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Cheyenne Marie Mize

Cheyenne Mize: Two Clicks Shy of Full-blown Pyschedelia

Kevin Gibson

Cheyenne Marie Mize is a busy young woman. In between collaborating with some of Louisville's top talent and touring Europe with Vandaveer, she also found the time and creative energy to release her first solo EP, Before Lately, last fall.

In March, she was chosen by NPR's All Songs Considered as one of the Best Discoveries at SXSW, and you can catch her videos and other musings all over the InterWeb from LaundroMatinee.com to IntotheWoods.tv.

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park Cheyenne Marie Mize in Shelby Park

Cheyenne Marie Mize Cover Photo

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize Cover Photo Cheyenne Marie Mize Cover Photo

Cheyenne Marie Mize - LMN Cover

Photo By Paul Moffett

Cheyenne Marie Mize - LMN Cover Cheyenne Marie Mize - LMN Cover

The violinist/guitarist/keyboardist/whateverist, who describes her music as being "two clicks shy of full-blown psychedelia," will head back out on the road again with Vandaveer in mid-June, followed by a residency in Portland, Oregon, in early July.

Her manager at Crash Avenue, Jeffrey Smith, said Mize is "the culmination of references that are unknown, that no one knows, or that someone knew, but forgot."

Listen to a few of Mize's songs, and one finds that is actually pretty accurate. "In essence," Smith continued, "words flow, sound vibrates, and Cheyenne weaves it all in a tapestry of melodramatic commentary called song.

"I like to think of her as an astronaut, or maybe a firefighter or a pastry chef which is strange, because she's a musician."

Mize took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Louisville Music News about her education as a music therapist, her influences and her members-only islands in the South Pacific.

Louisville Music News: Tell me about your European tour with Vandaveer. How did that come about?

Cheyenne Marie Mize: As everyone is from Kentucky in one way or another, so is Vandaveer. So when they talked of crossing oceans in mechanical birds and time travel and such, I said I was in! ... I'd do it again in a minute.

LMN: You were picked by NPR's All Songs Considered as one of the Best Discoveries at SXSW. What do you think such a recognition could mean to your career?

Mize: Basically I'm in the planning phases of buying my own string of islands in the south Pacific. I'm going to call it "Shiny Places." No press allowed, but you can visit as a friend, as long as you don't mind nudism...

LMN: You began playing violin in high school. What led you to pick that instrument?

Mize: They gave us brochures in fifth grade. We didn't have to choose, but generally when given choices I make one, so violin it was. It was as random as that. I had to audition on violin to get into my high school. I hadn't been much for lessons, so luckily my conductor was willing to let me in on "potential," instead of "actual abilities." Go figure.

LMN: You also grew up with music around you on a regular basis. Tell me about that experience.

Mize: The music of life is a beautiful thing. I have always been in the thick of it. I plan on continuing to swim around in it all my days.

LMN: You have been primarily a collaborator up until recently, having worked with Will Oldham, Ben Sollee, Arnett Hollow, Wax Fang, Thomas A. Minor and the Picket Line and many others over the last four or five years. Is your debut solo effort last fall something you have been working toward all along?

Mize: Today is the present. I have been working towards this day every day of my life. My future will one day be my new present and I will have worked towards it every day between now and then.

LMN: Do you think working with these other artists gave you an advantage when writing and recording your original songs?

Mize: It is never advantageous to write, record, and attempt to distribute one's own songs. But I do love collaborating, yes.

LMN: How would you describe your music?

Mize: A firestorm of love, two clicks shy of full-blown psychedelia.

LMN: Who are your primary influences, from the beginnings of your interest in music up to the present day, and why?

Mize: Pink Floyd, Tracy Bonham, Bjork, Radiohead, Debussy, Portishead, Shannon Wright, Nina Simone, PJ Harvey ... the list goes on and on. Trying to explain why any of this music influenced/influences me is pointless it takes the beauty out of it. Music moves and inspires people because it does. If we pick it apart it becomes academic, an exercise. I did enough of that in college.

LMN: You studied music at the University of Louisville, which obviously shows you had a plan to make music for a living. At what point did you decide music was your "thing"?

Mize: I studied Music Therapy at U of L because I knew precisely that, although I had always loved playing music, I had no intention on performing for a living. Playing with people sounded much more appealing. I am still a Music Therapist and always will be. It's just that life, if you let it, takes some unexpected turns that are worth exploring just to know what it is like to try. Otherwise, what's the point?

LMN: Tell me a bit about your experience studying at U of L.

Mize: It was certainly a full-time job. Music classes, music therapy classes, practicing, orchestra, violin, piano, guitar, psychology, practicing, under-aged drinking, more practicing, torn wrist ligaments, inappropriate behavior from my violin teacher and subsequent distancing myself from violin classes and practicing, anti-war protesting and subsequent depression that set in right around the time of the "Shock-and-Awe" campaign, more drinking, general education classes that were mostly a joke but made for interesting ways to pass hours and hours of time every day, more music classes, clinical music therapy placements, more practicing and orchestra concerts, and '80s-themed costume parties.

LMN: You have been known to play instruments besides the violin as well. What do you play, and what are your favorites to play?

Mize: Would you ask me to choose which child is my favorite?! There is a right one for every situation and it has become very important to me to have a small arsenal at the ready. I play most things with strings and anything I can beat on.

LMN: Your EP Before Lately even got a review in The New York Times, which gave the whole Louisville music scene a glowing appraisal. Do you think the local scene is something special?

Mize: Yep. I love it here. If I didn't I'd be living in NYC instead, working at a coffee shop or restaurant to make enough money to pay for my over-priced, tiny apartment so that I can play one of thousands of shows every weekend. Yeah, Louisville's pretty great.

LMN: You may be too young, but did you know that back in the 1990s Playboy magazine called Louisville the new "music Mecca"? Do you think maybe Playboy jumped the gun?

Mize: Louisville definitely had its own thing going on in the '90s. It's great that Playboy took notice. I remember going to the old Primizie Pizza back then and trying to pretend that I was waaay older than 13. Boobs help.

LMN: If you could join one artist, living or dead, on stage for one song, who would it be?

Mize: Really there is a list of people/bands that I'd rather record or collaborate with. That's what I enjoy about music, not the being on stage part. Unfortunately that's just necessary for making a living these days. But at the top of that list would be Radiohead.

LMN: What do you do when you aren't making music? Do you watch reality TV? Maybe read books about sexy vampires? Or are your extra-curricular recruits less mainstream?

Mize: I don't really have a TV these days, although my guilty pleasure is watching medical dramas on the internet when I get a few moments. Mainly I like to be outside among the green things. They give life instead of sucking it out slowly from bizarrely willing participants like "Celebrity Apprentice." I mean, who can even look at Donald Trump for an entire hour? Or chopping up and cooking the green things (also life-giving), although I have recently been banned from sharp things after almost cutting the end of my finger off while chopping Swiss chard the day after Derby. I'm going to have to start wearing chain-mail gloves. I hear that's the next "in" thing anyway, so I'll just be ahead of the curve.

LMN: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Mize: I have no idea. Hopefully doing the same stuff, just maybe a little less of it and getting paid more to do it. We'll just have to see ...