MS. REBECCA SHEIR
All right. So our theme this week is Winging It. And the woman we'll meet next is all about winging it through music. We'll find out more on, On The Coast…
MS. REBECCA SHEIR
…in which Bryan Russo brings us up to speed on the latest from coastal Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland. Today, he introduces us to singer-songwriter Angela Sheik, who uses unusual instruments, like the theremin, autoharp and loop pedal to create her sound. Sheik recently visited our studios out in Ocean City to teach Bryan how to make musical loops on the fly.
MS. ANGELA SHEIK
I really am going for a sound that you don't hear very often, so something that's a little bit unique. That's the music I gravitate towards, so…
MR. BRYAN RUSSO
Yeah. What's your background, as far as instruments go? I mean, you know, you say that you just kind of picked up the autoharp. You know, what are you rooted in? Where was your instruction?
I started playing my grandmother's piano. I really wanted to play the "Star Wars" theme song. So I think that was my first step, but I was in the band program, the public school band program. And I played flute. And that was my start.
When did you find the loop pedal that you've now become, not only very well known for, but also you've become a champion of? Tell me the first time that you found one of these loop pedals and then you saw the endless possibilities of what it could do for your sound.
Well, I had a different loop pedal for a long time. And I was at an electronic music festival and thankfully some guy came up to me. He was maybe in his 60's and he said, you should check this pedal out. I think it would really open up the possibilities for you. I am so grateful for that man. I don't know who it was, but he was so right. I mean, I got my Boss RC-50. At the time, this pedal that I have now wasn't out. And, yeah, it was just such a songwriting tool for me. It kept me from playing a crazy amount of chords. You know? The loop pedal gives you a structure, and I think changed my songwriting.
I went to play a track off the record and this track on the record isn't necessarily -- it's a cover song, you know, simply put. This was just nominated by Independent Music Awards. This was nominated for best cover song.
This is a cover of "I Can't Help Falling In Love." So we're going to listen to that and I'm going to follow you back into the isolation booth where we're going to learn how to create your sound.
Okay. We're here in the very small isolation booth here at the Park Recording Studio in Ocean City. I'm here with Angela Sheik. We are going to create a loop. So basically, for people who are just hearing, you know, the wonderments of looping, tell me what we're looking at, what we're using and what, I guess, the first step in creating a loop.
Okay. We are using the queen of boss pedals. This is the Boss RC-300, which is basically three pedals smashed together with some effects, which is going to allow us to take some loops in and out.
So we can record something and we can take it out.
Okay. So let's…
You know, trial and error.
Let's start with -- when you're creating a loop, what do you like to start with first?
Usually rhythm. Rhythm is key and then you can add harmonies and take them out and the rhythm will stay. I'll give you an eight-beat rhythm. Okay. And then we'll see if anything -- and then I'll hand the mic to you and just say, go.
All right. So we just created a loop. It's interesting you…
You never know where it's going to go.
You never know where it's going to go. I find it really interesting with your stuff, is that as more and more people find who you are as an artist, and they're like, wow, Angela Sheik is really a force to be reckoned with and really somebody that I dig as an artist. As you get bigger, do you worry that they're going to have to try and place you in some sort of genre? You know, you look at artists that you're influenced by, Imogen Heap or Regina Spektor. It's hard to kind of place them in a box.
That's already a problem. It's already a problem explaining to somebody in a way that would invite them to come, make them want to come to a show. What genre is the question that they usually ask and I don't have an answer for that. But I really love the people, especially the women icons that are the genre. Imogen Heap is her own genre. Regina Spektor is her own genre. She made anti-folk in my mind, so yeah, that's what I aspire to be.
That was singer-songwriter Angela Sheir speaking with WAMU's Bryan Russo. Sheik has shows coming up in Cheltenham, Md. and Fairfax, Va. And you can read all about them on our website, metroconnection.org.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and International law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.