Given how gorgeous the instrument sounds, and how spectacular it looks onstage and on camera, it’s surprising that there aren’t many harpists in contemporary pop music. Yet there are a few talented artists who demonstrate, incontrovertibly, that it’s possible to apply the grace and beauty of the classical harp to modern rock. Kristy Chmura is one of those rare musicians, and in her native New Jersey, she’s an acclaimed and respected figure. Her steady, seamless integration of classical technique into pop and rock songs has always marked her as an artist to follow. She’s done it in a trio (harp-cello-drums trio Double-Breasted), as a two piece (duel harp outfit Harp and Soul), and now Chmura is doing it on her own.
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Chatham Borough, New Jersey. I started singing in my church when I was in kindergarten, and have not stopped singing or performing music since then. Becoming an artist is my calling and passion, it’s just who I am. Writing songs and performing music is how I communicate my feelings the best; I like to connect with people on an emotional level. Being a performing artist is the outlet I gravitate to.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
There’s no easy answer, just get out there and try. Find your local music venue, and ask the owner if they have any time available when you can perform. Be prepared for hearing no, but don’t give up. Every venue approaches booking talent a little differently so don’t be afraid to ask how you go about getting booked at their venue. Share the bill with other bands whose music style is similar to yours to help grow your fan base. Basically, you have to pound the pavement.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Of course. You just have to let the mistake go in the moment, and keep going. Put on a confident face and act like you meant to do that. After the performance I usually vent about all the mistakes I made or end up crying, but then I just get back to practicing so I can do better next time. I get nervous every time I perform, and sometimes the nerves will get the best of me, but I just have to tell myself, “You got this!” and go for it. I just get so excited to share my music with an audience, sometimes I need to reign in the nerves and just focus on one thing like where I’m placing my fingers. But it’s really all about connecting with your audience and getting lost in the music.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Not yet, but I’m sure it will happen.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Our studio, Lucky Penny Studios, is always improving and getting new gear here’s our website www.luckypennystudios.net
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
All the social media outlets: instagram, YouTube, twitter, facebook. My favorite is instagram and YouTube. Making a music video really works, because it’s an extension of the song, and it gives the listener a more complete representation of what type of artist I am. I am also working with HIP music video Promo, and they’re awesome to work with! Right now we’re promoting my first music video off my upcoming album, “Stained…Glass Heart”. Be sure to check out the video, it’s for the first track on the album called, “Nothing’s Right”.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
I always wanted to play on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. I’m a fan of Jimmy. There are so many artists I admire and would be honored and too nervous to perform with, but, I would love to perform with Sting, I think he might really appreciate the harp. I think we could collaborate and put on a really good concert together 😉 However, if this artist was still alive, I would love to perform with the one and only King of Pop, Michael Jackson. It would be beyond epic to learn about the art of the performance from him because he was a true master performer.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I’m continuing to promote the upcoming official release of my debut solo album, “Stained…Glass Heart”. Hopefully some more music videos will be coming out soon along the way. My album’s release show is January 19, 2018 at Mondo in Summit, NJ. You can follow me on instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. to stay in the loop and find out more about the release show details, as well as other future performances. I’m still writing, and I hope to get back in the studio to start recording more new music.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t making music, I think I would become an arborist or a forester. I love trees. I’m a nature lover. I’ve always been very passionate about our environment. I want to help take care the natural world, and help make the world a better place for all living things. Balancing our green infrastructure with our man made infrastructure is more important than ever right now to help keep natural balance within our planet.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Fans should look forward to the official release of my debut solo album, “Stained…Glass Heart” and more videos and live performances… you’ll just have to follow me to find out what other fun things may come along!