LOS ANGELES — "A Time for Peace" is the first track on singer-songwriter Carmen Lundy’s latest jazz vocal album called, Modern Ancestors. It is also a time for celebration for Lundy who is now a Grammy nominee for the album which contains 10 of her self-penned songs.
Lundy is a multidisciplinary artist, traversing the worlds of music, and visual art. Her home/studio in Thousand Oaks is filled with her paintings, collages, and mosaics, including the colorful, geometric assemblage that adorns the cover of the Modern Ancestors album.
Some of Lundy’s early work lives in her backyard garden.
“This is one of the first things I did, this tile table in the ‘94 earthquake in L.A.,” said Lundy, standing in her garden patio. “I went to all the tile places and asked for broken tile. This was sort of like piecing our lives back together after the ‘94 earthquake.”
Piecing things together is a theme in Lundy's work, and she often sees artistic value in things others discard, like many of the musical instruments she finds to include in her sculptures.
“A lot of musical instruments are repairable,” she said. “But nobody cares. I care. Over time, I've just come to recognize the value how important music is.”
Lundy started singing professionally at age 16, and now, 15 albums later, she enjoys bringing together younger and older musicians on her albums, creating a dialogue between generations.
“What brought you here? How did you come to know this music? Who are those people that carried you, introduced you to these wonderful forms of human expressions?” said Lundy.
The Modern Ancestors album takes the listener on a journey through multiple cultures, emotions and time. But, sadly, Lundy laments that one doesn't hear much jazz in the mainstream these days.
“I've rarely seen vocalists come up with just sing the crap out of a jazz composition, alongside all of the other expressions of creative art forms that come from America,” said Lundy of the popular television music talent shows. "[Jazz] is an American art form, too.”
Modern Ancestors is nominated for the Best Vocal Jazz Album at this year’s Grammy Awards, Lundy’s first nomination in her long career. In a way the nomination is a validation of her musical journey.
“All of his time has passed, and all of these records have been made,” she said. “At some point, acknowledgment is exactly what's a reward enough itself. I was going do it anyway, but it's certainly reinforces, it certainly gives me a more than enough reason to pursue [music] because it matters to you to know. It's always mattered to me.”
Lundy is working on a new painting now, one that reflects the past year during the pandemic—a figure lost at sea. A guitar on a rocky shore. Dark clouds brewing in the distance. Lundy says, the painting might just be the cover of her next album which she is already working on.