10 Questions with Atoosa Grey! Featured Artist on Lyrical Venus 5/24!

Singer-Songwriter Atoosa Grey

Singer-Songwriter Atoosa Grey

Wow, how has it been two months since I last posted?  I guess that’s what happens when I get caught up in moving!  For any of my readers not caught up on my personal music adventures, I am taking a year in Austin, Texas to work on my own music.  Thanks to the power of the internets, I can continue to share new artist finds and send in my radio show from here (remember when I did that from another continent?), now that I’m more settled in.  Austin is a city saturated with musicians, so I am excited to interview lots of women musicians while I am here!  On that note, if anyone knows how to record Skype calls, I would love some tips so I can also continue interviewing artists from afar!

Iranian-born and New Jersey-raised Atoosa Grey’s fourth album, When the Cardinals Come, balances lush poetry and soundscapes with clear, simple and straightforward delivery.  Filled with imagery of the natural world and the journeys of the heart, Atoosa’s songs capture the articulate sweetness of Lucy Kaplansky crossed with the twangy quirk of Neko Case.  Atoosa recently took a the time to answer some questions about her songwriting, performing and artistic life.

The entire album, When the Cardinals Come, is available to stream on her website, atoosa.net and makes for good listening while you read her answers. (hint, hint :) )

1. Do you remember writing your first song(s)?  How does that compare to your songwriting process now?

I think I was twelve years old when I wrote my first song. When I first started writing songs, I would sit at the piano and it would all happen at once – the melody would inspire the words, and vice versa. There was a lot less thought given to the craft of songwriting when I first began. It was more about inspiration, expression, and a place to reflect on my experiences. I played classical piano from a young age, and was always so in love with the piano. Those pieces, as well as being raised by Persian parents in America, inspired me to begin writing. Writing was my outlet, a way to express myself in a bicultural world.

My process is more developed now, and I give more attention to crafting songs, and enjoy that now – whereas before I was writing to release myself from some of my more complex and melancholy emotions. These days, a lot of my songs are based on my poems. The lyrics almost always come first for me. I usually sit at the piano, or with a guitar, and start to sing parts of the poems. And then the magic part happens.

2. Where is your favorite place to sing?

My favorite venue is The Living Room in NYC. I love singing in the car with my daughter too.

3. What’s the hardest thing about performing? What’s the best thing?

Performing used to be hard for me when I needed recognition and approval of my songs. Being a naturally quiet person didn’t make it any easier. But now I know that quietness is a part of the way I perform, and it is a gift. I don’t feel the need to get over my nervousness. I focus instead on coming from my heart. The best thing is that I have the opportunity to connect with my audience; to be generous, and offer some joy. I also get to be fully alive in that moment.

4. What things are you passionate about besides music?

Being a mom. Writing and reading poetry. Flowers.

5. What are you proud of with your new album?

I am proud of the songs on this album. I think they’re some of the best songs I’ve written.  I learned a lot over years performing and writing, and some little jewel came out here. Something that has a life of its own and is very connected to my heart. I was lucky to partner with my husband on this record – he produced it and he did a beautiful job. A lot of it was recorded live. The imprint of this record is what I had hoped it would be.

6. Any new projects currently or on the horizon?

I just started writing again for a new album. I’m going back to school in the Fall to work on my poetry too and I’m really excited about that.

7. Do you have any pre-gig rituals that help you prepare for a show?

I meditate for a couple of minutes and remind to give everything to the songs.

8. What’s your favorite sandwich?

Goat cheese panini with grilled vegetables. I also love a great burger.

9. What’s your favorite hot drink?

Coffee.

10. Do you have any pets or a favorite animal?

No, I have a 2 year old daughter, and besides that, I can only care for my plants right now!

There you have it!  I hope you enjoyed getting to know Atoosa a little better!  If that whet your appetite for more, check out her website and connect on her Facebook Page.  You can also tune in to kruufm.com on Tuesday, May 23rd from 9-1o am Central Time US, for a feature set of Atoosa’s songs!

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