Log of The Artist Shop IRC Chat with Suzanne Ciani on February 19

Session Start: Wed Feb 19 1997

<GaryD> Well, I think things are ready to get underway.  Our guest for tonight is New Age
pianist/keyboardist Suzanne Ciani.  Suzanne is up for her fourth Grammy nomination this year
for her album, Pianissimo II.  Recently Suzanne started her own label and named it after her
very first album, Seventh Wave.  So it should come as no surprise that she has logged on
tonight as Sevwave.  Good evening Suzanne.  I believe you're coming to us from Utah tonight.
How are things out there?
<Sevwave> Just wonderful GARy  Ooops.  Caps key!  Hi everybody!
<GaryD> Just pretend the computer keyboard is a piano and you'll do fine :-)
<Sevwave> Lol!
<GaryD> For anyone who has a question for Suzanne, just shoot it to me in a private message
and I'll put it on the board.  Suzanne, can you tell us a little about your new label, Seventh Wave,
and why you decided to start your own label?
<Sevwave> I had been with a host of majors over the past several years.  The problem with a
typical record deal is that it generally is unfair to the artist
<GaryD> That's certainly true.
<Sevwave> You usually lose the ownership of your work to the company, and they will never
care about it as much as you do.  For me my songs and records ar like my children in many
ways, and so I wanted to care for them like I would a child.  That's why I started this new label.
It's intended to be an artist friendly environment in which the best work can be made in the best
<GaryD> And what, would you say, is the overall artistic objective for Seventh Wave?
<Sevwave> To nurture our artists in the work that they want to create.  To allow them to be fairly
compensated for that work.  We think that fair treatment of the artist will result in better work
because the artist will be happier.
<GaryD> But I mean to say that there seems to be a specific artistic direction for the label.  If I
had to pinpoint it, I would describe it as a resurgence of the romantic classical period.
<Sevwave> our artists tend to be composers, and they tend to compose in the classical form.
Frequently romance is a subject of their work, too.  Instrumental music is in the historic tradition
of the classics and jazz, and so we fall into both categories somewhat.
<GaryD> IV would like to know what kind of things do you do to get inspiried?
<Sevwave> I live near the ocean, and it is a daily inspiration for me.  I also love to travel and
meet new people.  Both places I have visited and new friends frequently become the subject of
my songs.
<GaryD> M Bender asks "what would you say has been your crowning achievement in your
career? the grammy nomination? or what?"
<Sevwave> They say that the definition of a successful artist is one who can continue to create.
I have been very satisfied to continue to have the inspiration to create and to have fans who wish
to hear my music!  The Grammy is a wonderful thing, but this is my fourth nomination, so I can't
really say any award such as it would be a "crowning achievement."  It is nice to be nominated,
though, as it means one's peers in the music business are offering you their congratulations.
<GaryD> Suzanne, you have some exciting things in store for the future.  Especially exciting are
your plans for live concerts and the band your putting together.  Care to elaborate on that?
<Sevwave> Love to!  :-)  On March 14 and 15 at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco i will be
recording my first ever "Live" album.  I am delighted to have a fantastic band joining me on
stage, The Wave.  The Wave is a new band we've put together especially for this concert.  It
includes several incredible musicians, including Paul McCandless of Oregon on Woodwinds.
Michael Manring on bass.  Teja Bell on Guitars.  Kalani on percussion.  It's just a wonderful
group, I could go on and on!  :-)
<GaryD> WOOOOWWWWW!!!  This really is an instrumental supergroup.
<Sevwave> It is pretty amazing, isn't it!
<GaryD> I can't even imagine the logistics of getting all these artists schedules together!!!
<GaryD> Deep Six comments "I simply wanted to say that your music helped me through a
troubled time in my life and I wanted to say THANKYOU."
<Sevwave> THANK YOU Deep Six.  It makes me feel wonderful to know that my music has
helped someone.
<GaryD> Sherriff would like to know "when did u start playing the piano."
<Sevwave> I started playing when I was 4 or 5.  We had a Steinway in my home, and I liked to
sit there and play for hours and hours.  I taught myself to read music before I could read words!
<GaryD> Skie asks "Please explain your use of musical theory and complex modes in your last
<Sevwave> YOINKS!
<GaryD> Obviously we have a musician or two in the crowd tonight!  :-)
<Sevwave> Wow Skie.  Well, I do have a masters degree in composition, but I think of my forms
as very feminine and intuitive.  I'm a minimalist.  I don't think of the music as complex.  Just well
constructed.  For me the melody is the most important; then everything else follows musically.
My most popular "radio" song is The Velocity of Love.  It has become pretty much a standard on
Adult Contemporary radio over the past decade
<GaryD> LilKel asks, "...if her music has been used for the movies?"
<Sevwave> Yes.  I did the complete score for the Lily Tomlin film "The Incredible Shrinking
Woman," which I recorded in Italy with a 90 piece orchestra, in addition to a lot of electronic
composition.  I also scored the documentary on Mother Theresa by the Petrie sisters.
<GaryD> Aazh asks, "when suzanne sits down to write a song does she usually develop a chord
progression or a melody first."
<Sevwave> Sometimes the kernal of a song can be as little as two or three notes.  When I find
one of these little kernals that has a special magic for me, I play with it and try to discover where
it wants to go
<GaryD> IV would like to know " does she have a fan club or any type of communications
<Sevwave> On AOL there is a folder in the New Age/Classical section that has been quite active
and a lot of fun.  I think there is also a regular fan club out there, but the fellow who was taking
charge of it moved and I haven't heard much lately.  Except that I know he's flying all the way
from New Jersey to come to my show!  We also have a web site at www.sevwave.com.  You can
find out what's going on there, and I answer my e mail (eventually) that gets sent to
sevwave@aol.com  I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
<Chameleeon> Suzanne, any east coast touring?
<Sevwave> I hope to be coming to the east Coast this fall, but no plans are yet set.
<Chameleeon> I hope so! I want to see you in NJ area!...THANKS
<Leviathan> Suzanne, looking to sign any other musicians to the label? :)
<Sevwave> We have signed four others already, Michael Hoppe, Georgia Kelly, Roy Eaton, and
Patrick Mimran Wonderful artists all!
<hachiLAZ> sev: what were you nominated for?
<Sevwave> Nominated for the Best New Age album recording
<skie> What school did you get your Master's in Music from?
<Sevwave> Masters from UC Berkeley
<Icicle> SEVWAVE: are you excited to be on the GRAMMIES???????????????????????????
<Sevwave> I am delighted to be in the Grammies
<iv> what exactly is newage?  I am so clouded on the genre... could you explain?
<Sevwave> New Age is a marketing genre.  I think it means very little, and certainly doesn't
mean anything to me in how I compose.  I think that all the categories are really for purposes of
selling music.  Not really describing  it.  I was doing this music long before there was a New Age
<skie> Suzanne do you like techno?
<Sevwave> Although I love technology I am not a big fan of techno music.  Too much "boy"
music.  The constant chugga dugga gets on my nerves after a while
<skie> trance is very soothing. sort of like ambient
<Sevwave> I don't listen to a lot of techno, so I may not know, however, I do like a lot of
ambient, sensual music.  I don't describe techno as boy music.  Boy music is a much larger
category than just techno!  Perhaps I'm the only one who uses the term...  I believe that people
express themselves individually, and that as a species there are frequently genre based
differences in how we express ourselves.  These are not hard and fast demarkations, nor are
they soft and slow demarcations.  ;-)  They are a useful shorthand for me to describe how I feel
about my music (feminine) and that others may not express.
<Lafkin> seems to me your music is like life, although everyone wants to categorize it, we all
have to follow our own paths, like you make your own music
<Cirrus> Suzanne: what influence has fame and fortune and marketing factors played in your
sucess ?
<Sevwave> I've had a long career with a slow build.  I self produced all my albums.  My success
has allowed me an opportunity to do those things I have always wanted to do, such as play with
orchestra, etc.  I'm very happy about that.  I had to work for 15 years to get the money to make
my first album.  I have always remained true to my vision of who I am as an artist and what
music I wish to express.
<iv> you play against 90 peice orchestras...  You claimed to be able to create songs from 3
notes.  I'm a musician, i can't even create a song from 3 chords.
<Chameleeon> SUZANNE.... @>-'-,-'-   (a rose) from me
<Sevwave> Thank you Chameleon.  The 3 notes were the seed of the song.  The magical,
essential idea that can't be changed.  Then comes the structure and the song.  Then comes
continued working out of the idea.  Then comes orchestration for 90 pieces!  :-)
<hit> Sev? Who is your role model in the music world?
<Sevwave> OK, the role model question.  One of them is Ilse Bing, a 94 year old German
photographer and a great inspiration to me.  Ilse's artform dealt in technology, with the invention
of the 35 mm camera in the 20s.  She has a very feminine and romantic vision coupled with a
high sense of technology and production value.  I like to think many of those same things could
be said about my career.  I'm very into technology.  Always have been.  I've devoted most of my
career to technology.  I'm just not into Techno music as I know it.  My first several albums were
all done on early analog synths.  I also recorded my piano album in 24 bit, very state of the art
recording technology.
<GaryD> Well, I want to thank Suzanne for coming tonight.  We've had some weird technical
problems, but still much fun.  Thank you very much, Suzanne.
<Sevwave> Thanks to all of you for coming out.  This was a trip!  Thank you Gary, for
sponsoring this chat.  Bye Everybody!  :-)
<GaryD> Next week we'll have Mike Keneally, guitarist from Frank Zappa's band and presently
touring with Steve Vai.

Session Close: Wed Feb 19 1997

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