Shifting Sands: 
 AV talks with Lynn Tredeau

 

Lynn Tredeau

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AV:  At what point in your life did your love of music begin?

LT:  Music has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember and I was a child that loved to  sing and dance. Although, no one else in my family has ever played an instrument, our home  was always filled with some type of music. A beautiful melody or a distinct rhythm have caught  my attention since my early childhood. The Sunday morning tradition at our house was for my Father to make breakfast and he would sing along with the stereo as he cooked. I think that is where music merged with a feeling of love and family deep in my soul.

AV:  When did you start playing piano and was piano always your first choice as a musical instrument to play?

LT:  I tell this story often about my first piano and it is one of my favorite childhood memories. At the early age of 5, I had been pestering my parents about wanting a piano. They insisted they would not but had been secretly making arrangements to find me a piano. Shortly before my 6th birthday, the phone ran and when I said hello, the delivery driver asked me to confirm the date and time for the piano delivery. My mom was dissapointed that the surprise was ruined, but was happy to see how excited I was to finally get that piano. It wasn't much to look at. It was an old player piano with all the mechanical player parts removed. Within a couple of weeks, I began taking lessons from a wonderful teacher that lucky for me lived around the corner from my house. By the time I was about 16, I could also play the flute, all variety of clarinets, the saxophone, the guitar and was beginning to study with the organist at our church. But, the piano was my first love and remains the instrument I gravitate towards.

 

AV:  Do you have any formal music education that you draw upon?

LT:  My musical instruction on the piano was centered around classical music, Bach Beethoven, Rachmaninoff. My teenage years were filled with formal instruction on about 6 different instruments. From an early age, I was preparing to earn a bachelors degree in music. There is a saying that "life is what happens while we are making plans" and circumstances didn't allow for that music degree. But, I have continued to study, both formally and informally, all my adult life.

AV:  Were there any musicians that were particularly inspiring or influential for you as you were developing as a musician yourself?

LT:  My home growing up was filled with Nat King Cole, the three tenors and Bing Crosby. As a teenager I drifted into Rock and Roll, but the piano and the classics drew me back. Until I fell in love with the New Age solo piano. I was always looking for different styles of music and one evening I heard Michele McLaughlin on Pandora. I was immediately engrossed in New Age   music style. I felt the emotions of the music and the stories. It awakened a part of me I had never explored.

AV:  When did you start composing your own music to perform?

LT:  When my children grew into adults, my dream of owning a grand piano became a reality. Music once again became an all consuming passion. Up to this point in my life, I played music that had been lovingly created by others. Then one year I began creating arrangements of classical pieces and Christmas Carols. In about 2013, as the arrangements became more and more my music, I decided it was time to write down all those melodies that were bouncing around in my head. The summer of 2014 we rented a mountain cabin in Montana for our vacation. Most of my Debut album was created in the cabin and a new path for my life was born.

 

AV:  As I listen to a lot of the solo piano music that is being currently recorded it seems there is a fine line between classical and the solo piano music I hear. Tell me about what it is in your mind that separates contemporary solo piano music from the classical piano music that we are all familiar with.  

LT:  To my mind, there is less of a fine line and more of a wide gray area. Some of the music in the contemporary solo piano category is written by musicians that have the formal education rooted in the classical traditions. So all that training can't help but show up as wonderful depth  and technical expertise in a musical voice. However, another portion of artists have no formal  training and have developed their talent from having a great ear. This can bring many very  creative elements to contemporary solo piano. The further you get away from the pure classical  elements, the music moves into a deeply emotional voice and at the further reaches becomes  much more ambient.

AV:  When did you decide that you wanted to record your music and share it with the world at large? Is that a difficult decision for a musician to make since it also means that there are potential critics out there who may not like your music?

LT:  When I first began to write music, I never dreamed I would record and release it to the public. It  was a project I planned on recording to give to my family members and close friends. One day I  decided I wanted to get a critique of my music and sent it off for a review. The feedback was so positive and it completely changed my direction musically. I could never have imagined how  this journey was going to unfold and I feel very grateful to have the music so well received. Of course, there are always going to be those that don't prefer my style or my musical vision. I haven't received any extremely harsh reviews yet, but I know that day will come. I remind myself to stay true to my heart and receive each and every fan as a blessing

AV:  Tell me about what it took for you to bring Echoes of Life into the world as your first release.

LT:  Bringing my first album out into the light of day was at first a daunting thought. The uncertainty of being a brand new composer and finding where to begin. My husband Al has been my first and greatest support. In addition to being my sound engineer and handling all the aspects of recording my music, he was instrumental in figuring out the CD manufacturing. We needed to learn every aspect of taking the music from concept to the reality of a CD we  could hold in our hand. We have come a long way since that first album.

AV:  New Age is used to describe quite a bit of instrumental music that does not fall into other categories. When someone says their music is New Age music what does that mean to you?

LT:  I would agree, New Age is a very broad category it seems. I think that any music that is calming and encourages you to relax, can fall into New Age. I often refer to my music as Contemporary Instrumental Solo Piano, but I let folks know they will find it in the New Age section.

AV:  Your latest album which is called Shifting Sands came out in May of this year. From Echoes of Life to Shifting Sands what have you learned about your music, your abilities and the whole process of recording and releasing your music for sale?

LT:  I have learned a great deal about how to bring my musical vision to life and have been  improving with each album. Learning about better recording, better mixing & mastering is really important. I have learned to surround myself with people that can be trusted to give me honest feedback. We all need someone to tell us what we could improve. After my first 2 albums, I began working with Sherry Finzer at RS PromotionsUS and that has helped me learn  so much about the process. She has guided and advised me about production, mastering and the all important promotion of my last 2 albums.

AV:  Do you feel more confident about your musical abilities with each new release you put out?

LT:  I feel that my music is always changing and evolving with each project and I always want to continue to challenge myself to improve. My music has become more thoughtful with a deeper  reflection of me as a person and I think that explains why people tell me they can relate to the music.  With each new release, a more defined musical voice is emerging from somewhere deep inside to tell a story.

AV:  Tell me about the compositions on Shifting Sands. Are there any themes that you cover throughout the whole album?

LT:  The phrase “Shifting Sands” is used to describe something that is constantly changing,  especially unpredictably. Many of the songs on this album express fear, loss and grief. "Lost in Familiar Surroundings"....."The Last Mile"...."Dance of the Unknown" But even in my darkest moments, I try to look for the silver lining so there are a few lighter pieces that reflect hope. "Life at Four".... "Whispers of Hope"

AV:  What have been some of the challenges you have had to face in your career so far as a musician?

LT:  I would have to say that so far, my challenges have been pretty mild and I realize how lucky I have been to be surrounded by supportive people. Of course, it is always a bit scary to step out in front of an audience and hope they like what you have to offer. I had terrible performance   anxiety years ago. With the help of my family and several wonderful artist friends, that is mostly not a concern any more. Keeping up with all the technology and social media is probably my biggest challenge now. That and there never seems enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to do. 

AV:  Has your music given you insights into yourself through the music that you compose and play?

LT:  Often when I create a piece of music I sit at the piano with no particular idea in mind and I just let my heart lead the way. Then suddenly something captures me. I need to think back and ask myself what was I just thinking about or what was I just feeling. I have discovered thoughts and emotions I hadn't realized before when I let my heart lead the way.

AV:  Where do you see yourself going with your music in the coming years?

LT:  I am currently working on two new albums, one that is a follow up to my award winning Christmas Album. Hopefully they will be ready to release next year. Also working on some collaborations with several other artists and have been experimenting a bit with other  instrumentation and other styles. For those that would like to keep updated, you can get on my  email list at www.lynntredeau.com and then you will be the first to know when something new is releasing and where to catch me performing live in concert.

AV:  It was very kind of you to take time out of your schedule to answer these questions and it is appreciated. Thanks for your insights into your music and we wish you much success in the coming years with your music and in your life in general.