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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Angie Haze kicking off tour at Civic

6/26/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

The Angie Haze Project is shown performing at its CD release party last month, with Haze on guitar and other instruments, second from right.
Photo: Bill Rich
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Angie Haze is on a roll — she released her premier full-length album Heat to Cold last month and she’s almost set to embark on her first tour, leading off with a show at Akron Civic Theatre June 28. She will perform as part of The Angie Haze Project at 8 p.m. that evening in an intimate cabaret setting with limited seating.

“It’s now or never!” she said.

Self-described as a mixture of indie, folk, cabaret and gypsy sounds, Haze said she hopes people will dance at her Akron show.

During the concert, Haze will sing and play piano, guitar and melodica (a keyboard with a mouthpiece), as well as percussion, including a tambourine shoe, bells, drums, woodblocks and kazoo. She’ll be joined on stage by her core bandmates, Hoseff Garcia and Tim Ellinger, she said. Gina Wilson will join them on cello, and the show also will feature Justin Tibbs.

Tibbs also will open the show with his acid jazz rock band, Acid Cats.

“He’s amazing, and I wanted to feature him in a few songs,” said Haze.

Haze, 32, grew up in Tallmadge and now lives in the North Hill neighborhood. Her music has been influenced by a wide range of artists, she said, including Brown Bird, Brandi Carlile, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, DeVotchKa, Man Man and Gogol Bordello, among others, she said. Classical music also has had an impact on her, as well as jazz and blues, she said. Plus, since she’s Italian, she has that background in music, namely from vocal jazz greats Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, she said.

Haze has been involved in music since she was 6 years old, she said. Her grandmother encouraged her in piano lessons, and she found she was able to play by ear.

“I just wanted to play every instrument and sing and write,” she said.

Later, she taught herself how to play guitar, accordion and mandolin, she said.

She started performing when she was 17, she said, and played at First Night® Akron when she was 18. The following year she had a solo show at Lock 3, she added.

“I’ve always been performing, but I kind of fell out of it,” she said. “It gnawed at me to keep doing it.”

More recently, she attended Kent State University at Stark and developed a great rapport with her professors, delving into music theory, learning to read music and taking classical voice lessons, she said. She took last semester off from school so she could focus on making her dream happen, she said.

“Music has always been what I want to do and where my heart is,” she said, adding that the road she had to take to get where she is today hasn’t always been an easy or straight one.

Haze has worked at a day care center, in loss prevention for a major retail store and as a trained police officer.

“I had so many issues with trying to get an album out there,” she said, adding hardships included signing a bad contract and dealing with some untrustworthy people.

“Then I tried to do it myself and completely crashed,” she added. But finally, she found the right group of people to work with and was able to put together Heat to Cold, which she co-produced with Garcia and David Mayfield.

“It took 10-plus years, but I’m so happy with the outcome,” she said.

The title of the 10-track album is a lyric from the first song, “Addiction,” she said, and a lot of the songs on the album are about the difficulties she’s endured.

“I always tell people, if you want to know, it’s in the songs,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot, and my main message is to use what I’ve experienced to impact people.”

She hopes audiences can relate to her songs and receive something powerful, she added.

“I think that the world is often too numb,” she said. “There are so many things that influence people to become numb and pretend their emotions aren’t there. The only way to become happy and healthy is embrace all of their emotions.”

The last song, “We Will Lead,” a folksy anthem, is her favorite and sums up the message, she said.

After her show at the Civic, her tour will make stops in Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Greenville, South Carolina; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; and more. For a full list of tour dates, visit www.theangiehazeproject.com or find her on Facebook.

Tickets for The Angie Haze Project at the Civic are $15 for adults or a date night special of two for $25. Tickets are available at the Box Office, by calling 330-253-2488 or online at www.akroncivic.com or through TicketMaster at 800-745-3000.

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