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Band Folk Pop


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The best kept secret in music


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"Grid-Songs" 2004 (5 song cd)
"Living on 2 Coasts" (9 song cd) 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Chiemi was born on Halloween in 1970 in Honolulu, Hawaii. A reigning Miss Teen of Hawaii, she danced and sang from a young age and had an acapela group in graduate school. Chiemi's influences are Suzanne Vega, Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin and Annie Lenox.

Chiemi’s cd title is a song she says she wrote “long ago” in 1989. At the time, Chiemi had bought her first guitar and was learning how to play. She was also an undergraduate on the East coast homesick during Winter for the warmth of Hawaii. Chiemi had set the song aside for a while. In 2003 she found it again, revamped and recorded it on her 2003 cd, “Grid-Songs” (named for a nickname Ing-Grid had in law school).

When deciding which songs to record on her new album, Chiemi asked for feedback from others she plays with. The song, in particular, got a lot of comment. Upon revamping the song again, Chiemi determined that it encompassed much more than what she first thought she had been writing about in 1989 –in fact her song/style such that she should title her album with it. “Although I live here now, my song imagery comes from where I am from. It makes sense –even if situations and events I write about may happen here, my vocabulary that I draw from originated from those first 17 years of sounds and sights.”

Two friends of Chiemi, DeepC and Sean Dennehy, recorded “Living On 2 Coasts” with her. According to Chiemi, the three performed and tried out playing together at open mics. The trio then started playing at other venues, including Chiemi’s 2004 residency at Dalias, a Brookline wine bistro. “It was awesome to record with Sean and DeepC, because they really ‘got’ my songs. During the recording process, their input on sounds, feel, vibe, etc., was invaluable,” says Chiemi.

On Muse and Music

Who and/or what inspires Chiemi to write? She describes it:

“Some experience (or person or conversation etc.) will strike me and I will think--ahhh--- here it is, the last verse (or verses) to that chorus I wrote a year ago and those sequences I jotted down two years ago. Look--a whole song! It depends. Sometimes the music is first or part of it, then the words or vice versa or a mix of the two. Sometimes an experience is so compelling that I write a whole song at once.

I think music comes from --is born of --people's souls. That is, if it is in you, you just have to let it out. That is what happens when I compose. There are stories, humorous or poignant phrases, tunes, note or chord sequences, etc. running about in my psyche and
also impressions, ideas, etc. I have kept a journal since I was 12 years old and written these things down. These are all, in a sense, puzzle pieces. Sometimes I jot down music. Sometimes just a turn of phrase. Sometimes I have what I think is a chorus for a song, complete with music, but no verses. Or vice versa. Then, I may experience something that connects the dots, so to speak.”

When interviewed by the BC newspaper The Heights, last year, Chiemi was asked for five words to describe her music. They were: Melodic, Soulful, Whimsical, Deep and Progressive Folk. Melodic because the tune (as opposed to the layers in the music) is what often comes through foremost. Soulful and Whimsical are related to (perhaps a product of) Chiemi’s writing process. Deep is because since she reflects on the "pieces" over time. She says she likes to find new texture or levels to or in the "pieces" when she works them into a whole. Progressive Folk is because, while she
thinks she is in the folk category, she is modern--i.e. not along the lines
of any one tradition, whether American, Irish ballad, etc.

What Chiemi loves about composing is

“That process of coming to a point where the song "puzzle" comes together--the epiphany--that moment of "aha!" I love that it happens to you--like each song's got it's own "geist" (German word for ghost) or spirit that makes itself known through the composer. It is humbling. I feel as if I am but a conduit for
something much bigger than me. I love music for that reason--it is bigger than
us --bigger than any one person and best of all, can transcend time.

The key part for me, is writing these "pieces" down. When I write things down,
it is like magic--it causes me to remember them. I also remember when I wrote
the "piece" down so I can find and maybe meld or edit it for what I want to use
it for.”

Music in the World

“Music is the world we all live in synthesized through the souls of those
individuals who are composers. That newly original music then gets sent forth
back into the world when performed to be experienced and maybe even part of a
new process for new music. I believe music is organic for this reason --it is
produced by and of people--human beings who grow and live and transform
themselves. A musical piece is itself a transformation of the outside world
seen through a person's inner world, which is always in process of being shaped
by hi