Angi West, 27 years old, just released her latest album “Orange Thread in a Blue Sea” this year, and started living what once was a dream. A die-hard musician from Cullowhee, North Carolina, is making her dream come true one step at a time. She attended The University of North Carolina at Asheville and graduated with a minor in math and a major in Classical Music.
Angi West also attended the Berkeley School of Music for a year in Boston. Her parents are Tommy and Dona West of Cullowhee, North Carolina. Her mother is a teacher at Cullowhee Valley Elementary school with a special heart for children with disabilities. Everyone who knows Angi knows she has been blessed with the same kind heart her mother has. Her father Tommy is a contractor who builds homes, some of which have been published in Magazines. Tommy was a role model for hard work and most of all love.
Angi West grew up in Cullowhee, NC with her younger brother Will West, who just recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. Cullowhee is home, where she grew her love for music. “As a baby Angi could always sing better than she spoke, words came second to songs for her,” says Dona West.
I have known Angi for quite some time, and I have always admired her for being herself, and speaking out to the world in her own way. I was talking on the phone with Angi one night, and she expressed to me how close music is to her heart, so much that she didn’t care how long it took to get to the peak of her career.
She mentioned how she is stuck in the Asheville music scene right now, not because she doesn’t want to go any farther with her musical career, but because of the genuine feel of the city and the people in it. She expressed a great deal of how much she didn’t want to get herself wrapped up in a big-time music career, where originality and personal depth disappears. She writes and sings music because its what she loves to do. She does it for herself. “I don’t care if I don’t make it to the top right away, I don’t want to cut myself short as a musician, I’m not doing this to be famous, I’m doing this because it’s what I love,” she said.
Angi West named her new album “Love is a special way of feeling” because it was something she had named her blog site a long time ago and it stuck to her. The new album will be released in January of 2009. In the mean-time she hopes everyone will come out and support her shows. The upcoming show is at The BoBo Gallery on Saturday, November 29th. Angi West just got a new drummer for her band, who she is very excited to have: Evan Martin. Her other band members include Jon Reid, Michael Libramento, and Matt Shephard. She is influenced by artists such as Samuel Barber, Robert Schumann, Hanna Kloetzer, Meher Baba, Chaka Khan, Lucy Lang, J.S. Bach, Linnea Wilson, Heather Nadel, Emma Branch, Molly Damon, Mike Horgan, Josh Carpenter and Dolly Parton.
I know for a fact that Angi West has a big crowd of fans back here in Jackson County. Her mother claims “I taught her everything she knows!” with a humored laugh afterwards. A small-town singer from the bathtub in her own home in Cullowhee to the stages of Asheville, Angi is loved and heavily supported. The hopes and dreams of Angi West are just beginning and as the town watches her grow, the town grows with her.