“I don’t actually have a band,” says singer/songwriter Savannah Philyaw. “I’m occasionally accompanied by friends of mine; violinists, drummers, guitarists, etc. I always have a great time when other musicians play shows with me, though. It’s just difficult to find musicians that are available to play when the band is not their top priority.”
Philyaw got an early taste of stage flop during the second gig she ever played. “I was fifteen and I was unbelievably nervous. The headlining act demanded to play first, rather than third, so I had to be the headliner of my second show. When it came time for me to play, it was about eleven o’clock and I had warmed up my voice at eight. I had planned to play four songs but I ended up playing more, ones that I had not practiced. It was overall a terrifying experience, but I learned more from it than I lost. I always laugh about it now.”
She was barely of legal drinking age when her debut EP was released in February 2013. “Since it’s my first official CD, my producer, Jeff Berkley, recommended a self titled EP. I tried to think of different titles, but nothing seemed to fit. Each song on the CD is pretty unique and I couldn’t seem to find a title that fit for all of them.”
All five songs on the EP were written by Philyaw, with one of the tracks co-written with Calman Hart and Miranda Hart. Guest players include Brian “Nucci” Cantrell (drums), Jeff Berkley (bass and guitars), Dennis Caplinger (dobro, mandolin, banjo, fiddles), Ben Moore (Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer Electric Piano), Sharon Whyte (vocals), Kevin Ryan (pedal steel), and John Foltz (piano).
As for the cover art, “The photo was taken at the lake in my neighborhood. The lake is a really special place for me because it has always been one of my favorite places to go. I grew up feeding the ducks and riding my bike and it has always just been a tranquil place to go.”
Citing influences such as Ingrid Michaelson and Tyler Lyle, Philyaw says “My favorite female musician is Brandi Carlile. Don’t get me started! I went to the House Of Blues SD to see her show on November 7th . I guess I should have been more observant when I bought the tickets because the show was 21+. That didn’t stop me. After fighting with the security guard, José, I decided to go to the Orpheum Theater in LA three nights later. I basically think I died. I have never seen such a powerful performance. She is such a fierce and confident woman and just so inspirational. I could feel her music pulsing through my entire body.”
Her album A Whisper in the Wind was nominated for Best Pop album at the 2020 San Diego Music Awards. All the songs on the album were written and recorded in San Diego, with local guests Jack Tempchin, Tolan Shaw, and Jeff Berkley.