Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Christie Lenée returns to Boulevard Music twice this week for the first time since the pandemic began, as the historic venue and store continues to reintroduce live music to its patrons. Lenée will be hosting a guitar workshop on Wednesday and then a concert on Friday, and the CCN told him about all of this.
When did you start acting and performing?
I’m grateful to have been raised in a creative community and to have been acting since I was 4 years old. My older sister was in the Entertainment Revue based in Tampa, Florida, and I used to attend all the rehearsals. When I asked director Cynthia Stevens if I could audition, she was kind enough to say yes. I surprised her by showing up to the audition already knowing all the dances and songs, and then she enthusiastically let me in as the youngest member. I will always thank Cynthia for this opportunity. She taught me a lot about performance and entertainment.
At 6 years old, I started to play the piano, then I fell in love with the guitar at 11 years old. After intensively studying classical and jazz guitar in a performing arts high school, while also being passionate about the art of literature, life emerged in songwriting and performance and the rest is up to you. ‘story.
Describe your sound…
Some have described my music as “Joni Mitchell meets Dave Matthews and Michael Hedges”. Some have also drawn comparisons to Melissa Etheridge with the frequent use of 12 strings and upbeat acoustic rock tunes. If I had to describe it, I would say that it gives acoustic folk/pop with new age, instrumental and classical roots.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
First place at the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2017; Voted ‘Acoustic Guitarist of the Year’ by England’s Music Radar in 2019; Named “one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world right now” by Guitar World in 2020; Voraciously acclaimed by Guitar Player Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Guitar World Magazine; Shared stages with Tommy Emmanuel, Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Christopher Cross, Antigone Rising, Andy McKee, Kaki King and Melissa Etheridge to name a few; Endorsements from guitar makers like Martin, Luna, Irvin and Veillette, alongside signature stringing through Savarez Strings; Filmed internationally in Europe, Australia, North and South America and many countries in Asia; Has released six albums, with STAY to be named one of three finalists for “Best CD of 2016” (Independent Acoustic Project Award); Featured Shows at the Grammy Museum (Los Angeles); Duets recorded with Tommy Emmanuel, Phil Keaggy, Tim Reynolds and Laurence Juber (guitarist of Paul McCartney and Wings); Instrumentals recorded with Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records; New album Come alive was co-produced by Matthew Odmark of Jars of Clay, featuring iconic musicians such as Keith Carlock (drummer for Steely Dan, Sting, Toto, John Mayer) and Grammy-winning bassist Adam Nitti (Kenny Loggins, Carrie Underwood, Susan Tedeschi).
Do you have recorded music available?
All albums are available for streaming via Spotify and Apple Music, in addition to the hard copy on my website, christielenee.com
Have you ever played Boulevard? Souvenirs ?
The last time I played at Boulevard Music was extremely memorable. One of my favorite guitarists, Janet Robin, sat down on two songs, and Grammy Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman was there. The show was very energetic and many people (including me) left Boulevard with happy hearts and musical satisfaction.
What can we expect from the set this time?
I will perform many songs from the new album Live, plus some solo guitar instrumentals. Both feet will be fully equipped with foot percussion (a kick on one foot, a tambourine on the other foot), in addition to running guitar effects and a vocal harmonizer to achieve harmonies 2 and 3 parts live. Loops will occur at special times throughout the night so the guitar can go wild and wild in the upper register.
What can you tell us about the guitar workshop too?
I’m excited to teach “Creative Fingerstyle Guitar with Open Tunings / Composition and Songwriting” to musician friends in Los Angeles. This course will focus on creative guitar composition techniques. It will feature a variety of open tunings, fingerstyle patterns, approaches to writing memorable melodies as well as various approaches to song forms. Participants will receive a collection of guitar tunings, some of which will be explored through shapes, fingerstyle patterns and creative patterns to spark new ideas. We’ll also spend some time on essential guitar techniques that allow for relaxation and minimal effort to enable longevity in the hands. It should be fun!
What else do you have coming up?
I’m on a mission to get my new album, Come alive out there in the world. This album is important to me because many songs are about people coming together again after the many changes that took place during Covid Lockdown. In a way, in that sense, this album feels community oriented. I put my heart and soul into it and I want the songs to be heard around the world.
In addition to the live broadcasts, other new music videos are in the works. Plus, we’ll be streaming exclusive videos recorded live in the studio with drummer Keith Carlock and bassist Adam Nitti. Stay tuned on the internet for lots of exciting content on the horizon!
Christie Lenee performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 21 at Boulevard Music. The guitar workshop will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19. More info on the show on boulevardmusic.com. More info about the artist on christielenee.com.
Elsewhere this week
Culver City music venues have a full schedule of entertainment over the next four weeks. For the cinema bar, which includes the Hot Club of Los Angeles (every Monday), Matthew Fields (every Tuesday), Open Mic Night every Wednesday, the Dime Box Band, Dan Janusch, the Healers, Bruce Ray White, Tom Gramlich, and more . For more information, visit thecinemabar.com.
Live music has also returned to Hotel in Culver and this week they’ll host Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys, Ben Flocks, Scotty Bramer Solo, Teddy Bang Trio, and more. Visit culverhotel.com for more information.