(This interview was originally posted on August 9, 2021)
Welcome to my new conversation series! Season 1, Episode 1: The One with Abigail
[Chairs scuffing on floor…*cough*…]
Hi, Abigail. I’m glad you made it. I know that internet traffic can be congested at times. So, if you are comfortable, let’s get started. In 33 1/3 words (see what I did there?) or less, tell me a little about you.
I’m a musician and author from the East Coast, now living in Toronto! I also play the oboe, sing, and write lyrics. I’m very inspired by the places I grew up around back home.
(did I do that right?)
You’re a little over, but I’ll let it pass. What is your favorite note?
I’ve never given it much thought, honestly! I’d say D is very nice.
That’s a good choice. I like that one as well. Do you know how many people pick that note?
I have no idea!
Neither do I. Interesting to know, though. So, along that same line, do you have perfect pitch, and if so, what is the most common note out there?
I don’t have perfect pitch! The only note I know 100% whenever I hear it is “A”. That’s the beauty of being an oboist and tuning every orchestra/band you’re ever in. I spent many hours practicing playing “As” over the years!
I think there is an oboe joke about that.
Oh, probably. There’s an oboe joke for everything.
Not as many as for the viola, I’m sure. What composer has influenced you the most?
Probably Sondheim! I’m very inspired by musical theatre in general. I once thought I might try for a performance program in that area, but I found I much prefer being behind the scenes.
I recognize the name, and I’m sure I’ve heard his pieces, so I looked him up and said, “Oh yeah. That guy.”
What inspires you to compose a piece, and how do you proceed? I rarely hear a melody in my head, so when my emotions need an outlet other than poetry, I have to turn to playing guitar to come up with ideas.
It really depends. Sometimes, I have a melody spring out from my head that I have to write down, but sometimes it’s just a concept I want to explore more. Like, maybe I’m inspired by a photo or a poem and want to convey that musically. Or maybe I have words in my head I want to put to music.
Do you have a favorite instrument to score for, and on the flip side, what instrument do you find challenging?
I love writing for voice! An instrument I find challenging to write for is the harp, or really anything stringed. As a woodwind player, stringed instruments are foreign to me, so sometimes I need to ask around to see if what I want to write is possible or if a player would hate me for writing something a certain way.
Isn’t a harp just a sideways piano? It’s like the builder just gave up and said, “That’s enough.”
Haha, I wish it was that simple! All those pedals and tunings make things interesting.
When was the last time you have an earworm, and what song was it?
Yesterday, I had “Danger” by BTS stuck in my head basically all day.
I’ll give you one—Watermelon Sugar. You can thank me later.
Gosh, that’s also constantly in my head. It’s too catchy!
First concert? Last concert?
My first concert was probably Symphony New Brunswick. My parents started taking me to them when I was pretty small, so I’m guessing it was them! The last concert I saw was Kim Petras.
I’ll have to look her up. What song or genre are you embarrassed to like?
I don’t really get embarrassed by my music taste anymore. Life’s too short to get hung up on those sorts of things. If I had to answer the question, though, I’d say K-pop because it’s so big right now, and many who aren’t in the know are annoyed by it and the fans, but I really don’t care.
I agree. There’s usually merit in all styles of music…usually.
[Sound of flipping through cue cards]
I read here that you are a writer of poetry. What came first for you, music or writing?
I think writing. I was writing stuff way before I could spell or print properly, but music came shortly after. I began lessons when I was still in kindergarten.
Do you have a favorite book?
So hard to pick just one! I’d go with the Lord of the Rings trilogy because I’ve reread it the most out of everything.
I’ve read that a few times as well. I think the sign of a good book is when you want to read it again. I’ve read Klondike by Pierre Burton many times.
I can’t say I’ve read it or even heard of it! You learn something new every day!
It’s a historical account of the gold rush. Quite fascinating. Speaking of fascinating…are you allergic to anything or wish you were?
I have sooo many seasonal allergies.
Let’s change things up a bit. Are you ready for the lightning round?
Introvert or extrovert? A bit of both?
Talk or text? Text
Physical or Ebooks? Ebooks
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Rick or Morty? Neither? I’ve never watched it, haha.
The beaten path or the road less traveled? Road less traveled.
Like or dislike: Ice cream — like
Moths — like (when they’re not stuck in my house)
Waterfalls — like
Hedgehogs — like
Bonus question: What’s the square root of 13?
Why are you making me do math??
I didn’t say it was going to be easy. Time’s Up! I’m glad we had this chance to chat.
Abigail is participating in the following BookFunnel promo:
More Interviews: Leon Stevens Interviews Himself and Others
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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