I recently shot the breeze (virtually) with gifted songstress Andrea Tomasi. Learn more about her approach to songwriting and our shared love of the Hudson Valley below!
The Hudson Valley has been a haven for artists since the turn of the
century. Woodstock (the town) was where '50s-era hipsters (ie, beatniks)
hung out, then people like my grandparents gentrified it. How did you
find yourself in New Paltz?
introduced to Hudson right at the close of my senior year at Oberlin,
and ended up visiting and feeling excited about potential projects and
people who were living there. I decided to live in Hudson, but got
connected to New Paltz folks from playing out in the Kingston/New Paltz
area. The community I was a part of was rich with talented and
forward-thinking young people, and I feel grateful for the experience I
How do you feel the Hudson Valley has influenced your music?
I was living in the Hudson valley
during my transition from being in college to trying to figure out how
to be an adult in the world….So I felt supported by the natural beauty
that is that area, and also the honest work that people are doing
there, such as farming or alternative healthcare or working with
children. There was lots of room for reflection and learning new skills
and meeting new people…all these things must have influenced my music
in a way.
So the story goes you had to cancel your Brooklyn recording session
thanks to hurricane season. But what made you decide to record in
Minnewaska State Park?
My engineer, Jeremy Backofen, had
recently bought a cabin in the Mohunk preserve, so he had some
available property to do the recording on. We thought it would be a
peaceful and beautiful way to record; right in the midst of nature and
all of it’s sounds. I use a lot of natural imagery in my lyrics,
because I feel that is what I know, and trust the most. So the outdoors
seemed like the perfect partner for my songs.
Lately I've been receiving a lot of music from artists whose lyrics are "inspired" by poetry. Why did you go that route with Hurricane Dream, and why Pablo Neruda?
I went with Pablo Neruda because that
was what I had on hand at the time. I’m actually not that big of a
poetry reader, but I would pick up his book to start to get my brain
aware of descriptive language, or to serve as a launching point. Its
sort of like drawing—it necessitates a different kind of seeing, of
being aware of angles and shadows. Often you have to practice this kind
of thing, and warm up into the seeing. Similarly, for me with writing,
reading poetry warms me up to the different way of communicating, or
telling—it stimulates something inside of me so that I can enter more
of a state of unconscious, where I let myself trust or flow with the
words, rather than analyzing so intensely.
What other sources do you use as inspiration?
Discovering other musicians or artists
that touch me is always deeply inspiring. Discovering my truths,
through experience and reflection, and attention to listening—also
observing human behavior and my own in relation to others—all are big
sources of inspiration.
Any thoughts on your next project?
I think about what is next a lot—and
thus far haven’t gotten any clear answers. I hope to start
collaborating, and developing perhaps a fuller sound that I feel
excited about. It is the unknown, so it can feel a bit daunting and
scary at times—im waiting for the internal push that says, “do this!”
In the meantime, I think playing with others is probably the best way
to figure out where I’m heading…
Andrea Tomasi -- Official, Facebook, Buy From Team Love Records