first rock band and having trouble projecting over the drums, I decided to get vocal training and took lessons for several years. After that, I felt like my main niche and joy was as a singer.
Learning the piano came after five years with the rock band, when I was recording The Spring Thing. I needed to learn keyboard to lay down the tracks I needed! To this day, I view my guitar playing and piano playing as supports to my voice, which is my main instrument. But, really, it all works together in the end. They are all connected, and I totally think that even if your primary thing is a singer, being able to play instruments is a huge plus. Especially in churches, pianos sound beautiful.
Can you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
Yes. A real thrill. Sort of surreal. I actually remember a related incident where on my day off, I was walking down the streets of Red Bank past a coffee house I performed at. They were playing my CD over the outdoor sound system and as I approached the Cafe I thought, "This sounds strangely familiar... Oh, wait, it's me!" It was kind of cool. It is like sending children out into the world. I think, "there's my baby out there." Recently I got airplay [with] Evan Toth on WFDU up [in the] north Jersey area and he chose a slow, moody track called "Frustration" and no one else has chosen that song for airplay before. [T]hat kind of thrilled me, too, like "Oooooo, my quiet child had the spotlight for a brief moment in time."
A couple of the journal entries on your web site mention your paintings. Are you still painting, and how often do you get to do so?
Doing artwork is really cathartic for me. I like to get lost in color and process. It helps me commune with myself and my spirit. The best part is not worrying about great results. The amount of time varies.
How would you compare the creative energy in painting, to writing lyrics or composing music?
I approach art and music from a place of feeling and expression. Not thinking. In art or jewelry design, I express through color and visual imagery, texture, etc. In music, there are lyrics; actual language and sound. But, even in the language of my lyrics, I try to create a sort of imagery. In the song "Pieces" for example, I tried to sonically create a soft, dreamy cloud like image. For example: a lyric that says "in peace I now look at the world with wonder, it's no longer your cloud I'm under," here is a person sort of floating back into their life and saying goodbye to an old love that is no longer serving them. If I were painting the song, I would use light colors and perhaps cloud imagery. In the recording of the song, I put some reverb on the voice, whispery vocal performance, and this slow melodic haunting-type lead guitar in the background. I like to match what I am saying and feeling with what I am hearing or seeing. I have always heard music in terms of texture and color. I approach recording from almost a visual place. The guitar and keyboards, have different textures to me. Just like painting or jewelry making have different textures to the artist. As it follows, I enjoy mixing mediums in art. I will do acrylic paint and then pastel over it in parts, and then add ink in places. I love breaking whatever rules there are in art and music. (Laughs.) I have never been much of a music theory person. Just go by what looks good to me and then, do I feel anything when looking at it, or listening to it?
Long-term plans? Are there goals you're working towards that you'll consider as milestones in your musical career?
My biggest goal is to stay fully present and contented in the moment and to grow as a singer songwriter.
Spring is Good For The Soul
As a journalist for the ShoreViews' Center Section, Spring was one the of the artists that was always fun to write about. I wrote about how her career began when her mom presented her with a dusty old guitar she dug out of the attic. At the time of my first article on Spring, The Spring Thing, (her debut CD) was being promoted.
Influenced by Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin and Sheryl Crow, Spring describes her music as "inspirational pop-rock."
She feels her vocals are stronger now because she has been constantly performing live. Spring says that she is also enjoying herself more. "I'm more grounded and relaxed with what I am doing. I have developed as a piano player, and as a musician in general. I am more in the moment now, than I was before."
With Spring it has never been about the interview but the conversations. Anytime I have ever talked to Spring, something positive always came out of what she said. While I was interviewing her, I was becoming inspired not to give up on my own ventures. As Spring puts it, "You won't experience your goals, if you give up." She states through song on her first album "the whole point is that things work out and I'm doing okay from day to day." Well, Spring is doing more than okay. She has persevered. She has made it through her own personal struggles, while continuing to inspire others. And she continues to move forward.
- THE RAG, Donnie G. NJ