Female indie musicians like Feist, Regina Spektor, Kate Nash, and Ingrid Michaelson have a beautiful, feminine innocence in their voices to go along with pop sensibilities. Yet their talent normally manifests itself in the form of background music in coffee shops. Seriously, almost every coffee shop in America plays Regina Spektor's records. Why? Well, those soothing voices seem to effortlessly relax so many people, so it makes sense to pair them with a warm cup of brewed caffeine and fresh baked goods, I guess.
Ree Boado seems comfortable with being classified as an "indie artist," but she's not just another chick whose music would be played at Starbucks — though songs like the delightfully catchy "You Got Something," which is simultaneously wise ("Beauty is truth / And truth is beautiful when you hear it for the first time in a long time") and inspirational ("You got something no one can take away / You are different from anyone ever made") definitely could soundtrack Frappucino sippage. Quirkier tracks like "Hey Heart," in which she scolds the vital organ for its failings, would make the grade, too.
And they often come from dreams.
"'The Farmer and the Gate' was a four-part dream," Boado says. "In one of the scenes, there was a small gate opening up, and I had to pass an alley to get to this beautiful place. Ever since I had that dream, it's been a metaphor that's stuck in my head. We have to pass through the dark places of our lives, even though we don't want to look at them or think about them, to get to somewhere better."
It has been said that dreams are metaphorical and reflect our lives. Boado found a correlation between her dreams and her music, as though, she says, she were having specific dreams because she was meant to write songs about them. The songs always turn out pretty, personal, and intimate.
They're not always happy, though. Boado has written about the feelings she had after the death of her abusive father. She views such songs as part of a compassionate mission to help others. She says feels rewarded when she is able to turn her pain into something beautiful, as though she were destined to go through an experience because someone else experienced something similar and needed someone to talk to.
It works, too. The singer-songwriter has received overwhelming letters of gratitude from many people, among them a woman who felt Boado's music helped her write about her own abusive experience and a man who felt one particular song was simply very comforting.
"Sometimes I think I should [classify my music as] healing/easy listening," Boado says. "But I've been calling it evocative indie pop. That's what one lady told me at the [Pretty Little Flies] CD release show."
Talking to Boado is easy, too. She's enthusiastic about the local music scene, speaking highly of musicians she admires. Her eyes light up and she lets out youthful laughs when she talks about them excitedly. She's got a bubbly personality, and she's not at all shy about expressing herself, in music or conversation. Her good vibes are contagious, and it's easy to tell that she's inspired by music and life in general.
But her music is the best vehicle — she's driven in part by magical moments when an audience is sucked into the moment by whatever the song narrates.
"My favorite artists are the ones whose emotions you can feel," she says.
Not that she listens to a lot of other artists. Oddly, Boado says listening to most other artists just makes her want to turn off the music and write her own. You'll probably find turning her music off isn't as easy — especially if a barista has control of the stereo.
"I've had these times where I feel like, 'I've got to make it,'" she says. "But who am I trying to prove something to? Myself? My parents? What's this really all about? Who cares? This is not about fame."