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
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