photo by Michael Gomez
Interview by Scott Preston
Singer/songwriter Amy Loftus is bringing her country rock sound and angelic voice to the tri-state area for 3 appearances on Friday Dec 28, 2007. I also was able to talk with her and ask her a few questions:
Cincy Groove:If you had a chance to collaborate with one musician of your choice on an album who
would it be?
Amy Loftus:Wyclef Jean
Cincy Groove:What is the strangest thing a fan has said or done?
Amy Loftus:That’d have to be the marriage proposal from the audience in San Diego a few weeks ago. He’s 20, and apparently, we’re myspace friends, but I hadn’t myself corresponded. I played “Ready to Fall”, which is about a woman loving a younger man, and dedicated it to him, which cracked everyone up. In between every song he shouted “you’re beautiful Amy! you’re gorgeous!” I must confess, he was so unabashed, I ate it up.
Cincy Groove:What do you do when you are not playing music?
Amy Loftus:I do yoga, hike with my two shepherds, am always reading, (mostly non fiction), and I love restaurants-a spot of great wine and food with my dear friends does my soul good.
Cincy Groove:Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to make music your passion?
Amy Loftus:Yes. One of my many day jobs in LA was as a limo driver for the great songwriter (and actually the inventor of the role of musical producer) Jerry Leiber. Now, the sax player who passed me the job just
said “it’s Jerry, this dude in Venice.” I didn’t know who he was! I’m sure he found it amusing when I sat at his piano one day, waiting for my check, noodling and saying, “so you don’t play?” He replied “no, my partner does.” Well he was talking about Mike Leiber for God’s sake.
Weeks later I saw a picture of him in a book at the library, and realized who he was, but that was after I was no longer his employee. Anyway, this was in 1999 and I was in my Chevy every morning, auditioning for television and film work, and at band practice, and
writing songs, plus day jobs, and he’s kindly and curiously asking me what my dream is. And I’m confidently saying to Jerry from the front seat, “I’m an actress, and a singer, and a songwriter.” Jerry Leiber got out of the car at a light, I’ll never forget, it was the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilshire. He slipped into the front seat for a moment, looked me square in the eye, and said “one of those things is what you HAVE to do. Do what you have to do.” I had no idea what he was saying. I was like, what’s he doing in the front seat? The light’s about to go green!
Well a year later, I was burnt to a crisp, and I finally heard his advice. I realized that all I really HAD to do was sing my own songs. I left LA, moved into a van, and booked a year of shows for the duo I was in at that time. That departure from LA is what “Freeway” is about. Incidentally, Jerry also gave me the best-ever tip on driving in traffic.
Cincy Groove:Do you have anything you like to do before a show to get ready?
Amy Loftus:I like to be quiet. I get jostled when people talk to me before shows. I like to be nice and calm once I take the stage so I can get a feel for the audience.
Cincy Groove:I see you have worked with Will Kimbrough on a few projects. How did you end up working
Amy Loftus:Will Kimbrough was one of the first people I met in Nashville. Adrienne Young gave me his number, because he was producing but did not have his own studio, and I had a digital board. So I figured it might be a good combination of resources. Then I came to know his wife because she does yoga too. I felt nervous about just calling him up, but one day I saw Jess and she said “hey! Will’s home, call the house!” So I did!
Cincy Groove:When did you first pick up the guitar?
Amy Loftus:I actually picked up a guitar time to time beginning in 1998, for co-writing. But I barely played. Then in 2001, I left the musical duo I had been in, so I was sort of forced into playing myself. Spring of 2002 I bought my Taylor used and dedicated myself to playing it every single day without fail.
Cincy Groove:What made you settle in Nashville, TN?
Amy Loftus:I loved Nashville the first time I visited. I had booked the Bluebird writer’s night on that out-of-the-van-duo tour I did after leaving LA. Coming in from the east on 40 I felt a magical feeling. The dates of my visit happened to be September 10-14, 2001. Mary Gauthier was the headliner at the Bluebird the night I played. Her words were such a clear and present comfort to us all that night, and her songs
stopped my heart. She became my mentor that night, and is now my friend.
I went back to LA for awhile after that, but Nashville beckoned, so I booked more shows in the spring of 2002 and haven’t left yet.
Cincy Groove:Where would you like to tour that you haven’t yet?
Amy Loftus:England, Ireland, and Scotland
Cincy Groove:I see your song “Cavalier” placed 7th out of 10,000 entries in the 2007 CMT/NSAI songwriting contest. What is the song about?
Amy Loftus:I was crazy about a guy who wanted to be my friend. He thought me a sister, a bud. But I was hanging out with him in the hopes that at some point the light would be right. Someone asked me ‘why are you trying to be so cavalier?’ I pretty much put the wine glass down and went home and wrote it. The secret ironic
twist is he’s a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. He’s happily married now to a beautiful woman and I’m happily happy for him!
Cincy Groove:Who are some of your influences?
Amy Loftus:Well, there’s musicals…Sound of Music, Oklahoma..my Mom loved musicals and I am fascinated with the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
And Les Miserables, Bye Bye Birdie, Hair…I LOVE the immediacy of the songs for musicals, and Cole Porter songs. Also Annie Lennox, Shawn Colvin, Crowded House, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, Olivia Newton John, Kris Kristofferson, Peter Gabriel…and those are only the ones I am thinking of at the moment. And I’m only naming famous people, but known or not, I love anything that feels like soul. If I can feel soul, dirt, grit, spirit, authenticity, and aliveness, I’m there.
Amy Loftus will be making the following appearances on Friday, December 28
WNKU 89.7 FM (in studio performance) 2pm
6106 Montgomery Rd
Pleasant Ridge, OH 45213
The Southgate House
24 E 3rd St.
Newport, KY 41071
opening for Will Kimbrough
$12 / $15 | 8PM doors, 8:30 show | 18+ | Seated | No Smoking
Amy Loftus website – Amyloftus.com
Listen to some of Amy’s songs on her myspace page : http://www.myspace.com/amyloftus