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Q+A with Amy Bezunartea

October 30, 2010

You’ve heard us play a couple songs recently from Amy Bezunartea‘s debut full-length, Restaurants and Bars. Amy is a Brooklyn-based artist whose experiences working as a waitress have heavily inspired her songs.

Restaurants and Bars comes out this Tuesday, Nov. 2 on Jennifer O’Connor‘s label, Kiam Records. Recently Girl Germs got a chance to chat with Amy about her record, her inspiration, her dream touring companion (Linda Ronstadt!) and what lady artists she’s digging right now.

Girl Germs: How did you get started as a musician? How long have you been performing?Amy Bezunartea: I always sang as a little girl and I started playing guitar as a teenager. Performing has always been a struggle, it’s very scary.  But in the last few years I have performed a lot with [Amy’s other project]  Clint Michigan and now I’m gearing up for some solo performances.

What inspired you to start making music?
Great songs have always been an inspiration.  I remember when “These Dreams” by Heart was on the radio when I was little and I thought it was so amazing.  Songs like “Free Fallin”, “Back on the Chain Gang”, “Rocket Man”, “Helpless”.  I could go on and on, but you hear a song like that and it changes everything.
I remember hearing artists like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell for the first time and becoming totally obsessed with what they did.
Who are some of your greatest musical influences, male or female?
I’m such a big music fan, it’s so hard to say! I love Tom Petty, Dolly Pardon, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Kanye West, Kim Deal, Chrissie Hynde, Tina Turner.  I could go on and on.
How did Jennifer find out about your music and how did your signing to Kiam Records come about?
I met Jennifer when I joined the band Clint Michigan.  Clint and I would do a mix of our songs sometimes and that’s how she first heard my music. Kiam records released a Clint Michigan record in 2009 and then Jennifer wanted to release my solo record too.
How does it feel to have your debut record coming out? Does it help to have an established artist like Jennifer standing behind you?
I’m equally excited and terrified about the record.  Part of me is thrilled that I finally did this and the other part is just scared of what people are going to think.  Today I’m happy about it…for now. I couldn’t have made this record without Jennifer.  She really pushed me through the entire painful process, from writing to recording, to performing and promoting the record. She is a total go-getter when it comes to Kiam Records. She really wants people to hear the music she puts out and she really believes in it.
What will you do once the album is released on Nov. 2? Any plans for a tour?  
I am doing a Fall mini-tour with Winston Troy.  She’s this great one-woman band with looped guitar tracks and effects.  We’re playing five East Coast shows.
If you could collaborate or tour with any musician ever, who would it be and why?
Whoa!  One of my favorite records is called “Trio”.  It’s a collaboration with Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt.  It has such pretty songs on it and they harmonize so beautifully together.  I would love to be the fourth wheel in that group.  I think singing and harmonies are one of my favorite things about making music. If I had to choose, I would hit the road with Linda.  She’s also from Arizona and her voice is incredible and I think we would have a good time together.
What are some of your favorite lady bands or artists right now?
Joanna Newsom is an amazing songwriter and musician.  I love her records. I just heard the new Sharon Van Etten record and it’s gorgeous.  I’m sold on Florence & the Machine after seeing her sing on the MTV Music Awards. I love watching Jennifer Hudson sing too; she always kills it.  Lady Gaga is a star, Rhianna too.  Lots of interesting ladies abound these days!
Buy Amy’s (and Clint Michigan’s and Jennifer O’Connor’s) music from Kiam here, and download some free tracks from Restaurants and Bars (courtesy of Kiam) here.
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