Artist Interview: Dawn Mitschele

Dawn Mitschele, brilliant acoustic guitarist and singer, digitally “sat down” with us to answer a few questions about her awesome EP Love Remains.  Enjoy this intimate look at her album a bit from the inside out.
1) So this spring you released Love Remains EP, which is available on bandcamp.  How are things going with the new album?  
DM: Things are going great with the new EP.  It has gotten play on local radio stations in San Diego (KPRI and 91X), Los Angeles (KCRW) and a few other places, including my home state of NJ. It’s been selling well on iTunes and bandcamp, and it’s been getting great reviews! 
2) What’s your favorite song to play on Love Remains and why?
DM: I think my favorite song on the EP is “The Queen,” because I really love the jazz influenced style, the arrangements ~ that sexy electric guitar/the horns/the flirty piano ~ and the story of the fickle Queen who deep down just wants to be loved by her one true King. However, each song is so different from the next that I truly love them each for their own reasons. Actually, I think I’m going to cheat and say that The Queen is at a tie with Once and Again Friend ~ a song that started as a poem that came spilling out one day after feeling terribly rejected by a friend.  That is a powerful song for me, and one people really seem to relate to. And…i love the way Gabe produced the choruses. They soar!
3) For those who may not know much about you, could you tell us about your career?  When did you get your start?
DM:  I’ve always been a performer at heart, but after going through some hard times at the age of 11, I kind of shut that part of me off for many years.  I’ve been slowly unlocking it for the past 7 years or so…and now I’m finally back doing what I love.  It was in 2005 when I sang in public (solo), sharing my own songs for the first time at an open mic at The Twigg’s Green Room in San Diego.  I was immediately embraced by the music community, and so it just kept building from there.
4) We love to ask this… what does the songwriting process look like for you?
DM: Songwriting….ah!  Well, somedays it’s like kicking and screaming.  Other days it’s like gliding on a freshly frozen pond with razor sharp skates.  Sometimes there are tears, other times….euphoria.  And sometimes, I feel like there was a glitch in the matrix where I checked out for a bit, and suddenly upon my return, I’ve got a song in my hands!  But at the core of it, it feels like holding space for the silence to speak. When all is quiet, i can hear the sounds of my heart and soul, god, angels, spirit…etc. and it kind of feels like I become the observer.
5) Your album has a great sound that is relaxed and calm, but still jams.  What was the mood or overall message you wanted with the album?
DM: Initially, I just wanted to get something out there, and fast! i met Gabe (the producer) and we had a limited time together, and so I wanted to take a handful of my favorite songs I’d been performing live and make an EP.  As we went through choosing the songs, these 5 jumped out at us like they were already a happy little family! They all seemed to fit ~ each so different, but each one about LOVE in their own way.  Self-love, love for friends and family, love for future lovers and even love for ex-lovers.  It’s all in there.  “Love Remains,” is really about how love truly remains under everything…even when it doesn’t LOOK like love.  In terms of sound, we wanted to take risks and make things more interesting than just the straight up acoustic quality of my last record.  We recognized each song had it’s own style, which we wanted to stay true to, and knew that the common thread was always going to be my voice and vocal style. And of course, in the end, we spent much more time on it than expected, as we were really loving the process and knew the songs deserved all that love and attention.

6) Who are your most important musical influences in terms of making your sound?  We can hear several classic female vocalists in your tone, but to me (Greg) you sound most like a girl by the name of Jennifer Knapp… have you heard that comparison before?
DM: I’ve never heard of Jennifer Knapp, but I will look her up asap!  For me, I feel like I have never set out to sound like anyone, which is why my albums are always so eclectic I think.  I can only say that I have a mix of sounds in my blood, from growing up on country and folk (Hank Williams and Neil Young), then finding Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant at a young age, and then Dave Matthews in high school (his messages resonate with me very much), and then  on to Fiona Apple, Ben Folds Five, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Patty Griffin later on. I also went through a big Stevie Wonder phase for a while too. Nowadays I listen to a lot of my friends’ music~ there are so many incredibly talented independent artists out there.
7) What is your dream gig?
DM: My dream gig is opening for Dave Matthews, and singing with him too.  Maybe on a Dave and Tim tour, though I’d love to rock out with my full band before one of his DMB shows as well!
8) Who are you currently listening to?  What other emerging artists do you know/like that you’d recommend for us?
DM: I am listening to and love…Tyler Lyle (LA via Atlanta), Kris Orlowski (Seattle) and Lee Coulter (San Diego).
9) Your music shows a pretty strong jazz influence.  What genre do you prefer to use to describe your music?  Or do you not really like to put it in a category?
DM: For genre, I usually say singer/songwriter, but my explanations vary. People categorize female singers a lot by their voice, so often times I’ll say something like “if you like Norah Jones, you’ll probably like me (i get that comparison a lot).” Or I’ll say…”it’s relaxing music after a long day of work,” or “it’s the kind of music you’ll want to put on for a romantic dinner at home.”  And as for my jazz influences…I’ve always dreamed of doing a more straight forward jazz album in the future.  Not sure which direction the next record will go though…?!!
10) Lastly, what would you like our readers to know about you and your music?
 DM: Hm, what i’d like readers to know about my music?  Well, if I had to give it a persona, I’d say it sounds like a “fallen angel.” There’s a lot of purity and peacefulness to my voice and music, but there are certainly enough earthly pleasures, messes and mistakes in there to make it real and relatable.  In fact, I think it could easily be described as divinely dysfunctional 🙂

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