Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers - 10 Questions Music Interview
Michele D'Amour, a born storyteller, and award-winning songwriter, penned her first song at the age of six, and became a published poet in her early twenties. Her lyrics treat difficult topics with a sense of soulful whimsy and wry humor. In 2011, the band Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers formed.
The band released its first EP, Sin Comin' On, in February 2014. The EP includes four covers and three originals written by Michele. Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers were also a Washington Blues Society finalist for the 2014 International Blues Challenge in that year. The band's 2015 CD, Ante Up, features twelve original songs penned by Michele. In 2017, the album Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge introduced twelve new original tunes, including two that Michele co-wrote with Cory Wilds. It debuted week of June 24, 2017 on the Roots Music Report at #46 for Blues, #20 in Contemporary Blues, and #1 for Washington State. 2018's album, Wiggle Room, includes ten new original tunes. The album debuted at #6 on Roots Music Report's Jazzy Blues chart - then was at #1 for thirteen weeks; it also debuted at #9 on the Washington blues chart before shooting up to #1 and staying there for seven weeks. All ten songs from the album charted. The band was a finalist in the Washington Blues Society's 2018 International Blues Challenge.
In January 2019, the band recorded the album Heart of Memphis at Royal Studios, one of the longest continuously operating studios in the world, and where Al Green recorded his hits. The album contains seven new original tunes and a cover of the King Curtis classic Memphis Soul Stew. It debuted at #3 on Roots Music Report's Jazzy Blues chart 2 weeks before its release date of May 24, 2019; at the same time, Wiggle Room was at #6.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
My Dad had an extensive and eclectic music collection, so I had listened to lots of music, including blues, by a young age. I also started playing piano by ear when I was around five. As family lore goes, at the age of six, I was upset with my Mom about something and wrote a Muddy Waters-esque ditty called "My Mom is So Mean." We sometimes play a bit of that song at live shows; it's something that many people can relate to.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
'm going to preface this by saying that people can often be a bit eccentric in their expressions of appreciation for someone's music. The craziest thing would have to be the fan that thanked me profusely as I was getting offstage at the end of a set, and proceeded to attempt to lick my neck.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Well, so far, I'd have to say two things: one was winning a John Lennon songwriting grand prize in 2017 for my song "Trouble," because it's tremendously meaningful to get such an award out of the many, many talented people who submit, and to be recognized by an organization of that caliber. The second would be recording our "Heart of Memphis" album in Memphis, TN at Royal Studios, with Boo Mitchell behind the board and Al Green's mic keeping me company in the vocal booth.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I view it as a constant conversation with my muse. She sends me ideas, I send them back or I make requests, and then we see what happens. I am always in some stage of writing something.
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 it be?
I think the biggest challenge facing indie artists is getting noticed among the hordes that are out there. That leads to what I'd like the music industry to change, which is for them to take a chance on something different. So much of what I hear on the radio or that's being picked up sounds very much the same.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Oooh. Janiva Magness. I have seen her perform live a few times. I admire her talent and her commitment to social causes tremendously. I'd be happy just writing a song for her, honestly.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
My rule is that rehearsals must have a plan and a purpose. We usually start with dinner; that way, we can all catch up and get fueled. Then there is a purpose: 'we are preparing for x show, or x recording' and a plan of which songs or parts of songs we are going to work on.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I wrote a song for "Heart of Memphis" called No Time. It's about the frantic pace and instant gratification we seem to expect in today's world. Ironically, given that it's about time, it took months to write! I had the concept and some ideas for lyrics, but it just took that time to gel into its final form.
What's coming up in the future? We released two albums in 2019; Heart of Memphis and now Christmas in Blue. Which means that we spent a lot of time writing and developing material, and in studio. I have a backlog of a few songs I want to teach the band and develop, and we'll probably revamp our set list at the beginning of the year. I'm mulling a tour as well.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Michele D’Amour 's "Christmas in Blue" will be airing on National Indie Radio (WNIR) commencing December 1st through December 31st as part of BWH Music Group’s Holiday Radio Special. WNIR features the best independent artists in the world and is part of the highly selective and nationally renowned BWH Music Group platform. The Holiday Radio Special will feature original holiday songs as well as covers by exceptional independent artists. Station information can be found at www.wnir-radio.com