In Pound For The Sound, Phoenix New Times gets technical with musicians about what gear they use to create their signature style.
Tindal Muzic was a latecomer to music. But the singer-songwriter has a passion for shows, and she's making her mark on Phoenix's music community.
Born in Indianapolis, Muzic began playing an acoustic guitar in junior high. But she never really took it too seriously. She "used to hold the guitar sideways and play it only with her thumbs." While attending college in Indiana, she really got into making music.
Muzic got her first "real guitar" from a close friend as a gift for her 21st birthday. That was the tipping point. Less than a week later, she was asked to play original music at a concert. Muzic said yes and got a great response. With that momentum, she began composing music on her iPad in GarageBand and never looked back.
After moving to Phoenix in 2012, Muzic dove right in. She credits the Valley as the birthplace of what she describes as "intentional performances." And she's fairly involved locally. The singer-songwriter even performed as part of the cast of Psyko Steve's fifth annual Rock Lottery.
Besides playing solo and as part of a trio, Muzic also runs several open mics, including one on Thursdays at Woody's Macayo's, and another on First Friday at Public Image. During March, she's performed during a monthlong weekly residency called Vibe Tonight in the lounge at Crescent Ballroom. The final installment is scheduled for Monday, March 26.
Muzic keeps busy and plans to release a debut album soon. She also has a show coming up on Saturday, April 21, at The Trunk Space. She talked with New Times about inspiration, her connections to the Phoenix community, and why she loves open mics.
New Times: What's the secret weapon of your sound? And how did that help you find your "signature" tone?
Tindal Muzic: My secret weapon is that inspiration can come from anything at anytime. I'm self-taught and create from intuition and experience. It's kind of funny — I didn't know I had a signature tone. However, I am always open to doing and creating what feels most natural to me, most authentic, or moves me personally.
What's your favorite piece of gear in your collection and why?
My most special piece of gear is my iPad. I've used it to make my own music, collect ideas, and organize and arrange my songs.
Any special pieces of gear acquired over the years? Any special story, or stories, behind your collection of tools?
My guitar, Ms. Sealy, is named after one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies, The Color Purple. Like the character Ms. Sealy, I grew up shy and afraid to express myself.
Just listened to your track “Petty.” Cool song. I like the glitchy, trip-hop vibe mixed in with jazz horns. How did you go about recording this track and make it all happen?
"Petty" came about pretty quickly, once I wrote it. I couldn't wait to record it.
I recorded it at home with my iPad and came up with the original version of the song. But I wanted there to be more. I decided it would be awesome to invite Malik Scott to feature. From there, he and I linked with Charlie St. Loud "a.k.a. Charliebeamin" to record. I came to him with the idea of "Petty," and there being a beat and a horn section. He decided to sample the original track I made and we built around it. It has still been one of the most magical experiences making a song I have had thus far in my career. I do not condone pettiness, but I do encourage writing about it.
You received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and you've mentioned “the art of dealing with people.” Can you expand on this concept and how it relates to your world in the music industry?
One thing I have gathered most about people from psychology is that we all crave a sense of belonging in some capacity. Coming to an understanding of what someone chooses to belong to or associate themselves with can tell you a lot about a person. Also, it's a great way to find out what other things you may have in common with others.
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In regards to the music industry and the experience I have with it, I take time to enjoy understanding what other people enjoy. This is my favorite art of human interaction: finding commonalities and/or understanding differences in where people feel they belong or choose to be a part of. This is how I am in my world of the music industry as I know it and outside of it. I love people and seeing people come together and make effort to be understanding and nonjudgmental. It is more difficult to live this way because I don't always receive the same respect. However, it's way more rewarding and makes me feel a higher sense of belonging and purpose. I choose to belong to love and positivity.
You have your final open mic of your March Mondays residency in the Crescent Ballroom Lounge on March 26. In fact, you run several open mics throughout the central Phoenix area. What drives you to keep pursuing music in this capacity? And any words you wish to share about the final Monday of the Crescent residency?
Open mics were among the first places I began to play most frequently when I really started putting myself out there. The first year I played in Phoenix, it helped me not only improve, but find a sense of community and a sense of belonging.
I'm driven by the joy of creating a platform that helps build community. No matter how I grow as an artist, I believe building platforms that allow others to share and create will be a part of what I do or choose to belong to. Open mics gave so much to me in learning to be consistent and build confidence. I wanted to give back what I have been given to hopefully inspire others.
About my Crescent residency, and with all my open mics and shows, I hope to have created a safe space for people to feel welcomed, able to connect and share, and if nothing else, have a positive impact or experience.