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We like how Grammy winner EARTHA operates; the way she goes about her life and craft. She's "discovered that dreamers and creators don't fit into molds." She continues, "Challenging the lonely road, I had no desire to compromise my creative expression to conform with a generic template, really.  Initially, I thought people would not appreciate individuality because it seemed so common for artists to just fit into a mold and be placed there.  But I soon realized that people are thirsting for new, something different—something that marks individuality."

No doubt. But you don't need us to tell you this - the Grammy nod for EARTHA's album, "Sidebars" in the Best Contemporary Soul/Gospel Album is proof enough. She's giving us something fresh today, a collection titled "Ink Dry Blue". We asked the artist to tell us more about the collection; she says the effort "is about permanence and commitment.  Think of an agreement. When two parties agree to do something, they usually solidify it by inking it in blue... Whether you’re committed to a relationship or a project, if you give someone your word, let your word be the 'ink that dries blue' so to speak."  EARTHA continues on about her sound, stating that it's "free and unrestricted... My sound is Rock Alternative but I incorporate elements that may be unconventional to any particular genre, and in that respect it stands out."

EARTHA will be out supporting "Ink Dry Blue", specifically at Whisky A Go Go on November 13. Check it out, but first, read on for the answers to the XXQ's.




PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?


Eartha:  My sound is free and unrestricted.  I think everyone stands out in his own way. Generally, every artist has his own stamp of creativity that sets him/her apart from everyone else. My sound is Rock Alternative but I incorporate elements that may be unconventional to any particular genre, and in that respect it stands out.


PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?


Eartha: Growing up I listened to gospel.  However, my friends always thought I was a little strange for my interest in classical music.  My mom would always play "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano.  It’s both sad and beautiful. In junior high I began listening to jazz because I had taken up alto sax and trumpet, which allowed me to segue into various styles of music.  I have had many influences.  In this recent endeavor Ink Dry Blue, I was inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen, Phil Keaggy, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, Frank Zappa, and Slash.


PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?


Eartha: I would liken starting out in the business to my first day in Jr. High.  I recall being extremely nervous as I walked toward the entrance, where a group of 8th graders were scoping out the new "scrubs," as we entered a whole new world.  I didn't quite know what to expect.  I heard them laughing as one of them made a remark about my apparel.  I was crushed, but kept walking, as if I didn't hear.

It sort of felt that same way coming into the business, somewhat naive and with great expectations.  There are some who want to put you in a “generic package.”  I don't know that I rebelled, but I became even more comfortable with being "Eartha" and expressing myself through my music.  I've since discovered that dreamers and creators don't fit into molds.  However challenging the lonely road, I had no desire to compromise my creative expression to conform with a generic template, really.  Initially, I thought people would not appreciate individuality because it seemed so common for artists to just fit into a mold and be placed there.  But I soon realized that people are thirsting for new, something different—something that marks individuality. 


PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?


Eartha: I'm not sure I saw it as "being on to something," but as I learned about song structure, lyrics, melodic patterns while working with my producers Helsa and Glaurys Ariass on our first release This I Know, I felt like the pieces were finally coming together.  Getting the music and ideas out of my head and onto paper was a brilliant learning experience.  The development process, fusion of ideas, and music fascinated me even more.  As we’d sat back and listen to tracks and vocals, things would come to life.  I think it was then that I realized that I wanted to saturate myself within the music.


PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Eartha show?


Eartha:  My intent is not only to give my supporters an exciting show, but to encourage them to participate in the experience. People who come to my shows are music lovers and can always expect a good dosage of EARTHA.


PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?


Eartha:  EXECUTION!  Our rehearsals alone are high energy.  Many times we could keep going for hours because the room is rockin’.  So by the time of performance, we're still hyped up in the music and ready to "bring it" to the stage.  Every player knows what is expected of him and what it takes to execute. That's what we get on stage to do. 


PEV: A 2 time Grammy Nominee and Grammy Winner for Best Contemporary Soul/Gospel Album, how did it feel to let alone be nominated but of course win and be recognized at that level?


Eartha: Although I make music because it sounds good and feels right to me, I also hope that others enjoy it as well.  Producing a work that is acknowledged by my peers is something very special.  The nominations pleased me tremendously.  I considered it an honor.  A win for my album Sidebars absolutely floored me.   I was in shock.  In an environment where the room is filled with a sea of emotions, anxiety, and anticipation, you're glad to be a part of something great. You're hopeful. You know?  You entertain the thought of "what if?," yet also realize that there are so many others who have dreamed of being in that position, and you're filled with gratitude for the experience of it all.  No matter what the outcome is, it's still cool.  It just so happened that my project was considered, and to my pleasure, recognized, and we got the Grammy.  The Grammy experience was really an indescribable event.  Even today, when I see people respond with such enthusiasm at winning, although it may seem like an over-reaction to many, I truly understand. 


PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?


Eartha:  Many of my inspirations and ideas come from my observation of human behavior, human nature, and life’s experiences-- the good, the bad, and everything in between. 


PEV: Tell us about your latest release, “Ink Dry Blue”. What can fans expect from this work?


Eartha:  The CD Ink Dry Blue is about permanence and commitment.  Think of an agreement. When two parties agree to do something, they usually solidify it by inking it in blue.    Things of importance are usually written in ink because it is less likely to fade away.  When ink dries on paper, it is there for good.  It is symbolic to the commitments we make. Whether you’re committed to a relationship or a project, if you give someone your word, let your word be the “ink that dries blue” so to speak.  My supporters can expect 16 high energy guitar-driven Rock/Alternative tracks, each with a very specific message,


PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?


Eartha: Over the years I had become disheartened from time to time when I’d come upon “dry spells,” where I not only had writer's block, but a clotting of creative flow with the music as well.  Nothing manifested, so I thought, at least not to my satisfaction.  Yes, I had lyrics, but they didn't seem to gel.  Or I had pieces of ideas which didn't seem to convey my expression.  However, I have since come to understand that it really wasn't blockage because stuff was coming.  It just hadn't met my expectations.  Sometimes now, I regret having scratched out pieces of imagination during those “dry spells.”


I don't think there's one particular remedy for everyone, but someone suggested perhaps pulling away for a period of time and then returning to the work.  For some, writing whatever comes to mind, helps.  Eventually, they sort of break through it.  I had previously been of the notion that forcing creativity, was a fruitless effort, and often times felt laborious.  If you look at creating/writing as "work", you're not going to always "feel" it.  However, you have to continue putting forth the effort until you spark a surge of creativity that will render the desired results.  I must admit, that we have a great writing team.  And we work well together because it's never about egos, but about what works well, what sounds good, and what flows.


PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Eartha?


Eartha: That I'm sometimes still working through "shyness", and no one seems to believe me when I share it.  I enjoy interaction with people, because that's what life is about.  I realize that from time to time, people need to be touched, and shyness could possibly prevent my bringing something special into a person’s life at that moment.  So when I'm feeling coiled or apprehensive, I have to remind myself of these things.  But generally, I'm kind of quiet and shy.


PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?


Eartha: In retrospect, I can look back at the progression of my musical journey, and today I can say, “this is my career.” However, there was actually never a point in my life when I knew that music was going to be my career.  I was just doing what I had always done, and as I continued to create music, my life just metamorphisized into what was later characterized as a career. 


PEV: What one word best describes Eartha?


Eartha:  Wow!  There really isn’t one word that describes Eartha.  I think the one word that best describes Eartha is EARTHA, and if I had to apply a meaning to Eartha, it would be creative, high-energy, expressive, sincere, courage, shy, loyal, and peaceful.


PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?


Eartha: Just like the road -- sometimes rocky, sometimes smooth, and sometimes full of potholes. Thankfully, there are always beautiful sunsets and sunrises to distract me from focusing solely of the dips on the road, and it makes the bumpy rides a little easier.  One of the best parts is meeting other artists and musicians. One of the worst parts is missing my family.


PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?


Eartha: There are many places and venues of interest, but no one in particular.  My preference of venue is less about the place and more about the audience. I prefer to play anywhere my supporters will meet me.  I would absolutely love to perform for our troops.  On the CD, the songs "One By One" and "Pacts We Make" originated with empathetic tenderness towards our unsung heroes, our courageous men and women who experience happenings, which we can only attempt to imagine.  It would be an honor for me to have the opportunity to share the music with them.  When, how, where?  God knows…


PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?


Eartha: I'm grateful for supportive family and friends who have been there throughout my career. 


PEV: What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?


Eartha: Well, for Ink Dry Blue, the release party was held at The Petersen Automotive Museum, here in Los Angeles.  It felt so great introducing the new project.  There was great anticipation from all of us: producers, band members, and those attending.  I felt the energy weeks in advance, but specifically that evening.  The atmosphere was charged, and as I took the stage, I felt so much love and support.  It felt like home, and it was.  Both the El Rey and House of Blues Sunset were superb experiences as well--great home reception.


PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?


Eartha: While working on the latest project, many of my hobbies were somewhat suspended.  Although, I totally understand and subscribe to a balanced life of activities, I enjoy reading, watching movies, making jewelry, writing and cooking.  I cherish my solitude, which is absolutely necessary for me.


PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?


Eartha:  With the emergence of so many global platforms on which new artists are able to showcase their talent, I enjoy hearing new artists and groups, and watching them perform.


PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

Eartha: I know that being a chaplain isn't a profession into which one should call himself, but I've often wondered about it.  Sometimes when I visit people in hospitals, I observe Chaplains in their interactions with patients and families, and I am intrigued with the way they offer comfort to the afflicted, and are able to communicate certain realities.


PEV: So, what is next for Eartha?


Eartha: Sharing more music and great experiences. I will be performing at the Whisky A Go Go on November 13, 2010.  Check www.earthaonline.com for more news and future dates.

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