For someone not familiar with your music, how would you categorize it?
My music is a mix of pop and jazz with a little soul thrown in! I've been influenced by so much music...it only makes sense that my music is a bit eclectic. I sing and play sax....sometimes using my voice as an instrument on the sax-driven songs. It's not your father's jazz band. It's modern, it's cool, and definitely lives mostly in the pop world.
Did you write the songs on your new CD?
I'm definitely an artist that is just as much of a writer as a performer/musician/singer. I think a cd should be a snapshot of where you are in your life as an artist. And the songwriting is the key to expressing yourself in my opinion. I co-write a lot with my friends. John Taylor from Duran Duran came in and jammed with me for this cd. We came up with such a cool fun groove, and created this great song out of our "jam". My friend Matthew Hager and I co-wrote most of the cd. We'd get together and have lunch and just sit around his little Hollywood bungalow and write. I'd go back and forth from the piano singing to my saxophone, and he'd switch back and forth from bass to guitar. We have a lot of fun writing together!
What producers did you work with?
I've used the same producer on all of my 3 CDs for Verve Records, and I just signed to Concord/Peak and now have my own boutique label off of Peak named 23 Music Group. "Stars" is my first cd for Concord/Peak/23 Music Group, and again I've used Matthew Hager. We've been best friends since college. We really grew up musically together, which I think is amazing. We finish each other's sentences, and we usually are on the same page when we're going for a sound for a song or cd. I'm glad I haven't been made to work with one of the "yo cat" producers. I much prefer the freedom and ease of working with someone you vibe with ...that you can experiment and push yourself with ...without feeling stupid. I think that freedom really shines through in the music.
When did you decide to branch out as a solo artist?
I always wanted to be a solo artist. My goal was always to play and sing and write my own music. When I moved to LA and started shopping my demos around to record labels, however, no one was interested! So I ended up touring as a sideman musician with a lot of really varied artists...Adam Sandler, Bobby Lyle, John Tesh, Teena Marie, The Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, Duran Duran, Jonathan Butler. I have to say that the trite line everyone says about "It's all about the journey" is true. I learned so much delving into all these artists' music, and it really made me a better player and helped me know more what I had to say as an artist. I'm definitely the sum of my influences.
If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?
If I weren't playing or singing, I'd probably be a professional beach bum. It's a dream!
How do you juggle your music career with your personal/family life?
Funny you ask that question! The title track on my new cd "Stars" is written about being far away from the one you love, and the push and pull between a couple. The chorus is basically one person asking the other to stay just a little longer...forget going away for the moment....the stars are out tonight. I thought that was a romantic notion, and I thought it was a perfect title for a cd. Stars are so inspiring and romantic!
What's one personal thing about yourself that you're willing to share with readers?
Hmmmm...personal? I like crunchy peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, I prefer boxer briefs (on men), long walks on the beach, quiet nights by the firepit at home, and if you're into good road stories I have a few! Last month I walked into my five star hotel room to the hotel attendant sniffing my panties! Yeah...the road's a crazy place! That's personal enough, right?!
Mindi Abair Official Site: http://www.mindiabair.com
and MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mindiabair