Artist: Tattletale Saints
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee via Auckland, New Zealand
Latest album: Dancing Under the Dogwoods (January 24, 2020)
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Broken Bells (rejected name). Cy is trying to nurture the nickname “Big Daddy C,” but it’s struggling to catch on.
Answers by Cy Winstanley
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
It’s no secret, but I love the music and lyrics of Paul Simon. As a jazz kid growing up, his use of varied harmony and its tasteful symbiosis with vivid and often impressionistic, poetic lyrics just blew my mind. His themes too, there are so many dimensions to them — I just get lost in his stories.
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
I’m an avid reader and like to start my day with non-fiction and close my day with fiction. The more regular I am with that, the more those colors run through my writing. I tend to go through phases with the kind of books too: one of my fav authors is Roberto Bolano; after I read his oeuvre, I cycled through his contemporaries, influences, and other South American authors.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I think as soon as I started playing guitar as a 13-year-old I just loved it so much that I knew it would be a big part of my life. But it wasn’t until later when I developed carpal tunnel in my hands that I had to stop playing guitar, then it was songwriting that became the focus.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
Every song feels like the toughest time! It’s very rare that they just ‘fall out’. But perhaps those that are directly about my life are the hardest, because I want to be as faithful to the memory as possible and am constantly fighting with myself over what I want to present.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
Being from New Zealand and also being a long distance runner have given me a pretty strong connection to being outside. When I’m in nature, there is a calmness, and sense of earthly perspective and belonging that pervades my every waking moment.
Photo credit: Natia Cinco