Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Kelli Scarr

scarrKelli Scarr first made a name for herself with her original outfit, Moonraker, before the band dissolved in 2005. Now she’s adding to her acclaim as a solo artist, building on a foundation of time spend singing with heralded musicians like Moby, and releasing her first solo album, Piece, in August of this year. With an indie rock/pop edge punctuated by her alluring, powerful-but-still-soothing voice, it certainly feels like Scarr’s first release, is but one piece in a larger puzzle.

scarrKelli Scarr first made a name for herself with her original outfit, Moonraker, before the band dissolved in 2005. Now she’s adding to her acclaim as a solo artist, building on a foundation of time spend singing with heralded musicians like Moby, and releasing her first solo album, Piece, in August of this year. With an indie rock/pop edge punctuated by her alluring, powerful-but-still-soothing voice, it certainly feels like Scarr’s first release, is but one piece in a larger puzzle.

As she took the stage at Washington, D.C.’s Black Cat Dec. 6, we asked her how she arrived at this point and, as always, what’s next.

Mike Hume: What was the transition period like for you between Moonraker and your solo career?

Kelli Scarr: In 2005 we hit a spot where we were doing our thing in New York, touring a bit, but it really wasn’t going anywhere and I think everyone was a bit tired of things. We played this show on a rooftop out in Brooklyn and there was this energy in the show that just felt like this was our last show and it was. It was a very natural ending to the whole thing.

At the same time I developed nodules on my vocal chords. I took a while off from performing hard music and my voice got a lot better. I picked up music again after taking a normal job at a hospital for a couple of years, got married, had a kid, all this stuff, then had this strong urge to play again. And all these things were happening in my life that I needed to deal with through art. I started writing songs that I felt good about and got back out there.

MH: The title, Piece, was meant to symbolize a snap shot of your life. Do you find that most of your writing is focused on capturing just one moment?

KS: All of my stuff tends to be extremely personal for better or worse. I recently found out that my grandmother wrote this autobiography and it’s stayed within my family. I thought it would be cool to write an album based off her life, but it’s extremely challenging for me. For this next album, it’s another piece. Thinking about albums as a piece of a bigger picture helps keep me in focus. Otherwise I start thinking an album has to be the statement of my life and be the best thing ever and I think that would be very self destructive.

MH: How do you incorporate influences into your music?

KS: For lack of a better term, I just try to stay true to the muse, whatever’s coming through. There’s this one tune we’re working on that I call my Tina Turner song. Tina Turner’s an inspiration I’ve been noting lately. The song just has a lot of attitude to it and that’s something I’ve never really tapped into before because I’ve never wanted to come off as overly confident or anything.

MH: What’s next over the horizon for you?

KS: We’re going up to this studio in Woodstock [N.Y.] and we’re going to record the next record during January. Everything’s pretty much focused on that right now. I want to cut everything live and do a lot of experimenting and I’m sure it will be gorgeous.

• For more on Kelli Scarr, visit www.myspace.com/kelliscarr

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