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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the artists

It was the summer of 2003 and'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.

Serena Matthews

Serena Matthews
Artist description
singer, dreamer, poet.. just drifting through life...

Music Style
my own

Musical Influences
My family, Bob Dylan, Amanda Marshall, Patty Griffin, Kasey Chambers, Steve Earle, The Innocence Mission, The Beatles, The Eagles, David Harris, Tracy Chapman, Susan Tedeschi, Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, Patti Griffin, Counting Crows, Joan Baez, Indigo Girls, Neil Young, Aimee Mann, Sara Maclaughlin, Freedy Johnston, Mazzy Star, Aimee Mann, Alanis Morissette, Billie Holiday, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, Joni Mitchell, The Sundays, Patsy Cline, Stevie Nicks, Joan Baez, Elvis, Tom Petty, The Sundays, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Buckley, Shawn Colvin, Patsy Cline, Amy Grant, Janis Joplin, Beck, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, Jeff Hightower, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Lee Tyler Post, Gregory Page, Alice in Chains, Mick OD, Karen Ires, Dino Romanelli, Lucinda Williams, Eve Selis, Gregory Page, Steve Poltz, Live, Dave Matthews, Moby, Gov't Mule, Bonnie Raitt, Things in Herds, and pretty much everything else I've ever heard...

Similar Artists
Julie Miller, Kasey Chambers, Alison Krauss,Lucy Kaplansky,Gillian Welch,Emmylou Harris,Nickel Creek,Kate Rusby,Victoria Williams,Melanie Safka,Michelle Branch,Patty Griffin,Joan Baez, Jewel

Artist History
Artist Bio: There were times quite recently when Serena Matthews felt that there weren't very many listeners out there who would ever hear her words with an eager heart and soul. After she graduated from college in 2002, and the time finally came to begin working on a career that would carry her through the rest of her life, she began to wonder if her music would compose a vast part of that picture. She persistently continues to write and perform her songs anyway, for an audience which is predominantly inhabited by Internet listeners and open mic gatherings in Nashville, TN. Serena was recently featured on Jewel's Soul City Cafe website at

Group Members
just me

guitar, harmonica, piano

Press Reviews
Review of "Here in the Blue" from "Someone much wiser than myself once said that the simpler the song, the more difficult it is to pull off. In the folk song "Here in the Blue" all we have is an acoustic guitar and the voice of Serena Matthews to break through the darkness and touch our souls. If that's all there is than they both have to be good. And in this case they are... Her guitar melodies are simple but that's not a bad thing. They provide the perfect backdrop for her voice. The sounds seems to convey the emotion she is trying to get across all on their own. Then you add in that voice... Oh, that voice! This is where she really shines. A unique, sultry, baby-doll voice that holds the listener to the song and makes you want to have another listen..." ----------------- Review of "Where the Angels Go": "There's a girl crossing the road in the drizzling rain, the cold wind is swirling. The sun will come out once she gets it all out of her soul. This song is going to help along with a bottle of wine and an open fire. The lyric is potent, the vocal compassionate, and the melody fitting. Tell Jewel to pull up another chair, set up another mic, and make room up the back for people to stand and behold, someone is telling the truth! ~reviewer at ---------------------------"I was around in the '60s, and though much of it is a blur, one part stands strong in my mind; the music. The street concerts, concerts in the parks, and of course the big ones; Monterey, Woodstock, etc.. But what stands out in my memory the most, the coffee shops; the music from the streets, the Indies of the day, telling their stories and reciting their poems in song... Well, it's back, and a young woman from Tennessee has brought it back. Serena Matthews, the coffee house princess of the new millennium.Listening to Serena is like being there all over again. She is much too young to have experienced it first hand, but she got it from somewhere, and she got it good." ~Bill Bruedigam, ------
"Normally I review on a scaled system, like I've seen so many times in music magazines. But Serena's beautiful music transcends those mere boundaries, and I would only be giving her perfect scores anyway." ~Bent Twig Productions ---------------Review of "Backstreet Cafe": "ChapmanJames about Serena Matthews: "In her "Backstreet Café" she shares a dream or two and finds a way to breathe simple words like "pretty" and "crazy" with such intensity that a 5 minute cup of coffee quickly becomes an hours stay just to hear what she says next. I would daresay that her simple arrangements offered online are so classic that to see her live and to own her complete set of recordings would be a great investment in serenity. Thank You Serena, we'll leave a cup at the table for you." ~Chapman James, Folk Writer,

Additional Info
Please visit my website for more information, booking, and charity links

Nashville, TN - USA

Chaz the Spaz
Serena, you've been a part of this community for quite some time. Since we don't see you as much as we used to here, can you tell us of your recent endeavours?

d a n i e l
Here's my question:
Who is your favourite blue eyed,shaved head Canadian singer/songwriter from Montreal?
Ahhhh...just boinking for a real angel of a gal,and a helluva songwriter!!!

Hi Chaz
Thanks for interviewing me!
To tell you of my recent endeavours..
Aside from spending quality time with my husband and the rest of my family whenever possible, I've been working also very hard on my music.
I've been working full time on my upcoming studio album, (still haven't quit my dayjob though!) right now I'm only doing the writing and preparing the album cover photography and art, and this fall the label I am signing with (a small independent label in Los Angeles) is going to put me into one of Nashville's top studios and we will finally begin recording the album, which is going to be titled "Breaking Down Walls". Right now it looks like I will most likely be recording at East Iris Studios. It's one of the top 3 studios in Nashville, so I'm very hyped to be able to record there if that is the studio I decide to go with in the end.
The label is getting me some good musicians to work with on the album, even a slide guitarist (which I really want for the recording of "here in the blue", and experienced producer and engineers. So I am excited about all of that, but still keeping a level head, because who knows what will be happening a year from now. Anyway, the label is paying the bill for EVERYTHING, so that is very nice! At any rate, there are two different lawyers looking over the contract for me, so when I sign the dotted line it will be done after knowing that I'm doing absolutely what is right for me and that I'm not getting ripped off or anything. I'm happy to remain independent.
Being a DYI (do it yourself) artist is really difficult, so it will be nice to have some help with promotions, and radio play and all that good stuff that I've been doing all by myself so far. I'm still going to be managing my own website though. My CD will be in record stores in the United States (and on and CD Baby) either in December of this year or very early next year.
I was going to record the CD here at my house [...continued]

Hi Daniel!! You're so sweet!
Thank you and I think you know the answer to that question already!

Serena, everything sounds simply awesome for you and Im so happy for you, bet you are really thrilled over it all still loving your music carol lowery styles

Hi Carol!
Thank you so much for always being so kind to me.
I don't forget things like that.
How are things going for you?
Wonderfully I hope

Chaz the Spaz
Thank you Serena, that's great news, all the best to you. I too, have been spending more time with my family. With the exception of this month's INTERVIEW project, I haven't been here as much as I used to.

I'm so happy for you!!!
I've always felt that America needs to hear your music. I've always felt that there is healing in your voice, your music, and your lyrics that this nation desperately needs.
I wish I could describe what I feel about your music, but at the moment I can't. But I can tell you that Artist Launch is featuring my cover of your song 'Where The Angels Only Go'in the folk section. I think covering your song is my way of showing my deep respect for you and your music.
A thousand best wishes Serena on your new journey.

d a n i e l
Hi Daniel!! You're so sweet!
Thank you and I think you know the answer to that question already!
lol!!! awwwwww shucks....
(kicking ground bashfully)

Joey Fiasco
Serena ROCKS!!!

Chaz the Spaz
What is your favorite poem?

Hey Mick!~
Thanks so much
And thanks for covering my song, I love your version of it, and so cool that it is featured on the folk page too, and #3, cool, congrats Mick! I like your version better than mine
How are your music studies going? Are you enjoying university life?
a thousand best wishes to you also,

Hi Jeff, thanks

I have two favorites.. the one I know by heart, and which is probably my number 1 favorite is Emily Dickinson's poem, which I think is untitled, but I call it "Hope"

Hope it the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all

and sweetest in the gale is heard
and sore must be the storm
that could abash the little bird
that kept so many warm

I've heard it in the chillest lands
and on the strangest seas
yet never, in extremity,
it asked a crumb of me

The other is a dark and beautiful poem titled "the highwayman" by alfred noyes.
what's yours?

Hey Joey, (thanks!)
I haven't heard from you in a long time, how are you doing?

Chaz the Spaz
My favorite poem was always The Raven by Poe (when I was younger I had that memorized). There are other poems but I don't recall the authors off-hand. I used to write poems for fun, fun with words. Like, there was a young man from Calcutta.....(hee hee, only kidding). Seriously though, I do have a poem published in the National Library of Poetry,

Turning Point
I've lived my life
Throughout the years
In my own heaven
I was always happy
Rarely sad
God loves me
And I am glad

I gave my life
To what is/was
I felt that was
The only cause

Now it is
That which is/was
Gives me back
My only cause

And my life
Is all renewed
Because of love
That cames from you

It's really no big deal though, I was urged to enter a poem for the yearly poetry promotion run by the Library, and I submitted one of my emotional ones.

Chaz the Spaz
How did you first become interested in music?

Chaz the Spaz
What are your goals and what do you have planned for your music?


  -- Rick Munarriz

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