We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Amalie Mattei and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina Amalie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In terms of risk taking in my career, I think others definitely consider me a risk taker. I mean, I was just at the playground with my kid the other day, with a mom friend and we were casually talking shop about the industry. I wasn’t surprised when she said, “I could never do what you do, I need too much security for that.” I hear things like that all the time from people outside of the industry, so I know they consider me a risk taker. Being a freelance, real, true to their heart artist, is a gamble. The money comes in waves, but it always has. What I have found, is if you stay in that extreme creative space…. the one that’s coming straight from your guts… the one what you are feeling every single note you play like its your last day on earth… If you can stay in that space.. That’s priceless and that’s living and there is no risk in that, for me personally. Thats heaven. Frankly, people like me don’t HAVE a choice. You take risks because, to you, its living in your truth. You don’t think about it as risk, because you are just following your joy. If I don’t live in my truth, I will go absolutely nuts. I have attempted other paths in music here and there, and the minute it feels like a hamster wheel, I am out. The hamster wheel may be security and fun to some, but its jail to me. But then, I am an extreme creative. If you are an extreme obsessive creative, you accept that about yourself, the risks just feel like choices of happiness, not risks. Having a kid was a big risk for my performance career, but it forced me to enhance my studio chops as a producer, so overall it just helped everything. The artist way is not a straight path. It flows and some people think flow is a risk. So I guess, overall, I think risk taking is very subjective to everyone.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are a few dimensions to my art. I have my solo work and what I produce for others, and recently part of my vocation is now artist development and mentoring. So many factors have played into me becoming a music producer. I mean, I’ve been touring professionally, live looping with electronics and live instruments, since 2006, improvising with some of the best for a while now, and also composing and performing in many different scenes of the industry and art worlds. So I have worked in so many genres and know musicians all over the world. This really helps when finding the right people to make the right kind of music for a specific artist. This is not something I planned. I just followed my heart and the music, and somewhere along the road, it all led to here. I mean it has not been all easy fun music making out there. You work your ass off and get your ass kicked. Being a woman, and not allowing the pigeon hole thing to happen, definitely characterizes you as a rebel and a lot of people, especially back in 2010-2016, when I was really out in the public eye, people got intimidated by confident female energy. The music industry never had a REAL #metoo movement, and with my experience, many woman felt defensive overall in most musical settings, because It was hard to relax with so much toxic masculinity oozing everywhere. Back in the day, if you acted too confident, you would get shit on for acting like how males act regularly. That is how it use to be and I AM FINALLY seeing that changing now, thank goodness! It also really surprised me, that once you start popping off, that’s when the vultures come out and try to take you down. But I realized if thats happening, then you must be carrying some waves. You have to keep your head up, and surround yourself with positive people that live in your value system, that don’t care about the power and status things, but care about the music and art. The music is the only thing that matters, and the stories that need to be told. That’s how I overcame all that trauma from toxic masculinity and kept growing and going, even if it took me out for a bit. I focused on the music and I learned how to avoid the sections of the ocean where the sharks were… or at least made sure I had a motor boat with some trusted friends in those waters, not just a surfboard. Now a part of my vocation is teaching, developing, producing and mentoring young female artist in how to not only navigate those waters, but how to protect themselves and their magic, and also how to find their inner voice and sound. That to me has been the most gratifying part of the business outside of the music making. Finding a way to teach women to find, explore, project and protect their musical artist magic is unbelievably fulfilling and to watch them grow and shine and be boss. In terms of music making, I feel most free, when I am making my solo art. I let it evolve and I allow my artist identity to change and evolve with me. One minute I may be using my name as a composer for some film thing, the next I will debut an instillation under the RYAT name, and right now, my focus is SAPPHO, which is a new project I am in the midst of working on. It’s sort of a female Thom Yorke thing, is how my friends described it to me. I am an experimenter at heart, so I am soooo free in this SAPPHO project. I am focusing on this for most of 2021 as well as the mentoring and development. Hopefully I will have a record by 2022. If that happens, I definitely would like to start touring again. That’s the goal. All of this producing is incredible, but half of me is a performer and the stage feels just as home to me as the studio. AND THAT, is what I feel most grateful for. I can be a producer one day, an artist another, and a mamma bear as well. It’s divine.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting, I would take them to Zebulon, to see some amazing music, and also The Blue Whale and Bootleg Theater. Sometimes Little Joy and Friendbar have some amazing little shows. I use to have a music improv night at Little Joy back in the day and amazing people came through. You could see people in Norah Jones band, to the Tonight show crew and even saw an Animal Collective band member in there once to come check it out. That’s whats amazing about LA, there will be a little offbeat bar having amazing music secretly happening in there. Little Joy is one of those spots. You have to dig to find it here! I would also take them to Nite and market song, which has amazing Thai fusion food. Probably Broom, Valerie or Intelligencia for some delicious coffee. Tomato Pie for Pizza. I obviously live in Silverlake and mostly hang in here and Echo Park. For the west side, I would go to Petite Hermitage, and see some music on Sunday nights there. Aron Byrd from KCRW throws amazing shows there. And also Valida does great stuff at The Standard in Hollywood. I cannot wait to enjoy LA again and all the amazing music and eats to be had.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a lot of people that help you to become who you are. I have had two great innovative mentors. One was King Britt. He was the first person who told me I was a producer, when I was 26 years old and I didn’t even realize something like that was possible for myself then, until he told me. The other was Calvin Weston, a very famous old school jazz fusion drummer. He put me on stage with some of east coast best old fusion heads and pushed me to play my heart out freely like no other. I learned more in those sessions and shows than you could ever learn in any school. I also once had two band members, one named MAST and a VJ named Annapurna Kumar, that stood by me and traveled all over the world creating with me and supporting any vision I ever had. My two best friends, Kate Watson-Wallace (choreographer) and Maria Emma Galba (Creative Director), these two women have stood by me being a mom and artist in every step of the way. They helped me to Navigate my huge load as a mom and never let me lose sight of the wild artist I am. Finally, my son, Atticus. I mean, he is the most creative and free loving human I have ever met. He pushes me to be more boss than I ever imagined and also accepts and loves the eccentricities of our musical/art home. We were both born on the 4th of July. We just get each other. Its complete creative freedom and love in our home and I am so grateful for him and that beautiful energy he brings.

Website: https://sappho.live/

Instagram: @sing_the_body_electric_

Image Credits
Fashion Designer, Creative Director, Photos by Maria Emma Galba @maria_emma_galba LIVE shot Stage show in collaboration with @wawakate Kate Watson-Wallace

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