Christina Capatides
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Christina Capatides

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Feature
Singing Along With Swimmy and Friends

By Lisa Broadt
Special to The Hoya
Friday, February 23, 2007
Sporting reflective sunglasses and a news-boy cap, Christina Capatides (COL ’09) rocks out to the her final song in Georgetown’s production of “Swimmy and Other Stories.” As a first time composer and lead musician, she has reason to dance with joy.

Composing the music for “Swimmy” proved to be a daunting task for Capatides, who is more accustomed to scratching pop lyrics than creating musical scores.

“[This] was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Capatides says. “I’m used to writing three-minute songs with lyrics, and these were long pieces with underscores and different instruments. I just learned to take it one song at a time,”

Writing the score for “Swimmy” was just the last entry on a lengthy list of laudable accomplishments for Capatides. She has already released a CD of her own and was the winner of VH1’s folk-song-of-the-year competition. Although Capatides is clearly an accomplished musician, Swimmy represented a new type of challenge for her.

A relative newcomer to the music scene, Capatides’ interest in music began in her junior year of high school after a gruesome soccer injury forced her to search for an activity to help pass the hours.

“I broke 14 bones in my face and I couldn’t play soccer — I needed something else in my life,” Capatides says. “So I learned how to play guitar.”

Capatides’ ability to write music flowed naturally from a childhood love of prose.

“When I was younger I had written poetry and this was like putting poetry to music,” Capatides says.

Even after she recovered, Capatides kept up with her music. She began performing at open-mic nights at local coffee houses and within a year she was visiting nearby studios to record her songs. In the summer of 2006 she laiddown 12 tracks of guitar, vocals and piano, including “Speechless,” a song that is commonly misinterpreted.

“A lot of people think it’s a love song,” Capatides says of “Speechless,” which was written as a tribute to hear ailing grandmother. “But it’s not.”

After slipping and hitting her head, Capatides’ grandmother suffered swelling in her brain which resulted in aphasia, a condition where a patient believes she is speaking coherently while in reality she is speaking gibberish. “She was literally speechless,” Capatides says. “But in a different sense I was speechless too.”

Capatides entered the song into VH1’s folk-song-of-the-year competition. After sweeping through the first few rounds of competition, the song swept a panel of celebrity judges off their feet, and they chose it as song of the year. It soon became the first single from her debut CD, Good Morning Love.

“Speechless” also caught the ear of “Swimmy” director and visiting professor, Natsu Onoda. After hearing Capatides perform the song for an in-class assignment, Onoda asked her to compose the music for her new show.

“I thought she was just marvelous, so I asked her,” Onoda says.

Capatides agreed to take on the challenge and spent most of her winter vacation composing the score. The Summit, N.J. native worked methodically, starting with the most pivotal songs and working her way down to the underscore.

Despite the difficulty, Capatides says the process of learning how to write longer pieces has been worth the trouble.

“This is what I hope to do for a living some day,” Capatides, an English major, says. “My dream is to work with Disney and I would like to write musicals, so this is right up my alley.”

The experience has been rewarding not only for Capatides, but for the countless cast members who enjoy the fruits of Capatides’ labor.

“The experience has been fantastic. She’s exceedingly talented and patient,” Onoda says.

“Christina’s music put the show on another level. It took it from a regular play to a real theater production,” cast member Rei Sairu (COL ’08) adds.

All who work with Capatides believe the sophomore has a bright future ahead of her

“I think she will be successful whatever she does,” Onoda says.

“I see success as a performing artist. She’ll be making the music we listen to,” Sairu adds.

While Onoda and Sairu may have lots to say about Georgetown’s hottest musical talent, but one day she’s sure to leave them speechless.
Lisa Broadt - The Hoya (Feb 23, 2007)
- The Hoya


Thursday, August 31, 2006
Name: Christina Anne Capatides

Age: 19

Residence: Summit

The song: Capatides was a finalist in this year's Song of the Year contest sponsored by VH1's Save the Music Foundation in April. Her song, "Speechless," was entered in the folk category.

Capatides competed against singer-songwriters from all over the world before a panel of judges including accomplished musicians like Norah Jones and Sheila E.

Many people are confused about the meaning of her winning song, Capatides said. It is actually about a grandmother who fell ill.

"Right after visiting her, I came home and wrote the song," she said. "A lot of people think it's a love song, but it's really about my grandmother."

"You got me thinking about losing you," reads a lyric. "You got me scared now; I'm just not sure if I can pick out words anymore. Now, I'm speechless."

The album: Capatides has just released her self-produced debut album, "Good Morning Love," available at Scotti's Record Shops and on her Web site, www.christinacapatides.com.

She describes her music as "modern folk." Her influences range from contemporary acts like Counting Crows and Something Corporate to older singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

"Some of my music is more in the pop spectrum," she said.

Many of the album's 12 songs were recorded with the help of Sanjay Mishra, her professor at Georgetown University, where she will be a sophomore this fall, double-majoring in English and music. Mishra helped her with the sound editing.

"I did most of the work on the album with him," she said.

Capatides will be promoting her album by playing small venues and open mic nights, as well as through the Internet, she said.

She performed at the Dancing Goat in South Orange recently, and plans to play smaller venues in Virginia when she returns to Georgetown in the fall.

Poetry in motion: Capatides considers herself a songwriter first and a singer second.

She has written poetry since she was 8 years old, but didn't decide to present her poems in the form of song until a soccer accident while she was a student at Newark Academy in Livingston prevented her from playing sports.

"I wrote poetry when I was younger, and I always played the piano," she said. "After the accident, I really got serious about music."

While playing soccer, Capatides was head-butted and broke several bones in her face. She said the accident gave her both the spare time to learn the guitar and also gave her new inspiration for her poetry.

"In a day, I went from what society views attractive to what society views as a monster," said Capatides, who has since recovered after several reconstructive surgeries. "It definitely affected my music."

Capatides has won several awards for her poetry. The International Society of Poetry named her Young Poet of the Year in both 2003 and 2004, she said.

A singer with a message: Capatides said she wants her music to be social commentary. She believes current pop songs such as Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" and Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back" are shallow and inappropriate.

"(Children) are running around singing these songs, and that's not right," she said.

Family: Mother, Joanne

-- Mike Karsnak

- The Star Ledger


Discography

Album: Good Morning Love
Single: Speechless

My album is available on Cdbaby at http://cdbaby.com/cd/capatides, MusicShare at http://musicishere.com/artists/Christina_Capatides/Good_Morning_Love, Bitmunk, Nexhit, Itunes, and Tradebit. Other tracks can be heard on idolunderground.com. Still others can be heard on my website: christinacapatides.com.

Photos

Bio

My biggest influences are: Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkle, and Andrew McMahon (of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin). My lyrics set me apart from other bands. They are deep enough to provide a sort of social commentary for adults. Additionally, they are not explicit. Thus, my music is suitable for all ages. In my opinion, that sets my music apart, as well.