By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Chicago singer-songwriter Natalie Myre started performing in 2007 at Davenport's Piano Bar in Chicago at its open mic night.
Fittingly, Myre will celebrate the release of her debut album, "Breaking Forward," at Davenport's, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. She will perform 8 p.m. June 5 and June 8.
I had the chance to talk to Myre about the album.
Q - Great talking to you. I know your debut album, "Breaking Forward," will be released soon. In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?
Interestingly enough, I started writing the music for this album four years ago without knowing that it would lead to my first full length album. Once I released my first two singles in 2012, I started having a bigger vision of my mission as an artist and decided that it was a huge dream and goal of mine to record an album.
Once I had enough songs and received lots of positive feedback from some live shows, I decided to go for it! My goal became to make sure that each song told a story and kept its simple message which could be easily communicated through the arrangement.
My friend and producer, Jacob Sweet, really helped flesh out the songs for the album while staying true to their stories and intentions.
Q - Is there a meaning behind the album's name?
The name "Breaking Forward" was actually an idea of my friend Matt that he threw out the summer of 2014. I knew I liked it, but wasn't sure it fit the album somehow.
However, on September 6, 2014, I lost my dear friend Bernie in a car accident, and a few weeks later I was inspired to write a song in his honor. When I was sitting at the piano it was clear that the title and intention of the song was called “Breaking Forward,” and I decided to name my album that as well.
"Breaking Forward" is about change and how our biggest breakdowns can become our biggest breakthroughs, and that the challenging moments in our lives can actually lead us to incredible gifts.
Q - It seems appropriate that the CD release party will be at Davenport's Piano Bar. How did you discover Davenport's and why do you like performing there?
I stumbled upon Davenport's Piano Bar in 2007 when I started going to their open mic night! That led to me booking a few cabaret shows in the back room, and years later I had my own show called Thursday Night Jams, which is a show of covers and originals I play every Thursday there from 8-11 p.m.
I love that venue so much. It is filled with inspiring and talented people who truly encourage you to be yourself and go for it.
Q - I understand that one of your favorite songs on the new album is "Almost You," which you literally wrote in one sitting. Tell me the story behind the song.
That is one of my favorite songs! A few years ago I met someone and we had a connection that took me by surprise.
It was not only a physical attraction, but we seemed to have a very deep emotional and spiritual connection as well. I have been looking for that kind of connection for a long time, but like many love stories, the timing simply was not great for a few reasons. So, I wrote a song about the story, and how he was almost everything I wanted, but that I am still so grateful for the time we had and the experiences and lessons that it taught me.
I also feel like the vibe of the song truly embodies the energy of the person the song is about, which as a songwriter I was happy to emulate.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think you fit into it?
I am inspired by all of the different kinds of artists who play in Chicago, and I especially like the blues influence in this city. I strive to be authentic and genuine in my music which is something that I notice in many musicians in Chicago.
I am hopeful that I will fit right in!
Q - I know that you studied musical theatre and have been in such productions as "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." What made you want to switch your focus to primarily being a songwriter?
I still audition for musical theater when I find a project that is a good fit for me and that I'm passionate about. It is still something that I love to do and will continue to weave into my performing career.
The thing I love about songwriting is that I have complete freedom and creative liberties and can move forward as an artist at whatever pace I want. Also, I simply just love to sing and create music and focusing on becoming a musician was a simple way to follow that passion.
Q - Do you have any dream projects?
I would love to play at venues such as Mayne Stage and Schuba’s in Chicago and am excited about the possibilities of touring different cities, and eventually different countries!
I would love to continue writing and releasing a new album every few years, as well as use some of the messages in my songs to empower others to believe in themselves. I also have a dream to one day be able to start an organization that helps fund young artists who are looking for opportunities to record their music.