Luciar
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Luciar

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Pop Adult Contemporary

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"Luciar Tickles the Ivories with Song"

Musical artists who can actually inspire you while they are performing don’t come along every day. We found Luciar to be not only an incredible songwriter, but an engaging performer as well. Gigging solo with her keyboard, she describes her evolution as an artist.

Tell us about your project. When did you start writing your music?

Music is one of those things that sort of kicks me upside the head even if I try ignoring it. I truly feel that each person is meant to do something with their lives, and music is definitely my path. I’ve been writing songs since I was 6. Granted, they weren’t very good songs, but I just knew I had to write them. There’s music in my head, and it wants out.

I perform as Luciar. It’s a one-woman show, where I bang on the piano, sing and occasionally play ukulele.

Your name is Lucy but you call yourself Luciar. What does the name symbolize? Should we call you Luciar when speaking with you casually?

My name Lucy simply means light. I was born Lucy Clara DeJesus, which means Clear Light of Jesus. There were two things I wanted to avoid: a hispanic crowd expecting me to do merengue (I’m Dominican & Puerto Rican); a bunch of religious zealots expecting me to perform devout songs of faith. Those were two expectations that were going to leave people extremely disappointed—maybe even angry, depending on who’s invited. I wanted a name that wasn’t far from Lucy, because I love Lucy. So I chose a one-namer. Madonna did it. Cher did it.

People call me Lucy and Luciar interchangeably. Even my mother, which makes me giggle. As long as the first syllable starts with “luce” you got my attention. Yes, even calling out “Lucifer” will make me turn around. Although, I do prefer the spelling “LucyFur.”

Who are your musical influences?

This is always a hard question to answer. It depends on the decade, on the month, on the time of day. There is so much music that moves me. Mozart with his playful, melodic sonatas and Trent Reznor with his cathartic noise that always rubs me the right way. There’s Billie Holiday, who knew how to sing her pain away; and Queen with their incredibly orchestrated rock. I cannot ever forget Tori Amos, who got me singing again after I hid my voice, thinking it just wasn’t good enough to share. For that, I owe her my all.

How and when did you learn how to play piano? Do you play any other instruments?

I was about 8 years-old when my father gave me a $30 cash gift. My school was offering piano lessons for $10; those were my first 3 lessons ever. Then I took lessons sporadically from ages 12-17. My most useful and reliable teacher has been my ear. The piano teachers taught me technique, and encouraged that I continue developing my ear.

The only other instrument I’ve stuck with is the ukulele. The others were passersby. I’ve dabbled with guitar, bass and flute. I’m a closet drummer; although not very good, it ALWAYS feels good to bang on things.

Talk to us about the writing process for your songs. How are your ideas born?

My musical ideas are born by simply listening and paying attention. They come in differentforms: in dreams, in noisy sounds of nature, or it’ll just loop continuously in my head while I’m doing something else, until I notice. I truly believe the universe is constantly feeding us creativity, just as we feed it in return when we create. It’s our job to pay attention and set the plans in motion.

What was your most memorable gig and why?

Kenny’s Castaways in 1999. I had a band then, and bellydanced on stage. It was crazy how much people loved to bellydance with me! At the end of each show, I’d have a bunch of people you’d never expect moving their hips and arms in all sorts of ways. Before doing an encore, the crowd began to scream “more fuckin’music!” to a beat. It was an intoxicating and high feeling! Music does that to people!

Do you ever play with a full band? If so, talk to us more about that experience?

Whoops, I clued you in to this answer. Yes! I had a band over 10 years ago. It was a lot of fun. The bass player and drummer were exceptional jazz majors from my college. We made beautiful music together. Since they all lived on Long Island, I would go out to them 3 times a week from NYC on the Long Island Rail Road. I would get home at 2 am, and have to be up at 6:30 am the next day to go to my day job. It was a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, but I wouldn’t change the experience for the world!

What is your ultimate goal for your project?

I have to be shameless when I say this, but the ultimate goal is to play for the masses. Tour the world playing music everywhere I go. Oh, and sex, drugs & rock n’ roll, of course!

There are 3 major goals I have that will mark my success: work with Trent Reznor; sing a track on a Damon Albarn album; and, be on the cover of a music magazine. After that, I can die a very, very happy, little lady.

What do you have in the works for 2011?

I’m working on my EP called - New York Planet


"Rules of the Game"

Whatever else you might say about Luciar, she's not afraid to take chances. - By Jeff Bercovici, Street Beats


"Rules of the Game"

Whatever else you might say about Luciar, she's not afraid to take chances. - By Jeff Bercovici, Street Beats


"Rules of the Game"

RULES OF THE GAME not only showcases the great playing of the band, but it also covers the singer's amazing vocal abilities to perfection. Seek out Luciar if you like female fronted rock with the rare combination of both substance and style. - 316 Productions


"Skin"

Luciar’s truthful and intimate Skin is worth every second. Her beautiful voice transcends the talent of many of the biggest female figures in music today. Easy to relate with and sophisticated, her voice and skills on the piano create a mood and show the incredible strength behind the woman we deem Luciar. - Just Press Play


"Skin"

Doing the amusement park metaphor to death, let me say that if Luciar's lyrics suggest her life resembles a rollercoaster, her voice and music are pure cotton candy: sweet, colorful and melt-in-your-mouth satisfying. - Indie-Music.com


"Scintillatingly Sultry!"

ELWOOD EMISSION
ODE TO THE EGO
A FEW LITTLE NOTES

NYC’s Elwood Emission is Lucy Kalantari’s one-woman electronic project jam-packed with soul-bearing crooning to a harsh industrial rock soundtrack. The callous vocal and disorted ukuleles that start off “The Invitation”, develop an unsettling sensation furthered by the cross between Alanis Morrisette and Shiny Toy Guns influenced vocals and angst-ridden subject matter (“Despicable”) displayed. ODE TO THE EGO also throws in snippets of Tori Amos-like catharsis (“Divine”) into the mix, giving this six-track sojourn into Kalantari’s darker side a fair share of lush yet eerie attributes that ambitiously push tracks like the scintillatingly sultry “Run” from the shadowy recesses to the spotlight. www.afewlittlenotes.com -Mike SOS - Mike SOS - 3:16 Productions


"Ode to the Ego"

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Lucy Kalantari asking me if I'd give a listen to her alter ego's new EP. The name of the band is Elwood Emission (Like Elle Woods?)

and the EP is called ode to the ego. If I read correctly it seems that Lucy has spent a lot of time in the "Adult Contemporary Scene" before deciding that she did not want to make elevator music. Enter Elwood Emission. I wasn't sure what to expect when I read the genre is industrial. That can be good, I've heard Iggy Pop referred to as industrial. It can also be bad, I've heard a lot of crap that is supposed to be deep also called industrial.

Track 1: - The Invitation - was a huge disappointment. The constant strumming of the ukulele got on my nerves. That coupled with the Yoko Ono like howling really irritated me. I came very close to skipping the album.

I am glad I didn't.

Track 2: - Other - has a really cool groove. I dig it and find myself keeping time to the synth / guitar. Her voice sounds much better on this track. There is even a nice Jazz inspired keyboard bit (which is surprising I like, but I do). The song keeps my attention and makes me smile. I'm reminded of Lena Lovich.

Track 3: - Run - The new wave inspired synthesizer continues. The music is hypnotic and again her voice sounds good. The little piano runs remind me of The Bad Plus. (Check out their album Give for a really cool version of Iron Man - heavy metal Jazz)

Track 4: - Despicable - The best song on the EP. The New Wave/Jazz vibe keeps my attention as she uses her very good voice to totally rip some ex-boyfriend a new one. We learn that he is a waste of her time and in one word Despicable. Well done Elwood.

Track 5: - Stillness - This is a Jazz piece. I really like the Piano and the drone she uses to create tension. I'm again surprised at how much I enjoy this song.

Track 6: - Divine - I like the Piano and the strings. This is a good, heavy, song - it is slow and grinding. Like many of her songs it is quite hypnotic. I'm not sure what she is singing, but I enjoy the song.

Bottom line: Track 1 sucks. The rest are good. She jams in the same way George Benson jams - its not rock and roll, but it does have soul. I would like to see her live. Grouch rating: 3 and 1/2 scowls out of 5 - well done! A worthy addition to any collection. - The Grouchy Gaijin Music Reviews & Humor


Discography

Feeling A Little Emo, TBA, 2012
Only Love, GoGirlsMusicFest (compilation), 2011
Skin, 2006
Pre-lude to Skin, 2005
Rules of the Game, 2000

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Bio

Luciar is an edgy singer/songwriter, with witty, passionate lyrics and memorable melodies. She'll entertain you on the piano, or her tiny ukulele. Her voice has been likened to the jazzy tones of Ella Fitzgerald and the cooing sounds of Tori Amos.

Luciar's debut album "Rules of the Game," released in 2000 was warmly received and she soon found herself opening for Seal at Jones Beach Amphitheater backed by a band trio of drums, bass and guitars. "Rules of the Game" showcased her pop-rock and world music sensibilities. After some light touring, and notable accolades, (from Billboard Songwriting Contest and American Songwriting Contest, to name a few), she began her path as a solo artist.

In May 2006, she released "Skin," telling a story of a relationship lost and the journey to healing. "Skin" is a sparse arrangement of piano and voice, with occasional bouts of drums & bass. With this album, Luciar rediscovered her love for production and engineering. She setup her studio at home, recorded vocals and mixed the entire album.

2011 has been a busy year for Luciar, performing over 20 dates in more than 6 cities including Los Angeles, Austin and Philadelphia. She is gearing up to release her 3rd album, "Feeling A Little Emo," and is planning a tour for the Spring of 2012. Her single, "Only Love" was released on the GoGirlsMusicFest 2011 CD.

Luciar is a musical moodster, you're never quite sure what she's going to do next...it makes you want to stick around to find out.