There’s great work in the Gallery this week:
It’s no secret that the best things usually come on the side – you don’t have to go any further than sweet potato fries for proof of that. When singer-songwriter Suzie Bradford went looking for something “on the side”, what she found was a new sound and a new love.
Formed in Spokane, WA in 2003, The Side Project was born from Suzie’s need to find a more feminine outlet for her music than the rockin’ guy-group that she was fronting at the time. Joining musical forces with bass-player (and now-husband) Ben Bradford and a mutual friend, the aptly-named project was just what she needed to let her disarmingly-pretty and lyrical vocal style shine through. Not surprisingly, the project soon took center-stage with an ever-increasing number of live performances and a full-length CD, which followed 2 years later.
In the time since their inception, The Side Project has been mesmerizing audiences throughout Washington State with their live shows, which often incorporate other creative disciplines, including painting, photography, film and sculpture. The collaborative multi-media aspect of their live performances was inspired by a close friend and mentor who Suzie had the privilege of working with at age 19. “He taught me how to incorporate art and I saw the beauty in being able to watch the performance and watch the art being created.”
In addition to their rigorous playing schedule, Suzie and Ben have just released their third studio album, “Wake Up Call”. Compared to their previous efforts, which were recorded over a much-shorter period of time, this effort was 5 years in the making; something that Suzie hopes will show-through in the songs themselves. And, although the songs on “Wake Up Call” run the gamut from tender ballad to straight-up pop, and are quite different from one to the next, the band manages to maintain a good flow throughout the album. The common thread that ties them all together is Suzie’s sensitive, yet powerful delivery. Even when she sings sweetly, you know she means it.
I wanted to know more about Suzie’s songwriting, and in particular, how much of her personal life (and marriage to bandmate Ben) sneaks into it. She responded candidly, “I would say that my first two albums were definitely written more about Ben. In this one, I did write “Mr. Wonderful” for Ben because I do have a really amazing, amazing man. And, I believe every women deserves an amazing man so I wrote that song to encourage women that he’s out there; you just gotta keep pounding down the doors.” But, this isn’t strictly an album of love songs. As Suzie explained, “In this album, more than the other two, I talk more about my struggles with, you know, the angel and the devil on my shoulders. I wrote “wake up call” about that struggle within myself.”
Part of that struggle comes from trying to find a balance between living the life of a musician at night and taking care of the demanding business side of the band by day. With a playing-schedule that often has the band on stage 4 nights a week, plus Suzie’s efforts to book and promote the band without the help of management, it is easy to understand how it can be difficult to maintain that equilibrium. I asked Suzie about the demands that come with being an indie band who are doing it all themselves. “I always view it like “it is as much as I want it to be”, you know? As much as I put into it is what I am going to get back. We’ve had management in the past and although I look back now and think, “Gosh, that was something I should have been super grateful for” because I understand how much work goes into it, I also like to be in control of things. So, I struggle with that balance….letting other people do it for me, because I feel like I could maybe control it or, not necessarily do it better…”
I asked Suzie if there are enough tools and resources out there for indie bands; specifically, is it possible to do it all without management, or do are there obstacles in the road that having representation would avoid? “Yeah, both, I think. With the management that we had before, some of her contacts wouldn’t re-hire me because they were, well, her contacts. We learned that the hard way. I’m looking into “the Indie Bible” (a directory of music industry websites) and looking at all of the radio stations we can send the cd to. I think if it’s supposed to go, if it’s supposed to do something, if it’s supposed to work…if you put in the work, then it’s going to work for you.”
And, work they shall. Having just released the CD at the beginning of this month, Suzie and Ben are wasting no time in getting it off to a good start by getting it into as many hands (and ears) as possible. I, for one, believe this album will spell success for the duo who are hitting the ground running with a good local following; as well as a little taste of international recognition, thanks to one of their songs showing up on season 4 of “So You Think You Can Dance”. Will the world see the potential that lies in “Wake Up Call”? As Suzie puts it, “I’m really optimistic that they’ll look at this album and really latch onto it.”
“Wake Up Call” by The Side Project is available now , on CD or via digital download, at CD Baby. Look for The Side Project at various venues in and around Seattle. Check out their MySpace page for show dates and further info.
Kristin Beltz is an amazing photographer, but more importantly an amazing person! She is so full of life and appreciates the natural beauty around her. I think she captures this emotion so well in her work. She is an Island Girl who loves to Run, Bike and Swim. She enjoys working with plants and enjoys everything to do with being outdoors. She loves animals and is especially fond of Boxers. This first photo is bursting with bright color! It makes me want to get out into the garden.
Kristin has a wonderful ability to capture the magical quality in simple pleasures. I love the out of focus background that lays behind the simple pine needles. Perfection!
Once again, here is another example of how Kristin makes a single green leaf become a beautiful piece of art!
Kristin states, “I like playing around with the lighting during the day to see what type of shots I come up with. There is a beautiful field of these Daisies on the next road over and on Sunday I went down there and shot from different angels. I liked the deeper tones I got from this shot. I like the pretty bokehed blossoms. This wasn’t intended to be in focus, I used another focal point to get the bokehed Daisies. I intended to create a textured feel and a lingering memory sort of feeling.”
Thank you Kristin for sharing you talent with us. You are truly an inspiration to us all. You may view more of her work on Flickr.
Lavender Field: I’m a self-made crafter and forever a learner.
My style is very unique as I don’t follow any trends, but actually make my own.
I have an insatiable urge to create, create, create stuff with my hands. After all that’s why God gave us hands…. to put them to good and creative use!
Colors, nature and my surroundings in general are my inspiration, and I have this unconscious habit of always picturing ugly things turned beautiful.
The variety of styles I create reflect exactly that: my love for variety. Variety in jewelry, clothes, music, decor, food and styles in general.
And check out her attention to detail in her custom work. Nice!
“Each product is made by hand and usually all the wood is surrounded by cups of tea, laughing children, and disco music so each product will come to you infused with love and bliss!” says Amy Turn Sharp of her handcrafted wooden toys. Amy and her husband Joe, the handsome British carpenter, have lived in a small village just outside Columbus, Ohio for about nine years. They have two kids, Finn, age 5 and Blaise, age two, who have tried out all the wooden toys their parents make and have given them a seal of approval.