Antje Duvekot: The Journey to a New Siberia
When your debut album sets the folk world buzzing, and entices music historians such as Dave Marsh, rock critic and former editor of Rolling Stone, to say you are “the whole package," AND he compares you to renowned artist Patty Griffin, well…you'd better keep delivering the goods. As her third studio album is being released, it becomes clear singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot is doing just that.
Antje first garnered attention with her music in 2000 by winning the grand prize in the rock category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Since then, she has continued to receive accolades and high praise for her introspective songs reflecting her personal journey.
Born in Germany, Duvekot arrived in the United States as a teenager. Leaving her father and brother in Europe, she began a new life in a strange country with no knowledge of the customs or the language. Adapting was difficult at best, so Antje retreated into a world which offered her comfort…the world of music.
Her first album, Big Dream Boulevard was followed in 2009 by another highly acclaimed CD, The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer, produced by singer-songwriter Richard Shindell. Her new release, New Siberia, brings back Shindell as producer, and marks the time of transition from an old life to new. A time of looking toward the future with anticipation, while never losing what has brought her here.
The week before the release of New Siberia, Antje spoke with me about the journey, songwriting and the life of a working musician.
Kat’s Theory (KT): You came to this country as a teenager, and battled with issues of language, insecurity and a confining family life. Those struggles can create the perfect setting from which a poet can immerge. Looking back, do you think an easier life transition would have made you less of a poet?
Antje Duvekot (AD): That is such a good question; it’s really hard to know. I wonder myself sometimes. My brain works a certain way and I can’t imagine it working in any other way so if my early life hadn’t been sort of difficult, maybe my brain wouldn’t be so …thoughtful, I guess. When I moved to this country from Germany, at first I was sort of an outsider. I didn’t speak the language, so I spent a lot of time being very shy and just observing people. It’s possible that it came from the ability to pay attention and observe people. But then again maybe I would have been the same way if I hadn’t had such a difficult childhood.