By: Corinne Ferraro
A new artist with an old
soul--- singer-songwriter Kristin
Hoffmann brings insight and wisdom to her music, as she prepares
to release her major label debut, Real, in January 2006 on
who has garnered comparisons ranging from Fiona Apple to Laura Nyro,
found her way to Interscope when a representative from the label
started showing up to her shows at New York City's tiny Caffe Vivaldi.
The Interscope rep had heard about her through a connection to Hoffmann's
manager. Hoffmann was tucked behind a grand piano in the corner
of the café, building a connection with the audience through her
rich voice and intimate songwriting.
Live performances and
studio recordings from Hoffmann both relate the tenderness and sincerity
of her songwriting. Her live solo shows focus on Hoffmann at the
piano, where her deliberate arrangements allow the emotion of her
songs to flow through. She intersperses songs accompanied by computerized
tracks, which free her to pour herself even more fully into her
vocal performances. The result is the full attention of an appreciatively
"You can really feel
the energy in the room on any given night. Every single night you
play you're dealing with a whole different energy. Depending on
who's sitting in the room, you can have either a wonderfully deep
spiritual musical experience, or you can have a very surface-level
musical experience. I love it when everything flows, and you have
a really great group of people who are really working together,
and who want to have an experience, and it just happens, and everything
just lifts up. I feel like, everyone just gets into a space--- in
the right head space. One wrong table of people can set off the
whole room. It's so powerful when you have that night that just
transcends what we experience on an everyday basis--- I really appreciate
Rebounding from a major
label horror story at 22 was an unsuspected beginning for Hoffmann.
She was signed to Capitol Records at nineteen, and wrote and recorded
half an album for them. Then her supporters at the label left the
company. She was dropped, her recordings were shelved, and she found
herself, it would seem, right back where she started. Almost.
Her experience had allowed
her to watch and learn enough about recording to enable her to create
and release an independent record, Divided Heart, which has
since sold over 3,000 copies. Still, the years between her experience
with Capitol and her deal with Interscope provided their share of
growing pains for Hoffmann.
"I used to go through
so many hard times, and be all over the place. And then I wondered
-- why aren't things working for me in my music career? They weren't
working because I had to do the work to get to a place where I could
grow. I probably used to blame why my Capitol thing didn't work
out on other people. Yes, people changed their lives and that was
unfortunate for me. But I also think I needed to do a lot of work
with myself to grow as a person. It was a learning experience that
I needed to have, to reflect and change things within myself and
change my views of dealing with things."
As Hoffmann struggled
to find her place after leaving Capitol, some of her most critical
learning experiences taught her about how to choose the right people
to work with. "When you're first starting out, it's more important
to compile a team of people who really care about what you're doing,
and really care about you," she says. "People who aren't just thinking
about money and how much they're going to get you signed for. People
who really believe in your music and are willing to spend the time
to make it happen, and help you make it happen. For a manager starting
out with someone, they have to really want to be a part of what
you're doing and a part of your life. I don't think it's easy to
be a manager working with someone who's starting out. It's a lot
of work. There's not a lot of money in the beginning. You really
have to get over a big hump until both of you are having success."
in the music industry and in surviving New York City have indeed
allowed her to grow. Her soulful songs reveal an artist who has
earned the right to sing deeply positive songs, without discounting
the struggles that led her there.
Real is slated to be released in stores on January 17, 2006. Divided Heart is available on cdbaby.com, and through digital music stores.