Liz Chidester Interview

By: Cicely C. Mitchell

Liz Chidester is one gifted and talented storyteller with depth and layers found within each story she tells. She uses smooth melodic strings of her guitar and a crisp, soothing and inviting voice to tell them.

The Virginia native, who moved to Chicago on the coldest day last year, says that her storytelling is “half and half.”  “My songs are such that provide a mixture of both personal experiences coupled with sights and feelings I have,” Chidester told the Chicago Music Guide. The quietness and stillness of the evening is best for her to utilize and summon the layers and depth she is quickly being known for in her music.

Chidester, who continues to etch a name for herself in the Chicago music scene, is proud of her involvement with the Chicago Acoustic Underground and the Chicago Songwriter Alliance.  “I also love performing live in various venues.” Chidester told the Chicago Music Guide. “There is something special about live performances.”

Perhaps the magic of live performances coupled with the passion and unequivocal adoration Chidester has for music make for unforgettable performances as well as a growing fan base.

According to Chidester, she began writing songs as a kid and truly began to love the art and craft of singing and songwriting at the tender age of 12.  Chidester then took her musical abilities to various cruise ships as a singer who sailed around the world always with a song in her heart and a melody in her mind.

“I loved working on cruise ships,” Chidester stated. “Singing various genres of music really helped to build my love and appreciation for music as well as live performances.”  Time sailing and spent in the Mediterranean, as well as in Bermuda are also experiences that Chidester hopes to parlay into a song. “Those were wonderful times, rich with fun and experiences,” Chidester added, “ I know a song is within me from those wonderful moments.”

Regardless of what Chidester is singing, she loves the fact that her songs begin and end with a story that her audience can relate to and celebrate.

Chidester enjoys the music of such singers as Jewel, Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell. She also says that she would also like to couple electronica/ EDM with folk music. “I think it is a great combination to delve into and I hope to explore that combination in my music,” Chidester added.

With tremendous vocal ability and imagination, Chidester credits her strong, unwavering foundation and love for life to her parents. “I have been given such wonderful and tremendous support from my parents,” Chidester stated. “I have never felt I have been without their support.”

When asked whom her “dream collaborations” would consist of she states: “ I would love to work with Frances Luke Accord as well as Ms. Norah Jones. It would also be an honor to collaborate with Joni Mitchell,” Chidester added.

The classically trained Soprano/Belt singer has just released “People Pumping Pedals” under the Chicago Acoustic Underground’s label CAU Dog Records in January of 2014. Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Bandcamp, and Amazon, the project features such songs as “Santorini”, “Beauty” and the Windy City inspired “She Can Go To Chicago.” 

In terms of her showcasing her brand to the masses, Chidester says that she sometimes believes that technology takes hold of us instead of the other way around. “Currently, there is a lot of freedom in music,” she says. “Given such, I do think that things will be regulated more than what they are now and there will be a limit on much of what is currently being displayed.”

When asking what is next on the musical horizon for Chidester, she says that promoting her newest musical endeavor tops the list. “I will also be touring, continuing to create music, working with other bands and performing around Chicago.”

It’s great to know that Chidester lives in and loves Chicago; for we seem to be a community that has one devoted and creative artist that combines ingenuity, technology, experiences and an understanding of the complexities and joys of the world, into her music; that always makes for a wonderfully melodic universal language to enjoy time and time again.

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Liz Chidester, originally from the mountains of Virginia, moved to Chicago on the coldest day of the year in the winter of 2013.

Since then, she has become involved with the Chicago songwriter crowd: Chicago Acoustic Underground and the Chicago Songwriter Alliance, and has performed at various bars and restaurants in the city, including Mayne Stage, the Uncommon Grounds on Clark and Damen, Elbo Room, Tonic Room, Abbey Pub, Bird’s Nest, Parlour on Clark, The Greenhouse Theatre in the Beast Women Cabaret Spring Series, and The Den Theatre in her Chicago theatre debut as Glinda in the New American Folk Theatre’s “Marvelous Land of Oz.” Liz performs standards with jazz guitarist Jarvis Raymond at Nite Cap Cafe, and is a singer/guitarist in the roots music band The Cherry Trio. She also plays guitar for the premier iO improv team Virgin Daquari.

Before moving to Chicago, Liz was entertaining audiences at sea all over the Western Hemisphere on Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line as a variety band singer and host.

Liz is happy to annouce that she recently released a record under the Chicago Acoustic Underground’s label CAU Dog Records in January of 2014, available on iTunes, CD Baby, Bandcamp, and Amazon.

Liz Chidester is classically trained Soprano/Belt singer, and a graduate of the School of Music at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.