Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
CR: I am a singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist. I like somewhat dark, melancholy, and empowering topics no matter the type of artistic expression. Musically I write songs and work on the composotions with my band with no concern for genres. We compose the music to fit the song and feeling we want to express. Our fusion style is a bit poetic and retro, smooth and mellow, but still fresh from alternative rock to blues rock, from Americana to adult contemporary.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
CR: I’m based in Malta now and I’m a Dutch-American former touring dancer-choreographer originally from California, USA. I began my musical journey in 2015 after a multitude of dance injuries forced me to find a new passion. Since my first single release in 2016, I’m now a full-time singer-songwriter, visual artist and poet. I started my band in 2019.
As a visual artist I graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL in 2004 and I’ve had numerous exhibitions since. After living short stents in Florence, Italy, Stockholm, Sweden, and Toronto, Canada I set my sights on Malta and started the very long immigration process in 2009. Then I met my husband in 2011 and we married in 2013.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CR: Asaf Avidan, Kovacs, LP, Patti Smith and Nick Cave. I love these genre bending artists and thier music is so poetic and powerful. Patti Smith is an inspiration even outside of music and I love the feminist visual artist Louise Bourgeois and the political stopmotion animation artist William Kentridge.
Actually, the work of William Kentridge inspired me to try making my own stop motion during the pandemic. In 2020 project ‘Desolate Days’ (https://youtu.be/dMw3H1SZQUQ ) hit the Top 20 Music Video Charts in Malta, combines both my music and visual art practices in my first stop motion animation lyric video drawn in charcoal and digital art. ‘Desolate Days’ was part of the InnovAiR: Artist at Home program for the Valletta Cultural Agency.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
CR: My goals and dreams are all interconnected. We are currently plotting away at writing our first full album and my dream is to take that album on tour when it’s complete. I would love to perform at more festivals abroad too. I’m also writing a lot of poetry with art illustrations and videos. I hope to one day publish these in a book and would love to have an exhibition of that work in a gallery and do a book signing tour. This is my poetry page: https://instagram.com/ephemeralcompass?utm_medium=copy_link
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
CR: Most of my songs I write myself, but I have done 4 songwriting collaborations with other artists. I write the songs and melody lines then work closely with my band and producer to compose the music and polish up each song. All of my songs tell a diffrent story but there are some reoccurring themes of loss, sadness, moving on, hope and empowerment. My 4 track concept EP ‘Black Water’ is a narrative of my life, my anger, loss and my love from 1990’s to 2010. It ends with a poem that sums it all up. https://open.spotify.com/album/4dErtA5tN1wSeAFAPKdVSs?si=tMjUz2hcRV6tUKfuzzV7ug
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
CR: We use social media a lot, my website, word of mouth, and sometimes ads. We try to get radio and TV spots as often as possible.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
CR: I’m all wishy washy on this topic lol! On one hand I think it could be a great tool for artists to get their music out there world wide and for listeners to hear music that they may not have otherwise discovered. Then on the other hand I feel it’s totally changed the music industry in a negative way and made it much harder for artists to make money from their music. Large corporations are making millions, even billions off of artists hard work and investment in producing their music while most artists don’t even make enough money in royalties and sales to pay off the costs of producing one song. It’s forcing many artists to become Jack’s of all trades instead of a masters at their art. Because many artists can’t afford to pay for pro musicians, producers, mastering engineers, graphics artists, PR pros and more, so they try to do everything themselves which takes a lot of time away from mastering and honing any of it thus quality is often sacrificed.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
CR: ‘The Labyrinth’ by Asaf Avidan. He is just brilliant, genius even. I love how he adapted a Greek myth to express his own personal struggles and the music is beautiful. So passionate and thought provoking.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
CR: Artists that are too afraid and egotistical to take risks and try too hard to stay in their comfort zone and make their art “perfect”. There is no such thing as perfection in art. Art is subjective. The only artists that people remember are the ones that took risks, allowed themselves to be vulnerable and authentic, pushed boundaries and conceptions, or had something to say and said it honestly even if it wasn’t popular.
I also hate slow drivers and dirty flatware at restaurants lol!
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
CR: Besides mustering up the courage to even try singing-songwriting for the first time at age 40? Lol! Our first big concert that we headlined in Malta which happened in September last year and reaching #9 in the Maltese music video chart this year with my single ‘Happy New Year’ https://youtu.be/Ky_bMNb3jWI
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
CR: Coming up next on March 4th we’ll be releasing a new alternative rock single called ‘Fleshbot Prison’. An angry rock song with an artistic theory about human existence. We are also writing and producing our first LP. It will also include some poetry as my Black Water EP did.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
CR: I have 10 singles available and one 4 track EP. I have a shop coming soon. It’s a work in progress. My music is for sale on ITunes or listen to my music or watch my videos here:
Thank you for the opportunity to be featured Pete! I appreciate your work.
Chellcy Reitsma links:
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