INTERVIEW: Chrissie Romano Band

Hi Chrissie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

I have been doing really well.  There are so many great things going on with the release of our new album!

Can you talk to us more about your song “Photo”?

Photo.  What can I say about it, well I love the song, simply because it comes from such a deep personal place for me.  The song is about something I think we all experience in our life time, loss and how the deep feelings associated with it can come creeping back in when you least expect it.  For me, the song was loss from death, but loss is also about losing relationships due to a breakup, or a friendship ends or even when your children move away from home.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes, one afternoon I was down in my basement, after relocating my father to live with me.  I was in the basement sorting through the numerous items he had brought with him and I came across a photo of my mother who had passed about about 8 years before.  I was struck by this photo, I hadn’t seen the picture for probably 15 years but I was immediately transported back to the day she passed away and I was overcome by a deep sadness.  I just grabbed the picture and walked upstairs to my guitar and I wrote the song in about 15 minutes.  Sometimes it seems like the songs are meant to be written, I am just a channel for them.  I was close with my mother, I look a lot like her.  It was a very emotional time for me. But at the same time the music itself conveys optimism of sorts because we can assimilate these losses.  We learn to become a new version of ourselves.  I have learned that deep pain after loss is a direct reflection of our capacity for love.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

We have a live video of an acoustic version of the song with a duo – Ken, the bass player and myself performing it.  But it certainly is something we have been talking about doing.

Why did you decide on naming the album after this track in particular?

The song is about my mother and she was the biggest influence on my life as a young child regarding music.  She was a pianist and was always very supportive of me being in music.  I was a classically trained bassoon player and gravitated towards singing, then songwriting in the last 4 years.  I wanted to honor that, and I know she would be proud of me.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing is natural to me, I studied English and love writing and telling stories.  As soon as I was able to put chords together that sounded good it just flowed and I was writing song after song.  The recording process was a new thing.  Ken, our bass player has a lot of experience in the studio so he made it easier but recording vocals was tough. I am never satisfied so I just want to keep redoing the songs over and over and over and at some point you have to say OK, this is good enough.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?

Well songwriting starts out as a very singular process for me.  I write because I am inspired, or have experienced something, or something in the news touches me. Sometimes I hear a word or phrase and build an entire song around it.  I literally write lyrics whenever something strikes me and have a bunch of notes in my phone.  Then I craft a song and usually get with Ken and we work out a general arrangement and feel.  From there we bring it to the band and it is fairly democratic at that point.  Everyone kind of gives opinions and sometimes adds or suggest things.  It is a very organic process.

What role does Rochester play in your music?

From a songwriting perspective it factors in, only in the sense that a fair majority of my experiences have been here b/c I live here.  We play with musicians from Rochester, the entire band is from Rochester and when we bring in other players they are from Rochester.  Rochester is filled with so much musical talent!

What were some of the emotions did you get to explore on this record?

I am a person who feels things quite deeply, artists and art are fed by emotions I believe, and this album touches on so many emotions.  There is sadness, anger, grief, fear, self doubt, also hope and happiness.  For example Broke Mine is about having your heart broken and feeling sad and angry about that.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Well Morgan’s Song was written after a close friend lost her 25 year old daughter and her unborn grandson to a heroin overdose.  She was such a wonderful young girl who developed an addiction after being prescribed anti anxiety drugs due to PTSD after her boyfriend killed himself.  So this is really about addiction and loss and how hard it is for all the people involved.  What About Her? is written about the Stanford Rape Case and how the news and the attacker’s father kept discussing how jail and a sentence would ruin his life and I just kept thinking what about her…what about her?  Grow Old and Stay are love songs written as appreciation for finding love and someone that loves you so much and so undeniably that it makes you a better person.  I find inspiration everywhere and in every little thing.

Any plans to hit the road?

We are planning on doing some regional touring, we have been rehearsing with a full band and we are determining which areas we want to go book.

What else is happening next in Chrissie Romano Band’s world?

In rehearsing with the full band, we are working on new tunes and starting to record parts of the next album already.  We are really looking forward to finishing this and having something new, we are continuing to develop even more synergy and the band is playing better than ever.  Hoping to open for some national acts and are always looking for opportunities to perform our music for a larger audience.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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