Friday, March 16, 2012

Good Luck Merideth

Vancouver singer-songwriter-actress and guitar-maker extraordinaire Meredith Coloma has packed a lot of activities into her 21 years.
Chutzpah, that wonderful Yiddish noun that takes nerve to the borders of effrontery, she appears to have in spades.
It has placed her among the 13 finalists of the International Songwriting Competition — the winner to be decided in April in Nashville, Tenn. — and allowed her to walk in off the street into a famous New York guitar-making establishment and finagle a job.
Her passion for singing and guitar making began four years ago when she was attending the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, the famous acting school that turned out the likes of Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman.
“On my way home I’d go by a guitar shop and the person there didn’t speak much English but he’d let me hang out and restring the guitars,” Coloma said. “Then one day he put a pamphlet on the counter advertising a guitar-building school. It happened to be on Vancouver Island and as I was from Vancouver when I came home I went there.”
The school, Summit Guitar in Qualicum Beach, has a year-long program teaching students how to build and repair guitars.
Coloma, a quick study, could stay only four months because she had to return to New York.
While there she saw that many of the musicians on the late-night shows favoured guitars made in New York by Sadowsky Guitars.
Taking an example of her handicraft, an acoustic art guitar, she walked into the company workshop and confronted owner Roger Sadowsky.
“He just laughed in my face. Here’s this 18-year-old kid walking into his shop off the sidewalk with one of her guitars. But he seemed to like it, so just to humour me he gave me a tour of the workshop.
“As we passed one desk I saw it was empty and I said ‘who works there?’ and he said ‘oh, someone’s just left’ so I said ‘good you’ve got room for me then?’ and he said ‘okay, I’ll see you tomorrow.’”
During her spell there she would make guitars for Bruce Springsteen and Gilberto Gil.
Back in Vancouver these days she’s concentrating on composing and singing, and is working with guitar maker Michael Dunn.
Some of her art guitars have been featured in international guitar-building magazines.
Right now she’s crossing her fingers that her recent recording Summer Days does well in the Nashville competition, which will be judged by Tom Waits, Kelly Clarkson and other celebrities.
“It’ll be up to the judges. They’ll be listening to the tracks and deciding. You can only hope.”
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