Central New York, we have an angel in or midst. A voice and talent on loan from above that is unlike any that I have heard recently. I know her family has always had immense musical talent, so when one of the children surfaced with this much to offer, it was not a surprise to me at all. That she has raised the bar even higher did! A local product with training in local schools and talent companies and a long, accomplished bloodline. Without further ado, I present Kimberly Schad!
-David – Thank you for taking a moment from your busy schedule, Kim. Let us go early, your Dad is a sound engineer and I know your Uncle has had some amazing bands, talk about the environment surrounding you at an early age and how it has influenced you.
*Kim – I’m happy to take a moment for you David! My family has always provided me with a cocoon of creativity and support that has been invaluable to me. When I was young my parents tried to expose me to lots of different activities but I was constantly surrounded by music and I definitely gravitated towards it. I always looked forward to following my dad to live gigs and those stand out in my childhood memories, and are a big part of why I wanted to start singing. When I got a little bit older we started recording family Christmas albums, which was my first exposure to the studio atmosphere, so that was integral. I am definitely a product of my environment and my family has influenced me in more ways than I can count. I think one of the coolest things about my project is that it’s still a family affair. There are members of our team who aren’t related to us too, but we have all become a family unit that just wants to help each other and create something big.
-What schools did you attend and what were you involved with within these schools? Basically, what is the base of your influences and training?
*I was lucky to grow up in the Jamesville-DeWitt school district, which offered a lot of different musical opportunities. I participated in everything I could from the choirs to the musicals – from the 4th grade play until I graduated. After that I went to Syracuse University Music Industry program, which was in the School of Music. When I first got there I was really intimidated because the classes were so small and hands-on. I was afraid of screwing up in front of my new professors and classmates, but in the end it was an important challenge for me to overcome. Someone said to me once that you don’t go to school to learn shit you already know, which is true, and I ended up learning so much – even though I don’t think I realized it then. Plus I was usually taking lessons privately in addition to school, I have always tried to keep busy and acquire new knowledge.
-You mention local theater and how it helped early development. What places were you involved with and in what capacity?
*My very first theater experience was “A Christmas Carol” at Syracuse Stage and my character name was “Girl/Want” (not a leading role, as I’m sure you can tell…), but I was the youngest cast in the show and my character got to sing a solo of “Silent Night” to Ebenezer Scrooge. The college kids used to make funny faces trying to get me to laugh during the shows, but I never broke! I think that was the most valuable thing I got from theater, but it works both ways. One of the biggest differences between theater and what I’m doing now is the “fourth wall” concept – the idea that you don’t interact directly with your audience. As a solo artist there can be no wall, it is all about connecting with the audience, so that’s something I’m still working on. After that I worked with many different local theater companies (New York State Theater Institute, Theater ’90, Wit’s End Players, Syracuse Children’s Theatre, Town of Manlius Summer Theater). I did many different shows and played many different roles. Some were bigger roles and some small but each one was a valuable learning experience.
-The list of plays and internships you have done is impressive; John Fogerty, David Letterman, Sirius Radio, what have those meant to your development and how did you come into these gigs?
*After two years of college, I was confused about what I wanted next. Before my next semester of school was going to start my dad was the production manager for the Fogerty tour in New York City. They needed a production assistant, so I tagged along. On that run we went to the Letterman Show and the others, and it was a huge step for me. For the first time I didn’t feel like an outsider, I felt at home with everyone around me. Working with such talented and professional people felt so right and it was because of this experience that I realized the next step for me was starting a career in music.
-Talk about some of your more memorable shows, which ones make you smile when you reflect and why?
*That is a hard one! But the first show that jumps to mind is my performance at the Catherine Cummings Theater last June. It was a sort of “coming out” for me as an artist and it was a really magical night. Everything went pretty much without a hitch, which was a miracle in itself. On top of that, I really felt connected to the audience and I was so proud of what we accomplished. I’m all smiles remembering that one! Another show that stands out was when I was young and got the opportunity to perform with Kenny Rogers at the War Memorial. There were thousands of people in the audience and I was with a hugely successful artist, so I just couldn’t believe it. In contrast to that, one of my best and most fun performances was in front of 15 friends in my living room. Each performance has its own flavor, but if the people leave happy its always good.
-What stands out as some funny or embarrassing moments on stage?
*When I was eleven I was in a local theater production, and it was the very end of the show, on the closing night. The last scene was a very happy (and quiet) marriage scene, and I got an uncontrollable case of the hiccups. In fact, I have never hiccupped so hard since then! Everyone in the theater could hear me loud and clear, and I think everyone on stage was just baffled, but we had a big laugh about it at the cast party. Luckily I haven’t had too many embarrassing moments since then (knock on wood).
-Your songs productions are of extremely high quality, where do you have it mixed and mastered, and by whom?
*Thank you! We haven’t actually gotten to the mastering stage yet. To date my father Tim Schad has mixed all of my productions in our home studio. When you are an independent artist you create this network of people around you who you work with, that is what I previously referred to as our “family unit”. My dad and I, and the rest of our team work closely together on everything including the mixing; we trust each other and we know that we are all on the same level of quality and professionalism. Plus, we have fun with each other! But we also plan on sending the tracks to other engineers and producers to get their input. It’s a collaborative process. I am lucky enough to have access to state of the art equipment in our studio. The songs are mixed on a Yamaha DM2000 digital console in conjunction with ProTools. But my favorite aspect of mixing in our studio is listening through the Dynaudio speakers. They take something from sounding like chocolate fudge to sounding like angel food cake. You can hear parts in music that you’ve never heard before.
-What was the recent Bridge Street experience like for you? I thought you were incredible!
*Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I had an absolute blast. The people at Bridge Street were so nice and made me feel right at home. It was a mile-marker for me to make my first television appearance as a solo-artist, as well. It’s something I’ve always envisioned and to experience it was awesome. Also, I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate time to go on the show: Valentine’s Day and the day after the Grammy’s!
-What is in the plans moving forward for you, Kim? Where will you be performing and what may be in the works this year?
*So far this upcoming year is looking pretty exciting. I am playing on May 21 at the NYS Fairgrounds. It’s the kick-off fundraising event for the Payton Forian “One Day” Foundation to find a cure for autoimmune disease. I’m thrilled to be involved with such a wonderful cause. To find out more information and how to help visit: www.paytonsonedayfoundation.com. I’m also recording in my home studio with some awesome local musicians writing parts for demo tracks. In addition to that we are sending tracks to distinguished musicians all over the country. They have the opportunity to record in their own studios and the professional studios they have access to, and send the tracks back to us, which I think is super cool. And although nothing is official yet, we are in the process of talking to different record labels, management companies and producers to really kick this thing to the next level. We have lots more exciting news coming our way everyday, so keep your eyes peeled for new information on my website (www.kimberlyschad.com).
-What advice would you give to aspiring talent out there? I know a lot of times people get that boxed in feeling and don’t know what to do next, what would you say to them as a way of moving forward?
*My first advice would be do not give up! Every artist goes through those emotions and one of the keys of a successful one is that they know how to handle those doubts. If you dream it, you can do it- just work as hard as you can and stick to your guns. Also, try to look for fresh inspiration if you’re stuck on something, by either trying a different writing environment, or even just changing your perspective. And always write from the heart.
– Finally as is my tradition, what would you like to say to your fans and supporters?
*The other day I had a little girl tell me that she wanted to “follow her dreams” like me, and that means more to me than any award I could ever win. Music has been such a present and positive influence in my life that my only goal is to try do the same for others. My supporters are the fire beneath my ass, and the wind beneath my wings, and everything in between. So, to my fans I say THANK YOU!!! I wish you love, peace and music, and I hope I can keep entertaining you for a long, long time!
-Thank you, once again, for taking the time and I look forward to watching your future success and music. Let’s revisit down the road!
*Thank you, David for your time and support. I look forward to our next interview!
Makes that Red Ram pride come out, doesn’t it J-D nation? Words of wisdom and so very approachable. One thing all of us should take out of this particular interview is the level of talent around all of our children and within our own schools. The base that lays down is amazing and I am shocked by the level of talent everytime my own daughter, Jane, performs. Much from the same schools, training, and systems that Kim has risen from. Look for her, go see her, and enjoy Kimberly Schad as soon as you can!