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Time goes on, tastes change, but some memories or emotions that were instilled in my music remain. Some are more dear, some fade. (Image courtesy of Elena Maque).

Artist of the Week: Elena Maque

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I've been playing saxophone for almost 18 years, singing and composing for about two years. But music came into my life much earlier. I started playing the piano at age seven.

As a performing artist, I constantly play with other musicians, whether it be in a full band or a smaller ensemble. A lot of collaboration happens there.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My artistic process is pretty much nonstop. Practicing daily is a must. I try to spend a few hours a day working on my technique, learning new material, developing some ideas. Listening to good records and analyzing them is also a huge part of the creative process. And then there is another stage - PERFORMING, which plays a huge role in professional growth of an artist, but only if the first two stages are being constantly worked on! :)

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
I would call inspiration as a part of my artistic process.

I believe that every piece of art has a story behind it. Most of the music I write comes from a certain experience, a deep emotion or some life observations. In jazz we love to play standards that were written years ago. Interestingly enough, despite the melody and chords being the same, they never sound the same. We always bring our experience and context to the tune.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Learning about foreign cultures and customs is very enlightening, so I'd say that traveling has been my favorite “beat” for years!

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
Time goes on, tastes change, but some memories or emotions that were instilled in my music remain. Some are more dear, some fade. But I wouldn’t say that I'm holding on to something. Life goes on, so does my art :)

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Moving to the US has definitely changed my approach a lot. I grew up in a family of four kids. Being a third child in the family I sort of developed a mentality that somebody always “ knew better”, so to say. My older sisters, my teachers, my fellow musicians, etc. So I was very comfortable with being a follower, not a leader. After leaving Russia and moving to the States, I gradually found my way to separation and independence, where I started feeling and hearing my own voice. Getting that sort of confidence was the biggest breakthrough for me personally and my art inevitably. I formed my own band, I started writing my own songs and am working on recording my album and so on.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I perform in various venues in Seattle. The best way to find out about my gigs it to check the dates on my website, Facebook page or Instagram. The next big show is going to be on May 12th at Charles Smith Wines where we’ll have my first single and music video premiere as well!

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Yes! Currently Im in the middle of recording my debut album which will consist primarily of my original compositions and a couple covers. On May 12th my first single and music video will be released on all major platforms.

Also, about a year ago I started a project called SoulCanvas that helps aspiring Seattle artists get more exposure.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Extra-foamy Latte! :)


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