Music

Road lessons

Singer-songwriter Cygne has put a lot of miles behind her

By Ariana Kramer
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 4/26/18

Cygne (pronounced "seen") is a singer-songwriter whose adopted name is the genus name for "swan."Her name is fitting in that it represents a creature of air and water, which in turn are elements full …

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Music

Road lessons

Singer-songwriter Cygne has put a lot of miles behind her

Posted

Cygne (pronounced "seen") is a singer-songwriter whose adopted name is the genus name for "swan."

Her name is fitting in that it represents a creature of air and water, which in turn are elements full of motion and breath, as is song. Cygne's latest album is called "Let It Breathe," and its lyrical beauty belies that it was inspired by political mayhem.

Catch Cygne today (April 26), 7-10 p.m., at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. No cover will be charged.

"My most recent album was inspired by the refugee crisis [in Europe] and the [U.S.] election," Cygne said. "I've been touring mostly in Europe the last couple years. I was in Paris the night of the Paris attacks … I was just devastated. The album was recorded during the Presidential campaigns and election."

Cygne's new album was made as "a glimmer of hope" for difficult times.

"Let It Breathe" was produced by Steve Rossiter of New York City's Axis Sound. Rossiter has also produced several other albums by Cygne, but this one is considered by many to be their finest collaboration.

For her Taos show, Cygne will be singing solo accompanied by her electric guitar. She says she plays "bluesy, folky, soulful music." Cygne is the quintessential touring musician and has clocked more than 300,000 miles and 1,200 performances, including main stage shows at the Telluride Bluegrass and Rocky Mountain Folk Festivals.

She remembers always being drawn toward musical instruments. At 5 years old, Cygne remembers hearing Tom Petty's music. "I knew I wanted to do that and be that," she recalled.

Because her school offered a violin program, she began her entry into music by studying violin and played intensely in the school orchestra through high school. In middle school, Cygne began writing her own songs and picked up the guitar.

"When I started playing guitar at the end of middle school, that was a really dark time for me. It really became an outlet. I was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan."

While Cygne describes her early songs as "really kind of depressing," she said, "I feel with every year … my albums become more outward-looking and hopeful. With the current climate and nature of the world, it's necessary."

The singer-songwriter said that songwriting began as a therapeutic practice, and then she began to realize people were listening to her music. She started asking herself: What needs to be said versus what needs to be heard?

Cygne says she loved playing in an orchestra, and she thinks her classical background has influenced her songwriting. She's also still a Tom Petty fan.

"I love all forms of music, but I like Tom Petty best," says Cygne. Asked why, she responded, "It's just such pure rock and roll. His female characters are all actual people - strong characters, independent or on a journey. I always felt that they were respectfully presented … I felt there was some sort of recognition there of being seen as a woman. All of his songs, too, to me are really uplifting, even if he's singing about something kind of dark, it's still this ethos of love that comes through."

While she mostly plays her own original songs, Cygne was involved with a project recently for which she recorded, and posted on YouTube, one cover song each week for a one-year period.

After living on the road for 10 years, Cygne is getting ready to take a yearlong break. She is working on a multimedia book and album project that focuses on what makes a home, both for an individual and a nation.

For more information, visit cygnemusic.com.

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