The Catalyst

Zee Avi

(((folkYEAH!))) presents: Live in the Atrium

Zee Avi

Joey Dosik

Thu, September 20, 2012

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Catalyst

Santa Cruz, CA

$12 in advance/ $15 at the door

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Live in the Atrium

Zee Avi
Zee Avi
For 25-year-old Malaysian singer/songwriter Zee Avi, "Swell Window" is the gorgeous track that started the journey and also the opening track of her second album, Ghostbird. "It's a song about seizing the moment," she says, "and for me, a new direction and a new voice came and stayed."

In the two years since her self-titled debut was joint-released on Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records and Ian Montone's Monotone Label, Avi's very free spirit has wandered from major music festivals (SXSW, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo) to huge tours (Lilith Fair) back to her homeland of Sarawak, Borneo Island, where she recently picked up an International Youth Icon Award. For a little perspective, just four years ago, Avi was a former art student in Kuala Lumpur who posted a song on YouTube to catch up with a friend and was quite surprised to find herself the toast of the Internet when thousands of strangers discovered her effortlessly stunning voice. Literal overnight success can easily poison young minds, but Avi is no ordinary mind — while critics were comparing her chilled-out, jazzy, ukulele-based songs to Billie Holiday and Cat Power she was continuing to make visual art and remaining her buoyant, whimsical self. "I'm 25 going on 12 and a half on a good day," she laughs, flipping through a notebook filled with colorful drawings and lengthy notes.

Born in the tiny town of Miri in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, Zee grew up near the South China Sea in a liberal, encouraging household where her father owned an energy consultancy. "I was bred to be a lawyer," she says, but music was in her blood. Her father's father sang and played double-bass, accordion, violin and guitar in bands.

With an eclectic pool of influences that range from such eccentrics as Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Daniel Johnston and Chris Garneau, to jazz greats Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, to classics like Velvet Underground and Led Zeppelin, this self-described "rock lover at heart" captures the dark, bittersweet qualities of romance with a crack left open for hope and optimism.

The songs on Zee Avi's debut are about an outsider's desire to belong and the tentative hope of moving on, filled with regret and loss, but boasting an impish, worldly wise sensibility. "I tend to be a loner," she nods. " 'Honey Bee' is about a romance between two nonconformists who are different from the rest of the hive, and are trying to avoid the pressure to be like everybody else."
Joey Dosik
Venue Information:
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
http://www.catalystclub.com/