The beautifully enchanting voice of Marg Davis carries you away into a dream sequence… a full on technicolor cinematic feature of epic proportions. Learn more about this lovely New Yorker who is happy to call Houston, Texas her new home.
Thanks for joining us today, Marg! Tell us about the influences inspiring your current sound, and how it has evolved over time?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m inspired by musicians in a range of different genres. My parents are classical musicians and my brother is a jazz trumpet player, so I’ve spent many hours of my life listening to those genres. As a singer, I take great influence from jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. As a singing instrumentalist, I especially love Diana Krall’s music, she always brings a unique take to some of my favorite standards. My favorite genre to listen to in leisure is chillstep – Tom Misch, FKJ, Joe Hertz, Exmag, Bondax…I could go on and on. I spend so much time playing the harp that I think it’s really refreshing to listen to electronic sounds. Electro-acoustic music inspires me in the music I write to experiment with fx pedals and other electronic elements.
How would you describe your live show?
I perform jazz as a singing harpist and I also play my original music with my band, Astoria Window, which features harp, vocals, ukulele, and electronics. Playing and singing jazz is really special to me. I studied harp in college and grad school among some truly incredible harpists, and their playing inspired me deeply to push myself as an instrumentalist. I try really hard to maintain a high playing level and make sure my jazz arrangements are complex and interesting even though I’m singing at the same time. I’ve always loved the concept of the singing instrumentalist, I think it’s such an interesting act to listen to and to watch. So far, I’m really enjoying putting my own spin on it as a singing harpist. With my band, it’s another story. Like I said, in my original music, I’m inspired by electronic music and more pop-oriented styles, so it’s kind of a major shift when I go from a jazz playing opportunity to a band show, but I love it and it makes me laugh to take of a gown after a ballroom event and put on a t-shirt and some glitter to play a club date with the band.
Please tell us about your new, yet to be released music and video…
This is a project I’ve been really excited about! I played a few gigs last year at a ballroom space in Connecticut with these beautiful chandeliers. Every time I played there I would stare at them because they’re so pretty, so I was totally thrilled when the venue coordinator offered to let me film a video there. We made a recording of one of my favorite jazz songs, “Too Marvelous for Words” by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer. It’s my arrangement for singing harpist and trumpet, played by Jon Shadle, who is also the ukulele player in my band. The harp is such a visually luxurious instrument, mine is covered in ornaments and carvings, so it’s really cool to see it in a similarly glamorous space. I’m really excited to share this newest representation of my jazz act.
Where do you seek inspiration when creating music?
With this particular project, I was really inspired by the space. The ballroom features these huge windows so the room is very warm and bright in the daytime, and the chandeliers sparkle in the light. I knew I wanted to play a jazz classic in that room, and “Too Marvelous” is a favorite of mine. When I write original songs, I’m usually inspired by a pop song or an indie band, and I often go back to classical recordings of impressionist harp music to get ideas for how to incorporate traditional harp techniques into more contemporary genres.
What have been some of your most memorable moments thus far in your career?
Playing in Carnegie Hall for the first time was a big moment for me. I think a lot of people dream of playing there, and it was a huge honor. I’ve played there a few times now with various groups and it’s always a really meaningful experience. My band, Astoria Window, also played The Knitting Factory this year, which was crazy. It kind of melts my brain to play on stages where some of the world’s major artists have performed. It’s really humbling and makes me want to work harder to play more big stages.
Please let us know about the upcoming release dates and your next show date/ location.
Our new video of my jazz act will be released on August 22nd, 2019! We’re really looking forward to it. My band and I have just made a big move from New York City to Houston, Texas. We’re really excited for a change of scene and will be playing some shows in Texas very soon!
End of Interview