Autumn Sky is done with being cute. “Most people look at me and see a short girl so they think I’m adorable and something cute is about to happen,” she says, and smiles charmingly. In her Annie Hall-esque felt hat, blazer, and tied off white blouse she looks mature and well put together rather than adorable. She sips her foamy latte in its white ceramic cup before continuing. “If something cute happens it’s not my intent. It’s a byproduct of me being a girl and it’s not ever something to I would use to describe my music.” She’s also not a singer-songwriter, a genre she now considers a niche market for youtubers who sing ‘cute adorable songs about their feelings’ and she’s having none of it.
Autumn has been playing music around Sacramento for ten years this month, and has been Sacramento News and Review’s artist of the year three times. If you don’t know Autumn and her band, it’s probably best to go to one of their shows because the face of her entire musical style is changing, “I’ve played a billion singer-songwriter shows where I played a ukulele and people would be like ‘so cute, so cute’. At the end of the day as a girl, you don’t want people to take everything you are and squish it down to that, like that’s all you are. As if all you can do is write happy songs on a ukulele.” The rings on her fingers flash in the coffeehouse gloom as she gestures emphatically. “I definitely felt that was true back then. Now I’m making sure every facet of what my band and I can do is well represented and we make sure that we say upfront that this is our intent.” In February they’ll be coming out with an EP full of singles called Scout. She promises it will be super catchy, darker, and full of emotions and effects.
Her shows are also quite enthralling, both to the eye and the ear. She is known for designing sets for the venues she headlines and often reaches out to her fans for input. “What I am trying to do [with my fans] is try to get a personal relationship with them rather than treating them like mindless numbers I will someday use to buy my music and get rich off of.”
Previously a solo act, she now gushes when asked about her band, “I have been blessed with musicians who go way out of their way to go above and beyond what’s normally expected of a musician…every time we go to practice there’s something new. It’s been an amazing growth period for everyone.”
A true woman’s woman, Autumn is sick of the stereotypes that females are pressured into in the music industry. When people tell her they miss the ‘cute and innocent’ her, she isn’t flattered. “The cute, innocent me got taken advantage of a lot, because I was cute and innocent. And its really weird that you would want a grown women to be cute and innocent for the rest of her life, that’s something you might want to look into… I want to take an axe to [that image] and beat to a bajillion pieces because it’s so sexist.” She wants to open doors for girls and set an example that they can write songs that aren’t about romance and can appeal to a wide spectrum of people of both genders. She wants to challenge the assumption that because she’s a girl, she only sings for girls. It’s demeaning, she says, that she isn’t taken seriously despite her talent, because of her gender. Also she hates the idea that things are easier for her because she’s a girl and not because she works hard. “I feel like I am a very lone scout in… an industry I know nothing about and it’s very hard to be in that industry and not fall prey to doing a thousand sexy poses on my instrument. No one’s ever going to see my boobs… that’s not me at all.”
Autumn Sky and the band will be opening for Peter Murphy from Bauhaus the Uptown Theatre in Napa Valley “with a sound system from god” on October 12th. You can pick up an early version of the songs for Scout there.
To learn more about Autumn visit her on Facebook
Photos Mickey Martin