karlee bloomfield is a talented gal- she plays keyboard and sings backup for the quincy mumford band, who make music they describe as “earnest pop with a touch of funk and a saltwater twang.” in addition to being the house band at jersey’s historic stone pony they’re on the lineup for a couple of big festivals this year, including gathering of the vibes (in connecticut) and musikfest (in bethlehem, PA). karlee happens to be a big fan of free people and in interviewing her for the blog i learned she’s also pretty rad :)
how long have you been playing keyboards?
i have been playing keyboards since i was old enough to sit on a piano bench all by myself. my parents bought a digital grand piano, about a year before i was born – my mom said she had a feeling that she should put a piano in the house. the fact that she thought that is still kind of wild to me. as a toddler, i was fascinated by all the controls on the piano, and eventually i knew just how to work it so that i would get the sounds i wanted. it was pretty much my favorite toy growing up. i started taking formal lessons at the age of 5, and have been playing and taking lessons ever since, so that makes it about twelve years now.
when i was seven years old, i met andy letke, who became my piano teacher and later my most important mentor…he is still my teacher today. i study classical Piano, and attend an after school program where i study bass guitar, drums and vocals.
my true love is playing and jamming with my band. i absolutely love the music we play. we like to call it, “FEEL GOOD MUSIC”. it is the kind of music that makes you feel happy when you listen to it. it is like a really great beach day!
who are some of your personal musical influences?
page mcconnell from phish, john paul jones from led zeppelin, herbie hancock, jeff paris from keb mo’s band, and a local artist named matt wade. oh, and grace potter from grace potter and the nocturals, that girl can rock the hammond organ like no other female musician i know! i actually played a show with her last year, which was a really cool experience. VH1 filmed the show for a documentary about the influence of woodstock on today’s up and coming musicians – definitely an experience for the memory book!
if you could see any band (past or present) live in concert, who would it be?
i’d definitely have to say led zeppelin. their musicianship was amazing, plus robert plant was a hunk back in the day.
(i am totally with you on that one karlee!!)
what is your favorite place that you’ve travelled to?
there are so many places, but i would have to say florida, because we traveled there as a band. we’re like one big family on the road, we have so much fun together. we have played down there a couple of times now, and the weather has always been perfect! it is so nice to leave NJ when it is chilly, and in 20 hours be back in t-shirts and flip flops. and i can honestly say that every time we play in florida or anywhere on the coast, i am always wearing my free people dresses :)
if you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want with you?
first and foremost my keyboard, second, an endless supply of fruit, and third would definitely be my diary! i am a girl who loves to write, draw, eat fruit and play music – keeping it simple!
how would you describe your personal style? what are some of your favorite free people items?
i am a hippie chick through and through. i love wearing little dresses, and as a matter of fact one of my favorite dresses is a floral free people dress with gold trim on it (the ends in sequins dress). it’s so cute, and looks great on stage! in fact, i just wore it to a show we played at.
winter, spring, summer or fall?
i really don’t enjoy the cold weather too much. i love playing out on a warm, breezy summer night – that is the best feeling in the entire world to me.
what is your motto?
whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
what inspires you on a daily basis?
the desire to improve my art, to bring as many people into my life as possible, and to be happy and to make others happy!
what’s coming up for the quincy mumford band?
this summer, the quincy mumford band is up to some great things. we are looking forward to playing the main stage at the gathering of the vibes festival in connecticut july 29th -aug 1st. at the festival we will be playing with some of the biggest names such as: furthur, robert randolph, damian marley and so many others. we are counting down the days to this festival! i am sure there will be lots of people in free people clothing there. in addition, we are already scheduled to play the summer stage in asbury park opening for umphrey’s mcgee and donavon frankenreiter. we are also the house band for the legendary stone pony in asbury park (home of bruce springsteen), where we host “feel good thursday”, every other thursday -we’re creating a little mini-festival vibe there.
thanks again, it has been great to chat with the free people community. keep it free!
and now check out the video for their song “lifted”!