SoCal born and bred, Phoebe Silva started her music life as a child playing classical violin. Later she dove into musical theater in Philadelphia and New York City. For the past few years Phoebe has been cementing her place in the LA music scene and we are so excited to have her play at our show this Saturday at The Hotel Cafe!
CGCM: You have been a part of duets and bands in the past - what made you decide to step out on your own to pursue a solo career?
Phoebe: Honestly, a desire for creative freedom. I guess that’s pretty cliche for any artist! I love being part of a band, and I love collaborating. I have an insane pace when it comes to creative ideas, I write every day and I tend to want to move faster and with more intensity than is usually possible in a creative democracy. It takes more time and effort to coordinate a group than to be the architect of my own schedule/creative trajectory. Also not being tied to one main project means I’m more free to do lots of session work which is partly a passion and partly a way I pay the bills. I find I’m happiest and most fulfilled when I have different outlets for different aspects of my creativity. I like to spread myself around.
CGCM: Who are your musical influences?
Phoebe: I grew up listening to jazz (my dad is a huge fanatic), 80’s pop and classical music (from mom), oldies stations and musical theater (all me.) I also loved the 90’s alt-folk/pop female singer songwriters I grew up listening to. I was/am a huge fan of Fiona Apple, Ben Folds, Sarah MacLachlan, and Jewel’s early work. I find my songwriting largely influenced by jazz standards and classic early 20th century American songwriting... the Gershwin’s, Harold Arlen, and then also classic folk and country writers like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and Dolly Parton. I surprised myself a bit when I started writing songs and realized I had so many old influences, because I love contemporary pop, R&B and the new Americana/folk artists than bend genres. But I have a degree in musical theater and studied the heck out of early 20th century music so I don’t know why that surprised me.
CGCM: If you had to pick one positive and one negative aspect to being a musician in Los Angeles, what would those be?
Phoebe: Positive: community. I’ve found a greater sense of community here than anywhere else I’ve lived, and I’ve lived a lot of places. There is such a spirit of camaraderie and collaboration here and I love it so much. On the flip side, there is a LOT of saturation in the indie music scene so it can be tough to get noticed. That, and it’s so freaking expensive to live here I can’t stand it. Tough to make money as a musician in LA unless you’re a session musician, so I’m super grateful to be both an artist and a session player (as a violinist.)
CGCM: What's next?
Phoebe: I’m finishing up my second single “Strong Enough” that will come out on Valentine’s Day. Similar to my first single “The Best Thing!” that came out in December, it’s a brassy, sassy, bluesy retro-feeling tune. I’ve also got my first music video for “The Best Thing!” coming out later this month. After that I have plans to record a ton of new songs I wrote last year, leaning way more into my introspective folk side. I’m super excited to roll those out and surprise people with the change in tone and style!
Photo by Tammie Valer