Muse of the Moment: AM Berretta of Art Thief
Dive into the wild and wonderful world of Art Thief's AM Berretta in our first Artist Profile.
Entertain me for a moment. I'll return the favor shortly...
I fall in love easily.
Both because I love to, and because I simply must; not with people, but with life. Codependency is a hell of a habit that I've tried to destroy through my recent years of self-reflection. It's easy to attach yourself and become addicted to a partner and the emotional, psychological, and physical attention they provide. Usually, however, I found that I would lose myself in the process. And following the pain of loss, it becomes even easier to latch onto a new fling, inevitably losing yourself all over again.
What I've learned is that perhaps I'm not addicted to the partner, I'm addicted to the way they make me feel, and in the effort to minimize the damage and destruction that results I've channeled my energy elsewhere – falling head over heels for the art that excites me.
Art Thief isn't just my newest morsel – They're my whole-ass cake.
Living in the NYC area, it's hard to walk a few feet in any direction without discovering a band or artist you've never heard of before. Moving to the area was important to this journey of falling in love with life rather than people, but as a creative junky who feeds on the obscure, I'm easily wooed. What I'm looking for is something/ someone that can truly transport me into another realm; to challenge my perspective, to sweep me off my feet, to which I can be eternally wed.
The best part is having affair after ethical affair.
Hopelessly romantic and naturally driven by some divine force to uncover the rarities of the world around me, I often seek out and wander into strange corners of the art world and those who make it most interesting.
The hope is that within those corners, I discover the proverbial morsel – the "EAT ME" cookie that, following spontaneous ingestion, becomes the catalyst for my next chapter.
Art Thief isn't just my newest morsel – They're my whole-ass cake.
I found Art Thief this time not by my discovery, but through mutual friends who make up Thank You Scientist.
TYS, Art Thief, and Strawberry Girls have all just returned from their Summer 2022 tour that spanned 17 states and the entirety of June. I hadn't heard of the latter two bands until my buddies from TYS returned, but upon learning of them I decided to dive right in.
To say I was blown away would be a dreadful understatement.
Art Thief? More like HEART Thief. (sorry...)
My journey into their music began as a crush on their band's dynamic. Art Thief was founded and is led by the genius of Sam Smith (bassist, vocalist, songwriter, engineer, legendary mf) and augmented by the outrageously talented Andrew Jordan (Guitar, Vocals), Sean Morrison (Keys), Steven Frieder (Sax) and Graham Doby (Drums).
Smith found AM one fateful night on Canal Street in 2021. AM will tell you about it in her own words but the rest is, as she says, history.
"It's not easy being the baddest bitch, but someone's gotta do it" -AM Berretta
This is the kind of music that really messes you up. Not in a bad way– quite the opposite. I would describe the experience as accessibly trippy and deliciously obscure. My favorite tune on their newest album Tough Crowd is Invaded With Love, likely because that's what they've done to me.
Sometimes it's difficult to find new music in 2022 that fills you with pride and hope for the current state of art. Maybe I'm just a jaded old bitch, maybe I'm a little too picky to be agreeable, but if you're someone of elevated musical taste and bored with everything on the radio today, look no further than these artists who are repaving the landscape of prog/ fusion/ overall impressive musical composition. Though she joined the ensemble after its release, what Berretta brings to the table is something extraordinary and impossible to deny. Honestly, the best way to experience the magic is via live performance, and luckily for you they'll be at Rockwood Music Hall on August 23rd.
If you're wondering why it's taking me so long to get to the f*cking point, chill. This is where the women get to speak. 😉
Now it's AM's turn!
Without further ado I give you, in her own words, the renaissance creative and legendary talent: AM Berretta.
Professor Gorgeous: So we met at our mutual friends / your touring buddies' show in Asbury Park. Your band is Art Thief but you just wrapped a tour with Thank You Scientist. How did you get involved with Art Thief and how did you link up with Thank you Scientist?
AM Berretta: It’s an absolute treasure to be doing this interview with you! I got involved with Art Thief July of 2021, it was actually shortly after I made a post on IG asking others if they would like to start a band, I had been seeking a musical family for a while and hoping to find the right fit. I met the groups leader/originator/ mastermind Samuel Smith (Sam) at a Jam sesh in NYC on canal street, then later invited him to a different jam where after, I’d mention to him how I’m trying to be more active musically and looking for a band. He mentioned to check out his band Art Thief (if I wanted), and if It’d possible, have me on a show to sing a few songs… in that moment I responded that I already checked out the band, and that their sound was what I was looking for, I was down af. I joined them for our first show together in Brooklyn, July 2021 and the rest is history!
Our involvement with Thank You Scientist came about when guitarist Tom Monda reached out to Sam about joining TYS with Strawberry Girls for a US Tour in June.
PG: Describe what being a front-woman/front-person means to you.
AMB: Being a front woman is a huge responsibility and a very vulnerable position to hold. It took me a while to embrace the leadership role. I’ve struggled and have worked to break certain stigmas around what it means to be a singer and performer. I’ve learned that it goes far beyond having talent, the skills to entertain or even education/ training. My role as a front woman/ person is to embrace the power I have to captivate and heal others through vibrations and musical intentions. It is no easy feat to always be in the center of attention, and that’s why It’s important to have band mates that respect and encourage you to be authentic and fearless.
PG: What does the name Art Thief mean?
AMB: That’s classified :)
PG: How long have you been touring with AT?
AMB: We had our first official tour together as a band this June joining Thank You Scientist and strawberry girls. We had a month to break in between. I am actually now currently on our second tour with them, which is a much shorter run, but a tour nonetheless!!
PG: How does it feel to be the only woman on tour with, like, 15 guys?
AMB: I’m actually sitting here trying to count on my fingers how many men were on our first run of tour… too many?
Being the only female creative in a sea of nerdy dudes has its ups and definitely it’s downs. Thankfully each band and its members have provided a safe space for me.
At the beginning of tour I felt that I had to be a bit on the defensive and protect myself. Then, after some time, I realized that that mindset wasn’t necessary for me to thrive. My best bet was letting empathy and compassion guide me to be more open and receptive, which in turn amplified my performance to be more fluid and free. Creative humans come in all shapes, sizes and genders etc. At our core we all are highly sensitive and caring about what it is that we are doing here and what we aim to provide. Remembering this allows more room for connection.
Being the only female on tour has also helped me step into my power, it’s not easy being the baddest bitch but somebody’s got to do it.
PG: Describe the most memorable moment you’ve had on tour.
AMB: One of the most memorable moments was having my family in California come see us at our show in San Jose. I hadn’t seen them for almost 23 years, it was very special to look out in the crowd and see them there. The last time they saw me I was seven years old, I was always dancing and singing and jumping around being loud, they say I haven’t changed much since then, and I agree. There were a lot of great moments too many to list, too many to even recall but that was definitely a “full circle” moment for me and a healing one too.
PG: What's your favorite AT song?
AMB: My favorite song is actually a song that we haven’t performed on tour, It’s off of the first Art Thief EP “Falling with Style”, the song is called “I think we should”, It’s a fun and racy song about proposing sex to someone and offering to make them a slammin' breakfast in the morning the next day. What more could you want?
PG: Who are your musical influences?
AMB: Some of my biggest influences come from the jazz scene as well as the grunge scene.
I’ve always been inspired by singers/musicians such as, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Layne Stanley of Alice In Chains, Nai Palm from Hiatus Kaiyote, and of course Amy Winehouse! Bill Evans is also a big influence, although he is a fine pianist his tenderness and melodic language have deeply influenced my role as a vocalist.
PG: If you could tour with any band, who would they be?
AMB: I would love for us to tour with Hiatus Kaiyote one day, honestly they are my favorite bands of all time and I truly believe we would put on a killer show on with them.
A girl can dream right?
PG: Who are your role models in life?
AMB: This one is a tough one to answer, I don’t think I have any. I don’t ever remember looking up to another artist and wanting to be like them, I’ve always just sought out the truest form of myself.
“If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.” -Billie Holiday
PG: You're a renaissance woman! What does that mean to you, what are all of your projects, and is there anything missing from your hobbies/work that you'd love to start/jump into?
AMB: I like to refer to myself as a renaissance woman, in fact I often put that in any of my dating profile bios!! I am a person who has many creative interests, and I love collecting/sharing knowledge. Besides singing, I am an active multidisciplinary artist, I enjoy painting, illustration and almost any form of mixed media art. I have dedicated about six years of my life so far towards painting, and it has been my bread and butter. I am currently working on a new website where I can display/sell my work, it should be up and running by the end of this year! MY other hobbies include creative writing, expressive reading, and watching SpongeBob. I’m a bit old fashioned in this way, yet young in spirit and heart.
PG: What’s next for the band?
AMB: We have a few things in the works including a live album, and a new album with some sick fresh ass tunes. After the short run with TYS, we have an upcoming show at Rockwood Music Hall (stage 2) in Manhattan, NYC. We will most likely be playing shows back home in New York, while planning for our next run! A Euro tour would be a dream , and something I’ve been manifesting for a while!
No star is too high to reach for us.
PG: What else are you working on these days?
AMB: As I mentioned before I am working on getting my business running with my website for my art, I am also working on a putting together few gallery shows in NYC. I’ve been writing new music as is well working on a solo project that will definitely take some time…
I’m also learning new instruments, and different ways to use my voice.
The work is never done, isn’t that exciting?? Seldom am I bored!
PG: Where can people find you?
AMB: Besides my apt in NYC ( please do not come find me here) As of right now I can be found on Instagram: My insta for my paintings is @a.m._berretta_art And of course @art_thief_xoxo For all the crazy Art Thief shenanigans, we are on all steaming music platforms!
PG: Anything else you wanna add?
AMB: I would like to thank my band Art Thief for pushing this crazy dream to come to fruition, and for their ever lasting love and commitment to what we do. Thank you to each member of Thank You Scientist and Strawberry Girls for the love, trust and opportunity to rock. I see you, and hold you very dear to me. Lastly, thank you universe, and thank you to my guides and protectors for giving me the opportunity to stand in my power and continue my purpose.
For upcoming shows and info: https://www.artthief.live/shows
Remote interview conducted on August 19th and may not reflect current state of band's affairs.