Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Amalie Mattei.
Christina Amalie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve had a very nontraditional approach to music making since I was a kid. My parents didn’t have resources to help guide my artistic passions, so I did it on my own. Bored with traditional music, I was writing choir parts for me and my friends to sing at a very young age. I always had the bug, and always had to pave my own way. I’ve been paving my own way ever since.
I secretly changed my major to music without telling my parents in college and started teaching myself guitar. I wrote a bunch of different arrangements of jazz standards for guitar and vocals and put it on a cassette tape and somehow got into the New School in NY. Sadly, Sept 11th, 2001, cut that journey short. I was very traumatized by what I saw that day. I lost it a bit, moved to a farm in the middle of nowhere with some micro-biotic friends and my writer boyfriend. Thats when I convinced my old University, Kutztown, to let me create my own jazz studies program. I started experimenting with pedals and my voice and improvising with a bunch of art students there. I always loved the jazz mentality of freedom and improvisation and coming from that sacred space of communicating and channeling into my music. It was healing for me and has become my way of doing things.
It wasn’t until I moved to Philly that I was delving into production. I continued playing with incredible fusion musicians in philly and really got my musical playing skills in those improvisational circles. I would record those sessions and chop them up in reason and Ableton and make all sorts of music. That’s when I started my project RYAT, and I eventually got a live set together with Ableton and decided to go on tour.
RYAT eventually brought me to LA and signing to Brainfeeder. I ended up touring the world with RYAT, composing for dance, making multi-media interactive works and scoring for some film stuff. Exploring and experimenting was always the main focus of RYAT.
After I debuted a big multi-media show in Central Park, I had got pregnant. I wasn’t able to tour and had to take on full responsibility with my kiddo. So I took a bunch of time off to revamp a solid structure for me and my kid.
Since then I’ve written probably over 100 songs. I started teaching production at Berklee college of music. And I started a new project called Amalie Leon, that feels more real and raw to me than anything I’ve done with RYAT. With RYAT, I was always wearing a mask. I was hiding behind metaphors and layers of experimental chaos. I mean that was my life. I was hiding from a lot that I will one day put in a book. Amalie Leon is the naked version of me. That’s where I am now. With Amalie.
Has it been a smooth road?
I feel like sometimes I’m hiking through a crazy space mountain, being guided by my animal intuition and the stars. I get lost, I find a path, I run into water just when I’m about to keel over. I find and bar and some wild people, we have fun and then I realize I need to get back to work. And when I get to the top of the mountain, I meditate, eat some snacks, give thanks to god, and then I see the next mountain in the distance and am like… oh yes!!! I know it’s gonna be intense, but it doesn’t defer my in anyway. I have to get to that lookout next. Hopefully, I make it without too many broken bones and heartbreak. It’s one spiritual transformation after another. Music to me is the mirrored journey of the soul and the struggles are intense. You become a warrior, you see through everything, you bare your soul and at the same time have to were armor. The struggles are never ending. I would say the patriarchy is the wackest aspect of everyone’s struggle right now. The brash old school programming and narcissistic mentality we are brought up in, in my opinion is where we find the brick walls we need to break down and climb over. I don’t let anything that falls into those categories run my life. I think that is why I’ve been so successful and also why I’ve been such a loner. It’s a beautiful double edged sword. But in the end, I have to always feel FREE to climb the mountain in my own way. So the harsh truths and struggles are just part of this existence we live in now.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I would say I’m known for my musical improvisation capabilities, my beat couture style of music and my voice. Although, my new project, Amalie Leon is very songwriting focus. I am most proud of my ability to do what I feel deeply in my heart. And I am also most proud of being able to produce other people’s visions and give them what they feel. I think that has to do with my experiences with playing within so many genres and intuitively reading people. That was all an accident! I never expected to become a producer on top of being a performer. If I didn’t have a kid and start focusing on that aspect of stability for my son, I would have never been producing so much. Now I’m part of the Grammy Recording Academy and heading to the Grammys next week and feeling like, WOW, the top of this mountain was NOT what I expected. I think all of the above sets me apart from others. And I’m excited for the next mountain.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The music industry is wild. You never know where it’s heading exactly. I do think people want more authenticity and that is very clear with who is up for Grammys this year. I think the social media stuff will fade out in terms of follows running the biz. I think more people will focus on skill than the ability to brand themselves. In the end one thing never changes… the LIVE SHOW makes or breaks an artist. If you can slam them live, that’s your calling. Performing Artists should focus more on that because the LIVE show and ability to reach an audiences heart in the same room will always be remembered more than a branding or marketing campaign.
- Website: www.Amalieleon.com
- Instagram: @amalieleon_bombom
- Twitter: @amalieleon