[By Monica Harris]
Q. Tell us about the music scene in Sacramento.
Autumn: Sacramento has a wonderful combination of being a big city with a lot of opportunity, filled with small-city-minded people. The people I’ve been lucky enough to work and play music with are some of my best friends, and even the people I don’t know personally are all incredibly supportive. We may be small, but there is so much talent here, and everywhere you go, you can tell that people are proud of what we’ve accomplished. I only hope I can be here when it starts to really explode, it’s going to be amazing to see!
Q. You come from a large family. Any other artists or musicians in the family?
Autumn: I definitely do come from an eclectic brood, which I’m really thankful for. The older I get, the more I realize how much of a difference it made in my choices as an adult, and what I gravitated to. My dad and sister are the painters in the family, then my mom, my little brother and my baby sister are the singers or musicians.
Q. Tell us about your new album The Hallelujah Chorus.
Autumn: The Hallelujah Chorus means so many things to me. It’s living proof of the hard work that we’ve put into it during the last year and a half, and the standard we made ourselves reach to. I really have met some of my best friends during the recording process, and I got to reach new heights musically that I’d only dreamed of before! It’s incredibly rewarding to finally be able to put out music that I’m 100% satisfied with, especially since I’m a typical artist and feel dissatisfied constantly otherwise.
On the last album we did a really great job with what we had available to us, and this time around I got to be picky and really go to town with the sound. There’s a lot more harmonies, a lot more instrumentation and overall, a more mature sound to my signature style. The same emotional joie de vivre will still be there, but it will also be a showcase of all the effort I’ve been putting into my songwriting lately.
Q. Do you feel sometimes hard times cause you to write the best songs?
Autumn: I think hard times make me write the most emotionally raw songs, but I’m just as inspired by love, dreams, and everyday things (that rhymes!) and I could never say that my sad songs are my best songs, they’re just good in a different way. My mind collects the prettiest or the saddest memories and saves them all for songs in the future, much like a hoarder keeps trash. I like both kinds of songs that come out of that because both kinds are equally sincere.
Q. How do you deal with critics?
Autumn: I have had the luck of starting out in a very supportive scene, so criticism hasn’t been a huge concern of mine. Usually the second I hear any, I just use it to fuel my work. “You can’t” is a very dangerous thing to me, because I’ll just use it as an excuse to show you I can. My main focus is always my music, so people can say what they like, but my shows and songs have been a place of refuge for me for so many years. A couple little naysayers could never take that away from me, I have my memories and my incredible fans to remind me of why I do what I do!
Q. You always have a flower in your hair and a smile on your face. How would you describe your style?
Autumn: My style is just another artistic outlet of mine. I was set on being a fashion designer before music stole my heart away. When I was younger, I could never find the things I wanted to wear at stores, so I started shopping exclusively at thrift stores, vintage carriers and clothes trading stores, and sometimes I’d even sew my dresses myself. Japanese street style was a big influence of mine when I was younger, and fashion from the 50’s and 60’s has always had big place in my heart. I feel like it’s just another aspect of what I do, and a good way to get the style of your music across very quickly. Plus, it’s fun to wear fancy shoes.
Q. You’ve been performing live for about 4 years now. What is the biggest thing you’ve learned?
Autumn: I’ve actually been playing closer to six years now, although it’s been about four years since I worked on my last album. The biggest thing I’ve learned is how important it is to support your fellow musicians. When I was younger, I felt really intimidated by all the talented and successful musicians I’d see, and was super shy around them. But as I got older, I finally got to meet them and realized that they’re all just as real as you or I, and they’re fountains of information. Everyone has been so willing to help, lend a hand and give me pointers. Actually, the smaller the scene the more I’d have to stress that point. There’s no room for animosity or competitiveness when you’re a tiny town, you’ll just destroy what little scene you have. Build each other up and play up your strengths. In the end, you’ll have really great friends, the scene will benefit and people will respect you.
Q. What can we expect when we see you perform live?
Autumn: I always put a lot of energy, emotion and work into my shows. Bigger ones have more of a band backing and sometimes I play by myself for smaller things, but I put just as much preparation into both. Shows are important to me both musically and visually. I think it’s such a great platform to really hurl all your creative energies into one goal and make them actual events — not just gigs! I started putting up decorations onstage a few years ago just for fun, and when I stopped doing it people noticed, so I decided to keep that going. It’s funny what sticks out to people the most, but I like that it defines me more clearly. In a world saturated with singer/songwriters, its important that you find something unique to differentiate yourself.
Q. Anything about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
Autumn: I’m the oldest of seven children, I’m a professional Scottish highland dancer, I’m a painter on the side and my life goal is to be a sailor.
Q. What keeps you going musically?
Autumn: My fans, definitely. I’m constantly reminded how lucky I am to have people I see on a regular basis at my shows. In a world filled with so many wonderful musicians and songwriters, the fact that they continue to come and see me play my songs is incredibly humbling.
Autumn Sky on Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/autumnsky