By PAUL MORALES
A huge part of success in the musical industry is having the right tools in the first place.
At the age of 16, Pierceton musician Ivory West has a voice that is both powerful and ethereal, incredible guitar skills, a beautiful smile, an insightful mind, and great style – plus, a sweet name to boot.“I was named after a bar of soap,” says West, smiling and laughing.
Wherever the name comes from, it’s certainly on its way to household status, at least here in northern Indiana.
But in order to gain that kind of recognition, “You pretty much have to saturate the entire area,” she says. “I was actually walking in Wal-Mart last night, and somebody went, ‘Oh my gosh! It’s Ivory West!'”
With a growing loyal fan base and three albums already behind her, West will be on her way to Chicago on Monday to begin recording her first professionally produced album. A little later this summer, she’ll be headed down to Nashville to work with producer David Leonard and complete work on the album, tentatively titled Records & Cassette Tapes.
“He (Leonard) actually just came off tour with Needtobreathe, which is one of my favorite bands, so it’s awesome that I get to work with him … I’m doing half the album in Chicago, and half in Nashville.”
West has been playing guitar for five years, and working gigs since she was 13 years old. Though her weekends and summers keep her busy, she does find time for other things.
“I have just recently started having this love for baseball that I never knew that I had,” says West, who loves to go to Fort Wayne Tin Caps games in her spare time. She also enjoys photography, and is thinking about minoring in it when she goes to college, which she says is definitely on the schedule.
West has a performance at a wedding coming up, and she says, “At the wedding, I’m going to kind of double as a photographer when I’m done. They’re not paying me or anything, it’s just because I want to.”
West is a strong believer in the motivating power of dreams. “Just do it,” she says. “Just call people and say, ‘This is what I have. Can I come play?’ … Even if it’s not music, just find something that you like to do and see how you can make it work for you and then spend all of your time doing it.”
West performed at the Warsaw Farmers Market on Center Street earlier this morning. You can purchase her first album, Mixed Emotions, on amazon.com, and her first and second albums are available on iTunes.