QUEEN OF THE MUSIC SCENE
         

                                   ROBIN EVE CHIFARI


BY MIKE FERRARI
Chief Editor
Aural Fix Monthly Music Magazine


Well our annual Queen of the Music Scene contest was quite exciting, leading to an unprecedented three way runoff between Alii Collis, Rolli of the Basals, and the eventual winner, Robin Eve Chifari - as voted by you, the Aural Fix readers!
Robin Eve Chifari is a name that was unknown in the local music scene just over one year ago. In that time, she has made an impact on this scene through the raw honesty in her song writing, her performing, hosting and encouragement of others. She writes about how she sees Life....in the past, present, and as a future of possibilities. We look forward to her being an intricate part of this scene and beyond for many years to come!

How did you first get involved with making music?
What inspires you to make music?
Music was always an important part of my family's life, with my Dad having been involved with radio and television, and my Mom a singer and fellow 12 stringer.
Through the years, 1 played the recorder and the flute. I had always felt a connection to the guitar but I never the discipline to actually learn it. My Mom bought be a guitar about 11 years ago because I "intended to learn" but it sat in the case for years in the basement. Then about 2-1/2 years ago I decided, I want to learn how to play. From when I started taking lessons at The Big House, I wrote my first song ever about 5 months later. After that, I found I couldn't stop if I tried. As for what inspires me to make music, I am very much a work in progress, as I think we all are. My music to me is a lesson to others on life, should they chose to listen. It teaches you about strength, and power, and love and possibilities. It is also very much a reminder to myself to by to remember all I have learned.

What are musicians influenced you the most?
Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Tracy Chapman and Indigo Girls right off the bat. Of course tastes change through the years but the staples usually stay put for the most part. I still love a great guitar solo by Santana, groove out to some Kenny Wayne Sheppard, a jam by the Allman Brothers or to get my angst out with Ani DiFranco or Eminem. The list is really eclectic and endless.

What or who are you listening to right now musically?

Right now, I'm pretty much addicted to Nick Drake "Pink Moon", Eva Cassidy "Songbird", Geoffrey Armes "Green Love" and Nancy Atlas "27" Do you prefer the control of the studio or the spontoneity of a live peifonnance?
I have ouly been in a recording situation a couple of times and I found it to be a lot of fun with Craig Manganello, Frank Walker and Lou Drucker, but I definitely feed off of the live feeling in a room. When I am performing live, whatever was supposed to come out of me at that time does and to know that the others in the room are along for the ride brings it to another level.

When was your first live performance? How did it go?

My first live performance was May 15th, 2003 at V.P.
South in Amityville for their Thursday Open Mic. I had never heard of an Open Mic until the night and decided to go down and see what it was about with my friend and one of my guitar teachers, Russell Todd. I have a recording of that first night and my performance was like a punk rock version of myself in my eyes...it was all about, "please God just let me make it through the song without messing it up".
Truthfully? I was TERRIFIED, but I did it and it felt amazing. After I got off stage, I got to talk to a couple of the other musicians in the room who encouraged me and told me to come back the next week. One time on stage .

What are some of you favorite places, to play?
My favorite so far has been the RobStock Festival up in the Catskills, 'It was an incredible experience to be swrounded by great vibes, great people and to be able to play with the mountains around you echoing you back. I also enjoy playing Pisces Cafe in Babylon a lot because their support of the music is so obvious and the people that c(jme to see shows there really' want to"hear what you are about. VP South holds many dear memories for me as well, and probably the best sound system I ever played was at SomePlace Else in Farmingdale with The University Cafe in Stony Brook being a close second.

If you could record or tour with anyone, who would it be and why?
Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Ani Difranco, the list goes on and on... I am not about show or glitz so it would have to be with someone that made music I connected with, that was somehow touched by mine and we were musically compatible. How did you get involved with hosting Open Mics? The Thursday Open Mic at VP South was switched to Tuesdays and I heard rumblings in the community that they were in search of a host to continue the night since the Thursday hosts decided not to move with it. I contacted the owners at VP South and told them if they were ever stuck I would volunteer because I lived on the block, I had been coming almost every week for 2 months and selfishly didn't want to lose the night. Brian, the owner was happy that I contacted him since he had me in mind for the job from seeing me there every week but didn't know how to reach me. So one conversation with Brian later, I started hosting the following week, July 15th which was 2 months to the day of ever getting on their stage. From there, the night continued to grow due to the amazing support by the local musicians and the "coming home" atmosphere we all created together, I hosted Tuesdays at VPS for almost a year and then decided it was time to start a new adventure.
That new adventure is officially beginning Tuesday, Sept 14th at SomePlace Else in Farrningdale where 1 will once again have the pleasure of hosting some of the best musicians in the area at Acoustic Open Mic every Tuesday.

What purpose do you think Open Mics serve to' the local music community?
I think it's a great way for musicians to try new things, get used to playing on a stage, plus mix and mingle among themselves and collaborate, The friendships that I have seen blossom through my doing this is just beautiful. It is also a great way to expose people to music in their own back yards. It is hard to get strangers to corne down to a show where it's $10.00 at the door and they don't know anyone on the bill. With an Open Mic atmosphere, people can get a sampling of many musicians and types of music and most places do it without a cover charge so. there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Then they can start to atten.d the shows of the musicians they like from there.


Do you hove any CD's or demo tapes available? When or win you be recording any new material?
I have a 5 song Demo that I recorded at North Street Studios last JuIy. I also have a 7 song disc that is "EveWalk Live". It is a recording of Frank Walker and myself playing UCafe in Stony Brook back in February, The live Cd is available for sale for $5 at shows or $6 by mail and can be ordered bye-mailing me, I am planning on starting to record a full album within the next couple of months with the help of Frank and a few others. .

Do you think it's any different being a woman in the music scene than it is for men?

Truthfully, I don't. 1 think right now, it's all about the music, original music and I don't feel like personally 1 have been treated better or worse being a female....I've just been treated like me and I'm grateful for that.


What do you think of music downloading and the Internet? How has it affected you as an independent artist?
The music needs to be heard...let it. Yes, it would be awesome for musicians to always be paid for the music they make but dating back to the '70's, how many people did NOT make a "mix tape" and give it to a girlfriend or boyfriend as an example instead of going out and buying the album. Not a lot, I'm sure. It's not the internet onlv........this has been in one form or another or fashion for years and years. If we all got paid for what we do, then we:-could make it in our lives and not do the 9 - 5 work day which enables us to live our lives. In the same breathe, how many people really write a song and say "now THIS is a money maker"? . To me, it's about expression and sharing, and yes it is awesome when you are compensated.

What changes do you think lies ahead for the music industry? How do you think that will affect your music career?
I really think that it will come to a point in the near future when it will again be about what the music says, the lessons, the connection and not about who looks better in this $300,000 "half an outfit". It kills me that some of the most untalented people get the most exposure simply because they fit a trend for a moment. I think people are getting tired of the bubble gum music and will come to embrace music that stands the test of time and actually means something to them. I'm not a pop star and don't want to be. I'm a human, a mom, a woman, a songwriter, guitarist and singer that shares a part of me in every line. I look forward to when the industry deems that to be enough but if they don't? It's enough that I do.

Anything else you want to share with our readers?
I want to thank everyone who thinks I have made an impact on this scene through my hosting, my music, or by simply being me.....l'm still very much a work in progress with all of the above but for once, I know I am headed in the right direction. I am a better musician, and person for all I have experienced through this past year and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring. A Few Things...Remember to be kind to each other, and to yourselves. Believe in possibilities, and take the time to watch a sunset now and then. When you see a rainbow, believe in what could be at the end of them...don't just focus on the fact that it just rained. Don't write songs to appease the public...write them because you feel them. Be honest, be true, and always know what you want to say, how you want to say it, and do that.
As the Mom of "The Princess of The L.I. Music Scene", thank you very much for the ride!

This concludes the interview with Mike Ferrari.  Thank You, Mike.


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