bill bodkin interviews the singer about her career as both a musician and actress …
My Band Consists Of: Anjelia Pelay — vocals, piano, guitar, melodica, celeste, principal songwriter; Jeff Plate — producer, acoustic guitar, bass; Colin DiMeo — guitar; Steve Tambone — drums. Also sometimes Taylor Hope will be on violin, Emily Grove and Christina Shafer on back-up vocals.
I’ve Been Performing Since: Since I could move as a baby. [laughs]
I’m Based Out Of: Asbury Park, N.J.
New Record To Be Released: November 2011
My Sound Has Been Likened To: I’ve been told a sort of female Gavin Degraw with a bit of Justin Timberlake thrown in there.
Awesome/Famous Bands I’ve Performed With: I’ve performed with the awesome Glen Burtnik, who is also a good friend now. I sang back up for Patty Smyth at one of Glen’s shows. And also I’ve worked with Gene Simmons as well, but film-wise, I was casted as a swimwear model on his Family Jewels show.
Pop-Break: You’re performing as a part of the M.A.D. Wednesday promotion at The Downtown in Red Bank, N.J.. What is it about this night that has made it the indie showcase of the Jersey Shore area?
Anjelia Pelay: I think The Downtown is a great place to play. I love the atmosphere there and the sound is also pretty nice there — which you know is really important. If the sound sucks … then you’re screwed. [laughs]
PB: You’re currently performing with guitarist Colin DiMeo, who replaced your original guitarist Nick Kiefer in the band. What does Colin bring to the table musically to the band? Has your sound changed because of his involvement?
AP: My Producer Jeff Plate worked with Colin and Steve in The Riverwinds. They are both really professional and great players. He played my music for them once, and they wanted to get involved so here we are/ I’m pretty excited for the new band.
PB: Who are your vocal and musical inspirations?
AP: Vocally, definitely Freddy Mercury. He was absolutely an amazing performer. Another huge inspiration to me growing up was Michael Jackson, Elton John, and of course, everyone knows this one: Marilyn Monroe. I also love blues and soul music. My father was a blues guitar player, so I grew up to him always playing the blues. Eric Clapton. I love Otis Redding. I could keep going.
PB: There’s so many artists out there vying for the ears of people out there. What separates you and your band? Why should people give you a listen?
AP: I try to use a lot of unusual instrumentation — melodica, celeste, chimes — but bring it to everyone with a modern pop sound. So instead of all the usual machines-only in pop music, you get some cool musical instrumentation with a pop groove.
PB: A song you play frequently at all your shows and one you’re including on your record is “Walls” by Tom Petty. Why is this song so important to you to have it such a part of your live show and your record?
AP: My friend Billy O’Brien had been seeing what a tough year this was for me with the death of my father. He reached out to me with this song and said I should cover it because I would really be able to relate to the lyrics. I fell in love with the song. And now it’s one of my favorites to perform.
PB: You’re also an actress, a registered member of the Screen Actors Guild and have trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Is your passion for music or for acting?
AP: My passion is definitely for both, but music has always been my number one.
PB: I saw that you’ve acted in some major productions like Spider-Man 3. However, the one that stands out for me personally as a big nerd, is when you appeared on Monday Night RAW. What role did you perform on the show?
AP: I played Brooke Hogan in a comedy skit with Randy Orton. I had to act madly in love with Randy as he was beating up The Hulk. It was one of the biggest things I’ve performed in because not only are you on national television but in a stadium of 70,000 people watching at the same time as well. It was pretty cool and fun to film.
PB: What can people expect from you both in terms of music and acting in 2011 and the not-so distant future.
AP: My CD release show I can promise you is going to be unlike anyone’s around here yet. You might love it, you might hate it, but you’ll only know if you come out in November. It’s going to be a good time. And I want to thank the people that love and support my music. You guys are No. 1 to me. I cant wait for you all to hear the CD.