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Trumpet Wom'

Washington City Paper

One Track Mind: Trumpet Grrrl

A piano-and-horn eccentric goes to the Botanic Garden

Jan 7, 2011 12 AM
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Standout Track: No. 2, “Amaryllis,” whose jazzy melody and smoky trumpet prelude wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking an early Spike Lee film. Over crashing cymbals and tuneful keys, Trumpet Grrrl—known to her friends as Christina Coleman—sings in a deep alto, “I am the amaryllis/with delusions of grandeur.” Coleman performs solo on most of her songs, which are marked by her eccentric, sonorous vocals and playful tempo changes. In “Amaryllis,” the beats come courtesy of hip-hop artist P.T. Burnem.

Musical Motivation: Coleman was wandering through the United States Botanic Garden when an amaryllis caught her eye. She found a familiar metaphor. “I’m the flower stuck in the botanical gardens, trying to get out in the world,” she says. “This year I had a lot of financial hardship, so I’m trying to blossom out of that.” The 24-year-old Burtonsville resident tutors young children, but she’s confident music will be her main source of income one day. She calls the “delusions of grandeur” lyric “a little sardonic. I 100 percent believe I’m going to be very successful in music.”

Late Bloomer: “When I picked up the horn, I was like the last chair in the worst band,” says Coleman, who began playing at 10. “But I was obsessed with the trumpet, and by the end of the year I was first chair.” Her senior year of high school, when she started working with a new teacher, she discovered she’d been positioning the instrument incorrectly against her face. “I basically had to relearn to play,” she says. Last summer, she taught herself to simultaneously play piano with her left hand and trumpet with her right. “I have a very front-woman type of personality,” she says. “I thought marketing-wise, it would set me apart.”

La Libertad

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Maryland, U.S.A.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Brooklyn, New York.

La Libertad:  What is your occupation?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Musician and composer.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about your work?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Creating new music.  The symbiotic process of sharing music with others and receiving feedback from them.

La Libertad:  What other talents and hobbies do you have?

Trumpet Grrrl:  I have been playing trumpet for twenty years, and singing and playing piano for the past approximately six years.  I  like skate/snowboarding, playing in nature, and playing around with technology.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Everything I come in contact with.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of your job(s)?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Being disciplined, practicing, and working on things when I don't really want to; the outcome is always worth it, however.

La Libertad:  What foreign languages, if any, do you read, write, and/or speak?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Spanish.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Trumpet Grrrl:  Spain, Peru, Mexico, Tortola.

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Trumpet Grrrl:  To reach and inspire millions of people with my music.

Trumpet Grrrl:  I just released an album called Just Listen, which I recorded with Grammy winning producer Scott Jacoby, except for one track, recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks, in Brooklyn, New York.

We Plug Good Music

Trumpet Grrrl hails from the small state of Maryland known for its rural towns and historic caricature. She has since created the Trumpet Grrrl LLC and is now licensed to publish her music for sync-based reasons. Her grafting in the, as she puts it, “oversaturated market” is paying off with the better quality she is looking to add to her music. She will be touring the East and West Coast for the release of her EP, as well as playing solo shows around Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a summer tour in the works. So who is Trumpet Grrrl for those who do not know?

Trumpet Grrrl’s swaying has always been to the rhythm of music; and from 10 years old, her endeavours have always been to be a professional musician. Her achievements in music have been varied, from performing with the National Symphony Orchestra (at the Carnegie Hall) to receiving her bachelor’s degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of Maryland in 2008. Her tastes and influences in music stems from many a genre: “In addition to classical music, I grew up listening to rock of all kinds, old school R&B, pop music, electronic, rap music that’s not degrading…pretty much everything but country“.

Trumpet Grrrl as a whole is unapologetically hard working, with the vast amount of her music releases being funded by herself and friends, and supporters of what she does. She mentions that she makes music that is created truthfully to heal and inspire those to listen, and her new EP Just Listen is for listeners to simply do that. To round off her beginnings quite smoothly, Trumpet Grrrl says:

I grew up classically training, playing in orchestras and other classical ensembles in addition to solo playing. During my final months of college — where I studied trumpet performance, I formed a rock band name La Coterie.  This is where I began songwriting, playing piano and singing.  After that project ended a couple years later, I became Trumpet Grrrl and here we are a lil’ over 5 years later!

Going back five years ago, Trumpet Grrrl was indeed still very much active. Back in October 2010, she released The Basement Tracks, which was recorded and completed as a set of demos that, in a month or so, turned out to be her completed first album. From the record, she released the single “Amaryllis” which went on to get featured in the Washington City Paper’s ‘One Track Mind’.

The 7-track record, which was created in such a limited and short space of time, deserves a round of applause for even constituting work of an interesting listening capability. It has my ears sharply listening to each word she is singing. Trumpet Grrrl possesses such a deep drowning voice that drops to the point of inaudible but it’s so unique, with no comparison coming near to her voice at all.