|It was the summer of 2003 and MP3.com's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars.
Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect.
The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.
MORE INTERVIEWS WITH CHAZ
I am a Singer/Songwriter/Composer/Arranger/Producer My musical tastes, as well as my style of writing, playing and singing, are greatly varied. My songs come from the heart and from life's experiences. It is my sincere belief that music should be an integral part of every child's life.
Varied - I write many different types of music ranging from Piano instrumentals to Heavy Guitar-Base Melodic Rock
Fates Warning, Tori Amos, Dream Theater, Elton John
Lisa Loeb, Paula Cole, Elton John, Jim Matheos, John Tesh, Tori Amos, Sheryl Crow, Christie McVie, Dan Fogelberg, David Nevue, Bruce Hornsby, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Karen Carpenter, Michael Jones
Colleen began singing at the tender age of 4. She soon started playing the piano by ear and started taking basic lessons at the age of 6. Flute, clarinet, saxophone and guitar followed with multiple "first-chair" placements and talent awards. Her songwriting began at the age of 11 with a song about her two dogs, "Frankie and Yogi". Her performances have ranged from orchestra and chorus performances to solo acoustic/piano where her talent shines through. She has the ability to captivate an audience through her lyrics, unforgetable melodies and impressive piano skills. Currently working on preproduction for her 1st CD, "Shades of Gray", Colleen is quickly becoming adept at the art of producing and arranging in a home studio, as is evident in the preproduction recordings available for listening. As a writer of both vocal and instrumental pieces, some recent reviews state: "One of the most honest, and beautiful pieces of music I've heard in a very very long time." Review of "Say A Prayer" "Your harmonies seem to reach to the sky and wrap around clouds." Review of "Hold On To Love" "Without lyrics, you sing through the song. Amazing." Review of "The Capture of Pegasus" "My goal as an artist is to make a connection with the audience. To touch people on an individual level. I believe that music is a universal language thatcan cross the divide of language, race and religion. The language of music can make this connection without using words, which is truly powerful. I hope to one day be able to bring back the language of music to our children by making artistic education available to everyone. It is sad that The Arts in Education seems to be slowly phased out. My biggest dream is to make art, in all forms, available to all without the education system being involved." Colleen
All music written, performed, arranged and produced by Colleen Gray
Vocals. Piano, Guitar, Bass, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Shades of Gray - Preproduction Tracks
San Diego, CA - USA
Chaz the Spaz
You started learning music early in life, what influenced you to begin at such an young age?
My first memory is of my Mother singing to me. She has such a sweetly beautiful voice I started trying to imitate her and discovered this intense joy when I'd sing or dance. Our next-door-neighbor had a beautiful grand piano and I would go visit them sometimes just to look at it. It didn't hurt that I had a HUGE crush on their youngest son who actually played the piano. (I know that had something to do with me wanting to start playing.) When I started plunking out melodies that I'd hear on the radio, I was so thrilled and didn't want to stop playing. My family and my neighbors realized that something special was happening. All in all, I would have to say that my first influence was my Mom. Thanks Mom!!
You mentioned a while back that you were coming to Phx to record a track. How did it go and how's the whole process going?
Actually, it was a magical, amazing, unforgettable weekend!! The reason for the last trip was to interview and audition a producer for the CD. Here's how it went:
Decided to come out on Friday 6/20 to see my favorite band play at the Mason Jar. I ended up getting stuck in a traffic STOP for over 3 hours on the 85 That sucked royally. Thought I was going to miss the show, but they didn't go on until Midnight and I was able to see the last half of their set. Ray Alder (vocalist and my biggest vocal influence) and I have been in touch through email for over a year now, and I was fortunate enough to be able to hang out with him and the whole band until 3:30am. Most amazing part of the night was when Ray introduced me to his band and a few others by saying that I have "a great and/or awesome voice". Coming from him, that was the best compliment I've ever received, hands down!! I will NEVER forget that night!
Saturday and Sunday were the days to meet Troy Lucckart (you may know him as the drummer for Tesla, another of my favorite rock bands). We had dinner with he and his fianceŽ on Saturday just to get a feel for each other. He is an incredibly charming man, and we really hit it off. His ideas about my material and the direction the recordings should go mirrored my opinions almost exactly. After dinner we went to go see Dave Small (the drummer we've chosen for the recordings, who's in a band with Dave Elefson from Megadeth) play with one of his bands. Danced the night away, was given a rose by a total stranger and had a blast!
On Sunday, my manager, myself and Dave all hooked up with Troy at his house to go over some of his other producing efforts (I was impressed to say the least) and to really dive into our thoughts on what the process should be. His studio is also pretty impressive, and it's in his house I was put on the spot and had to sing part of Hold On To Love with just me and a guitar so he could hear my voice without any effects. LOL [...continued]
I'm a fan of your music...I love your piano & voice. You write excellent songs, but do you ever do cover songs?
(I'd love to hear you cover one of my songs with piano & voice)
Wow! Coming from you, this is quite a compliment! Actually, yes I do covers. I'm in the process of recording a few (they're kind of low on the totem pole due to preproduction shtuff) including Faithfully by Journey, I'll Be There (M Carey version with just me & the piano), The Rose and a few others still to be decided. I did a slower version of Dust In The Wind a while back.
I'm very honored that you'd like to hear me on one of your songs! Which one? Can't say exactly when I'd be able to finish it, but I can say that I would love to!
You made my night!
Any of them would be fine with me. I have always loved piano & voice (wish I'd stuck with piano) and I think you're tops.
If you ever get the time and are seriously interested, email me from my page, and we can discuss it.
BTW, your version of "Dust in the Wind" is excellent!!!
I'm so glad you liked Dust In The Wind. I wanted to give a different spin on the song. The lyrics are pretty dark when you think about it, so I thought this was a good interpretation.
I will definitely email you so we can discuss song possibilities. I should have some time to work on it in September...
Chaz the Spaz
Out of all your songs I was most impressed with "El Tigre Luna", tell me a little about it, does it mean 'crazy tiger'?
El Tigre is Spanish for "The Tiger", while la Luna is Spanish for "Moon". Loosely translated, El Tigre Luna is "The Tiger Moon". The name came from a graphic that I designed that I originally named The Tiger Moon. I sponsor Tigers through the Save The Tiger foundation, and they are my absolute favorite animal. Considering that many of the subspecies have already become extinct, and the plight of the other subspecies due to human growth, selfishness and the like, I designed the image from the perspective of "What would the tiger think if it were looking at the world from this perspective. Here's the graphic:
The song itself, is also one of my personal favorites. Considering that it was my very first home recording, and was written in less than two hours, I'm very proud of it. It was inspired by a local guitarist here in San Diego who goes by the name of Jimmy Patton who is, by far, the most amazing prodigy of a guitar player I have EVER seen. Now, mind you, that is not an easy thing for me to say. To hear his music is one thing. To actually see him play is another. He plays two guitars at once. One on a custom stand (or the floor, which was my first experience) and holding the other. Fluid, flawless, ungodly beautiful. And he's only been playing for a few years.
We met through a mutual friend who had shown me a video tape of him playing guitar in his room. Had to meet him! A week or two later, we went and saw his Flamenco duo play at a coffeeshop, and when I came home that night I wrote El Tigre Luna. Our mutual friend really wanted us to jam out, so he set up a time for Jimmy to come over to my house and we just hung out for a while and played our music for each other. I was literally flabbergasted. It was one of those times when you had to laugh a bit because you couldn't believe what you were seeing. I then played for him, and he told me that the feeling was mutual, which floored me. Jimmy was awarded the Best Unsigned Guitarist in America 2001 Keep an eye on him, he's a shining star!!
Chaz the Spaz
I can't even imagine how someone can play two guitars at once.
I swear it's true!! I've been trying to talk him into posting a video on his site. You literally have to see it to believe it. LOL The two recordings at his site are done playing both guitars simultaneously. Mind you, I've seen Tori Amos 5 times, Dream Theater 7 times (going to see them next week), Fates Warning 7 times, etc. I've never been more floored than seeing Jimmy pull off what he does in person. From what I understand, he upstaged Steve Vai at the Awards Ceremony when he won the Best Unsigned award. I love that guy. Trying to see if he will be availabe to play the guitar parts on my CD. Right now, it looks like Marc Bonilla will be the guitarist, but if Jimmy says he can, I think I'd be able to die happy!
Thanks again for this great idea
-- Rick Munarriz