by Rick Grant
Across the land, there are legions of guitarists and singers who call themselves singer-songwriters. They just wake up one morning and declare they are ready for the big time. They set-up a website, record some songs, a self produced album, and bang, they expect to be noticed for their artistry. Unfortunately, most of these wannabe national artists have neither the intrinsic talent nor credentials to match their fits of self-aggrandizement.
In contrast, singer-songwriter Kristi Stice became interested in music at an early age. She took up guitar and singing in a folk-rock band out of Orlando, Florida called Gypsy Whistler and later with Eve’s Drop. This experience gave her the confidence to think about a career in music. Having worked with other songwriters, Kristi wanted to write and perform her own compositions.
Kristi was smart enough to realize that in order to take music seriously, she should study music at a well known music school. Her degree has given her the credentials to record and perform her own music and eventually teach music.
More significantly, Kristi does have the intrinsic talent as a singer, guitarist, composer and performer to take her music as far as possible. This is confirmed by her peers and the public at large.
Today, Kristi is an accomplished solo performer and songwriter who has worked with Rebecca Zapen at the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival, the White Springs Folk Festival and the Independent Music World Series in Nashville. Kristi has also received recognition as winner of last year’s St. Augustine Lions Club Seafood Festival Songwriters Contest – Festival Idol.
Kristi’s comprehensive musical education led her to team up with JSO cellist, Betsy Federman. Kristi performs as a duo with Betsy as much as Betsy’s schedule will allow. Meanwhile, to make ends meet, Kristi runs her own music teaching studio called Music Lesson Cafe, Inc.
Prior to my interview with Kristi, I checked out her music on her website www.krististice.com and her www.myspace.com/krististice site. I was duly impressed by her strong, clear and unwavering voice, along with her genuine songwriting talent. I could relate to a couple of her songs which deal with everyday issues and her personal experiences. (Write what you know.)
During my pleasant conversation with Kristi, she talked about her long range plan to keep recording her own music and performing, where ever it takes her. In the meantime, she is making a living from her teaching studio. Clearly, 34 year-old Kristi is pursuing music for the right reasons- her passion for creative expression.
“When I was young I started writing poetry and dabbled in piano at 8 years old. During my 20s, I worked day jobs which drained my creative energies. Consequently, I decided that if I was going to pursue a music career, I should do it right by learning as much as I could about music and composition.
“So I enrolled in the jazz studies program at UNF and graduated in 2007. Afterwards, I started building up a teaching clientele to earn money and performing gigs as a solo artist. Recently, I teamed up with cellist Betsy Federman whose cello playing added depth and accented the melodies to my songs.
“In the future, I plan to arrange my songs into compositions that include a full string section, which will, of course, be challenging. My philosophy could be stated as: I embrace simplicity- I reduce selfishness, and I have few desires, other than continuing creating and performing music,” Kristi says.
Yes, early on, Kristi adopted the right attitude by approaching music as an enduring profession. Her music comes from the depths of her soul, but comes off as simple listenable songs with catchy hooks.
As part of her Festival Idol duties, Kristi Stice will be performing live on March 13th at 12:30 pm and 14th at 11:40 am at the St. Augustine Lions Club Seafood Festival. This year’s Festival Idol will be selected from 10 contestants who will perform two songs in an American Roots style competition to win cash, gift card, media exposure, demo package and featured spot in next years festival. For more information on the festival go to www.lionsfestival.com.
Interview with Kristi Stice
by Rick Grant