Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. Yes, becoming a singer! Well, I always WAS a singer, but it took me a long time to think of myself as one. When I started my Masters in Music at University of Tennessee I wanted to start a jam band. I couldn’t get other musicians interested.
Then, I added that I sing too, and BOOM, I suddenly had a band. I still laugh at this
because isn’t East Tennessee supposed to be about string band music? I guess Knoxville is too far west of the Smokies already? At this point, I figured if I’m gonna sing, why not write? I wrote my first song, "I Wanna Fly", all about wanting to buck the status quo and fly into the sunset with music. Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? Meeting my 9 year old selfs' movie crush as a 30 year old by accident! I was hired to record violin tracks for an off Broadway play written by the same author as the famous book and movie "The Interpreter." Before recording in the studio, I was invited to attend a rehearsal so I could get the feel of the whole thing to help me with laying down tracks. The rehearsal was in NYC at the famous 38th St. and Broadway rehearsal hall. Each three-floor section was divided into two rehearsal places. After watching for over an hour, I said my goodbyes to the cast and exited the hall and headed to the elevator. There, standing and waiting for the elevator, was Tom Hulce, the man who portrayed Mozart in the movie Amadeus. I was so surprised and startled all I could mumble was “Amadeus” to which he laughed and introduced himself to me. We chatted as we waited and in the elevator and he invited me to come see his next play (that he had just been rehearsing for). I’ve been lucky to meet a few of my musical heroes and even play with them but not actors, so it was a very cool moment!
What has been the high point of your music path?
EEK, this one is SO hard! I’ve had a few paths in music so it depends. As a classical violinist performing as part of the Israeli Shira Festival for a month in Israel over the 96-97 holiday season with some of my favorite soloists and conductors. Recording for Ashanti at Murder Inc. with my string quartet was really cool too! BUT, the coolest for me was being on the main stage at Falcon Ridge as the artist (instead of just being the sideman) with my friends surrounding me onstage. THAT was awesome! So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? This is hard, mostly because it changes. Sometimes, as in with "Fade Away", I sit down at the piano with the intent to write a song. Sometimes, I even have a subject I’ve prescribed myself to write about. BUT, the truth is, many of my songs come to me while driving (I seem to do a lot of that as a musician, in non-Pandemic times). So, I keep a recording app handy and then finish at home later if I think the start is worth continuing. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would that be? The biggest challenge is DEFINITELY that it’s harder to get paid for your actual music vs performance. Few people buy CDs and downloads and many never do. They stream instead, therefore leaving us with $.006 per play which amounts to very little. Now, we all have to learn how to brand and merchandise ourselves when we already had so much more to do than just make music.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?: Do they have to be alive still??
I have always said I’d like Leonard Cohen's band (when he is with full band) as my own. Five-piece, plus backup singer, plus accordion, and a string quartet. OH what I could do with this kind of band on stage behind me!
Plus, I think he must have been a very interesting person based on the lyrics he’s put forth in his life.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?: It really depends on the show and who I’m performing with, BUT the one general piece of advice I always follow:
Practice your performance with everything you would use in the performance. This means using your music on an iPad if you will do that in performance. It means using the same cables, PA or amp, and instruments and practicing the setup. This way, you know you are comfortable not just with your music, but with your tech and surroundings. You can know your songs so well, and then be distracted easily by malfunctioning equipment or because “wow the music is smaller on the iPad than on my music stand” just an example of why one should always practice with the same setup. If you’re using pedals, make sure the shoes you choose will work well, practice with EVERYTHING in your arsenal so there are fewer surprises.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
"Don’t Take My Heart," and I’m crying now just typing this thinking about it. I wrote this song the month before my child received an SICD (subcutaneous internal cardio defibrillator) to keep him safe from cardiac arrest. No mother should have to worry about losing their child before they’ve even reached double digits. But while this surgery was so scary it was also the most hopeful thing we could get with his diagnosis.
What's coming up in the future? Hopefully, the world gets safer again and vaccines are available for my kid's age. Until then, I’m enjoying sharing this new EP with everyone! AND, there are videos to come! One video is already out there! "Which Side Are You On", and another will be released shortly!
I’ll be releasing a music video for EACH song. And on Wednesday, October 27, I will host a live-stream event on Zoom with live performances, special guests, and the unveiling of the title track music video "We Just Need Love."
Tell us where fans can access your music.
Efrat started violin at age 7 and was immediately drawn to its beauty. Three years later, she was the youngest ever to solo with the Oak Ridge Symphony, and at age 11 was the youngest ever admitted into the Knoxville Youth Orchestra. She learned klezmer and Israeli music from her father, dabbled in folk and rock with a friend down the street, and took every opportunity to learn and play every genre she could. Accepted into and offered full scholarships by top classical violin schools in the country, Efrat settled on Indiana University. While pursuing her BA, she also was a member of the Shira Festival Orchestra in Israel, conducted by Zubin Mehta under the direction of Lorin Maazel. After a forced break from music due to injury, she resumed her studies at the University of Tennessee, from which she received a Master’s degree in Music Performance.
After graduation, Efrat, who grew up in TN and is featured in the book Cumberland Avenue Revisited, an anthology about four decades of music in Knoxville, Tennessee, moved to NYC to continue her career in music. After a stint as concertmaster for Olivia Newton John Orchestras, she re-established the Jade Quartet that has recorded for such notables as Ashanti and Bobbie Eakes (All My Children, One Life to Live soap operas). During this period she also performed onstage with many jazz notables such as Joe Magnarelli, Saul Rubin (Roy Hargrove), Dennis Davis (David Bowie, Stevie Wonder) and more, including a few performances as member of the Harry Whitaker (Miles Davis, Roberta Flack) sextet. She worked closely with Harry Whitaker to produce quartet and band concerts with his jazz quartet and her string quartet, The Jade Quartet. The quartet concurrently held a residency at FatCat Music Hall for most of 2007 and 2008. which continued until she left for a tour of 47 states and Canada as the onstage violinist in the Broadway touring company of Oliver, for which she received rave reviews
After her return from tour Efrat pursued her love of jazz and song with No Strings Attached, her debut CD. The title track and the song Serenade were included in the movie soundtrack for How To Seduce Difficult women and No Strings was featured in its trailer that garnered more than eight million views worldwide. At this point, Efrat became a new mother, took a break from being a bandleader, and then was recruited into the alt-roots ensemble Spuyten Duyvil which brought her into the Northeast Folk Community.
Her sophomore release, The Silver Lining, was #14 on the International Folk Charts in its debut. Its’ a blend of many styles – including folk, jazz, pop, klezmer, swing, and blues. Their lyrics and structure are a testament to finding strength during the trials of life and leaning on those around you for help.
For more information on Efrat, please visit her website.