There’s a new album from Megan Kleven, and in the words of Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, it goes “up to 11” -- both literally and figuratively.
After spending a year raising funds through a GoFundMe campaign and a concert featuring local musicians, Kleven flew to California to record 11 songs with producer and arranger Dave Nachmanoff.
Kleven, from Hammond, met Nachmanoff at Chatfield Center for the Arts several years ago. She was a volunteer. He was performing as part of the Chosen Bean concert series. “Someone mentioned to him that I also played music, and he offered to help me do some recording,” she said. “He's performed all over the world and plays guitar with Al Stewart when he goes on tour, so it was a big deal for me to receive such a generous offer from him.”
Now, Kleven will perform at Chatfield Center of the Arts for the release of her new album, “I AM” -- sharing a virtual stage with Nachmanoff. The release will take place on Saturday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. Those attending in person need to make a reservation in advance at chatfieldarts.org, and there is a suggested donation of $20.
Kleven said her music fits into the genre of contemporary singer-songwriter, but it includes influences from a wide array of styles, including everything from folk to pop with accents of Celtic and country thrown in for good measure. “It's an interesting blend that I hope will keep listeners on their toes,” she said.
She first started writing songs while she lived in Japan, teaching English after she graduated from college. She said some of her songs start as personal poems she’s written that are then set to music, while others might be inspired by movie scenes. Some of the songs are based on her hardships, like “Just Carry On,” which she wrote after her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and shortly before he passed away.
In 2018, Kleven lost her job and struggled with anxiety and depression for about nine months before deciding something had to change. She said the decision to pursue music and create this album was a turning point in her life. As her song “Just Carry On” reads, “when they throw sand in your eyes/you have to stand tall.” Kleven hopes the album release, even during a pandemic, shows that same resilience.
“A good, socially-distanced turnout at the event, either in person or online, would not just be nice for me as an artists, but will also hopefully be encouraging to the Chatfield Center for the Arts and other local music venues to press on and provide similar shows in the future,” she said, adding that her supporters have been waiting for the release for a long time.
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Initially, the plan for the album release included Nachmanoff flying in for the show. With the uncertainties of COVID-19 making his travel difficult, however, the show will present his virtual performances interspersed with Kleven’s live performances. Both will be streamed live for those who can’t attend in person.
“It’s surreal to listen to the songs on the album and think, ‘that’s me,’” Kleven said. “It feels like I’ve been keeping them a secret forever, so I’m excited to finally get to share them with the public.”
If You Go
What: Kleven and Nachmanoff CD release concert for “I AM”
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 11
Where: Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 Main St. S, Chatfield
Cost: Suggested donation of $20. Reserve your seat at www.chatfieldarts.org.
Online: Live-stream the concert from the Chatfield Center for the Arts Facebook page, www.facebook.com/chatfieldarts.
If you can’t make it to the show but want to check out Megan Kleven’s new album “I AM,” you can purchase it through her website: meganklevenmusic.com.