Making Music With ArtPeace

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ArtPeace was written in the stars.

Taura Stinson, Grammy nominated, multi-platinum songwriter who’s written for/with artists including (but not only) Raphael Saadiq, Steve Tyler, Andre 3000, Kanye West, Destiny’s Child, Paloma Faith, Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Hudson, Solange Knowles…even Earth Wind and Fire…

…and Chrissy Depauw, an independent artist, a staple on the Santa Monica promenade, who’d sold over 30,000 copies of her self-titled CD. Chrissy has shared the stage and worked with many artists including Andy Grammer, Capital Cities, Colbie Caillat and Javier Colon.

ArtPeace is a very interesting story, and rather than us tell you any more, we’ll let Taura and Chrissy explain it themselves.

EP: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

C: I have a miniature wiener dog that has roughly 112 nicknames and I kiss the new baby leaves of my plants.

T: I love literature (or words in general) and music, equally. When I’m sad, I watch cute animal videos for hours on end and I can cook just as well as I write.

EP: How did you come to meet each other and what made you decide to work together?

C: We met on Craigslist during a furniture transaction. I custom make headboards and Taura wanted something very specific that she was surprised she found. She offered to barter a song (before she even knew I was a musician. She just threw it out there, cause why not! LOL) and when I looked at her resume I was like “whoa. Um yeah let’s do this!!”

T: I don’t know why I asked for a barter, I don’t think that I bartered for anything before. Now I ask all of the time since it went so well.

EP: Do you believe your meeting was fate or luck?

C: Definitely fate. What are the chances? It’s just too weird. And the fact that our first song landed in a major motion picture within a month? Crazy!

T: Fate. Serendipity.  It was almost like, okay..Horsies…I’ve brought you together and led you to the water, but we drank freely.

EP: How did the name ArtPeace come about?

C: Taura can answer this one. She thought of it and I loved it right away. Made perfect sense!

T: In my BIGGIE SMALLS voice, “It was all a dream”, yeah, seriously…it was. I saw it in my mind as clear as day. Chrissy IS art, not only is she a magnificent songwriter with the voice of ten angels, but she is also Queen of DIY. That coupled with my experience as a writer and vocalist made the first part of the conjunction “ART” a no brainer. Then the word “Peace” scrolled through my mind and I thought “Hmm, dope”, because who wants to represent the opposite of peace?

EP: You are planning to release your new album ‘Free Music’ on October 23rd, it has a wonderfully original sound, how would you describe the album?

C: The album is so diverse to me. It captures all the styles of music that I love to listen to. Part of my problem in the past, being an artist, has been “what is my sound?”. Since my taste is so broad, I’m just not happy creating in the box of a single genre. I love that Taura and Darien, our producer, were on the same page and we just made the music that we felt in our hearts! It’s the first project I’ve completed where I don’t feel like anything is missing.

T: I agree with Chrissy. Someone called our sound “Sophisticated dream pop” and I totally dig that but we also coined a new genre for our sound, we call it “Folk &B”. It’s all of the quirkiness of a folksy singer/songwriter with lyrics and music that bleed like the blues.

EP: We particularly like ‘Fairy Garden’, Do you have a favorite track on the album and why?

C: I LOVE ‘Lucky Scar’. It’s such a dreamy song. It’s cool cause Taura gets a little gangsta in the lyrics and you can’t tell unless you listen very closely because her delivery is so smooth and pretty. I love the balance.

T: Thank you, very cool. I love ‘Fairy Garden’ too. It’s hard for me to choose, so it really depends on the day.  Today I have played ‘Hit the Ground’ and ‘Electric Footprint’ back to back. They are both very motivational and we are embarking on a pivotal time in our lives…so we need all of the motivation that we can get.

EP: ‘Heaven Down Here’ in which you collaborate with Rafael Saadiq is another outstanding track, how did the collaboration come about?

C: Taura has been writing with him for years, and I have been a huge fan of his since I was like 10, so I was really hoping to get him featured on our album. Even when it was in talks, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But when Darien emailed me the mix, I was in the car…I plugged it in and listened and started laughing to myself. Like “this really happened!”.

T: Raphael is one of the Captains of my support team, so he was very eager to jump in and help us guide this new vessel through uncharted waters. I was at his studio and wanted him to hear ‘Heaven Down Here’ because Darien initially wanted him to play Bass on it, but when he heard it, he LOVED it and simply asked if he could sing on it. I was thrilled and that’s my Bro so I was like “HELL YEAH”!

EP: What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of releasing independently in the current climate?

C: The advantages: we now have access to almost all of the tools the majors use. We have direct connections to our supporters, and are able to have a more intimate connection with them than ever before.

The disadvantages: many of those tools still cost a lot, and majors are still usually going to have that advantage. Doing all the work that a major would otherwise do is also very time consuming and leaves less time to create and actually be the artist. Nowadays we are business people! Like straight sitting at our computers for days at a time.

T: The advantages are having complete control of your vision, direction and sound Also, owning your masters, connecting directly with your audience, a larger profit margin, learning new things, meeting all sorts of people that are tucked between the various inner workings of the arts and entertainment industry throughout the entire world whose paths you would have not otherwise crossed if someone was doing the work for you.

The disadvantages are the antithesis of the ladder…not being in control of your vision, sound or direction, not owning your masters, etc. I could write a book on this…so much to say, but I digress. Being independent makes one stronger. Being dependent makes one reliant on others to make things happen, so we are PROUDLY independent.

EP: Is there any advice you would give to young artists starting out in the industry?

C: This has been my advice for a long time now. “If there is anything else you would be just as happy doing, do that. If your heart burns with desire to do only this, then do it.” Because that’s the type of determination it takes. This business is not for the faint of heart, and if you have a backup plan, then chances are you’ll give up.

T: For songwriters, I urge you to read more and immerse yourself in all things music. One of my major regrets is not learning an instrument. I play enough to write an idea with the few chords that know, but I would love to perform side by side with Chrissy, accompanied by our guitars for an entire show (new goal).  So, if you want to be an artist, like with any other profession, you have to educate yourself. Pick an instrument…learn it. Fall in love with reading and your vocabulary will thank you.

EP: What are your musical inspirations and influences? Who do you like to listen to?

C: My top 3 would be Amel Larrieux, Brandy and Sade. Oh and Boyz II Men of course. (I was one of those slightly obsessed girls). Some newer people I listen to regularly would be Florence and the Machine, Yuna, Mute Math, Bon Iver, Band of Horses, Melanie Fiona, Jazmine Sullivan, I could go on and on. I scoff when people say there isn’t any good music out there these days. There is plenty.

T: I swim in the waters of Lake Minnetonka and dance in Purple Rain, so obviously, I LOVE Prince. I had a Prince themed Birthday party just two years ago and I still have his Posters on my wall and oddly, I am not ashamed:) I am also deeply inspired by artist including but not limited to the following: My Mother & Aunts, Leon Ware, Joni Mitchell, Kendrick Lamar, Sade, Raphael Saadiq, Tears for Fears, Outkast, Kate Bush, Kalila Rafa, Sting, J Dilla, The Clark Sisters, Joi, Stevie Wonder, Chrissy DePauw, Smashing Hearts, The Winans, Darien Dorsey, Seyi Shay, Brandy, Radiohead, Erykah Badu, Candace Coles, Little Dragon, Pharell Williams, Cold Play, Destiny’s Child,  Lori Carson, Walter Hawkins, Duran Duran,  Dana Dane, Tramaine Hawkins, DJ Quick,  Jamie Hawkins, Slum Village, Doobie Powell, Bob Marley, Too Short, Drake, Minnie Riperton and her husband Dick Rudolph, Mike Anthony,Ledisi, Kanye West,  LeAndria Johnson, Michaela Shiloh, Hoptown, Flying Lotus, Tha Group, Dr. Dre, Madonna, Tye Tribett, Amy Winehouse, N.E.R.D, Frank Ocean, Tiffany Villarreal, E40, Omega Brooks, SIA, Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Grizzly Bear, Gold Frapp, Aretha Franklin, Ghost Face Killah, Hiatus Kayote, V.Bozeman, Ryan Leslie, Al Green, Del the Funky Homosapien, Hieroglyphics, Monet,  Manhattan Transfer, Black Sheep, Fiona Apple, Sound Garden, did I say Prince? Lol.….I had to stop myself…I could go on and on…I really love them all.

EP: What are your plans for the future?

C: We are hoping to hop on a tour in the very near future, as well as next summer’s festival season. But I have to say, my ultimate goal is to “hear my record play in the next car at a long red light, oh yeah! That’ll make my effin day!” Haha but for real. As long as it’s a stranger and not my momma, my life will be made.

T: I want to our music to take us around the world and when it does, maybe we can meet you in person? #BelieveBecome

Check out ArtPeace online on their website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. ‘Free Music’ will be released independently in October on the Wild Serape label. In the meantime, here’s a teaser for ‘Hi’:

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