What’s your favorite non-music activity?
Our favorite non-music activity is to spend as much quality time together as a couple. Our leader(s), Erich Cawalla & Jenifer Kinder, have been together for 9 years and got married on stage this past June in front of 1,000 surprised fans. The show was an annual performance we do in our hometown of Shillington, PA (just outside Reading where we are proud to say is the home of the Berks Jazz Fest!). We performed our first set, and then during intermission, had our friend come up and marry us on stage!
What would be the most important piece of advice you’d impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
As cliche as it is, NEVER GIVE UP...there are going to be many downs and also many ups, but it is the faith in yourself and what you know you can do that will see you through all of the tough times. For very few artists, making it in the music business is a sprint in which they get discovered quickly. For every other artist, it is indeed a marathon and not a sprint with many bumps in the road. You must create a loyal fan base that will come see your shows on a regular basis, will buy your music, and follow everything else about you that will get you where you want to go. You also need to keep practicing as much as possible.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
This is a tough one to answer but probably most challening is finding a unique inspiration from song to song that is going to touch our listeners. We like to collaborate as much as possible with our producer Bennie Sims (who has written numerous songs for Pieces of a Dream and tours with the Three Degrees). An open-ended studio session works for us and allows free expression from everybody involved in a project. Second on the list is financing the album itself, and then financing the advertising and marketing.
Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?
Kenny Rankin, Hank Crawford, Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey, The Beatles, David Sanborn, Nick Colionne, Joss Stone, Pieces of a Dream.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
Very simply, to be able to make a living in the music business. Most musicians do not get a chance to do that, and every morning we wake up, we know that it is a blessing and we are extremely thankful.
What are some of the most important goals you have for yourself in the next five to ten years?
We are looking to bring our music to as many different people as possible. More specific goals include national tv appearances, charting as many songs as possible, and touring at least once a year to other parts of the world.