Glenwood native ready for national CD release
Post Independent Staff
Aubrey Smith is happy to say the citrus-colored dress she wore as a young singer in the ensemble Sunshine Generation is a thing of the past.
“We had to wear these yellow-and-orange outfits,” said Smith, a 1995 Glenwood Springs High graduate. “My brother, Micah, was in the band, too, and he hated it. It was embarrassing.”
Now 28 and living in New York, Smith and her rock band, the Batterie, released their first album today titled, “Sorry You Missed It.” The CD has already received national acclaim with a rave review in the August issue of Marie Claire magazine.
Smith, a singer and piano player since age 5, met bandmates Gabe Hays and Joaquin C. de Baca while the three were students at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. After two years, she transferred to the Mannes College of Music at New School University in New York City while Hays and de Baca graduated and started the Batterie in Denver. They later moved to New York and added drummer Phil Kester, who lived in Smith’s building in the Bronx, to the mix.
“We started out playing small jazz clubs,” said Smith, who described the band’s music as funk-fueled neo-soul and indie acoustic trip-hop. “Right now we’re just feeling it out. We have a couple of offers from labels.”
Experienced in working with big-name labels, including Sony Music, Smith said the band is looking for the right fit in terms of representation.
“I’ve worked with big record labels before, and they always wanted me to play what they wanted,” she said. “A lot of record labels have a cookie-cutter idea of music. We definitely want a label that will let us play the music we want.”
The high school all-state choir member, who is in the Glenwood Springs Community Center’s Hall of Fame for her music achievements, said she would enjoy success ” but not to the extreme.
“I do want people to hear my music,” she said. “I would want to be more like an underground rock star. I don’t like acting like someone I’m not.”
For the last year, Smith and her bandmates have collaborated with veteran rock producers Joe Blaney ” who has worked with the Clash, the Ravonettes, Lauryn Hill and Prince ” and engineer Dan Grigsby to independently release “Sorry You Missed It.” The Batterie recorded the album in April 2004, and it took a year for the band to mix the tracks and fund its release.
“We definitely put our hearts and souls into it,” she said. “It took us a long time because we were on a minimal budget, but we had some good help.”
On the CD Baby Web site, where “Sorry You Missed It” is available for purchase, Grigsby said he anticipated working with the Batterie because of its distinctive musical approach.
“… It’s progressive but without the pretense that most new bands have,” he said. “Aubrey’s voice is like a Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday mix, and her sexy lyrics make you want to reach out and touch her. These guys are real close to it.”
A child of the ’80s and ’90s who started out signing with the international children’s performing group Sunshine Generation, Smith said her influences range from Holiday and Bjork to Jeff Buckley and Sonic Youth.
“We’re all definitely into funk, blues, rhythm and blues and avant-garde classical stuff,” she said. “And definitely jazz has an influence on all of us.”
To learn more about Smith and her band, visit http://www.thebatterie.com. Preview tracks from the band’s debut CD at myspace.com/thebatterie. “Sorry You Missed It” is available from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/batterie or at Glenwood Music.
Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518
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