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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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AOTW - The Kristen Maxfield Band
Monday, August 17, 2009

At first glance one might not automatically think “soul singer” when they look at Kristen Maxfield, but at first listen it becomes obvious that the sultry lead singer of The Kristen Maxfield Band is overflowing with soul… and talent. I caught Maxfield and her band in NYC a couple of weeks ago and after seeing their performance and listening to their EP, Whatcha Waitin’ For, I knew I wanted to feature them here as an Artist Of The Week. This week I linked up with Maxfield to make that happen and we discussed everything from how her sound developed, to why it took her so long to find her way to soul music, to the unique musical title one of her relatives holds overseas.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start off with the basics. Who’s in The Kristen Maxfield Band and what the group is all about?
Kristen Maxfield: The Kristen Maxfield Band consists of Kristen Maxfield (lead vocal), Dan Stein (keys), Mike Rens (Bass) and Warren Grant (Drums). In the past we have brought in additional musicians to take the stage with us, including Josh Dion, Scott Sharrard, Pat Firth, Toni Seawright, Carol Brevard, Digg Deep and Woody Quinn. We combine elements of old school R&B, Motown soul, 70’s funk, modern Hip-Hop and classic songwriting into a powerful, inspiring sound that grabs the listener’s ear, engages the brain, and gets the booty in gear.

Adam Bernard: You’ve also performed with some other folks over the years, correct?
Kristen Maxfield: Yes. On top of doing my own project I have also toured for two years as a backup singer with The Square Egg, lead by Lee just Lee of NYC, and have participated as a backup vocalist/writer on various projects with producer Charles Martinez (Steely Dan, Rob Thomas, Scott Sharrard, etc.), and singer/songwriter Kristen Bussandri.

Adam Bernard: Wow, that’s an impressive resume! When it comes to your own band, when did you all come together and officially start the group?
Kristen Maxfield: I started writing the music about four years ago. During that time I worked with a number musicians until I finally met Dan. We began working on new music and forming a band that would bring out the combination of modern and old school R&B that we were going for.

Adam Bernard: You noted earlier that you’ve also worked with The Square Egg, who are longtime favorites here at Adam’s World. How would you compare KMB to TSE?
Kristen Maxfield: KMB and TSE are very similar in many ways and I’m not just talking about the fact that we share many of the same musicians. {laughs} Both groups incorporate a variety of sounds and genres and although I may be a soul singer and Lee may be an emcee, our outlook on music, its importance, and its effect on people, are very similar.

Adam Bernard: Diving into your personal history a bit, were you always surrounded by music growing up, or was your path to being an artist a familial anomaly?
Kristen Maxfield: My parents are both musicians and they’ve always supported my decision to make musical performance and composition my career. Actually music runs throughout my entire family. My great grandfather is the oldest tuba player in England at age 95. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me!

Adam Bernard: Very awesome! So when did you start becoming interested in soul music?
Kristen Maxfield: I turned on a little Bill Withers and some Al Green and was sold. {laughs} Actually it is funny because I come from a classically trained family. Both of my parents graduated from Eastman School of Music. My father was an opera singer and my mother taught music education, so growing up I was surrounded by classical music and didn’t really listen to soul. But in my first year of college I began to listen to jazz a bit more which then lead to me listening to Motown, 70’s Funk, old school R&B, and from then on I studied the sound, the song structure, the lyrics and all that inspired me to write in that soulful style.

Adam Bernard: What kind of initial reaction do you think people have when they see you, a smiling red head, belting out some serious soul songs?
Kristen Maxfield: “What the heck?” People say what you see and what you get are two completely different things when it comes to Kristen Maxfield and The Kristen Maxfield Band. I take that as a compliment.

Adam Bernard: Redheads are often thought to have a fiery personality. Do you have any stories from your life that you can share that might work to prove this theory?
Kristin Maxfield: {laughs} I don’t know if I should answer that. Let me just say we may be feisty, but we are fun!

Adam Bernard: Fair enough. Finally, many people come to NYC to “make it,” but you’re about to move out of NYC and take up residence in Rochester, NY. What’s up with that?
Kristen Maxfield: These days you really can live anywhere and create and perform music. I love NYC, but I also love the Rochester music scene. The energy that reverberates throughout the city of Rochester and its surrounding cities sends you on such a high adrenaline rush. I first started my songwriting in Rochester, NY, and when I visited last spring and saw how much the music scene had evolved from when I left it eight years ago, I knew I wanted to go back.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/thekristenmaxfieldband


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:37 AM  
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