Of all the artists that took to the stage at last weekend’s Inland Sea of Sound festival, there was none quite like Orange-based musician Amy Stevens.
Going under her stage moniker ‘Amy Viola,’ Ms Stevens brought her intriguing blend of classical and contemporary music to the stage, armed with her trusty viola.
This was Ms Stevens’ first festival performance as a solo artist.
“It was incredible to be involved in a festival with such a high calibre of artists,” she said.
“The festival was my first opportunity to break out into this crossover genre that I’m focusing on now with the Amy Viola project.”
With an immense background in classical music that has seen her tour internationally, Ms Stevens has combined her love of singing and an appreciation for contemporary music with her command of the viola.
“Since I was young, I’ve loved to sing, and I listen to many different styles and genres of music,” she said.
“When you start learning violin, you’re expected to go down a classical path, which I did."
“This project combines my tendencies as a singer/songwriter with my understanding of the viola.”
Ms Stevens’ unique approach to the viola is highlighted by her unconventional means of performing the instrument, which involves strumming it like a ukulele and incorporating loop effects into the sound.
This couples with her more traditional method of playing the viola.
“I write songs with my guitar and bring it across to the viola and looping technology,” Ms Stevens said.
“The end result is a traditional singer/songwriter song with layers of classical loops."
Ms Stevens is part of a growing trend to incorporate classical sounds into more accessible music, in turn adding a broader sphere to the mix.
READ ALSO: Author Peter FitzSimons to visit Bathurst
“It wasn’t until I came across Andrew Bird, who studied violin in Chicago before crossing over into indie rock early in his career, that this idea of reinventing classical music caught my attention” she said.
“Orchestras are realising that they need to reach out to a new demographic, and I’m doing my bit by integrating the sounds that I love into my music.”
Ms Stevens has been regularly posting her own projects to social media, and will be heading to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts next year to study songwriting.
“By the end of 2019, I hope to have an album’s worth of material that I can take to the studio and get recorded,” she said.