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Wednesday, February 28th

Yvette Ivory

An exclusive interview with Musiqtone
Special to Musiqtone

Myspace Music is definitely a breeding ground for some of music's hidden talents and gems (this month's You Gotta Knows were also found on Myspace Music as well...). Western Massachusetts native Yvette Ivory is definitely among the many gems that have yet to be uncovered by our crack staff at Musiqtone. Blending rock, pop, and classical into an interesting tapestry of music, Yvette is definitely in a group of young musicians looking to perhaps put their own unique stamp on to the music industry. She was our 'You Gotta Know' for the month of June and here is our exclusive one-on-one with the current Berklee College of Music student.

The Interview: Alan Ho: Thank you for taking this time out for the interview. Tell the readers here a little bit about yourself.

Yvette Ivory: I’m a singer/songwriter/pianist from Western, MA. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Massachusetts, It’s sort of the “country.” I grew up in a humble little place called Palmer. It’s very different from Boston. That’s where I got my start in music. As of now, I study at the Berklee College of Music.

AH: It seems that music has been with you your whole life, what got you interested in music in the first place?

YI: I’ve always felt a very deep connection with music. My parents are musical, (my mother being a singer and my father a keyboardist/saxophonist), and so from an early age I was exposed to the sounds of my mother singing around the house, or to my father’s band practicing in the basement. My mother especially sparked my interest in music. Before I even knew how to read or write my name, she was teaching my sister and I songs by ear. There was also always music playing through the speakers, or some musical movie on like “The Wizard Of Oz.” I can recall coming home from preschool, and requesting that my mom play the goat song from the “Sound of Music”. I’m not sure what it was called, but I was obsessed with it. She’d blast it through the speakers and I’d dance manically throughout the living room singing and yodeling at the top of my lungs. Music has always moved me, literally, like nothing else. It’s definitely my home.

AH: How long have you been playing the piano and what got you into playing it?

YI: I started taking piano lessons when I was five years old after my sister had started taking lessons. She absolutely hated playing, and would get so angry that she’d bang her head against all the keys at once. It was a terrible sound but even still I was so proud of my older sister and wanted to be just like her. And so my mom taught me all of the notes on the piano, and then sent me off to lessons.

AH: How did you come to the eclectic mix of sounds you put into your music? Experimentation perhaps? How did you get such a cool mix of sounds.

YI: I think it of course starts with my personality. I’ve always been pretty open-minded and I tend to gravitate toward things that are unique. When I write music, I stray from writing “a pop song” or “a rock song” and instead just write whatever I feel the meaning of the song calls for. To me, writing within a genre is limiting…..it’s like taking every song and stuffing into the same old jar. I dislike that, and also any song that was made that way.

As far as the mix of sounds, I listen to many types of music and allow every genre to influence me rather than just one. I’m drawn to the beautiful melodies of musical theater, while at the same time being fascinated by the syncopations and chord colors of jazz. I’m addicted to the candy that good pop has to offer, and also moved by the depth and sincerity of folk lyrics. Even beyond music, I am a visual artist and poet, and so I see music in color, and I enjoy lyrics that are like paintings and that have a lot of meaning.

AH: Who are your biggest influences in your music and your career so far? And if you had to put your music in a category, what would you put it under?

YI: Joni Mitchell and Rufus Wainwright. I’d categorize my music as rock/pop/classical, since it seems to contain the elements of those genres predominantly.

AH: We ask everyone we interview with this: What is your philosophy in making your music?

YI: My goal is to write music that appealing both sonically and intellectually/emotionally. Also, I want music that is fresh and lyrics that are universal. I want everyone to hear echoes of their own hearts within the music, not only echoes of my own. I avoid using cliché phrases and particulars about my own life in music, because quite honestly I don’t think anyone cares nor do I expect anyone to. This music is not about me. It ‘s about human existence. It’s for people to hear and relate to on every possible level, except on the level of being like every other song that’s ever been heard before.

AH: I know that you’re a songwriter but what we’d like to know is, do you do any composing for your piano part? If you do, what’s harder: Writing a song, or having to compose notes for the piano?

YI: Yes, I write and play all of the piano parts. Whether or not the piano work or song is more difficult to write depends on the accompaniment I choose to use. If I’m just using simple chords, it’s not very difficult. But when there is more detail involved, it becomes a bit more time consuming.

AH: I understand that you’re a student at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. How has being a student there helped you with your music? You do know that John Mayer went there briefly...

YI: Berklee is a microcosm of the music industry. I’ve met a lot of incredible musicians here, one of them being my own drummer who studies with Mike Mangini (Steve Vai’s old Drummer),

It’s also very inspirational to be surrounded by so much creativity. I absolutely love it.

I am of course aware that John Mayor went to Berklee. He actually just returned this past year to give a concert for us. Paula Cole also attended, along with Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks, Steve Vai, Aimee Mann…….the list goes on. It really is a great place.

AH: How have people responded to your music?

YI: From the start people responded quite positively. It’s been very encouraging.

AH: Why is music important to you.

YI: It’s another form of communication and also a way to reach out to as many people as possible. Also, it’s so relaxing and fulfilling to play. It helps to keep me content.

AH: What are your goals and dreams, both long-term and short-term? Where do you envision yourself, 5, 10 years from now?

YI: Currently, I’m working on forming a band and also on a full length cd with arrangements. I’d like to go on some kind of tour within the next year or two also.

The plan is of course to keep making music and to have as much fun as I possibly can while doing it. 5 years from now, I’m hoping to have been signed already, and 10 years from now? It’s tough to tell. All I know is that I’ll always be exploring new avenues and most likely pursuing them.
The Burn:

This is where I put the person I'm interviewing on the hot seat...
Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, or Vanessa Carlton?


What’s spinning in your CD player right now?

Eisley- Room Noises

Music no one would expect you to have and listen to?

System of a Down….

Big record label or small record label?

Perhaps small for now, and big for later?

Ultimate playing venue?

The Fleet Center

Favorite song from your EP

Beautiful Lover

What would you be doing or want to do if you weren’t doing music?

I’d either be an actress or an architect.

Special non-musical talents

Acting, Drawing

What act or acts would you love to share the stage with?

Rufus Wainwright, Eisley or Keane

Favorite food(s)?

Steak and Pad Tai

Your most embarrassing moment on stage?

Back when I was performing a lot of classical music, I was accompanying a choir and totally lost my place in the music I was reading. I basically stopped playing for an entire section. It was pretty embarrassing. Luckily though, I came back in at the turn of the new section and so no body seemed to notice that the a capella portion was actually not quite as intended as it seemed.

-Alan Ho is the founder and chief head of Musiqtone...and also the guy who writes incoherent articles whenever he wants to...oh yeah and the interview thing too. You can reach the big man at Musiqtone at alanho@musiqtone.com.

(C) 2005 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this interview cannot be used without written express consent from both the representatives of Yvette Ivory and Musiqtone.