With Just A Hint Of Mayhem
Song Review "Pain Reliever"
by Bill Adamson
April 16, 2023
Is Liz Davinci descended from Leonardo? I don't know, but she is certainly an incredibly talented artist. Vocally there are elements of Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, and Marcella Detroit here. This tune is beautiful and almost baroque in its construction. I love the way that Liz is not afraid to use the space between the notes. This augers well for her forthcoming album 'Fata Morgana'.
We Are Cult
Liz DaVinci trails new album with single ‘Joni Blue’
by James Gent
July 24, 2020
Released this Friday (July 24 2020), Joni Blue is singer-songwriter Liz DaVinci’s first song release in over a year and is taken from her forthcoming concept album. You can check out the single on Spotify.
Liz Davinci was born and raised in California and currently lives in Munich, Germany. Her energetic and dynamic songs, honest voice and soft lyrical touch culminate to achieve an intimacy in her music. For Liz, songwriting is a necessity, an expression and an attempt to evoke affinity in listeners. Her voice has been called “haunting and beautiful”.
Her first album, Obstruction Destruction, was released in 2017, followed closely by the release of an EP entitled EEEEP. In 2018 Liz released a series of singles followed by her most professionally produced and musically daring release yet, the EP Contraband, which was released in May of 2019.
For the past six months an album has been coming together and it has developed from a handful of demos into a fully-fledged concept album, promising innovative trailers and experimental songs.
The album is divided into five “stages” as the protagonist, Victoria, moves through different experiences. The stages are, in order, “Contentment”, “Love”, “Love disappears”, “Revolution” and “Imprisonment”.
Talented crime fiction, noir and freelance writers such as Paul D. Brazill, Jim Shaffer, Mark McConville, Kate Laity and Underhatchet have prepared texts in line with these stages.
The album is planned to be a “happening” for the next six months as album trailers unfold and a few singles are released. “Joni Blue”, releasing July 24, 2020, is the first glimpse of the album and belongs to the stage “Contentment”.
Liz DaVinci says, “I hope you enjoy the first taste of what is to come.”
First Listen: Liz Davinci – Said I Wanna
by Ryan Martin
December 2, 2019
Liz Davinci drops her single titled ‘Said I Wanna’ from her album titled ‘Contraband’. The song has a wonderful diversity in rhythm and style with subtle changes that almost give the track multiple personalities.
Liz’s weathered angelic voice keeps the music together as she transitions those changes with the creativity and composure that only a true artist can master. The music, particularly the piano, has an almost orchestral quality about it with some amazing outside of the box guitar and feedback work that really makes this review hard to give the song justice. You must listen for yourself.
July 8, 2019
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m a native Californian living in Munich, Germany, passionate about music and very hard-working in general.
WHEN AND WHY WERE YOU STARTING TO PLAY?
I loved music as a child and my grandparents bought a small harmonium at an auction and it was fascinating to me because you had to pump with your feet to produce sound. My grandma taught me a few songs on that harmonium. Then they bought a grand piano at an auction and I happened to sit at it with a friend of the family who was a piano teacher one day. The woman recommended to my mother that I take piano lessons because I apparently picked up on whatever she told me very well.
WHICH INSTRUMENTS DO YOU PLAY?
I play piano, a bit of guitar and sing.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST TUNE(S) YOU LEARNED?
The Streets of Laredo (on the harmonium).
IS MUSIC IN YOUR FAMILY?
Aside from much of my family being music lovers, not really.
DESCRIBE THE MUSICAL INTERESTS AND SKILLS OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBER.
My father was a music lover, a record collector and an amateur guitarist. My mother and all of my family enjoy music.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST MUSIC PROFESSOR? OTHER PROFESSORS?
There have been many… but my first composition teacher was a composer at UC San Diego by the name of Rand Steiger. He was very encouraging and a great teacher as well as a wonderful person. In The Hague I studied with Louis Andriessen and Diderik Wagenaar.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES OF MUSIC?
The first time I heard Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd movement I started crying. It was so strange to me that this happened and the emotion I felt was pure beauty.
Another memory was when I saw Tori Amos live for the first time in (I think) 1996 on her Boys For Pele tour and the concert was like magic. It moved me and changed the way I think about music. She was actually better live than on CD and I couldn’t believe it.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS? GROUPS? CD’S?
The Beatles, The Doors, Tori Amos, The Beastie Boys, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Leos Janacek, Luciano Berio.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU PRACTICING AND FOR HOW LONG?
I would practice more if I could, but at the moment I practice about 4 times per week, 1-2 hours each session.
WHAT ARE YOUR DOING-EXERCISES, FRESH TUNES, DIFFICULT TUNES, AND SO ON?
When I want to up my level on the keyboard I usually practice classical music as well as scales and arpeggios. Before singing, I warm up with various vocal exercises for about half an hour. If I want to work on my singing and keyboard technique at the same time, I grab Quattro Canzoni Populari by Luciano Berio — these are some of my favourite pieces. I find them very beautiful and rather experimental. And they are quite challenging for both piano and voice.
YOU’RE TEACHING MUSIC?
I have taught piano in the past, but now I am a mathematician by day.
WHERE DID YOU PLAY? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE POPULAR PLACES?
I have performed in different venues in The Netherlands as well as in California, but this was before I was involved in pop music, so I was performing either classical music or experimental. I enjoyed performing in the different small venues in The Hague and Amsterdam — they had so much charm.
WHICH SONGS ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO PERFORM?
I would like to perform any of my songs. I think it would be fun to make distinctly alternative versions of the more electronic songs for a live performance. But if I had to pick the top three I would want to perform they would be “Another One Gone”, “Short Sight” and “Said I Wanna”.
WHO’S WRITING YOUR SONGS? FOR MOST OF YOUR SONGS, WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY THEMES OR SUBJECTS?
I am writing nearly all of my songs. Underhatchet, drummer and collaborator, composed his first song for me and would like to create another one.
I try to write songs that describe or paint a certain emotion and mood. I try to vary the moods and emotions, depending on what is in my head desiring to be expressed.
HOW CAN YOUR MUSIC BE ACCESSED BY FANS? DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE?
I have a website: www.lizdavinci.com where one can find all links to other social sites, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.…
IF IN THE WORLD YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would be a cat so that I could finally catch up on all that sleep I have been missing out on.
IF YOU COULD HAVE SUPPER FROM HISTORY WITH SOMEONE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would like to have supper with Ludwig van Beethoven because I find him such a brilliant mind.
IF YOU HAD A CHOICE BETWEEN TWO SUPERPOWERS, BEING INVISIBLE OR ABLE TO FLY, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I would choose to be able to fly.
WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT, AND WHY?
I worry about forgetting something because I am very busy and do often forget things.
IF YOU WOKE UP AND HAD 777 UNREAD MESSAGES AND ONLY 7 OF THEM COULD REPLY, HOW WOULD YOU CHOOSE WHICH ONES TO REPLY?
I would look for emails from family or dear friends and prioritize them.
AN OSTRICH HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO YOU. YOU CAN’T SELL IT OR GIVE IT BACK. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I would design an ostrich area and research why the hell it is a good idea to own an ostrich.
WE COMPLETE THE INTERVIEW AND YOU DISCOVER THAT YOU WIN $77 MILLION LOTTERY TICKET. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
ANY FINAL WORDS?
Just a big thank you for this nice interview, Sasha!
Interview on the blog "The Flipside"
by Dizzy Storms
May 4, 2019:
DJ Interviews: Liz Davinci
Hey there everyone, Its The DJ coming at you with an interview featuring a talented singer, songwriter whose name is Liz Davinci Who spoke on her humble beginnings
How'd you get started in music?
My Dad liked to play The Beatles or folk songs on the guitar and I would sing along with him while he played. When I was 8, I ended up sitting at a piano during a wedding reception with a woman who was a piano teacher (I only met her that once) and she showed me things that I apparently picked up on well. She recommended to my parents that I take piano lessons, which I did for the next 14 years.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
Major influences for me have been The Beatles, The Doors, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tori Amos. On the classical side the biggest four would be Beethoven, Schumann, Janacek and Berio. In jazz music my top four influences are Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Cal Tjader.
What advice would you give to aspiring performers?
Just because you are nervous doesn't mean that you are not cut out to perform. Being nervous is not only normal but also an indication that the quality of your playing/singing matters to you. Also, not everyone is going to like what you do and try not to let that shake you. Be yourself.
How do you set yourself apart from other bands/singers?
I think that the influences of rock, jazz, classical and experimental music that I have heard and played in my life are mixing in a similar way in each song I write, which is slowly culminating into a unique "Elizabeth" style.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?
On May 25, 2019 a new five-track EP will be released. It is called "Contraband" and contains songs utilising drums or electronic drum beats, Fender Rhodes and/or piano and vibraphone. There is one solo song included - containing just piano and voice. It will be available on all digital platforms or as physical media for purchase on my website.
Special thanks to her for this interview & I wish her luck in her career. So until then I'll catch you on the flipside! Stay awesome & rock n roll!
It's On Repeat For Liz
by It's Indie
December 8, 2018
Liz Davinci released the new video for her song "It's On Repeat" today.
"When I wrote “It’s On Repeat” I was thinking about how ironic it is that each individual has to learn everything for themselves," Liz tells us.
It is almost a trivial concept. But it can be fascinating, sad or even reassuring to realize that each person is in control of their success or failure. As a child you can be told that you cannot touch fire because you will get burned. But you might do it anyway to find out for yourself. You may be told that you are incapable of becoming what you want to become. But you might do it anyway.
This development that we have to go through is at times sad and there is much suffering, through which we can progress. Some people progress positively, others take a downward spiral. Tragedy is witnessed and creates suffering that is sometimes unbearable. Some people succeed, some people don’t. But everyone must keep going. It‘s on repeat...
by Rebecca Cullen
November 18, 2018
Liz Davinci's collaboration with United Duality sees the songwriter offer a poetic string of lyrics, glowing with imagery and fragments of ideas that provoke and intrigue. There’s a delicacy to her presentation of the lines, her voice has a softness and a high tone that floats above the acoustic guitars to create an enjoyable level of contrast.
The song’s central sentiment and title are the main point of interest, and rightfully so. The short verse lines leave the listener plenty to question and wonder about, and although the hook does not explain anything in depth or detail, it does create a moment of resolve – the melody breaks away and rises higher, and the image of the see-saw is one that most people will likely have some sort of connection with. Nostalgia is a big part of that, the natural imagery and the mention of dreams ties in well – there’s a sense of innocence to the thought, a certain playfulness that suits the pleasant aura of the instrumentation and the melody.
There’s also the possibility of the see-saw being a reference to keeping things balanced, or of needing more than just yourself in order to keep things moving. All of this works in the song’s favour as you listen and consider the ideas. The vagueness of the lyrics is actually quite refreshing – modern pop tends to leave nothing at all to the imagination of the listener, so there’s less freedom to connect the experience to your own journey.
The guitar work on this single is beautiful, the single strum and the simultaneous picking offers an organic layer of musical truth that finishes things off gorgeously.
Find & follow Liz Davinci on Facebook & Twitter or visit her Website. Find & follow United Duality on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.
With Just A Hint Of Mayhem
Album Review "Fata Morgana"
by Bill Adamson
May 19, 2023
Liz Davinci‘s new album ‘Fata Morgana’ is an absolute delight and one of those great albums where you need to listen from start to finish and do not feel the need to skip a single track. Is Liz Davinci descended from Leonardo? I don’t know, but she is certainly an incredibly talented artist.
The album opens with the recent single “Pain Reliever” which I reviewed a few weeks ago and said that “This tune is beautiful and almost baroque in its construction. I love the way that Liz is not afraid to use the space between the notes” and having listened to it plenty of times since then I stand by that statement! “Mirage”, like much of the album showcases Liz’s stunning vocal style backed by just her classical keyboard notes.
Lyrically she weaves wonderful stories that are reminiscent of Kate Bush. Has there ever been a song about the journey of a coin? I’m not sure but with Liz Davinci’s “One Silver Dollar” there is now, this definitely has some influence from Ms. Bush but whilst it doesn’t have the full-on Mael Brothers attack it does remind me of the softer moments from the Sparks canon, notably “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth”.
If you have been searching for a dark summer anthem look no further than the wonderful “Cherry July”. Davinci’s voice here feels innocent, open, and yet deeply exciting at the same time. I love tunes that are kind of wished-for or desired travelogues and “Another Lollipop” is one of those. How many songs fit in lyrics about working on a laptop and album drops and also manage to give a verbal tour of Europe? None until now! “I’m Through With Love” has the feel of an epic 1970s ballad that might have been composed by Lynsey de Paul had she decided to go down a less pop-driven route.
An earlier single “Purple Jesters” is currently my favourite track from the album. It sums up everything that is great about Liz Davinci. Great hooks, great harmonic vocals, keys that are content to explore and expose open spaces, and wonderfully clear and fresh production. It has a medieval jazz feel something like a Tudor period Steely Dan might have created.
“Interlude – March 24” is a really strange spoken word piece that feels like it might have been taken straight from the pages of Liz’s diary, is it about a lost love or an unrequited love? I have no idea but I love its romantic quirkiness. Liz channels the quiet and less manic moments from Lene Lovich in “Fly On The Wall”.
I have never been an aficionado of musicals or cabaret but “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” feels like it has jumped out of the kind of stage musical that even I would like, and I am not a big fan of the genre. I can sense Sparks in the words here and Marcella Detroit in the voice.
Perhaps one of the most gorgeously chilled tracks in this collection is “Body Lines”, although there is a menacingly dark musical motif toward the end. If Kate Bush was ever to write a song with Leo Sayer it might well have sounded like “Dixie Theatre”. It has the Baroque Bop feel of some of the earlier tracks and exudes Liz Davinci’s wonderful weirdness.
The album closes with an emotionally charged tune in “End Of The Sea” which appears to be drawn from the deepest recesses of the Davinci mind with a voice that raised memories of Suzanne Vega for me. This is not the first Liz Davinci album and I hope it won’t be the last. But it will always be one of her finest and is definitely a contender for Album of the Year 2023! Get some Liz Davinci in your life now, you won’t regret it. I hope we get to see Liz play some UK dates sometime and I also hope to interview her soon, so watch out for that!
UPDATE – My musical education continues. There are actually three covers on this beautiful collection, all three were sung by Marilyn Monroe and one was actually written by her too. Liz Davinci provided me with this information shortly after I had posted this review. I want to make it clear though that Liz has very much made these covers her own! “One Silver Dollar” was written by Marilyn Monroe, “I’m Through With Love” was written by Fud Livingston, Gus Khan, and Matty Malneck, and “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” was written by Irving Berlin. I am so pleased that I can still learn new stuff every day!
Album Review "Pax Victoria"
by Thomas Müller
February 3, 2021
At the centre of the concept album "Pax Victoria" is a fictional character named Victoria, whose worldly Californian life was interrupted by an all-consuming love affair that led her into the world of underground crime where she had to choose between right and wrong.
The album starts with the two single releases "While They Prey" and "Joni Blue". The first is characterised by the cinematic string intro into the song and the melancholic mood that hovers over the entire song. "Joni Blue" on the other hand sounds more playful, catchier and is one of the first highlights on the record.
There are eleven songs on the album, all of which are rather calm, but offer a certain range in terms of style, from slightly more experimental pieces to catchy songs. This is nice because variety is provided. For example there is the melancholic "Oh God", the almost happy "10:23", which reminded me of a song from the musical, Mary Poppins, in the chorus, and "The Club", a song dominated by Liz Davinci's voice which reflects everything that characterises many pieces: gentle melody, catchy and all of this with a lot of depth.
This music always has its strong moments when it represents a composition - a unity, with the voice in connection with the piano. And these moments are to be found, for example, in "6am" and "The Stars With You".
And if you like something a bit different, you will also find it on this album. There are tracks like "Delete", for example, which, in contrast to the vocals, provide a driving rhythm. A song that wants to express a kind of indecision or "Deserted", which also turns out to be more difficult to access. Sometimes a little more spherical and less catchy, these pieces set counterpoints to the harmonies of other songs.
Another highlight that can make buying this album a worthwhile investment is the track "Life's Hard (a nightmare)". Liz Davinci manages to create a captivating atmosphere here. The final piece "Downfall" shows a greatly explored dynamic that builds up and breaks down nicely. Above all, it is the variety and the many ideas that set "Pax Victoria" apart from the crowd.
Liz Davinci takes classical and contemporary music to a different dimension for all of us, creating a modern taste of genre-bending
September 5, 2020
Liz Davinci is a free spirited, down to earth artist. A classically trained pianist and singer who happened to change her world, literally. Not so many of us are brace enought to do that. And with her newly found freedom and calm she has just been keeping experimenting with her artistic musical expressions. We have had some good talks and lately a longer one. So, if you are here, you have a chance to get to know a real genuine and kind person with a story!
Music Authentic: I’m glad to talk to you longer, so let’s begin with the “site-traditional” question: How did you sleep last night?
Liz Davinci: I slept really well last night, thank you.
Music Authentic: Right now, looking around where the world is heading to, moving to Munich is still a good decision? I would never change California for it, personally…
Liz Davinci: I am very happy in Munich. The one hard thing about being here since Covid is that I haven’t been able to see my family in California. I feel better in Europe than in America and at one point someone suggested that it had to do with the social system. I don’t know whether that is why, but it could be true that the fact that there is more of a social net in Europe seeps into the attitude of the people. America can be very cutthroat.
Music Authentic: Has Europe with its completely different culture and habits changed you?
Liz Davinci: Yes, though I am coming to the point where I have lived nearly as many years in Europe as in America. I celebrate the lesser importance of the automobile here in Europe nearly every day. I also like the smaller scale of life here. It has been enlightening to be able to dive so deeply into multiple European cultures and languages and especially to have had to overcome the initial struggle to do so (i.e. – it really wasn’t easy!!).
Music Authentic: How hard is it with the everyday? Artists are insecure by nature and they are one the most heavily affected by the new – and hopefully just temporary – way of life…
Liz Davinci: I made a decision at the beginning of this pandemic that I was not going to allow fear to control my thoughts and moods, which is anyway a good way to live. But once Corona hit, I felt the fear surfacing, so I had to do something. I find that meditating and trying to keep physically healthy – sleeping enough, working out a lot and eating well – keep the fear away.
Music Authentic: I like asking this questions some might find useful: Where do you usually gain strength during these changing and challenging times?
Liz Davinci: I try to keep perspective and remember that everything will be okay. If I die tomorrow due to Covid, everything will be okay because it just will. It is just a situation. I won’t know any difference – I will be dead. My family will recover. If someone I love dies tomorrow in a car crash, everything will be okay. I will feel very sad for awhile, but I will adjust. We cannot avoid death. Challenges other than death are easier to comprehend and cope with. I try to meditate to keep perspective.
Music Authentic: Where do you see yourself in a few years from now on?
Liz Davinci: I don’t foresee big changes in the next few years but if they arrive, I will tackle them. Therefore, I see myself in Munich, experimenting with some kind of art project – maybe a short film.
Music Authentic: You are classically trained pianist. Something not so many people and wannabe artists would comprehend what it takes and what it gives. Is it a blessing or an obstacle when you create contemporary songs?
Liz Davinci: It’s true that I have, second to sleeping, probably spent most of my time sitting at pianos. I feel completely one with the piano, which is the positive side to creating because no technical barriers exist for me when I am composing. The down side is that I don’t always want to have the sound world of the piano in my music, as it is very particular. Thanks to exploration, I am now breaking out of this issue.
Music Authentic: Is it hard to sell yourself and be your on merchant as an indie?
Liz Davinci: I just try to be myself, which is easy. I don’t really try to “sell” anything because I am not financially dependent on music. I want to create quality art and I want to attract people who desire depth in art and music.
Music Authentic: Here is one more “site-traditional” question: Would you rather live in the Earth in 20 years or be the part of the first Mars colony?
Liz Davinci: I like trying out new things, so I would head to Mars.
Music Authentic: Some of your songs backs on unusual chorus parts and chords not typically heard in TOP 40 lists. Have you ever dreamed of being a chart-topper?
Liz Davinci: Compared with the experimental music stemming from classical music that I enjoy and have also composed, what I write now is extremely traditional. But you are 100% right that it is unusual in comparison with Top 40 songs. I would love to top charts but would never, ever try to compose differently to do so.
Music Authentic: What’s your take on the debate lately whether to create singles frequently over a concept album?
Liz Davinci: In speaking for myself, I am all for both methods, when used intelligently. I started with an album because it felt necessary as a self-exploration and desire to take on a big project. Thereafter I did a series of small projects (EPs and singles) to have loads of marketing opportunities. Now I feel the pull to a bigger project again. I know why I create music – I feel that certain music is so important that I need to carry the torch so that it lives on. The music I find important is contained in my music. I am the messenger. This is not about getting 200 likes on my selfie. People can do whatever they want, but a danger I see in constantly releasing singles is that the short-term attention can sneak in and become the goal – and then the entire act becomes less about the music.
Music Authentic: Now, let’s have some fun: If you had a chance to play a superhero character in a movie or a series, whom would you choose?
Liz Davinci: I love “The Matrix”, so I would enjoy playing Neo or Trinity.
Music Authentic: Traditions are rapidly changing. Do you think it is a good thing?
Liz Davinci: I think we flourish best when we are encouraged by others and encouraging to others. There is much individualistic (egotistical) thought nowadays. I think we need to realize how important a collective is, and that we can actually thrive better when we embrace this, rather than living defensively and individualistically.
Music Authentic: “Said I Wanna” or “Cover Me”?
Liz Davinci: “Said I Wanna”
Music Authentic: What things would be the greatest achievements for you through your art?
Liz Davinci: The greatest achievement of any piece of art, large or small, is when I am able to realize what I had in mind. At the moment, I am able to do that in my songs and videos and I want to continue doing it, but not remain static – rather always take on bigger or different challenges.
Music Authentic: Which artist do you recommend to listen to from the past or the contemporary era and why?
Liz Davinci: I love so much music but I want to give a compact answer. The composers I love the most are able, in my opinion, to almost literally speak through their music. Especially with Beethoven, Wagner, Varese and Mingus, when speaking of classical and instrumental music, I find this to be the case. If I had to narrow it down immensely with pop music, I would pick Tori Amos, The Beatles and The Doors. Recently I have been listening to Lana del Rey and have found her to be extremely inspiring.
Music Authentic: Would you ever consider taking up the job of the President? What would you start the change with?
Liz Davinci: Funny that you ask – I was just discussing this idea the other day. And, yes, I would definitely take on that job, if the opportunity presented itself. In connection with my earlier statement about social benefits, I would try to make America provide more of a social net to its people, as well as make health care mandatory and more regulated.
Music Authentic: Nowadays computers, algorithms are replacing most of the extra miles. Machine Learning and actual Artificial Intelligence are at our doors. Do you think artists and musicians will be replaced deemed to be obsolete?
Liz Davinci: I believe that AI is or will be capable of composing and performing amazing music. But experiencing live music with humans playing and expressing themselves would be difficult to replace. Say the AI “musicians” are that amazing and moving and we all file into the concert hall to hear the magical machines. I just can’t believe that the experience would be able to replace watching humans, even if sonically it is equally or more impressive.
Music Authentic: Whose story had a great effect on your life?
Liz Davinci: Every single person who has experienced war, whether as a soldier, doctor, traitor or civilian.
Music Authentic: Have you ever used your stage as a platform to help out others?
Liz Davinci: If there is ever an opportunity to help people, I do it. I haven’t ever made a lot of money with music, but if I did, I would certainly donate money. Otherwise – in my songs and writings I do often consciously include messages of things I believe in that I think are helpful, such as ways of thinking.
Music Authentic: What do you think the hardest challenges are in society these days?
Liz Davinci: It seems like a lot of people are depressed and given the “average” Western situation, I can see why. I think a challenge worth undertaking is to create a balanced life for oneself. I describe this as spending not too much time at work but not too little, engaging in lots of physical movement and mental challenges, and spending quality (over quantity) time with family and friends.
Music Authentic: What are your favourite pastime activities?
Liz Davinci: Besides music I love working out and dancing. I feel that to stimulate my mind, I can best stimulate myself physically.
Music Authentic: With what message you would encourage others as a farewell this time?
Liz Davinci: Be true to yourself and you will be content.
Music Interview Magazine
Liz Davinci’s Instinctive ‘Contraband’
by Paul Wolfle
December 13, 2019
With musicianship reaching far from either side of middle C, Liz Davinci clearly thinks outside the proverbial box on the EP Contraband. The title track has a bit of an electronic Kraftwerk-ish feel, while “Black Is The Color” communicates more traditional music leanings. Meanwhile, the latest single from Davinci’s five song collection, “Said I Wanna,” is almost like a 3:37 rock suite complete with changing times and texture.
A singer, songwriter and pianist extraordinaire, Davinci’s voice is beautiful and edgy in almost an experimental Tori Amos meets Kate Bush kind of way. Other times, although complex, a pop music flavor tag may be in order. Originally released May 25th, 2019, Contraband reflects the California-raised, German-based musician’s intuition and ambition. Compared to 2017’s EEEEP, Contraband has a slightly bigger presence but is just as electronically inspired, if not more. Either way, composition and performance are the mainstays of Davinci’s style.
All things considered, Contraband probably falls under the headings of alternative, independent and progressive, but is not limited by just those descriptions. Listen closely for the wider-ranging use of instruments in Davinci’s music. Also, be sure to check out the artist’s YouTube mini-video projects of one minute or less.
An Interview with Liz Davinci
Musicinterviewmagazine.com spoke to Liz Davinci about listening to personal instinct, Contraband, EEEEP and other projects.
Tell us a bit about your background and training.
Liz Davinci: I started classical piano lessons at the age of eight and have always loved to sing. I studied piano performance and composition at the University of California and Music Conservatory in The Netherlands and have been writing pop songs for the past four years or so.
How much does intuition play a role in your music?
I would say that intuition is the driving force in my music. Through writing lots of songs, I have come to the conclusion that allowing the mind free whilst improvising has led to the best songs. That doesn’t mean I publish them literally as they intuitively arrive, but rather, the more songs I write, the better I get at capturing those magical moments that happen in an improvisation and preserving them in a song that I develop and reflect on.
The title track to Contraband has a bit of synth-wave moodiness, almost an electronic feel, compared to the current single, “Said I Wanna.” How do you see yourself musically?
“Contraband” and “Said I Wanna” are products of two totally different methods of songwriting for me and it is clearly audible that they are two different animals. I don’t subscribe nor limit myself to any style or genre. I see my music as an exploration and I love to follow inspiration. So, if rap is inspiring me immensely, I will try to go there in my songwriting, or if a piano solo piece is knocking on my mind, I will go there. That goes for any mood, genre or idea.
Piano rich with beautiful vocals and a traditional lyric, what was the inspiration including “Black Is The Color” in the Contraband collection?
At first I didn’t think that “Black is the Color” belonged on the EP Contraband because it is so pianistic and is a solo piece, but for exactly those reasons I changed my mind and put it on. My hope is that it provides some variety for the ear and an emotional experience as well.
We have to ask, what is the meaning to the recently re-released EP titled EEEEP?
EEEEP stands for Eclectic Electronic Excited EP. Prior to EEEEP I had mainly written and played solo piano songs and EEEEP was a place where I ventured into many different worlds of sound, collaboration, electronics and experimentation.
Word is you are working on a new album and maybe a video. Can you talk a little about the projects?
Yes, that’s exactly what I am doing. After having done several smaller releases I feel it is time to make a second album. I have already recorded three songs for the album, but it will be some time before the album releases. I have a number of side projects and collaborations going on, so I will still be active in the meantime.
As for the world of video, I have always made my own music videos and just recently it has become a lot more fun. The next video release will be for “Harvest Time” from the EP Contraband and then I think thereafter I will make videos for both “Contraband” and “I just,” so that each song from the EP has a video.
Monolith Cocktail -
Review of the EP "Contraband"
by Dominic Valvona
July 12, 2019
An EP of contrasts, pianist-troubadour Liz Davinci fluctuates vocally between balladry pop and crystalline aria, and musically between the cheaper ticking metronome of a Casio preset and the more lofty rich swells of classical instrumentation. Her latest release, a beautifully off-kilter articulated EP called Contraband is a case in point: a mini-requiem of both lo fi and expensive.
Davinci, ever the true confessional, lays herself open to various degrees of success over the EP’s controlled tumult of romantic brooding and lament. With Californian roots but living for the past decade or more in Munich, the melodious voiced Davinci has a fairly unique sound that ebbs and flows continuously, weaving echoes of Tori Amos, Raf Mantelli and Fiona Apple with touches of lounge-jazz, trip-hop, the classical, and on the closing, almost played straight, attuned weepy ‘Black Is The Colour’ the elegiac folk of Christy Moore.
From the diaphanous rolling aria sowing of the opening ‘Harvest Time’ to the ethereal vibraphone flitting prowl of ‘I Just’ the Contraband EP is an experiment both in vulnerability and musicality: a subtle one at that. Davinci is pushed gently to expand her horizons, which can only be a good thing.
KOBZR Magazine -
Review of the EP "Contraband"
by Thomas Müller
June 12, 2019:
The songs on "Contraband" are without exception of an urgency that makes it almost scary. Especially when the instrumentation is sparse, which is not usually the case, as for example on "Black is the Color", the angelic voice and the expressive piano playing come into their own. The slightly brisker title "Harvest Time" and the somewhat calmer "Said I Wanna" are the highlights of "Contraband", where Liz Davinci manages to create atmospheres and moods. All of the titles are very melodic, haunting and simply beautiful. This is definitely not music for "rockers", rather something for dreamers.
Although all the songs live off the melodies, apart from their delicacy and melancholic ease, the music is alien to any profanity. Even the most pleasing and catchiest melodies are bar none of the stereotypes, and although the tone of the EP is mostly introverted without large variation, it captures me every single second. And so does each song, as again and again there is something new to discover in the comforting warm music that envelops one, flatters the ear and swells stress-free from the boxes. Every single composition is a little gem. "Contraband" touches and touches one. A work of emotions, for the heart and soul, which reduces songs to the essence. A work that you should know.
Translation by Liz Davinci.
Original German Text:
Die Lieder auf "Contraband" sind ausnahmslos von einer Eindringlichkeit, dass es fast beängstigend ist. Besonders wenn die Instrumentierung spärlicher ist als im Durchschnitt der CD, wie beispielsweise auf "Black is the Color", kommt die engelsgleiche Stimme und das ausdrucksstarke Klavierspiel, zur Geltung. Auch der etwas flottere Titel "Harvest Time" sowie das erneut ein wenig ruhigere "Said I Wanna" stellen die Höhepunkte auf "Contraband" dar, auf der Liz Davinci es schafft Atmosphäre und Stimmungen zu erzeugen. Alle Titel sind sehr melodiös, eindringlich und einfach nur schön. Definitiv allerdings keine Musik für „Rocker“, eher etwas für Träumer.
Obwohl alle Stücke neben ihrer Filigranität und schwermütigen Leichtigkeit von den Melodien leben, ist der Musik jegliche Profanität fremd. Auch die gefälligsten und eingängigsten Melodiebögen sind bar jeglicher Klischees, und obwohl die Platte fast durchgängig einen wenig variierenden, introvertierten Tonfall hat, fesselt mich jede einzelne Sekunde. Und genau so funktioniert das Lied für Lied, immer wieder gibt es etwas Neues zu entdecken, wohlig warme Musik, die einen einhüllt, das Ohr umschmeichelt und die absolut stressfrei aus den Boxen quillt. Jede einzelne Komposition ist ein kleines Schmuckstück. "Contraband" rührt und berührt einen. Ein Werk der Gefühle, für Herz und Seele, die Songs auf die Essenz reduziert. Ein Werk, das man kennen sollte.
Punk Noir Magazine:
Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer - Liz Davinci
June 6, 2019:
I haven’t been able to watch television for the past 4 years or so, which is exactly when I started writing pop songs…no coincidence.
It seems that TV stimulation somehow interferes with my ability to compose music.
But I used to watch TV – documentaries about the second world war, cooking shows and an occasional trending series.
I don’t miss it but I don’t rule out that I will feel like watching again.
When I became passionate about reading as a child, I began with horror and murder mystery novels. As I entered my teens and twenties I tended towards more literature, poetic or philosophical books (Kerouac, Sartre, Shakespeare, Hume, Tolstoy, Hemingway), with an occasional novel from time to time.
Recently I read books as research and to learn. This started with cookbooks and health and fitness books, followed by mathematical books and now music mixing and mastering how-to books. Basically, I discover that I lack knowledge somewhere and I then research books that will help me reach the answers I am seeking. So far this has always worked.
A small selection of my favourite novels: “Salem’s Lot”, Stephen King; “On The Road”, Jack Kerouac; “Trustee From the Toolroom”, Nevil Shute; and “Tagebuch einer Berghebamme”, Roswitha Gruber (“Memoirs of a Mountain Midwife”).
The same goes for films as for TV – I can’t watch any.
But, I consumed films for years and years. I loved looking for underground films but also thoroughly enjoyed popular Hollywood films.
My favourite film of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life”, by Frank Capra, which I have loved since I was a child and makes me cry tears of happiness every time I watch it. It is a great lesson to not put too much value on money.
A more recent film that had me very impressed is “Inception” by Christopher Nolan.
I enjoyed “Trois couleurs” by Krzysztof Kieslowski and the experimentation of “Memento”, by Christopher Nolan. I have seen most movies by Joel and Ethan Coen and really enjoy them.
I love so much music – I listen to classical, jazz and pop/rock/alternative music on a regular basis. I am a musician – a composer and a performer and more recently a recording non-expert and a mixing non-engineer.
Classically, my absolute favourite pieces of music are Beethoven’s late string quartets, especially Opus 131 in c# minor.
Jazz-wise…Coltrane and Mingus move me over and over. “Olé” by John Coltrane is one of my favourites, as is “Mingus Live at the Bohemia” by Charles Mingus.
“The White Album” by The Beatles is such a wonderful collage that has pleased my ears on so many occasions that I almost cannot listen to it anymore and the chord world of The Doors is blissful.
“Blood Sugar Sex Magic” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers is an album I find brilliant, as is “The Beekeeper” by Tori Amos. I cannot forget to mention “Check Your Head” by The Beastie Boys – another favourite album.
Put me anywhere in Holland and I am happy; Burgundy, France, San Francisco and San Diego, California; New York, NY.
Munich, Germany is my home base and it still feels a little like vacation here, even though I have been here 11 years.
I eat what I need, no more, no less.
I drink black coffee and Spanish white wine, with water in between.
Pawel Kuczynski whom I discovered on Instagram (@pawel_kuczynski1), MC Escher, Mondriaan, Picasso, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Munch, Monet. I love visual expression that moves me. All of these artists do that.
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” William Shakespeare