Today, we welcome a husband and wife team that complement each other in life just as they do in music. In fact, one could easily believe the song "Let's Make Music Together", from Disney's "All Dogs Go To Heaven" was written about these two. Erin & The Project combine their talents to create dynamic, fresh, explosive tunes. Her voice, his drumming, their writing - it all comes together in a perfect "Indie Soul-ternative" package. Please sit back, hit play, and learn more about Erin and Paul Ezekiel.
What are your names and the name of your group?
Erin Ezekiel and Paul "The Project" Ezekiel are founding members of Erin & The Project.
Describe your music style to our readers.
We've been described by our listeners as soulful, jazzy, bluesy, and rockin'! We've established the term Soul-ternative because we are influenced by a lot of alternative rock, but we always write songs that integrate funk/soul grooves and the "human saxophone" soul style of Erin's vocals.
You're a married couple making beautiful music together. Tell us about the events leading up to making music full-time. What is it like working with your spouse?
We met backstage at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in 2004 after seeing a mutual friend's band perform. Paul was managing a recording studio in the bay area, and Erin had recently returned to the bay area after a short time studying at The Boston Conservatory for musical theatre. We were both in a limbo life phase of sorts, and music immediately brought us together. It wasn't until their wedding in 2008 that we performed a few original tunes for family and friends. Around that time the market collapsed, and Paul's recording studio began to suffer. We decided to quit our day jobs and start working on our music full time...and the rest is history. Being married and working together in this "no-guarantees" music business is no cake walk. We definitely have good days and bad days, but the fact remains that we have an extremely strong love and understanding for one another. It may sound strange, but we've been playing music together for lifetimes.
What are your musical backgrounds.
Paul: I've been playing drums since childhood, and used to get sent to the principle's office for constantly drumming on my desk. In high school I had an incredible music teacher named Perry Smith, and he introduced me to the saxophone, which I played for 8 years before focusing solely on the drums again. I studied for years under the instruction of well known bay area drum teacher, Chuck Brown. I also attended The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. In the past I played with The Munsters (a punk band based in San Francisco), Collage of I (based in San Francisco) and April After All (based in Los Angeles), as well as tons of studio recordings for other music projects. Erin: I grew up doing community musical theatre. After high school I went to The Boston Conservatory, where I ended up spending most of my time with all the rock musicians at Berklee School of Music. After returning to the SF bay area, and meeting Paul, I began studying North Indian Classical music from Maestro Ali Akbar Khan at his college in Marin County, and was so lucky to have been able to attend his classes in the last 3 years before his passing. During this time we were living in Oakland, and I joined The Oakland Bay Area Community Chorus founded by Bill "The Jazz Professor" Bell.
Your work has caught the attention of some very influential people. How has this affected your careers?
We are so honored to have had such positive attention from such amazing people! We still, however, consider ourselves babies in the entertainment industry. We hope to always maintain a beginner's mind.
Erin & The Project has a busy touring schedule. Do you prefer playing live shows or creating the music and why?
We love playing live shows! The connections we have made with our audience have brought a beautiful perspective to our lives, and remind us that we are still moving in the right direction. We have been touring non-stop for the past 2 years, and are finally starting to make plans to settle down for a few months and work on a whole new show with all new songs.
If you could each pick one musician (alive or dead) to perform with, who would it be?
That is a really tough question! Erin: Peter Gabriel Paul: Jeff Buckley
What are 3 things most people don't know about each of you?
1. We are technically homeless (no physical home address), living out of our very modest tour van. 2. Paul used to work and play with tigers at a wildlife sanctuary in Ashland, OR 3. Erin's maiden last name is Drummer. ;)
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
We are finally looking for outside management to help us with booking, promotion, etc. We've been doing it all on our own for a while, and look forward to building a support team so we can focus more on creating new music for our fans. We are planning to release another album within the upcoming year as well, and just started a collaboration with Jeff Tamelier (guitarist for Tower of Power) at The Track Shack Recording Studios in Sacramento, CA.
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Thank you so much for reaching out to us! We hope to meet you and all your readers in person someday.
by MRH, CMO