Caitlyn Vassaur

Caitlyn Vassaur

 Santa Maria, California, USA
BandFolkJazz

Biography

Interview: CAITLYN VASSAUR
By D. N. Patel

Caitlyn Vassaur had arranged to meet me at the local coffee house; nothing fancy or too sophisticated. It was a cold night, finding everyone in their still wrinkled scarves and other winter garb freshly pulled out from the backs of their closets. She casually walks in, dressed for rather warmer weather in a knitted skirt and a snug green wool sweater. She quietly excuses herself to run to her old, beat up forest green Volvo wagon to pull on a pair of lace tights to fend off the ever-cooling winter night.

“There that’s much better…and much warmer,” she says with a smile as she returns with her long curly sun kissed hair, falling all around her ever so lightly freckled alabaster face. She smells of scented candle wax and jasmine tea, but soon a more pungent scent of pine sneaks in, which she quickly addresses. “Oh, sorry about the pine fresh smell. I just bought my car off Craigslist and believe me it’s better than the waxy crayon smell of the previous owner.”

The first thing that pops into mind upon first glance at Caitlyn is ‘total California hippie.’ Yet at closer inspection, she becomes completely unraveled as someone of simple refinement from an era past. After the initial hellos and whatnots, I can already conclude that Caitlyn Vassaur presents herself with a lack of any reservation. What you see really is what you get.

At only 22, Caitlyn has traveled extensively and lived in a variety of places. She was born in Montana, lived for a while in the Midwest, and spent most of her formative years on the central coast of California. She currently splits her time between there and Navasota, Texas. A first impression would be that she seems to always be on the move, yet that is not entirely true, as I would soon discover from our conversation.

Caitlyn didn’t move to the Golden Coast and then decide to pursue music. She’s been singing since she was a very young girl participating in school plays and church choirs, and began playing piano at age seven and guitar at eleven. She even joined a traveling singing group at one point. “It was called The Young Continentals,” she laughs. “Sounds like such a revolutionary group, doesn’t it? I was 13 years old, traveling around the southwestern part of the United States, we were hosted by local families as we played at churches and other community venues.” Later, she also traveled throughout Europe with her high school choir and sang at various venues in Italy, Greece and even Turkey.

Following her dream, Caitlyn’s music has kept her gainfully employed in an economy that’s often hard on musicians. She taught in-studio guitar, piano, and vocal lessons through the Coelho Academy of Music in California during her high school & early college years, and later received grant funding to run a successful after school programs and home school music projects. Not one to shy away from performing, she’s entertained at venues from ocean piers to small California festivals and local restaurants and wineries. Lately she has become a regular performer in historic downtown Bryan, Texas. She has performed with many local folk artists in California and Texas, and most recently performed at the Rock The Republic 2010 music festival.

Caitlyn’s inspiration comes from many aspects of her life, but listening to her music reveals one common theme, the natural world. “I draw inspiration from nature and especially the ocean. The ocean is like love. It is fluid and ever changing, yet strong and powerful. Even when the tide has washed out between the rock formations, you always know it will rush back in and bring new nourishment. Growing up on the central coast [in California] is almost like sound tracking your life – that’s silly I know, but home there is a bit surreal. Although the coast is amazing, land and people, it has been the experience of living in so many different places and tasting the subcultures of America that has most shaped my life and also my music.”

I can easily feel the passion that Caitlyn has by listening to her describe her music, and especially when listening to it. In her song Mt. Rose, you can hear the influence of a Joni Mitchell. The song, Morning Mind, Navasota Noon, soothes with jazz influences from artists like Ella Fitzgerald. And in the song, Love Conquers All, Caitlyn’s honest emotions easily take you back to memories of your own.

In her uniquely simplistic style, Caitlyn paints pictures of beautiful landscapes and wraps them in personal experiences you can easily relate to. And in the end you are left with very kindred feelings for her and her music. I truly enjoyed my time with her, so much so that is seems appropriate to leave you with this quote: “Music is really powerful. It can take over our minds, take over our bodies, it can move our souls and it enriches our lives in so many ways.”