Today’s Feature – October 14-15: Autumn

October 21, 2008 at 2:34 am (Today's Feature)

Here’s a story you don’t hear every day – think about your favorite morning radio show – I don’t care if it’s a quirky, shock jock show, a news program or a talk show. Now picture one of the hosts releasing an album… that’s good! Well, the former sidekick for the #1 rated “JB and Sandy Morning Show” on Mix 94.7 KAMX Austin (of course, it would happen in Austin), Autumn, not only released the record “Sugarcane,” but has now released a sophomore collection, the finely tuned “Velvet Sky.” And if it could possibly get any better… Autumn definitely has a face built more for movies than radio.

The “sidekick” has more or less taken center stage down there in Austin, describing the new album as “Folk/Americana, with lots of room.” You can’t help but notice the maturity on “Velvet Sky,” showcasing a much more seasoned variety of song lyrics complete with a sense of Americana that is full of style and substance. Autumn herself says of the record, “I was as truthful as I could possibly be.  A lot of reflection, a lot of sincerity, and plenty of musicality.  I hope you can hear that it is so not about the money, or the business, or playing the game.”

As you might expect, Autumn has tons of experience performing for a crowd – after all, when she isn’t playing music, she’s on the radio. She wants her live performance to “move people to dance, sing, write, love, laugh, cry…move people to just ‘let go’ for a moment,” as well as drink some beer. I agree with her – beer is important to just about any event. So get to a performance and enjoy yourself… and jump into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Autumn

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us, how did you first jump into the music industry? Was music always an instant passion for you? Any hesitations

Autumn: Definitely an instant passion.  I begged my parents for a piano when I was very young.  I have always wanted to play music and be involved in the entertainment industry.  However, it wasn’t until I moved to Austin and attended the music program at UT that I dug into songwriting.  Music is different in Austin.  I had never really heard folk/Americana before, and I was intrigued.

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

Autumn: When I had to decide on a major for college, my dad told me, ‘it doesn’t matter what you major in, as long as you get a college degree.’  I chose music, and never looked back.

PEV: The female sidekick for the #1 rated “JB and Sandy Morning Show” on Mix 94.7 KAMX Austin, has that helped shape your stage presence and persona on stage?

Autumn: Absolutely.  Working on that show taught me the importance of engaging an audience, speaking with conviction, and getting comfortable talking into a mic.

PEV: An Oklahoma native, what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

Autumn: As a child of the 80s, I listened to some pretty bad stuff.  Honestly, I was not inspired by anyone other than Billy Joel and the ‘Dirty Dancing’ soundtrack.  However, when my dad played 70s music, I LOVED it:  Ricky Lee Jones, Bob Dylan, The Eagles.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I really knew what their music was all about.  Things really started to feel right when my brother introduced me to the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, and CCR in high school.

PEV: What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you step on stage?

Autumn: Breathe.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music? Is there a certain “method” or “science” to your writing?

Autumn: I have to be alone, I have to be in my pajamas, and it has to be at night, completely quiet.  Sometimes I get the melody first, other times it is just the lyrics and I add music later.  I write what I can in a sitting, then I go back in and edit and edit and edit.  I never ever have been one of those writers that sits down and writes a song in 5 minutes.  Every single letter of every single word is analyzed and put in its proper place.  It takes awhile.

Sometimes I’ll just sit for hours and hour, possibly days or weeks, (even months or years) until I work through a phrase and get it just how I want it.  It can be brutal, but the words eventually come if I am patient with myself.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Autumn performance?

Autumn: They should expect art.  That is what is expected from any musician.  We have an obligation as artists to move people.  Move people to dance, sing, write, love, laugh, cry…move people to just ‘let go’ for a moment.  If you aren’t feeling ‘something’, then I’m not doing my job right.

With each performance, there is passion, vulnerability, and truthfulness.  Plus, an overall sense of gratitude to just be playing music with fantastic musicians.  Oh, and there is beer.  Always beer.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

Autumn: My first live performance was at a tiny cafe called, ‘Common Grounds’ in Round Rock, Texas.  I was so nervous.  It was terrifying.  That hasn’t changed.  I still get nervous and terrified, but who wouldn’t?  Getting in front of people and putting it all out there is not always fun, it is hard and scary.  Every show, I learn something new.  I’d like to think the shows have grown and I have improved since that first gig.  God, I hope so.

PEV: What can fans expect from your sophomore album, “Velvet Sky”?

Autumn: I was as truthful as I could possibly be.  A lot of reflection, a lot of sincerity, and plenty of musicality.  I hope you can hear that it is so not about the money, or the business, or playing the game.

PEV: How is this album different from your first album “Sugarcane”?

Autumn: ‘Sugarcane’ was the first album.  A great first album.  Thankfully, I had a great team around me to make it a solid debut.  The new album is more mature, classic, and a giant leap into a more focused folk/Americana category.  I was still experimenting with ‘Sugarcane’, trying to find my sound and my groove.  I love both albums because they are both so fitting and appropriate to the person I am/was, something I am thankful to my producers for capturing.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? In a thick and talented industry, how do you expect to stand out?

Autumn: Folk / Americana, with lots of room…(that sounds like a Starbucks order!)  As far as standing out, yes, that is hard to do.  There are so many talented musicians fighting for a spot.  I understand how it all works, and it is important to have a bold personality, charisma, and that ‘X-factor’ that Simon Cowell always talks about on American Idol.  I am not looking for my 15 minutes of fame.  I want a solid career and longevity.  I work hard and always try to do the right thing.  If I continue doing so, I feel I will carve out the path I was intended to be on.  Trust me, doing the right thing is not always fun.

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

Autumn: I have a fear of umbrellas and hotel shower curtains.

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts? Any favorite spots on the road?

Autumn: One of the greatest parts of being a musician is playing with the band.  I think Walt Wilkins said it best when he said, ‘playing with the band is almost as intimate an experience as making love’.

My favorite part of the evening is after a show, when the band is all sitting together in a corner booth, hanging out, laughing and drinking beers.  I don’t have kids or a husband, but I know that being away from them would be the worst part about being on the road.  I don’t like being away from my chihuahua for too long, does that count?

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

Autumn: Austin, Texas.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success? What is it like for you when you get to play a show in your hometown?

Autumn: They love it.  Family is most important.  Playing a show for family and friends is amazing, they know all the words and they sing along!  No pressure.  Beautiful.

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

Autumn: 3 things:  Yoga, beer, mindless reality TV.

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

Autumn: Hayes Carll has a cool thing going.  Sam Baker is the real deal.  My favorite musician right now is Ray Lamontagne.  I know he is big already, but I just heard his new single and I would like for him to have my babies any time.

PEV: What’s been the craziest reaction from a fan you’ve ever had?

Autumn: During a heartfelt ballad, a fan was inspired to break-dance right in front of the stage.  He was quickly escorted out of the venue.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where do you feel your career will be?

Autumn: No promises, but I hope it will be established, respected, and well-deserved.

PEV: So, what is next for Autumn?

Autumn: Play shows, write songs, and practice every day until I die or get married…whatever comes first!

For more information on Autumn, check out www.autumnonline.com

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