Welcome to the 2nd installment of [Creative Fridays]
Today, I talk to San Francisco Bay Area-based singer-songwriter Deborah Crooks. When I first arrived in the Bay Area in 2007, the very first gig I played was a show at Caffe Trieste in Downtown San Francisco. She co-hosted the show with singer-songwriter Steven Kacsmar. It was a fun gig and since then, I've followed her career updates even though we didn't crossed paths again in gigs for two years.
In 2010, at the very cool Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse Open Mic in Downtown Berkeley, we met again and started to talk while waiting to sign up to play. We had a chance to talk, catch up & since then probably been more connected than ever! I'm grateful for the combination of social media platforms (FB & Twitter) that now we're definitely more in touch -- even after I've relocated back to Malaysia.
Deborah Crooks's music is personal - a blend of Americana, rootsy rock and confessional storytelling. Come and learn more about her as she shares her inspiration, current projects and favorite music.
1. What's your latest project?
I'm in Mysore, India right now, having sort of a writing retreat and yoga study intensive for two months, with the goal to start recording my third full-length CD upon my return to the US at the end of January. My latest complete project was making my first video, a collaboration with Blue Lotus Films for the song "Let's Move" from my CD '2010' (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/deborahcrooks2) You can see the results here:http://youtu.be/3U7rdTB0qn8
2. What inspires your music? [real life experiences, nature, art, people you know etc.]
Pretty much facets of all those things! Subject-wise, I'm most concerned with the emotional landscape of various real-life experiences and family history, and I have a long-standing love of the natural landscape (I have a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on Natural History from UCSA) so geographical and avian references often crop up in my lyrics. As far as straight-up inspiration, my go-to's are regular yoga practice (Mysore-style Ashtanga) and listening to live music.
3. What's your 5 Desert Island Albums?
Oh, these type of questions are painful! That said, I'd want a mix of excellent songwriters I look to for inspiration, artists to whom I can always rock, and a bit of jazz and classical, so today, I'll say, in no particular order:
1) 'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road' Lucinda Williams
2) 'Time (The Revelator)' Gillian Welch
3) 'Lift Every Voice,' Charles Lloyd
4) 'The Live Anthology' Tom Petty
5) 'Clarinet & Bassoon Concertos', Mozart
4. Who's one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don't know of?
A songwriter who I think is doing great work but is as yet, not super famous, is Nashville artist Sarah Siskind. She has a beautiful voice that's at once full, smooth and raw, is fearless in her level of lyrical honesty and made a wonderful album"Say it Louder" that's both heart-breaking and redemptive.
5. What's an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
Someone may have told me but I think it's the most important thing: don't try to be anyone but yourself and respect your process.
6. How do we reach you?
Next week: [Creative Fridays] #3 with London, UK Jazz Guitarist Dylan Kay!
Thank you so much for reading!
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