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Question Time with
You can listen to Courtney's song ANTHEMS while reading the interview!
Nahrávku můžete spustit zde:
1. How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Curious, restless, happy, grateful, a bit solitary...
2. Have you always wanted to be a singer? When was the first time you sang for an audience?
Yes. As a kid, I was always making up songs and singing around the house. I have some entertaining recordings of myself and my friends making music (or at least attempting to make music!) as kids and teenagers - I cringe when I listen to them, but I'm still glad I held on to them. The first time I sang for an audience (not counting choir performances in school or other group performances) was when I formed a band with new friends that I met when I moved to Madison, Wisconsin. That was about 12 years ago. That band only lasted a few weeks, but it was a good initiation into live performance.
3. What was the first music you listened to as a child? Do you remember the first CD you had?
The first record I had was Band On The Run by Paul McCartney and Wings - I was 2 years old. It was a "45" - CDs didn't exist yet! I had a lot of childrens' albums, too, but I was more excited about "adult" music at that age. First album was Cheap Trick at Budokan. My parents had a lot of rock and pop music around the house - Motown, Beatles, Abba, Blondie... I didn't have a CD player until I was a teenager. First CD was Candy Apple Grey by Husker Du or Revolver by the Beatles, I think.
4. Is there any kind of music or musician/band that you hate? Why?
Not a big fan of 80s hair metal or reggae. I don't hate that music, but they're two of my least favorite genres.
5. Which song in your catalogue is your favorite? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
"Anthems" from my CD Violet Night is my favorite. I usually write songs based on social observations, stories friends tell me, events in the news that intrigue me - things like that. But I wrote Anthems for myself. I spend a lot of time driving on the interstate/highway, and in the song I'm comparing the journey from childhood to adulthood to a roadtrip.
Another favorite is Off Ramp, also from Violet Night. A Ray Bradbury (American science fiction writer) story inspired that one.
6. Two of the four CDs you've made are actually Christmas CDs. Why?
I truly love Christmas. The whole winter season. The snow, the music, the lights - the childlike sense of wonder. Our former band, Arena Venus, performed a Christmas song at one of our December shows a few years ago. That led to the idea of doing a whole album of Christmas songs. In between that CD (Yuletide Swank) and the new Christmas one (Welcome To Christmastown), I recorded a solo CD called Violet Night (non-Christmas). Last year my friend Jeremy Ylvisaker wanted to do a Christmas CD and knew I'd be up for it. He, along with our friend Andrew Thomas, recorded all the previous CDs I'd done. Jeremy's an amazingly talented musician and I'm always interested in making music with him, so we came up with some more obscure Christmas songs this time and made "Welcome To Christmastown."
7. You are the producer of the show Chad Vader. Could you tell us a little bit more about the show?
Chad Vader is an internet comedy series that focuses on Chad's trials and tribulations at his managerial job at a grocery store - Chad is Darth Vader's younger brother in the series. I work with Blame Society Productions on this, and we were really lucky: Chad became an internet hit with about 50 million downloads to date. George Lucas (Star Wars) honored it with the George Lucas Selects Award two years ago, and it's been featured on American television shows such as Good Morning America and VH-1. I've also contributed some music to the series. We have an amazing cast and crew of professionals who donate their time and talent to a series with basically no budget.
8. What do you like to do in your free time? What's your idea of 'fun'?
I'm not sure that I should admit to this, but I can easily entertain myself for hours at a time by doing nothing by listening to music while rocking in my old rocking chair (and a nice libation or two adds to the fun). I really love just listening to music, to the point where if I don't get at least 30 minutes in a day to do that, I get stressed out. I love being outdoors, especially in the winter (sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, hiking in the forests). Long walks, road trips, seeing live music shows, and working on video productions are also on my "fun" list.
9. Are you currently working on any new projects?
We're starting production on Season 3 of the Chad Vader series this month. No immediate recording plans, but I'm trying to set up a mini recording studio in my home and have been writing new songs (or finishing older ones is probably more accurate).
Learning and having command of at least one foreign language is such a major accomplishment. Foreign language studies aren't required as much as they should be in American academia. I took five years of French in high school and college and dabbled in Chinese and Russian a bit, but unfortunately I've forgotten much of it. I work with many international students at my day job and I'm constantly impressed by their English skills. If you have an interest in foreign language, persevere! It will serve you well.
I'd also like to thank them for reading this and listening - and many thanks to you Marek for finding me and introducing me to your students!
If you're interested, more of my music can be found at CourtneyCollins.com and MySpace.com/CourtneyCollins. Thank you so much!
Thank YOU, Courtney, for sharing with us today. Good luck with all your endeavors!