A dual interview with husband and wife team – Daysahead.
“Daysahead revives the spirit of the golden era of bands from the 70′s & 80′s criss-crossing rock, jazz, and soul into a sound that’s both contemporary and timeless….an air-tight band and a bewitching front woman. Daysahead gets straight-ahead funky.” (Michael Heyliger, RhythmFlow)
Daysahead was founded by husband and wife duo guitarist/producer/songwriter Steve Wright (Richmond, VA) & vocalist/lyricist/songwriter Kim Wright (Baton Rouge, LA) in 2003. Steve & Kim’s unique approach to songwriting, arranging, and powerful performances has attracted a diverse and loyal following of fans from around the world.
You and Steve met in 2003. What came first – the music or the love? If it was love, how did the two of you decide to work on music together? If it was music first, it would make sense that love naturally followed…
Kim: The music came first. We were musicians in a back-up band for an artist who was based out of L.A. but wanted to put an east coast band together based in Atlanta. I was hired to sing Soprano (I’m a natural Alto), and Steve was hired as her lead guitarist. During rehearsals Steve says he was drawn to my voice and tonal quality (here’s where I start blushing). One day after rehearsal he asked if I wanted to get together to write and demo some songs to sell. I was totally down! I thought that Steve was (and of course still is) a great musician with a beautiful tone, is very melodic, and just technically diverse and amazing. The first song we wrote together was “You Move Me”…..after the form, melody, and some of the lyrics were written we both looked at each other and were like this is too good to give away. Steve then asked if I wanted to start a band together! I gave an emphatic “YES.” I was really looking for a writing partner who got me and wanted an active music career as much as I did…the piece of heaven would’ve been for this magic man and I to be romantically involved as well. In walks Mr. Wright. ;-) The lyrics morphed from my very thoughts of wanting a sincere love and active music career. We went on our first date shortly after that session….and got married at a lovely B&B in the North Georgia Mountains in 2011.
Steve: For me it’s hard to say which came first. I think that our love and music both came together pretty fast. On that gig, I did think that Kim’s voice added a warm and really fat sound to the vocal section….with her being a natural alto singing soprano lines which created a strong presence. Her sound was/is awesome, breathy with lots of control. She caught my attention right away. My game was/is not to have game, so we had very natural conversation after rehearsals, and were instantly relaxed with each other during our writing sessions. I was very happy to have found a good woman, and a versatile singer and writing partner whom I could share my life and the music biz with.
Is it challenging to work together, live together, love together? Or is the combination of those things that make it easy?
Steve: Yes, but the pros outweigh the cons. It just takes emotionally mature and stable people to make it work. We take a team approach to the music biz. I feel for solo artists. I wouldn’t want to do this alone.
Kim: From the first time we met and started writing together and having a naturally blossoming relationship, I can’t imagine our lives and career happening any other way. Our friendship, marriage, and shared career crossover in the right ways.
Both of you are trained/educated musicians. How did each of you individually come into music? Kim, what made you sing and Steve, why’d you pick up that guitar?
Kim: Well, my mom is a singer, organist and pianist. She’s been a Music Director (as a side gig) for church choirs all of my life….usually 2 or 3 churches at a time. And she’s still working it. So, it’s safe to say that she was/is my biggest musical influence. I remember we used to sing gospel and r&b music around the house all of the time, my brother even joined in singing, while mama played her B3 organ or acoustic piano. My first solo was at age 5 during a church service….I sang “If You Got Jesus, You Don’t Need Nobody Else”! Wow, I really do remember that moment. I remember the feeling of that. Standing in front of a group of people boldly singing and seeing their smiles and hearing yells of agreement….I was hooked. My appreciation for jazz and rock music came in my early 20s.
Steve: I picked up the guitar when I was about 11 years old….around the mid-eighties. My Uncle David, who played guitar in bands when he was a teenager, taught me my first song. It was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones! I was hooked on guitar from that point on. Me and all of my little friends loved heavy metal, punk rock, thrash music….anything out of the mainstream! The common thread between those genres is that they’re all guitar-driven. I didn’t get into jazz, funk, and r&b until my late teens and early 20’s.
Both of you perform internationally. Do you sometimes get to work with the same groups or is it usually different groups that each of you are performing with?
Kim: We’ve only worked with the same artist once, that was when we first met. Since then, from time-to-time we’ve worked with separate artists if there’s a need for a specific instrumentation line-up. Fortunately, Steve & I have had more opportunities where we perform internationally under our own band’s name.
For the aspiring artists/musicians out there, how does one go about obtaining international work? Is it all based on who you know or should one connect with certain types of agencies?
Steve: Good question. There’s definitely no one way to do any of this. I’d say just be resourceful, and I think it’s very important to not put your hopes into the hands of others. YOU have to make it happen….so go out and take it!
Kim: I wholeheartedly agree with that. When someone told me early on that this is a “who-you-know” business and that relationships are key, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of that. It would be a nice dream realized to have a blueprint on how to navigate this business. Much like how you have a curriculum in college, you graduate, you search for a job (ideally in your field), you interview, you get the job, you go on with your life. Navigating the music business can be nutty, but knowing that you have control over your livelihood is priceless. You are, essentially, your own manager and/or team you’ve been waiting for. When others see you DO, they’ll join your bandwagon because you’re doing for yourself. Folks like to see others pursue their dreams/destiny. It takes courage, organization, persistence and resilience. Thoughts become….Destiny. If you think you can, so shall it be.
How does it feel to go from a large stage with an international artist and then do a small intimate duo performance at say a coffee house? Does it really matter where you do your music, or is it just about doing the music?
Steve: I like both, however, they are completely different. Playing in a back-up role, no matter who the artist is or the situation is never as good as playing your own gig. Coffee houses can have their fond moments, when people are actually listening and engaged. And, there are moments when you just don’t care if anyone is listening and you perform in the moment of your sound and your bandmate’s sound. You make music together. Big stage, corner of a room…..making the music has become my source of inspiration.
Kim: There’s a quote by Leonard Bernstein (American composer/conductor/pianist/lecturer) that says “In the olden days, everybody sang. You were expected to sing as well as talk. It was the mark of a cultured man to sing, to KNOW Music”. Steve & I, along with many other American Musicians optimistically await for this to be the norm again in our country. Culture of the Arts have to be introduced, valued and shared to individuals and groups to create this shift towards appreciation for and generosity of the arts. Coffee House to the Big Stage can become a simple matter of physicality if spiritually we’re all operating in that one reality. While we shift collectively, I have affirmed to be in the moment of music as well.
Are the two of you full-time musicians? Are you supported completely by your art?
Steve: Yes we’re both full-time musicians. We also teach to supplement between gigs/tours.
AMH Music Studios – what does AMH stand for?
Kim: A.M.H. Music Studios stands for “At My House” Music Studios! It’s a very accurate description of how we get down at home. Building our own home studio was one of the more economically sound decisions we’ve made. Having a studio handy is necessary for spur of the moment writing sessions and recordings, and it’s great training to perform “on the mic” consistently. I established A.M.H. Music Studios in 2006 when I taught my first student at the house and when we bought our first pro studio gear. We laugh, but are proud to be able to answer folks when asked where did we record our music because they think the music is awesome…very casually we say “Oh, at my house” studios! ;-)
Steve: Having our home studio also affords us the chance to tweak our songs as often as we’d like. We have, however, disciplined ourselves to not re-do a take to death! It’s so tempting to get that one part just right, to seek perfection. But, in doing so you can lose the raw sound or feel of the song. We do enjoy the freedom and accessibility to record whenever the ideas come.
What services do you offer? Who teaches what?
Kim: We offer individual and group lessons for beginner to advanced students, from ages 6 to adults. We also conduct clinics and workshops for private and community events, schools, and festivals. Our teaching focus is on theory & technique, melodic and harmonic application, ear training, rhythm and phrasing, composition and songwriting, and stage presence & performance.
I teach vocal lessons (all levels) and piano lessons (beginners to intermediate). Steve teaches guitar lessons (all levels).
Where is your studio located and if someone wanted to sign up for lessons, how do they contact you guys?
Steve: Our studio is located in metro Atlanta. To ask about and to sign up for lessons potential students and/or parents can contact us at: email@example.com
To the husband and wife team – do you have children? If so, how does that impact the work and music schedule? And, if not, will there be and what plans will you make to be able to continue the music? Not, that music stops if there’s children around, but certainly some things may have to be adjusted.
Steve: Not yet. Yes, we plan on having children. They shouldn’t change what we do much…beyond the actual pregnancy and slowing down on the performances during that time. And plus, Grandma is right around the corner. ;-)
Kim: We’re pretty excited about having our first child, when it happens. And yep, both sets of grandparents eagerly await their turn to babysit whenever we need them. We’re into the idea of home schooling, and exposing our child(ren) to a life of a creative early on. It’ll be fun to share our love for music and pass that on to our own kid(s).
When the two of you are composing new music, how does it happen? Who does what?
Steve: Our process varies some from song to song. I write the majority of the music’s structure and melodies, framework, and chords. Kim writes the majority of the lyrics and also melodic ideas and some structure. The songs typically don’t end up how either of us start out or introduce to the other. Sometimes a whole song just comes and other times we piece together ideas from all over the place (i.e. from older material, unused material, some new inspiration that happened earlier in the day, etc.). We definitely believe that your creativity is influenced by your daily life.
How did you come up with your band’s name: Daysahead?
Steve: I always wanted to write music with staying power. Music that will be around in the days ahead……hence the name.
Daysahead Music set up a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo to help with the costs of recording and touring across the U.S. How did it go? How do you think it could have gone better? And, what’s the next step if you don’t get all the funds you are hoping for?
Kim: Our Indiegogo Campaign faired well for our first crowdfunding effort. We are very appreciative to our fans who supported financially as well as those who supported with lots of happy thoughts and prayers. Doing the fundraising allowed us to reach even more fans and the funds raised helped us to offset some production costs for our upcoming sophomore cd titled Homebound. We’ve released our first single, “Missing You”, off the cd and are in a marketing/promotion push to build the buzz about it. Fans can download the single via our official website, CDBaby, Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes. Our immediate next step is to secure regional and national dates to hit the road and promote this single, as well as more singles soon to be released, in support of the upcoming release of our full cd Homebound.
Do you guys do your own marketing and promotion, or do you hire that work out?
Kim: As indie artists we wear many hats. Yep, we take care of our marketing and promotion with the occasional help of people who are specialized to do so when it’s in our budget to hire out the services. We do have a loyal super fan, who is a dear friend, Audrey Authur of ADA Creative Communications, Inc. who does PR work and consultation for us.
How successful is your marketing? How do you measure success?
Kim: The power of the web, with all of the social media sites, has helped us get the word out about our brand more efficiently and in a much shorter time than say when we first formed and started marketing and promoting Daysahead. Being organized and understanding how to utilize time management is very important. Our success is measured by how well opportunities align themselves and materialize from our thoughts and actions. When we feel gloom, we get gloomy results. The opposite is certainly true….when we feel upbeat and positive and approach contacting folks in that way, we get positive results.
Steve: Great responses from our fans when they buy our songs and consistently come out to our shows, radio spins online and terrestrial, word-of-mouth booking, talent buyers and venue owners reaching out to us to secure bookings, and recognition from unfamiliar faces when we’re just out about town are also great measures of our success.
What is the joint music goal? Is there an ideal musical situation that the two of you are striving for?
Steve: We’re striving to have a sustainable career as independent artists. To paint a numerical picture of that, that would be medium-sized theater audiences to consistently perform to in any city or area we choose to play.
Thankfully, society has slowly been changing to be more open and accepting of interracial couples. Has being an interracial couple ever been an issue for the two of you in terms of how other people may react? (as an aside – my own family is very diverse – from nieces, cousins, uncles, aunts, and my beautiful daughter-in-law.)
Kim: One of my students, a 16 year-old Italian-American young man, texted me a photo once of a beautiful mixed-race teenage girl that read “this is what 50% of Americans will look like by 2050”. Times are slowly a-changing, but change is happening. ;-) Yeah, it bothered us at one time until we started to realize that fear is taught and exploited for political gain and a false sense of power. The “isms” are created to keep us all separated from each other….fearful of each other and to not view each other as spiritual beings. My mother-in-law and father-in-law, along with both our siblings and friends, have always embraced the two of us as a couple. My mom was slow to come around because she was plagued with fear. Skin pigmentation is just that…..the shade of one’s skin. It doesn’t nor shouldn’t define your character. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be conned into shade boxes and made to fear each other on that basis. Thinking for yourself and understanding the tactics is power.
Steve: I suppose early on in our relationship we were more affected by the ignorance of some people. However, our spiritual growth and education over the past 7 or 8 years has helped us to know that one’s own thoughts and awareness are what’s important. In other words, if you don’t look for something then it’s not there.
Let’s say that the two of you have been married for 50 years and are sitting back and looking over your past. What will you see? What will you have done?
Steve: In 50 years I’ll be 89…..hummmm….I honestly choose to keep my mind where I am today. LOL….don’t really wanna think about being 89. That’s not to say that I don’t think about the future. But, I think living in the moment is the key to happiness and longevity. Hopefully I’ll be able to say, in my latter years, that I gave everything all I had to give.
Kim: Our children will be married and have children of their own, and everyone is healthy and happy. Our music legacy will have passed down to our kids and Daysahead will have earned multiple grammy awards and oscars for film scoring. A.M.H. Music Studios will have expanded into a free standing arts building, fully equipped with 3 live rooms and recording studios as well as classrooms for lessons and a concert hall. Steve & I would have built our dream house on our farm, equipped with a green house of organic veggies and herbs. Peaceful. Our rocking porch offers a warm welcome to our guests and neighbors. Life is Peaceful. The level of consciousness worldwide will have increased exponentially. We’ve created a vision board at home detailing these aspirations. ;-)
I believe here would be a good spot to insert more of the promotional information that we would like to share.
Daysahead’s new single “Missing You” is now available for download through CDBaby (cdbaby.com/cd/daysahead2), Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, Emusic, etc.! Please download your copy and be sure to write a review.
Visit them on the web: http://daysaheadmusic.com/