GSC Interview with Ree Boado
provided by reporter Dan Reifsnyder
Dan Reifsnyder: Great to meet you, Ree! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. What got you into songwriting?
Ree Boado: Well, my journey into songwriting is a little different from most songwriters I’ve known. I was always passionate about lyrics and singing, though I didn’t grow up in a very musical family and wasn’t surrounded much by musical people. Music was always calling to me though. Some of my earliest and best memories involve music. I can remember being 8 years old and sitting behind the bushes in my front yard, reading and memorizing lyrics. I occasionally wrote bits of poetry and wrote some short stories that won some contests as a kid, but I never actually thought I could write a song since I didn’t play instruments at that time. And then one day in my early 20’s, I was in the shower and several lyrics and a melody line just came to me. That turned into my first song, which I later found piano chords for, thanks to a friend. After that small victory, then learning to play piano and guitar, songs have been flowing ever since. I guess the music was in there all along, just waiting for the right time to come out!
DR: Who are some of your musical influences?
RB: Well, my influences are all over the board, as it is with most musicians. Growing up in the hoods of Phoenix, I listened to a lot of R&B and hip-hop, but also some top 40 soft rock and pop stuff. I was a little obsessed with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Christina Aguilera and tried singing all their riffs as best as I could. I grew up in the church too, so of course there was also Amy Grant, Crystal Lewis, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams. That was when I went to a black gospel style church and learned to sing soulful harmonies in the choir. My dad was from an older generation, so I got some taste of the old-timey crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole too, which is always so nostalgic for me now. Got some touches of musical theater in college, Lea Salonga and others. Then later on, when I started singing in rock bands, I got into Paramore, Radiohead, Sia (her early indie music), and Switchfoot (love Jon Foreman’s lyrics). Nowadays you can find me listening to Melody Gardot, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Jon Foreman, Carina Round, Mumford & Sons, Jetta, Flo + the Machine.
I love vocals with emotion and a bit of unpredictability, smart lyrics that make you think, and when someone can create a certain vibey, dramatic feeling with their music that really drives home the meaning of the lyrics. Anyone who can capture these 3 elements, no matter what genre they are in, gets much props from me! I aim to do this in my music and hope that I do… at least some of the time.
DR: How did you hear about GSC?
RB: I’m in a Facebook group by music industry manager and educator, Rick Barker. That’s where I found and followed hit songwriter Brent Baxter’s blog, and then Brent mentioned GSC to me.
DR: Yeah, Brent’s blog is fantastic! What made you want to join?
RB: I’m living in China now for a bit, but moving to Nashville in July 2016 so I thought GSC would be a great next step for me. Sheree seemed so warm in her bio, that it just made me want to be mentored by her. So I set up a video mentor session and then joined later that day. Felt great to have someone on my team who truly understands the challenges of songwriters from both sides, as a songwriter and businesswoman.
DR: Absolutely. Sheree is one of the most positive and encouraging people I know! How do you feel GSC has helped you grow?
RB: Again, Sheree’s warmth is just what a weary songwriter, who may be on the verge of giving up, needs! There are tons of practical resources offered through GSC, as well as personal resources. In the mentor session, Sheree also called me on some limiting beliefs she heard in my conversation, and gave me some tools to actively fight that inner critic voice. Dude, she was like Oprah or something… just cut to my core in a way that I really needed to hear. And after my first meeting, Sheree was already trying to set me up with some contacts to get my music in TV and film. I really feel she believes in me and my music, and will do everything she can to help my dreams come true. And GSC actually has legitimate connections to help make some things happen. Now that is true support for songwriters.
DR: (laugh) You’re not far off with the Oprah reference! What are some songs you wish you’d written?
RB: “Hallelujah”- Leonard Cohen, “Tears in Heaven”- Eric Clapton, “One”- U2, “Let It Be” – The Beatles, “Wake Up” – Arcade Fire, “And So It Goes” – Billy Joel, “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M., “Breathe Me” – Sia, “Beautiful Things” – Gungor, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt, “Take It Easy”- Jetta, “Open Hands”- Ingrid Michaelson, “Awake My Soul”- Mumford & Sons, “Fake Plastic Trees”- Radiohead, “Everything a Reason” – Carina Round.
DR: That’s a heck of a list. “Hallelujah” is one of my favorites as well! Tell me about your latest project!
RB: My latest endeavor is my indie folk solo project, Ree Boado. The most recent album “Out of the Mouth of Caves” is 6 acoustic arrangements of songs that talk about relationship challenges in the darker times and what we learn from them. I’ve been told it reminds people a bit of Ingrid Michaelson, Allison Sudol, Tori Amos, and Priscilla Ahn, with hints of Feist and Katie Herzig. Full of haunting harmonies and a bit off center at times, with a touch of pop and rock.
You can listen to my music at www.reeboado.com, purchase it on iTunes, as well as hearing a variety of music I’ve written previously on solo albums and in my rock band Dearspeak at www.soundcloud.com/ree-boado. I’ve also got some free stuff up on Noisetrade.
DR: Excellent! What are some things you hope to accomplish in 2016?
RB: Well, 2015 was my year of taking risks, and I’ve done a lot of that. So next year I’ll have to amp up the New Year’s resolution to something new and challenging. I know I’ll be here in China for the next 8 months, so I’m going to continue pursuing the various music opportunities that are opening up for me here. I’ll also be recording a music video and tracking some more songs to pitch for TV/film. I’ve been writing several songs that I can totally see on some shows.
In July 2016, my husband and I plan to fly back to Phoenix, pack up a U-Haul, get our dog back, say goodbyes, and move to Nashville to further expand my circle of industry folks and see what opportunities may come from living in a more music centered city. I’ll also definitely be looking to form a band there, so I can play the indie rock songs I’ve been writing. I actually prefer playing with a band, whether it’s for my solo acoustic music or my rock music, so I’m really looking forward to being in a place with more opportunities to play with great musicians. I’m a voice teacher as well, so I’ll be working on getting my business up and running out there, while pursuing my own music endeavors.
I’m anticipating 2016 to be a great year, the best ever perhaps, and I’m happy to have GSC on my team to be a part of that!