Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Sareena Dominguez

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Sareena Dominguez

Since moving to Scottsdale, I have been reading the Phoenix New Times like crazy. It’s what NUVO was in Indianapolis, but WAY better. Their website is pretty great too. One of the first issues I read when I got here featured several bands from the Valley. After reading about some of the band, I decided to reach out to them. One of those featured was Sareena Dominguez. She is a singer/songwriter, but that wasn’t what grabbed my attention. Based on her brand, from looking at her website and Facebook page, you would think she has been doing this for years. She is 19! I couldn’t believe it. She recently had her CD release party, and while I couldn’t go I heard it was a packed house and she put on a great performance. I am new to the Valley, but meeting artists like Sareena are making me feel right at home.

Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Arizona!

We just moved to the Valley. Tell me… what is the worst thing about living in the desert?

For a second there I thought about giving the typical answer of, “THIS HEAT!” I would say that the summer heat is definitely a huge pain at times (for example, when the air conditioning in your car has just gone out) but from living here for a full 19 years I find myself longing for trees, creeks, and the smell of rain. I enjoy visiting Northern Arizona for my fix! Other then that I would say that living in the Valley has its ups. The sunrise, the sunset, the mountains, and where I live there are many farms and fields which I love.

I saw you in the Phoenix New Times. Did you get a lot of exposure from that piece?

There have been about 3 articles in the Phoenix New Times that I have had the pleasure of being mentioned in! All thanks to Troy Farah, a fan of my music who often writes articles for New Times. I definitely think that they helped put my name out there to the locals in Arizona which I greatly appreciate. I hope that they continue to cover stories on my experiences as a local musician!

Do you write all of your own lyrics?

Yes, I do! I think that that may be my favorite part of jumbling a song together. The lyrics and melodies come a lot more naturally to me than the instrumentation does. I’ve always written things down, I keep a lot of journals with random ramblings in them alongside doodles. I find it easier to communicate thoughts and feelings through writing because I have time to think about what I’m trying to say! I honestly don’t think i make sense sometimes when I’m talking to someone.

Tell me about your relationship with River Jones Music.

River Jones Music is the local Arizona record label that I am currently signed to! It’s small, and requires you to be very involved. The last 9 months with RJM have been successful as far as playing shows, making an album, and obtaining fans and friends has gone. It’s nice to be associated with something that has built a name for itself not only in AZ but in many other states and countries. It definitely made things easier for me as a new musician, not knowing the people and steps that needed to be taken to make things happen. Also to be associated with some of the other musicians on the label is wonderful! Having people who already listen to their music take notice to my music because I may be playing a show with them is a great way to build a fan base!

How do you know Tiffany Egbert?

Tiffany is a very beautiful and talented blogger that I met while playing a River Jones Music Festival at one of my favorite Tempe venues called Long Wong’s! I had been struggling with the cover art for my album and River connected me with Tiffany to take a couple photos as possible options for the cover. She has such a unique and authentic soul and the images that she captured are marvelous.

What is Moonbeams?

Moonbeams is a song that I wrote about curling up into a ball and calming the heck down. As poetic as that sounds I feel like Moonbeams is one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t mention being in or out of love. It’s about taking a break, crying it out, and paying attention to other things that surround you besides this one problem that you have been tangled in for so long. You will get over whatever is bothering you. In one of the verses I say. “Lightning, lightning, strike me again so I can feel something,” meaning someone wake me up so that I can snap out of this funk and start living again!

Speaking of Moonbeams, I love that song and the video. Who directed that and where did you shoot that video?

Thank you so much! Laura Belle of a company called Tobacco Films directed the music video. Laura along with many others involved in the production of that video made the whole experience wonderful and very stress free. We filmed in Tucson, Arizona at the Proscenium Theater.

Your voice is incredible. When did you first know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?

I’m always singing. Everywhere I go, with everything that I do. It’s sort of a problem sometimes! As a kid my mom put me through musical theater classes. I loved every second of it. The costumes, the dancing, the amount of practice that went into it followed by the feeling of performing on a stage. I love musicals and I still only really watch movies where people sing in them, many of them before my time. Basically anything with Gene Kelly in it. Music has always been something that threw off my focus or distracted me when I was trying to pursue other career choices or just in day to day tasks, it still does. I know that this is what I’m good at, I know that its always on my mind, and I know that this is what I love doing. What more do I need to convince myself of in knowing that this is what I’m supposed to be doing than that?

Do you ever get the chance to play outside of the Valley?

I’ve played in Austin, Texas before! I’m sure once I start planning a tour and finding places to play in other states that my adventures with playing outside of the valley will greaten!

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

Just recently I went to see Foster The People live but I was mainly there for their opener KIMBRA. She has just started touring here in the U.S. and she’s really big in Australia. My bandmates and I are really huge fans and getting to hear someone so fresh to music that is offering such a new take on pop was amazing! Its always so tantalizing to experience someone that you love musically live! Visually I think so far the best concert I’ve ever been to was Coldplay, but thats a given. Those guys are just great.

Where are some good places to see live music in Scottsdale?

I’m not sure if I know of to many hot spots in Scottsdale! There is a cool place that I often visited while recording my album called Coffee Plantation that often has awesome musicians roll through. Not to mention the drinks and food there is delicious. Also, I’ve known of some pretty good musicians playing at a place called The Rouge Bar!

I am having a hard time here… what genre do you fall into?

You and I both buddy. My sound is always changing because I love so many different types of genres. My mom listened to a lot of Michael jackson, Prince, and pretty much made me adore any song from the 80s. Growing up she would also throw random CDs in the car like Norah Jones, Jeff Buckley, and Coldplay. My dad listens to a lot of oldies like Marvin Gaye, Barbara Mason, and the Bee Gees. With all of those different types of music floating around the house I think I just had and still have a hard time picking my favorite genre to sing and listen to! I love listening to Jack White and then jumping into John Mayer and then out of no where busting out some Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland. Changing genres up just excites me. For now I will say that I fall somewhere under the indie pop genre. As much as I used to sort of shutter at the word pop I’ve started to like what I’ve been hearing from some of the bigger female artists that are considered pop in the mainstream music square. I will say that you can definitely except to hear my newer music begin to heat up with whimseys of jazz and a little bit of funk.

What is your favorite song on the new album?

My favorite song on the album is Stop Saying Sorry because of the way it ends. The organ and drum beat all sound very big and sort of resonates and sticks with me after i have finished listening to it which I absolutely adore because it really brings the song to a whole new level. The production of that song really makes me feel good about my music.

You are using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Do you manage all of those accounts?

River Jones helps to manage my music Facebook page but I mainly run my own personal updates on Twitter and YouTube! I also have a Tumblr that I’m always updating. I feel social media is one of the most important ways to spread my music because it is such a huge part of peoples lives nowadays.

Did you have a good 4th of July?

Yes! I went to watch fireworks in a huge grassy field on a blanket and the weather couldn’t have been better.

Do you have a job outside of music?

I attend college and I am fortunate enough to have parents who financially support me at the moment but I am hoping to soon be employed somewhere that will somehow be involved with my major. For now I dedicate a lot of my time to writing music and school.

Who is Curtis Douglas?

Curtis Douglas is who produced my entire album! He owns his own production company called KPAX Music. He puts his whole being into his work. A lot of the instrumentation on the album is him and friends that play music. I was very fortunate to have someone show me the ropes of recording and help me tweak some of my tunes. I definitely give him some credit when it came to showing me what I was capable of as a singer/songwriter!

Where do you guys practice?

We used to practice a lot in my living room when we all first started playing together but now since growing as a band we play at my bandmate John’s house. He has a small music room filled with different musical assortments and foam pieces to pad the walls that we all pack into and jam in.

Is there a lot of competition for live shows in the Valley, or do bands tend to get along here?

I’ve never personally had any sort of rivalry with any of the bands that I’ve met since I’ve started playing music. We are all too busy being happy and making sounds together to pay attention to anyone who is bringing any sort of negativity or conflict into the music scene! Its strange because the tiffs that I have heard of happening within the music scene never actually involve anyone who’s playing the music. Maybe they should pick up a tambourine and smile.

Has anything embarrassing ever happened to you while on stage?

Plenty of times. Sometimes when I don’t warm up correctly my voice will crack while I’m holding a note or singing out really loud on stage! (And not in a cool Joan Jett kinda way. It’s more of like a Yoko Ono kinda thing.) It’s something that I’ve been working on controlling.

I see you were at SXSW. I have never been… tell me about it. Is it as good as people say it is?

We had that very amazing opportunity this year! It’s a huge melting pot of hundreds of musicians, film makers, industry representatives, and artists big and small. All of these different types of people are walking around holding instruments, laughing, setting up equipment. It was crazy! I’m sure that if I hadn’t been worrying about playing that it would have been a very different experience! It was so much fun, but whenever you are somewhere that you are unfamiliar with it’s super hard to navigate around and you start to get really anxious. It was just a bit stressful a times because we didn’t really know what we were doing or where we were going. I would totally do it all over again though. Just being in the same area as some of my favorite musicians was seriously cool. Now that I’ve experienced it and know what i am getting myself into I would be back to play another show in a heart beat.

What instruments do you play?

I play the guitar and that is pretty much it! I’m still a bit elementary on it though! I have been making plans for a while now to start looking for someone to play guitar for me in the band because I think that my voice is my strongest insturment and that playing the guitar at the same time sometimes distracts me from singing my best.

You joined Facebook on my birthday. Your anniversary is coming up! I think you should write a song to celebrate! Out of all the social media networks, do you prefer one over the other?

Did I really? I will look into writing a Facebook/birthday song! I really think that Facebook is the Internet outlet that I pay attention to the most mainly because everyone else does the same. I find my Twitter getting neglected often because I’m not a celebrity (yet) and those are the only people who really tweet anything.

Tell me more about Kitten Paws.

Kitten Paws Vintage is Tiffany Egbert’s blog! She updates it with photos of vintage clothing, her photography, beautiful headbands that she makes, and other events!

What’s next for Sareena Dominguez?

Touring, writing, and spreading the love through my music! Big things and wonderful experiences is what I’m shooting for!

Thanks for your time, Sareena. I know you are busy. Congratulations on all of your success. In all of the interviews that I do, I always give the artist the last word.