Angie Heaton is quite the local legend around these parts, so I was pretty excited when I realized she was performing in Champaign Friday night. She is probably the most down to earth and the most bubbly musician I’ve ever talked to, which made this interviewing experience much more enjoyable than I could have imagined. And after listening to her most recent EP, Time Takes Time, she has earned another fan. With her soft rock and sweet melodies, Ms. Heaton deserves her earned title.
Since getting her first drum set from her parents at the age of six years old, her passion for music has grown. So, we welcome Ms. Heaton back to the stage where she rightfully belongs. Play on, player.
Smile Politely: Who influences you the most in terms of music?
Angie Heaton: If you mean as far as other musicians and bands that inspire me, the heavy hitters are Lucinda Williams, Johnette Napolitano, Karin Dreijer Andersson, Dolly Parton, a lot of my friends influence me, oh, so many … anyone who tells the truth … anyone who shares their truth. However, if you are talking about material fodder, I am most definitely inspired by my own life experience. The joke is, and has always been, that all of my songs are about crushes and death … I used to get so crushed out and was so obsessed with death that I would just be cranking songs out all the time. I think I’ve had too much good therapy, or the Prozac is working too well these days … dunno … I joke with some of my friends that I have a really happy song just waiting to come out, but … [shrugs]
SP: When listening to your records, it’s a mix between soft rock, country, Americana, and some blues elements. How would you describe what you do to other people?
Heaton: I’ve always thought of it as indie rock with a country tinge. But once a reviewer said that I “went through more genres than Guided By Voices did beers,” which is a lot!
SP: Have you ever thought about collaborating with other musicians? Do you have a dream collaboration if it were ever possible?
Heaton: I would love to record a song with Lucinda, Dolly, Patsy Cline … Oh! Amy Armstrong, do you know her? That would be so fun.
SP: What is in the works in terms of writing or recording any new material?
Heaton: I’ve been so happy lately that I haven’t been able to write any songs! I continue to try … and I wait.
BUT, I’ve decided to work on a children’s record. At first, I was going to write some children’s songs and play/record those, but now I’m starting to work on a project with a friend taking standard sing-a-long children’s songs and reworking them. It’s in the starting stages, but I will keep the masses informed!! I’m very excited about it. Hope to get that going ASAP. More soon.
SP: You’re back performing on Friday night at Indi-Go. What inspired you to come back to performing after taking an extended amount of time off?
Heaton: Well, I’ve been working part time as a “tech savvy gay butler/life coach,” on Maui, Hawaii, for the past year, so, I’m not in town as much, hence my lack of performances. When I am in town, people ask me when I’m playing and seemed like they were ready and willing to see me play again, and Bobby really wanted to play the Indi-Go, so we decided to do it.
SP: Why did you choose Indi-Go as the venue for this show?
Heaton: Bob is old friends with James (the owner) and has been wanting to set up a show there for a long time. I’ve seen several bands play there, and it seems like a nice mellow venue. I’m excited to see how it goes.
SP: What do you have planned for the near future after this show?
Heaton: I have no real plans for the near future except to play while I’m in town. I’ve been working on a book that’s been in my head for YEARS, and hopefully continue to work on new music … try to make the world a better place, be the best Angie I can be … you know, the usual.
Heaton is set to perform tonight at Indi-Go Artist Co-op at 7 p.m. with Bob Watson.