Amy Bleu
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Amy Bleu

Band Folk Acoustic


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"Sore Thumb (08/07/2003)"

Portland's Amy Bleu already stands out like a sore thumb in the Spokane music scene. 1) She's young. 2) She's a she. That alone pretty much makes Bleu something of a unique act, even if her agenda is to unleash hours of Fiona Apple covers on unsuspecting audiences (which she is not).
Despite her seeming marketability, the artist admits one small logistical problem remains in keeping her - and frankly, young female performers in general - here in Spokane. "I wouldn't mind staying in this town, but unfortunately there just aren't enough coffeehouses."
While Tryst, The Shop, The Rocket Market and Bakeries, The Mercury and a handfull of other coffeehouses offer somewhat regular shots of local and regional artists, anyone claiming there is a vibrant coffeehouse scene - let alone one that includes young female songwriters - is sorely mistaken. Considering that there is a near infinite supply of testosterone-friendly (which is a contradiction of sorts) venues, it's no wonder why places like Portland, Seattle, and even Missoula, tend to offer more aspiring young female musicians.
But while she's here, Bleu plans to show off the Generation X/Y, loud/soft, angry/sad music equation most often known as anti-folk - which is often just as much acoustic '90s-inspired punk as anything folk.
"It's not bluegrass or Jewel," says Bleu. "It is emotional and personal - sometimes soft and sad, sometimes loud and angry." Which should be music to the ears to many a local all-ager, for which themes of sadness, anger, general depression and rage seem to be...well, all the rage. Bleu, however, is quick to add that despite the dark and grayish themes, her set isn't completely hopeless. "I try to add some playful and happy stuff for good measure." 9 PM. All Ages. - The Local Planet, Spokane, WA

"Rising Star (12/01/03)"

Amy Bleu - folk-guitarist, vocalist and a native of Spokane - recently returned to her hometown for a holiday break from entertaining at clubs, pubs, coffeehouses and a variety of entertainment venues around the Pacific Northwest.
A break from touring, yes. But the young woman is devoting her "vacation" time to crafting songs for a new CD, while promoting her debut album, Renegade Angel. Angel is available in Spokane at 4,000 Holes and Borders Books and Music where, incidentally, she's booked for a gig on Dec. 6 at 7 PM. Or, you can catch up with her at The Spike on Dec. 17 for a performance scheduled at 7:30 PM.
The light and lively 22-year-old entertainer, who laughs easily in comfortable conversation - evidenced throughout her interview at Stonewall News - says all of her songs are self-written. She feels their "message and modern energy appeal to people in my age group, but have a folk sensibility that transcends any differences in age."
Her fan base should broaden if Wayne Larson, her agent, has a say.
"I'm trying to create opportunities for people like Amy, so they'll stick around here and share their talents." Larson says he spotted Bleu in a debut performing arts series at the Met and, "Once I noticed her, I knew she fit into my plans for artistic promotions in and around the Pacific Northwest."
When she puts her music sheets aside, the bisexual artist's creativity often turns to the realm of surrealistic painting, and a selection of her acrylics of women will be displayed at Borders this month. - Stonewall News Northwest, Spokane, WA

"Go! 12/09/2004"

When asked where she's from, Bleu's answers may vary. Her family is from Spokane, where she was born. Her father was in the Navy, so the family relocated frequently - everywhere from Biloxi, Miss., to London. With all this exposure to different cultures, Bleu began writing songs when she was 17. In 2001, she began playing at open mic venues in Portland. After two years of honing her skills, she moved back to Spokane and immediately gained attention. Her success there led to the November 2003 release of her debut album, "Renegade Angel", inspired by her longstanding fascination with angels who can't fly because of the hardships and sorrow they've experienced. Her guitar playing mixes odd chord combinations and punk rhythms with traditional folk and blues progressions. - Wenatchee World, Wenatchee, WA

"Renegade Angel (9/22/04)"

Amy Bleu has come a long way since her open mic days in Portland, Ore. A few years ago, she was just another face in the vast Northwest folk scene. Now the 23-year-old Bleu is performing her unique style of acoustic rock in a variety of venues, her put out her first CD and is garnering media attention and fantastic reviews wherever she goes. And best of all, she has relocated to Denver and has joined the ranks of the city's up-and-coming solo artists.

Driven by her honest lyrics, Bleu's songs speak from the darkest and brightest spots of the human heart. She describes her style as "anti-folk folk" - it's not quite punk enough for anti-folk, and not soft enough for traditional bluegrass. She has drawn inspiration from both.
In November 2003, Bleu released her first debut album, Renegade Angel, on her own label, Sad Girl's Records. The album is completely acoustic, baring the bones of the songs. It is a tribute to Bleu's longstanding fascination with angels who can't fly because of the hardships and sorrows they've experienced. It is also a virtual diary, documenting her personal hardships in relationships and emotional, as well as musical, growth. The album has been well-received by her fans, has received critical acclaim, and is currently being sold in select stores, including Wax Trax in Denver, as well as at her shows and on her website.
Out Front Colorado had the pleasure of talking to Amy recently about her life and her newfound success.
Out Front Colorado: How old were you when you first became interested in a musical career and what got you started?
Amy Bleu: I think I've always been interested in a musical career ever since I was a little kid, but as far as trying to seriously pursue it, I was 19 and I was writing songs with no instrumentation.
My grandma said, "You need an instrument. What kind do you want?" And I said, "Well, I either want to play the piano or the guitar." And she said, "Let's get you a guitar, because the piano would be a lot harder to lug around." It was kind of weird because I just basically got it as a gift, but I picked it up and it just felt like that's what I was supposed to be doing. I actually started singing songs at a very early age. I was about 18 months old when I sang my first little song, so I've been making up songs and singing for a long time.
OFC: How did you begin writing your own songs? What process do you use to write your songs?
AB: I was about 17 when I started writing songs. I always had written poetry when I was in my early teens, and when I got to be about 17, that's when I started just kind of hearing the words of things I was writing with tunes and melodies. So they sort of just came to me and that's how it still works for me. They just sort of haunt me. They just come to me.
OFC: What brought you to Denver?
AB: I just kind of wanted a change of scenery. And I honestly didn't really know much about Denver, but I just wanted something new and I just chose it at random.
OFC: What do you think about the local music scene here? How does it compare to the Northwest?
AB: I like it a lot. I think it's really diverse - just the different artists and the different venues. In the Northwest, every time I've been in a showcase or opened for someone or had someone open for me, it's been other singer-songwriters. Here I've opened for cover bands and rap artists. It's nice to have that diversity and have it be so ecletic.
OFC: And once you got here, how did you go about making yourself known so that you could get these various gigs?
AB: I just started to research the scene by looking in different papers and seeing where people were playing and just going out and making contacts and getting gigs, just putting myself everywhere I could.
OFC: You describe yourself as a "bi-dyke". What does that mean to you and how does that fit in with any of your music?
AB: I'm a really femme-looking kind of girl, but I feel really butch on the inside. And as far as my music, I think it comes out a lot in that because I write a lot of songs about my feelings about women and my relationships with them. It's one of my favorite topics to write about.
OFC: Talk a little about your new CD, Renegade Angel. Are there any stories you would like to share?
AB: The album, the songs on it, they all span about five years. It's something that I had been trying to get together for quite some time. But I think there's a common theme in a lot of them, just about seeing myself and different people as sort of like wounded angels who would be able to fly, but because of hardships in their life, they're just earthbound. I think a lot of it has to do with disappointments in relationships and the personal growth I've made because of them.
OFC: What do your parents think about your success?
AB: They're really happy about it. They're really cute. They save every press article that I've ever been in and show them to they're friends and they're really excited about it.
OFC: And are your - Out Front Colorado, Denver, CO

"Go! (10/11/2007)"

Spokane native Amy Bleu's earnest lyrics and raw, acoustic, folk-rock sound tie together tracks straight from the singer's soul. Armed with guitar and ukulele, she fires off original songs and covers with a voice like Grace Slick unaccompanied by psychedelics.

A newlywed, vegetarian and advocate for homeless women, Bleu has staked her claim on the anti-folk industry of the Pacific Northwest with her own recording label, Bad Girl's Records. Currently living in Portland, Ore., she hopes to expand her performance radius through the Midwest, the South, and all the way to the East Coast.

On Saturday, catch her onstage at the Cascade Coffeehouse right after a set by Wenatchee native Dylan Morrison. Bleu filled out an e-mail questionnaire for Go! Magazine to give readers a taste of what she's dishing out this weekend.

Go! Magazine: Why do you play music?

Amy Bleu: Depending on my mood, playing music can be a form of therapy, a mood stabilizer, a pick-me-up, a relaxation tool, or a way to express something difficult. I feel like it is something I have to do and that I'd be very unhappy without it.

Go!: Being a musician is cool because ...

Bleu: ... You don't have to wear a suit and you can sleep in every day.

Go!: What's your favorite venue to play in North Central Washington?

Bleu: I really love the Community Coffeehouse in Leavenworth, but I'm hoping that the Cascade Coffeehouse will take the cake!

Go!: What beverage goes best with your music?

Bleu: Bourbon, preferably with some cola and ice.

Go!: Your music is a book. What's the title?

Bleu: "Technicolor Monsters/Angels." It's a pop-up book.

Go!: Name three records that changed your life.

Bleu: This is really nerdy, but Aerosmith's "Get a Grip" completely changed my life. It turned me away from pop music when I was a young teenager and turned me into a rocker. "Strange Angels," by Kristin Hersh, is what I was listening to when I was learning guitar, so it is totally responsible for my sound. I discovered Jenny Lewis' album, "Rabbit Fur Coat" (with the Watson Twins) at a time when I was thinking I might not be able to get into albums with the same zeal that I had when I was younger. ... It completely proved me wrong!

Go!: A heckler is booing at one of your performances. What's your response?

Bleu: This happened once when I was in a band for a week and we played at a county fair just outside of Spokane. I was wearing a blond wig and the kind of punky dress you'd buy at Hot Topic, and boots with spikes sticking out of the toes. We played rock covers. The audience was so country that they just hated us. They booed us and put hay bales in front of the stage while we were playing. I kicked the hay bales off and swore at the audience, and it ended up earning us some fans, mostly the younger audience members. They still thought I was a drag queen, though.

Go!: Describe a typical practice session.

Bleu: It's usually just me, strumming my guitar or my uke, rotating originals and covers I need to polish, probably irritating the neighbors by playing that Counting Crows song for the 300th time! Sometimes my husband will practice with me on his bass, and then it's more fun.

Go!: Describe your music in a haiku.

Bleu: This music has not
been tested and/or approved
for mass consumption. - Go! Magazine in the Wenatchee World, Wenatchee, WA

"Holding Her Own (5/18/2007)"

Holding Her Own
There’s a unique phenomenon that happens in folk music. Singing your autobiographical songs is endlessly amusing until that pivotal moment when you finally start telling other people’s stories. This measure of
progress is what singer/songwriter Amy Bleu sees as the first big step toward personal and professional growth.
“It’s the responsibility of every folk artist to carry on the story of others that came before them. I usually write about my own stories, so it’s really nice to sing about other
people!� remarks Bleu via phone.
A Spokane, Wash., transplant, Bleu first came to Portland chasing a relationship and an emerging Portland music scene. One endeavor worked, the other didn’t.
Still in Portland three years later, Bleu is no longer chasing anything but living it. The 26-year-old bisexual musician has grown up musically since her debut album,
Renegade Angel. Her latest disc, Snake Charmer, examines her own relationships and those around her. Showing a more mature side to her songwriting, Bleu can “already see lyrics growing� as she continues to traverse the path every musician before her has traveled—that of change.
“This one [album] is a reckoning of sorts. It’s not so much about me as it is about what others are doing,�
Bleu says. “This is the first one that I’m really proud of.�
And speaking of proud, Bleu’s grandmother is her best promoter.
Now big enough to hold her own and play exciting venues like Las Vegas’ House of Blues, she will be at Roots Organic Tavern 7 p.m. May 25 to show that she’s not outgrowing her audience and will still make us proud. Continuing to tell our stories, share her heart and keep moving up, Bleu has all the potential of spring to flourish.
—West Duncan - Just Out, Portland, OR


Geek Love (2009)
Snake Charmer (2007)
Renegade Angel (2004)



Based in Portland, Amy Bleu is performing at bars, coffee shops and festivals across the Northwest and will be touring to Europe for the first time this summer. She has also performed in bookstores, at the zoo, at a bank, at an amusement, and at the OR Convention Center. She has entertained at more illustrious venues such as the House of Blues in Las Vegas and The Met in Spokane, WA, her hometown. She is comfortable playing almost anywhere.