By: Lindsy Carrasquillo
Known for being a backing vocalist and songwriter in the new wave rock band The B 52’s, singer Cindy Wilson has now released two solo EPs. We had the chance to talk to her about her career, how the music scene has changed and more. Make sure to see her play High Dive on July 25 where she’ll be joined by The Pauses.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in music?
My brother and I lived in Athens, Georgia in the late 70’s and we started the B-52’s after a sudden explosion of creativity. Ricky [Wilson] had always played guitar and was a Beatle maniac, he’s a very unique person. I was his weird little sister and we knew Keith Strickland who was like a brother to me and a good friend of Ricky’s, he played congos and drums. We decided to jam with him and that’s how we came up with the idea for Rock Lobster and a few other songs. We had such a good time that night and through the jamming that we decided to make a band and played at a Valentine’s Day party. We had about six songs by that point and it blew everybody’s mind because it was so different. Everybody danced and we later decided to play in New York down to Kansas city. We’ve been together in form or another for forty years.
As the B-52’s started in the 70’s, what was the music scene like back then?
In Athens it was country, rock, it wasn’t like how it is today where it’s a thriving metropolis and there’s hundreds of bands. It’s the total opposite of how it was back then. There was some folk music coming in, some bar music and disco. We had to make our own fun and it was very creative, Athens has good energy for that.
How do you think you’ve grown as a musician and performer over time?
I’ve realized that you have to enjoy what you’re doing and you have to bring the magic. You have to feel like it’s the first time you’re playing and try to bring the audience with you. I think the B 52’s did that and we’re still doing that on tour. Our schedule is a lot more hectic than it has been the past few years. That will probably continue and we’re doing some symphonic shows too.
What should fans expect from your solo tour?
It’s totally different, it’s not the B 52’s. It’s a different style for me and I feel that it’s very modern and has a lot of different influences from psychedelia and electronic to pop and all sorts of other things. I think the production value of it is just beautiful and layered.
What’s your favorite part of playing a live show?
I love it, I love the challenge of entertaining an audience and being in sync with my band. It’s like alchemy, everyone is putting in this energy into this one thing and it’s just music. It’s like conjuring up something from nothing and it’s like real magic to me. You put out this vibe and it’s just beautiful.
Is there a specific song that’s your favorite to perform on your solo shows?
I love all of them right now, they’re all beautiful. I think, right now, the song that I like best is ‘Glitter On The Inside’ but it’s not released yet. That should be out in November and we just signed with a West Coast record label that will help us promote and distribute the album to a larger audience and maybe even international, hopefully.
What advice would you give people who want to be involved in music?
It’s very different these days, my advice would be that you just have to be passionate about it. Be original and work with very smart people.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
When we come to town, please come see the show.