by Evan Bindelglass, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Welcome to the first in a series of pieces shining a light on local musicians in and around New York City.
Our first subject is Tracy Thorne, a 30-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist who has lived in New York for seven years. She was born in Massachusetts and, at age 13, moved to a town just outside of Nashville.
Now, she lives in West Harlem, after having moved around quite a lot – Lower East Side, Astoria, Brooklyn, and even Hoboken. But she’s finally settled in.
“I love it up there,” she said. “I love my roommate. That’s hard to find these days, sir, mind you. I’ve been through a lot of them.”
Watch The Interview
Favorite Place In New York
She loves living by Riverside Park, which she said is her favorite place in the city (and is where all of the photographs in this piece were taken).
What makes it her favorite place?
“First of all, I like that it’s outdoors and I’m an outdoorsy kind of gal,” she said. “I used to run when I was in high school and stopped doing that for a really long time and I felt like I needed to find something in my life again to sort of balance me out. Things were getting a little crazy and I started running. It’s a really long park. You can go for just miles and miles and miles and so that’s where I started my running journey and sometimes I do yoga out there too.”
It Wasn’t Always Music
It’s interesting that it wasn’t music that initially brought her to New York.
She came here to do theater after having studied it in college, where she also minored in dance.
“When I moved up here, I, for the first year or so, creatively, I wasn’t doing much. I was working a lot and I was having a great time meeting people and just enjoying the city, which I think is an important thing to do. But, creatively, I was missing something,” she said.
Then some things came together and brought her into the music world.
“I remember being in a used CD store, which I don’t think people go to anymore, unfortunately, and I heard this CD that they were playing like the whole album over the speakers and I just fell in love with it and it ended up being this guy, Teddy Thompson, as singer/songwriter. I listened to his album so many times. I was really inspired by that. Also, my roommate at the time was a guitar player and my best friend was a singer/songwriter,” she said. “I was just surrounded by folk singers all the time and I wanted to try it.”
With the help of her roommate and friend, she was encouraged to buy a guitar.
“I thought I’d give it a shot and wrote my first song like ‘that,'” she said. “Not just like ‘that.’ It wasn’t that easy. I’m sure I probably struggled a little with it and my chord playing abilities were not so great. But, yeah, ever since then, that’s what I’ve been doing and no more acting.”
Though she feels that sometimes she is acting through her music.
The Songwriting Process
“My songwriting process is sort of ‘whatever comes out comes out.’ I usually write a song within 15 minutes or an hour or so,” she said. “It sounds like ‘what a great thing’ but it’s also frustrating because those moments don’t happen all the time. I have friends who can sit down and decide… ‘Today, I’m going to write a song.’ and then they just do it and it may take longer, but I can’t do that. I don’t know, this sounds really hippy dippy, but the stars have to be aligned or something. Maybe I slept on the right side of the bed and I don’t know what, but yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
For the most part, she said that from beginning to end, the process usually comes out in order.
“It’s just like ‘Whew, that just happened. Ahhh. I have a song. Okay,'” she said.
She said she’s been going back to some of the songs she wrote very quickly and taking a second look at them, thinking about how she can make them better.
What Genre Is Her Music?
“I would describe my music as folk/pop with a little touch of country to it depending how much pedal steel is going on in the background,” she said.
Watch: Tracy Performs “Drum” In WCBS 880 Studio 11B
An Album In The Works
Thorne is working on a her first full-length album, which she hopes to release in December.
“It has been the best experience ever. It’s been so wonderful and it’s my first time recording a fully produced album. I’ve done an EP before, a five-song EP, but that was just really simple, just me and my guitar,” she said.
“So, this time around, I did a a crowd funding project for it. So, I have all these people that donated money to help fund the whole project. My producer, Will Hensley, is just so amazing and he’s doing a lot of instrumentation as well as engineering. So, he’s a huge part of it and right now we’re kind of almost done on my end. I have two more songs that I have have to sort of finish and do some harmonies and then after that, it’s more up to him,” she continued. “I can’t wait for that part.”
Right now, you can get a preview of the album by downloading a free track called “(I Am) On A Shelf” by clicking here.
Where Can You See Her Perform Live?
Tracy Thorne’s next live performance is coming up on Saturday, September 22 at 3 p.m. at Rockwood Music Hall. That’s at 196 Allen Street on the Lower East Side. No cover. www.rockwoodmusichall.com
How Can You Learn More About Tracy Thorne?
All photographs credit Evan Bindelglass.You can follow Evan on Twitter @evabin.