Susan Grisanti's Interviewwith
Mark Robbins~Producer for Paul McCartney & dozens of GRAMMY music stars~
Q1: In addition to your 2-decade experience as a pro-level guitar teacher, you are also a renowned concert performer, known as the 'First Lady of Classical Guitar in the Southwest'. Tell us about your favorite places to perform!
A1: My favorite places, in no particular order, would be the Falkenstein Castle in Germany, the Hollywood Business Expo, & the Austin Capitol Restoration Celebration in Texas. The Falkenstein Castle concert was part of a concert tour of Germany that was sponsored by the US Embassy Touring Roster. The cover of my second CD is me in front of the Castle, one of the most picturesque places in the world. I played a concert in the Turret of the Castle, up a winding stone staircase with no rail, just like it was in 1100 A.D. when it was built. The Turret seated about 40 people, with moose & dear heads on the wall, just like in days of old. It really was a trip back in time. Playing Bach there was special, maybe there had been concerts there of Bach's music 300 years ago! The Hollywood Business Expo took place in the historic Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, with statues of Charlie Chaplin in the hotel lobby. I happened to run into Johnny Grant, the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, in the gift shop in the basement of the Hotel, three hours after I arrived in Hollywood to play for the Expo that week. He already had one of my CD's that the Hollywood Chamber had given him, so I gave him a copy of my Germany CD, to which he replied 'I'm going to give this to my friend at dinner tonight' I'll always wonder who that was! The thought ran through my mind about the thousands of people who come to Hollywood hoping to make it, and never meet someone like Johnny Grant, and here I was meeting him 3 hours after I arrived in Hollywood. Fate was smiling on me!
The Capitol Restoration Celebration in Austin Texas was really special. I was the only solo guitarist at the event, and the only musician to perform in the Rotunda on opening day after the speeches by George W. Bush and other notables.
Then there was the Walk of Fame induction of Tanya Tucker in West Texas, and playing for Tipper Gore a year before Al Gore's election as vice president. The recommendations of the Gore's was how I was approved to be on the US Embassy Touring Roster. You can only apply once in a lifetime for that! Texas has
helped my career immensely over the years.
Q2: You have long been involved in charity work, and performing for charities in West Texas and beyond. Why are you drawn to charity work?
A2: That's a big part of what I do, to give back to the community. West Texas & Lubbock helped launch my career, so I get a lot of happiness in giving back for charity work. Most recently I played for the Boys Ranch Telethon here in West Texas. The video is on YouTube if you'd like to check it out! I've done lots of children's charities like Nat'l Center for Missing Children & Ronald McDonald & Make-A-Wish. When Hurricane Katrina hit, I was one of the first musicians here to play for the hurricane refugees at the Reese Shelter in West Texas. The shelter was sponsored by the Red Cross. Most recently I worked with children with cancer here at UMC hospital for the HUGS program, sponsored by the Buddy Holly Museum.
Q3: You have 3 CDs recorded to date, do you have plans for recording projects in the future?
A3: Well, in addition to my 3-CD 'Great Classics' series, I also released the 'Isaiah Project' CD this year. It's meditative guitar music based on the Book of Isaiah. The producer of that CD was Uri Harel, from Phoenix. The CD has already gotten over 2 hours of network TV exposure this year. Also, 38 of my original songs are available for download from AllTexanMusic.com, that's producer Mark Robbin's music label. I'm currently working on a collaborative music project with Mark Robbins. You'll be hearing about that one real soon!
Q4: We see a lot more of you on YouTube this year. We know these links are on your web site. What are your feelings about YouTube and your exposure there?
A4: What isn't there to say about YouTube! It's every man's marketing tool. I talk to college students now who say their professors upload their lectures & assignments. And for me the coolest part is I can edit my YouTube channel & upload new Vids all the time. YouTube is a marketing maniacs dream LOL
Q5: You are now known as the TEXAS AMBASSADOR OF FINE MUSIC. Tell us what this means?
A5: To help promote fine music from Texas, Mark Robbins & I started 'Susan Grisanti's Texas Ambassador of Fine Music Concerts & Tours' which includes sponsorship levels for new music to be written, recorded & taken on tour to promote new music & musicians from Texas. The 'New Young Composers Award' is part of the Texas Ambassador program, & will include a cash prize & concert performances for musicians ages 11 to 18. You can find a lot more about the program on my website at SusanGrisanti.com
Q6: What makes you a TEXAS AMBASSADOR OF FINE MUSIC?
A6: The Texas Capitol Restoration Celebration when George W. Bush was Governor, the Waxahachie Symphony Series, East Texas Baptist University, Midland Arts Festival, Austin Paramount Theatre, Amarillo Gem Theatre, South Texas Classical Guitar Society. The list goes on and on but these are highlights of some of the major venues I've performed in Texas.
Q7: So while you are a world class performer, you still enjoy playing "in-home concerts" as well as corporate events and private parties, weddings, and holiday music?
A7: Yes, I do the whole gamut of venues, everything except Rap! LOL! Coming up this fall I'll be performing for the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting, then for the Women's Club Annual Meeting. And I just performed for a major fundraiser for a new trauma hospital. Also I'm doing music for the famous Tornado Gallery & First Friday Art Trail, & performing with Tinker Carlen to promote his book 'Tinker Carlen~An Original Cricket!'. And of course I have to mention my monthly show at Orlando's in West Texas. I've played that venue for 18 years. Loyd & Karen Turner are the owners & are great folks. 18 years playing every month at the same venue must be some kind of world's record LOL Be sure to drop by & catch my show there when you're visiting West Texas! I also am planning some shows in Hollywood CA in 2008. Watch my website & newsletter for updates!
Q8: Have you noticed a trend in wedding music going back to classical instruments like harp and guitar?
QA: Yes, acoustic instruments are very popular again now, including guitar, harp & string quartet!
Q9: As a composer, and entertainer, do you find local audiences receptive to your performances of your compositions?
QA: Yes. Last night I performed for a major fundraiser for a Hospital, and was featured several times throughout the evening with my original songs and instrumentals. It seems like there is a trend away from just playing cover tunes to more acceptance of original music now. I was also featured several times this year on network television with my original guitar instrumentals from my latest CD.
Q10: Do you have a website with booking info?
QA: Yes. http://www.susangrisanti.com & at the LINKS below this interview....
Mark Robbins is music producer for dozens of major music stars including Paul McCartney.....contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at http://www.myspace.com/studiocerebral Mark currently residesin Flower Mound, Texas.