The Heights - The Scene
Double Eagle does double duty on album and in life
Everyone knows what it takes to be a Double Eagle. But what exactly do you call someone who attended Boston College and BC Law, but manages in her spare time to sing, write songs, perform, and even produce her own album? Maybe a Double Eagle who flew her own way?
Ingrid Chiemi Schroffner, BC '92 and BC Law '95, has always written and sung. While at BC, she performed with the Chorale and, while in law school, with the singing group the Wandering Mistrials (proving that yes, lawyers do have a sense of humor).
After law school, Schroffner contained her music to her own home, writing and playing for herself, but never feeling fulfilled.
It wasn't until Schroffner decided to take the next step and attend an open mic that she really set out on the road that has led to the recent release of her second CD, Living on 2 Coasts.
The BC grad recently spoke to The Heights about her life in both music and law, just a few days before the her CD release party last Wednesday. The party also premiered the first CD from Lisa Locke, In it for the Drama.
The seeming disparity between a career in law and a passion for music really isn't a disparity at all for Schroffner, who seems to get the greatest benefit from working with and learning from others. She's played at The Fireplace and Toast Lounge, along with a long-standing engagement at the Burren, in Somerville.
Last April Schroffner helped in the planning of The Burren Project, a compilation CD where each artist contributed one song. Her ability to plan would show up in the production of Living on 2 Coasts.
"I love to play. I love to meet people," said Schroffner, who has collaborated with a number of people and opened for many others, including the Paula Kelley Orchestra. "I get better listening to other people."
The range of musicians and instruments utilized in Kelly's music taps into a quality of this new album, on which Schroffner plays with two friends and collaborators, Deep C and Sean Dennehy, who met two years ago at The Burren. The three recorded the album as a sort of hybrid production.
"It was going to be live music," said Schroffner, "but mixed in a professional manner."
Sitting in different rooms, but connected through glass walls, the musicians played together during recording to create a sort of polished live performance. "We pretty much recorded the album live," said Schroffner.
It was important that this CD had the right sound and character for Schroffner, who took a more hands-on role with the album. Disagreements with a former producer about the type of music to create led Schroffner to break away and take the reins herself.
"What I think is different about this, is that I got to produce it myself," she said.
"I didn't mean to produce it," she said, but was led to after stylistic differences made her break away. Schroffner also worked with other producers, taking on a larger role as the production proceeded.
"I play real music and I play with a real guitar," said Schroffner, who felt that earlier attempts at recording had brought forth a more synthesized sound.
The folk singer wanted to keep both the authenticity of live performance and the folk tradition that defines her music on this album.
"All my harmonies on my CD are mine, and I sang them live," she said. "There's a vision you see when you write a song. There's a dream you see."
This hands-on approach brings easy comparison to Schroffner's professional life as a family law lawyer.
"A lot of musicians don't tend to be organized, and I don't mean that in a bad way, because not being organized can lead to creativity," she said. But having a good organizational sense does have an effect on putting out an album, especially one where the singer takes on a larger role in production.
Does Schroffner see herself continuing down the dual paths of law and music? "Who can predict? I have to say, I'm very happy doing both. It's tiring, but it's worth it," she said.
Just as a desire to learn from others' influences her music, so does the need to tell stories.
"It's a lifelong interest. It's why I'm a singer/songwriter. I tell stories," said Schroffner, whose senior thesis at BC dealt with Japanese and German folktales, and the separate value systems and common threads to be found from these two cultures.
Just one more example of how the long threads, however seemingly different, in truth all connect back in Schroffner's life and music.
This article is used with the permission of The Heights. ©2005 The Heights, Inc.
©2006 & Later, Ingrid Chiemi Schroffner.