Biography

Amy’s fourth album, Grow to Catch the Wind (2011), takes her mul­ti­lay­ered sound to new lev­els. A string quar­tet, lay­ered har­monies, and howl­ing cello solos all join with her sig­na­ture soar­ing vocals, piano and gui­tar. Amy’s lyri­cal con­fes­sions pierce through the sonic com­plex­ity, per­haps more than ever. The album, her most brave and hon­est work yet, is the cul­mi­na­tion of sev­eral years of soul-searching, a cycle of death and rebirth.

Amy’s eclec­tic sound draws on her back­ground in clas­si­cal and jazz, and influ­ences rang­ing from folk to funk. “Music has always been engrained in my life,” says Amy. “It’s in my breath. Peo­ple ask my influ­ences but it’s really hard to say. Mozart, Billy Hol­i­day, Prince, Bob Dylan…. They’re all in there.” Amy began study­ing music in kinder­garten, and con­tin­ued through­out her child­hood, singing in her school choir and tak­ing piano lessons.

The haunt­ing and ethe­real style of Amy’s songs has drawn the atten­tion of audi­ences and crit­ics alike. Her track, Carousel, from Amy’s sec­ond album, Kite, was fea­tured in the TV show, Grey’s Anatomy, and numer­ous other tracks have been used reg­u­larly for pro­grams on MTV. Her music can also be heard reg­u­larly on KZSC radio in Santa Cruz as well as other sta­tions around Cal­i­for­nia and also in the doc­u­men­tary titled, I Do: A Mar­i­tal Dis­cord in America.

Amy’s silky vocals would feel right at home in a smoky urban bar, but those famil­iar with nat­ural land­scape of Santa Cruz, Cal­i­for­nia, will hear the influ­ence of her cho­sen home in her music. Even on days when sun bathes Santa Cruz’s rocky coast, a chill breeze can seep in from the bay and fog lurks in the mountains.

This close­ness to nature drove Amy to orga­nize fundrais­ers for the Sem­per­virens Fund, a non-profit that pur­chases red­wood for­est in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains for preser­va­tion. The ben­e­fit con­cert series, titled Take Back Your For­est, has already raised thou­sands of dol­lars for the fund.

In addi­tion to play­ing reg­u­larly for her loyal fol­low­ing in the Mon­terey Bay area, Amy per­forms up and down the West Coast of the U.S., includ­ing at venues such as Genghis Cohen in Los Ange­les and Yoshi’s Lounge in San Francisco.

This Sep­tem­ber Amy embarks on her first Euro­pean tour. The song­writer has been work­ing over­time for the last year to make it all hap­pen. “I couldn’t wait to fin­ish the new album and I didn’t want to put off the Europe tour either. Right now it’s feel­ing like I just need to get some things out of my sys­tem. I’m purg­ing the old to make room for the new.”

Edited by amyobenski on 18 Jul 2012, 20:50

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