Jazz Monthly: Yep, I know Pam. She’s very enthusiastic. (Laughs.)
MA: Oh yeah, she is a fan.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, she is. Speaking of that, you’re making new fans every day because now you’re traveling around the world, you just got back from Istanbul, Romania…talk about the vibe in other countries where you’ve toured and how that all interacts with your tour on the road.
MA: What’s interesting, I love going to other countries because you learn so much and you absorb these other cultures and you just get to experience all these different things other than America has to offer, and in the same respect, I think we’re bringing them a little bit of American culture with our music and so it’s kind of a cool give and take to go to other countries and play. I went to Istanbul this past week and it was so incredible just to be in a place that has such a history. I mean, the buildings aren’t 200 years old, they’re a thousand years old.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
MA: It’s ridiculous but it was wild. My radio show, Chill With Mindi Abair, it plays all over in America in about 40 markets, but it also plays in Istanbul on Power XL, and it was so wild to sit down with the people from Power XL and do a little interview and just realize that we have so much in common, and we all listen to a lot of the same stuff and their stuff is a tad different, a little more worldly and maybe a little more stuff from their world, the Arabic world, Eastern Europe, but it was so cool to kind of see our similarities and see our tastes in music and kind of just be inspired by each other, and it was really, really interesting to see how small the world can get.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and that’s thousands of miles away and there you are, you know?
MA: Oh yeah.
Jazz Monthly: Isn’t that a cool thing?
MA: Yeah, it really is and you get the chance to do things over there that you just don’t do in America. We were scheduled to play at this huge palace and in America when they say you’re playing the palace, you’re playing in some dingy rock club downtown with the wallpaper peeling off the walls in the bathrooms or something.
Jazz Monthly: (Laughs.)
MA: But in Istanbul, when they say you’re playing the palace, you are playing the palace. (Both laugh.) And it was just beautiful. We were overlooking the Bosphorus River and it was stunning.
Jazz Monthly: Oh wow.
MA: I’ve gotta say it was a great trip to go over there this past time. I know we’ll go back.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
MA: We went to Japan last year, late last year, and that was an amazing trip as well, so yeah, I’m kind of looking forward to even more of that kind of foreign exchange.
Jazz Monthly: Well, I think your career—we’ve talked over the years about your career and I’ve always said you’re probably about four or five years ahead of a normal career, but now I think you’re beyond that now. (Both laugh.) Things are just moving so fast.
MA: Wow, I appreciate that. That’s great.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, I think it’s a beautiful thing, and you’re at a new label now and I think that’s crazy good and just really cool. You’re at Peak Records now and that’s gotta be nice to land at another label.
MA: Yeah, I have to say Concord, the parent label, is amazing. I mean, obviously Paul McCartney is on Concord and Starbucks signed to Concord. Peak is their more contemporary jazz subsidiary and Peak gave me my own imprint as well, so I’ve got a little boutique label off of Peak Records called 23 Music Group.
Jazz Monthly: Oh, cool.
MA: I figured that that was kind of the next career move, was to have my own little boutique label so that in the future I could sign acts that I think are cool, kinda bring new music to the table, and have a part in it.
Jazz Monthly: How nice.
MA: Yeah, I’ve got my own little boutique going on, on Peak Records and I think it’s great.
Jazz Monthly: Okay, well, get ready for the e-mail and phone calls. (Both laugh.)
MA: Well, we’ll get my record out there first, see how it goes.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah. (Both laugh.) This record I think is going to be just fantastic for the audience around the world because it has something for everyone. I think it has so many different colors. It reminds you of a diamond with so many facets and just some incredible prisms, you know, that there’s something there for everyone. I think it’s just gonna be a really nice hit for everyone to enjoy.
MA: Thank you so much. What a nice thing to say.
Jazz Monthly: (Laughs.) That’s straight from the pump.
MA: Every time I go to write for a new record, I just kinda take what’s going on in my life and go with it, and I have been listening to so much new music and so many cool artists have come out in the past year that it’s just been an inspiring time, I think, in music.
Jazz Monthly: Mm-hmm. So true.
MA: I mean, music changed lately, you know? You’ve got people playing instruments and writing and singing. People like Sarah Bareilles with “I’m Not Gonna Write You a Love Song” or Feist, which was probably my favorite record of last year, just going out there and playing guitar and singing and just writing these cool songs. It’s like she takes chances. She’ll have tuba in a pop song, you know? How fun is that?
Jazz Monthly: (Laughs.)
MA: So it’s like kind of being inspired by the newer crop of singer-songwriters and so with this record we took a few chances and had some fun and just made a record that I wanted to hear.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and just going with your heart. I think that’s so important when it comes to making music.
Jazz Monthly: And people gravitate to that and embrace it because they feel those emotions, and that’s what we all love and enjoy, yeah.
MA: I hope so, you know? I think I made a very optimistic record and a very hopeful record. You kinda look at it after you’ve written it and kinda see what the thread is and what the whole record is as a whole, and it is very interesting to look back on the writing of it and everything. It just turned out to be this very optimistic record and I think that’s where I’m at. The world is in such a crazy place right now—we’re at war, it’s an election year, the economy is just in a huge slump, and people are just wondering, wow, what do we do? I mean, it’s a tough time for a lotta people and I think that to escape into music that’s fun and makes you feel something and maybe takes you away a little bit. That’s where my head was at, so I hope that people get that, get taken away a little bit.