October 01, 2003

Greta Gertler's Beautiful Baby

Greta Gertler"The musicians in New York City are some of the best musicians, and best people, that I've met anywhere in the world," says Australian singer/songwriter and piano player Greta Gertler. Currently based in Brooklyn, Gertler traveled from the other side of the world to find a musical environment where she could flourish. Having achieved considerable success downunder writing for other artists (her song, "Blow Up the Pokies" performed by The Whitlams was researched as the most recognized song on Australian commercial radio in 2000), she felt that her own style of lush, orchestrated pop wasn't finding its true audience. So, like many artists, she headed for New York City.

Once in New York, it didn't take Gertler long to fall in with a group of musicians that played often at The Living Room on the Lower East Side. One thing lead to another, and before she knew it she was recording her songs with her new friends, including Norah Jones collaborator and Grammy Award winner Jesse Harris. The final result, an album called The Baby That Brought Bad Weather, would take over three years to complete and involve more than 30 New York City musicians.

By turns epic and intimate, Gertler's album marries richly layered pop, jazz and classical textures, sometimes all in one song. Lyrically, it is the story of Greta's first years in New York. Sonically, it echoes the work of some of Gertler's heroes such as Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder.

Although an independent release, Gertler's Baby is now gaining a lot of attention. Her songs have been licensed by Starbucks throughout the world and she is receiving fans at radio on such influential East Coast stations as WXPN, WFUV, WFMU and XM Satellite Radio.

Billboard's Larry Flick says "Gertler is distinguished by an ability to balance streetwise rock aggression with radio-smart hooks." Although "streetwise" isn't a term usually associated with beautiful, orchestrated pop, for Gertler it actually fits. Like many New Yorkers who are transplants from other parts of the world, the city worked its way into her imagination early on. "When I was a kid and I was learning classical piano, I would take breaks and just try and work out Billy Joel songs for fun. That always become much more fun for me than classical training. He inspired me so much as a kid. He made me aware of songwriting and New York."