Some musicians are born performing, while others take time to develop—like a pop star in a pupa, bathing in nutrients and inspiration before hitting the glare of the stage lights. Rather than a late-bloomer, Obenski has been methodical, in the determined manner of a classically trained musician creating her magnum opus, and laying out her career step by step.
“We often think that there will be some dream or something divine that will be the thing that transforms us into what we want to be and we wait for that to happen,” Obenski says from her home in Santa Cruz. “Time went by and I realized that it wasn’t going to happen—you need to be the person that makes the change.” Since graduating from UCSC in 2001, Obenski has been busy releasing albums and gigging for enchanted listeners—all the while bringing awareness to the plight of the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With a minor in music (classical piano) and a major in environmental studies, it’s no accident that Obenski’s previous Take Back Your Forest benefits with local musical savants Diane Paterson and Ariel Thiermann, helped raise money for the Sempervirens Fund. Through Obenski’s vision they raised enough cash to buy back sacred groves in Big Basin (and donate them to California State Parks). Such is the life of a singer/songwriter whose diminutive stature and big voice can be heard on the popular TV show Grey’s Anatomy. “My brother gave my CD, Kite, to a friend of his who is a film editor. She later became the editor for Grey’s Anatomy for a few episodes and for a lark she put the first song of the album, ‘Carousel,’ in one of the scenes. The director loved it and kept it,” Obenski says. Like a doctor dissecting a disease, Obenski’s sultry songwriting style grows out of a deep need to examine everything around her. “My inspiration comes from my analytical nature—I’m an observer of things, the way people act, the way social interactions occur and my relationship to them. And it often turns into a song.” Beautiful ballads that were originally straight piano/guitar compositions have sonic string arrangements on the newest release, Grow to Catch the Wind. “The new album’s basic tracks were done at Gadget Box Studio in Santa Cruz. I then fine-tuned it at my home studio and recorded the string section in my living room.”
INFO: To find out more about Amy Obenski, purchase her new album, and see upcoming shows, visit amyobenski.com.