Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Aimsel Ponti firstname.lastname@example.org
Twenty-two-year-old singer-songwriter Keelan Donovan ditched his hometown of Portland a couple of years ago when he transferred from the University of Maine and finished up at Belmont University.
KEELAN DONOVAN CD-RELEASE SHOW WITH AMY ALLEN
WHEN: 8 p.m. Oct. 7
WHERE: One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $8
WHAT'S ON KEELAN DONOVAN'S iPOD
"Murder in the City," The Avett Brothers
"Sydney (I'll Come Running)," Brett Dennen
"I've Got This Friend," The Civil Wars
"The Chain," Ingrid Michaelson
"Baby Be Mine," Michael Jackson
"Vultures," John Mayer
"The Ills," Mayer Hawthorne
"Home Again," Michael Kiwanuka
"King of Spain," The Tallest Man on Earth
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Frankie Valli
TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
Belmont is in one of the most special places a songwriter could find himself: Nashville. So it's no surprise that Donovan decided to stay right where he was and fully immerse himself in the famous Southern music hotbed often referred to as "Music City."
Donovan is coming home to celebrate the release of his second EP, the six-song "With Love," with a show at One Longfellow Square in Portland. GO got the lowdown from Donovan on "With Love" and his musical path leading up to it.
When did you first start singing? Playing guitar? Writing songs?
The first performance of my life was at my senior year talent show. I sang "I Believe I Can Fly." I have been playing guitar since the seventh grade and writing songs since freshman year in college.
Let's jump right into the "With Love" EP. Who is singing back-up on "Ant Farm," and who's that playing horns?
Logan Brill, another artist from Nashville, is singing on that one and "Sea Shell Song." My friend from Belmont University, Brendan Dorman, is playing trumpet. Another great artist, Josh Blaylock, is playing trombone and keys.
What was it like working on "With Love" with Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering?
It's always a privilege to work with someone who has already lived your dreams. He has worked with some of the best artists around, including Nirvana, Madonna, Foo Fighters, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones and Rascal Flatts. The sound that Adam gets out of mixes that go across his desk is really remarkable. To have him master both this EP and my previous one is a pretty cool thing, and I'm very fortunate to have experienced it.
How was your approach to the new EP different from your approach to "Tall, Lanky, Pale and Sexy?"
My approach this time around was much more organic and authentic to who I am, both as an artist and a person. I think that my last EP was definitely "an artist's first go-round" in terms of production and songwriting. This EP is much more lyrically driven and will be able to reach my audience like I never have before. I'm excited to hear the response from my listeners.
Who are your big musical inspirations?
My big musical inspirations are The Avett Brothers, John Mayer, Chadwick Stokes, Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson and The Civil Wars. But aside from that, I am inspired by anyone who I see and hear that has an inevitable passion for their music and lyrics -- no matter the genre.
What did you grow up listening to?
I'm still growing up. But in my 22 years, I have listened to a lot of different kinds of music. My sister introduced me to pop music, and my friends showed me rock. I have had a number of phases, though, including Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and more recently, Jason Mraz.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: