Posted on 03 March 2010.
Graham Knox is one of many of the great performers performing tonight at the 1Love1heart Haiti Benefit & Concerts. Get up close & personal with Graham before the show tonight with this exclusive interview.
Jake: So who is Graham Knox, what does she like and dislike, what does she do, who does she want to be?
Graham: Graham Knox is a dreamer and an eternal optimist. Which basically makes me delusional to some degree? But hey, that’s what brings new ideas into the world… non-reality. Ok, so I’m off topic… I like people, people that make me happy, and experiences that help me grow; and this has been a hell of a year for growth. I strive to make my dreams real, and I really hope that it can inspire others to do the same. I don’t believe in anything being unattainable, especially in America; we have access to so many resources and opportunities at our fingertips at every moment of everyday. There’s no excuse for anyone not to leave this world a better place than they found it.
Jake: Growing up and now, who were/are your musical influences?
Graham: Growing up, we had limited access to TV, like literally, it was locked. Not only was the TV locked, but the outlet where you plug it in was locked as well. But we were allowed to watch Disney, so I know everything from Mary Poppins (major influence) to Mulan by heart, and those were some GREAT songs. I mean that with every inch of my being. Lots of old blues played in the house too, like the Blind Boys of Alabama, John Lee Hooker… And Nat King Cole was ALWAYS on, I knew several jazz standards by the age of 7; ‘L.O.V.E.’ by Nat King Cole was my favorite song for about 5 years of my childhood, until Brandy and Monica came into my life in elementary school by way of my peers. Hahaha…And of course old southern baptist church music. Now I listen to everything, and pretty much appreciate every type of music for what it contributes to the art. On repeat right now? Sorry, have to say my own stuff…
Jake: How did you like life in Nashville, TN and how did it influence what type of music you write and sing?
Graham: I don’t think I ever realized just how much it influenced my own personal music until I really got in touch with myself and was honest about what made me feel good when I sang it. I’m southern, I have a twang, and I like it. I hope you do too.
Jake: How did you stumble into architectural design, was it more like a safety net? (Pending her response) And a master degree at 22!? Wow great for you!
Graham: It was definitely a safety net, but don’t get me wrong, I actually love architecture. But I came from a very academic family, so there were some expectations there. When I was in high school, I ultimately knew what I wanted to do, but figured, eh, architecture: it’s artistic and I could actually have a career. So, I went for it. Its funny though, as soon as I graduated, I ended up in LA working with some major record execs who pretty much made it seem like their signing me was in the bag; I didn’t think I’d be working as an architect at all. But, I guess VH1 needed something for their Graham Knox Behind the Music special. (Let’s start a campaign for that to happen, like now…) It definitely hasn’t been easy, worked as an architect in Chicago, as well as here in Atlanta, not sleeping, doing music by night, meeting some of the sheistiest folks you could imagine…before getting laid off and thinking, you know what, I’m going to do what makes me happy, and just make it work. Period. So, here I am, working with great musicians, like Douglas Whatley of the Whatleys (keys) and John Tyler (bass), who have truly become like family. But I’m still working as an architect part time, helping a firm get off the ground. DL Fields Consultants: for all of your architectural needs.
Jake: How would you describe your sound?
Graham: A fireplace, swaddled in cotton. Kidding, but someone did describe my voice that way… Haha. A little blues, a little pop, a little folk, a little southern, a little rock, and a whole lotta Graham.
Jake: A little birdie told me that use a live band! Nowadays people don’t do that, how do you feel this sets you apart from than the rest?
Graham: I don’t really think about how I’ll be compared to anyone else. I just want to present an honest look into who Graham Knox is as an artist, and I never really imagined my music being presented any other way. This music should make you want to sit on the front porch with your shoes off, call a community meeting, eat ice cream, think about life, and smile… through the good and the bad. How could you make someone feel that way with a track?
Jake: Have you ever feared taking on the stage or writing projects from other artists?
Graham: In terms of performing, I wouldn’t say fear, more so just making sure everything is presented honestly and is JUST the way I’ve imagined it in my head. I’m a bit obsessive compulsive, and very much a perfectionist. I’ve never feared writing for anyone, it’s fun to take on different characters, it’s like transforming, being an actress.
Jake: Are there any people you would like to work with that you haven’t yet?
Graham: I’d love to work with Sufjan Stevens, John Legend, Jack White, Lenny Kravitz, Bonnie Raitt, Cee-Lo and Sesame Street.
Jake: Are you currently working on an album of your own?
Graham: I am indeed. Lots of things in development, but I can’t really speak on those presently.
Jake: Have you written for anyone and felt like you wanted to be the one singing it instead of them?
Graham: No, like I said, when I write for other people, I take on a character. I become someone outside of myself; like Lamar Odom kicking himself for getting married so quickly, or Britney Spears throwing in the towel and deciding she’s just gonna be with women from here on out… I concoct stories in my head. But my own music is very personal.
Jake: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Graham: I am working on a really exciting collaboration with Jake’s Ice Cream, an Atlanta owned business who is expanding it’s brand into music and the arts. We will be doing lots of exciting things together, with me being the featured artist for the company. More on that later… but for now, you should know that I’ll be celebrating my web launch at Jake’s, the Irvin Street location, on March 27th with a live show… And lots more surprises. As far as writing goes, I just got on board with Don Vito’s new writing contingent, The King Pen, as a writer, and work with wonderfully talented people everyday. So you should hear lots of hits coming out of Atlanta this year… as if you don’t already, let’s just say lots more.
Jake: How do you feel about the One Love One Heart Organization’s mission and how does it coexist with your own humanitarian doings?
Graham: I think it’s absolutely amazing, and I was so glad that I was able to participate. This was actually going to be the web launch party date, but the opportunity to help the situation in Haiti was something I couldn’t turn down. The exciting thing about the collaboration with Jake’s is that I’ll be actively helping other artists like myself get off the ground. Jake has created a wonderful atmosphere for creativity and community building, and we’ll be helping to fill a niche in Atlanta for artists that fall outside of the urban genre of music that is so prevalent here. Like I said, not too many details yet, but its very exciting.
1LOVE1HEART TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR $10 UNTIL 4PM TODAY AT http://www.ticketalternative.com/Events/10607.aspx. ADMISSION AT THE DOOR IS $20