A CREATIVE COLLISON
“As an artist, I want take the audience with me on my crazy ride.”
In rural California, there’s an intersection where country, Americana, jazz and rock music all collide. In the very midst of these crossroads stands singer/songwriter Heather Stewart. With guitar-in-hand, she stands in full command of her inimitable blend of styles. Heather’s latest album, What It Is, is another milestone in her artistic journey. What It Is is the result of her travels; assimilating her poetic lyrics, sultry vocals and melodic muse into one true, creative collision.
Stewart’s mother was an accomplished jazz singer and Heather grew up immersed in music. “From Ella Fitzgerald to Cyndi Lauper … even hymns from church … my mother and I were always singing together – everywhere,” explains Heather. In addition, she was infused by the sounds of the 80s, with the likes Van Halen and The Police emanating from her older sibling’s bedrooms. However, it wasn’t until she heard Bonnie Raitt that she thought it possible to write her own music. Heather notes, “Bonnie Raitt was speaking a language I never knew existed at that time.”
But it wasn’t until a decade later that Heather was ready to step into the spotlight.
Instead, she spent a few years backpacking and boheme-ing around the world until finally landing in Los Angeles. She worked in the entertainment industry, advancing her way up to a TV producer. But music never left her. One pivotal day she had to choose the salary and prestige of being a TV producer or walking away with just a guitar on her back.
That’s when she got the call to sing with the Inda Eaton Band. She toured around the U.S. opening for such acts as; Lee Ann Rimes, Hootie and the Blowfish and Blues Traveler. But in 2008, she knew it was time to tell her own story. Invoking her past experiences as inspiration, Heather wrote her debut album, Life of the Party. The title track Life of the Party was featured on ABC’s romantic dramedy, Men in Trees. Another track on the album, “If I Can’t Take You With Me” won best Americana Song at the 2011 Malibu Music Awards, as well as Top Honors in the 2012 Indie International Songwriting Contest.
In 2011, the death of Heather’s father was the catalyst for writing her latest album. “As it turns out, dying sucks no matter how you frame it. But making music doesn’t. It was a great way to heal and embrace my life.” What It Is, will be released in late 2013. Heather teamed up with A-list songwriters Angie Aparo (Faith Hill), APRA award songwriter Mark Sholtez, writer/producer Brad Swanson and Producer Greg Critchley (Clay Aiken). It also features the amazing talents of musicians Blake Mills (Lucinda Williams, Fiona Apple) Joshua Grange (k.d. lang), Aaron Sterling and Sean Hurley (John Mayer) and Marty Rifkin (Springsteen).
It’s been a long journey, but all these experiences have made Heather the eclectic musician she is today. Indeed, the amazing intersection of jazz, country, Americana and rock could only come from Heather’s imagination-located on those crossroads in California where a creative collision is simply, What It Is.