Big breaks are rare in the music business. Even more unusual is when they fall into your lap.
For singer/songwriter Amy Obenski, the unusual has happened – not only once, but twice.
Even if you’ve never heard of her, you may already be familiar with her music, as some of Obenski’s songs have appeared in the popular television shows “Made” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Five years ago, Obenski was working a desk job in San Jose, leaving her childhood dreams of becoming a singer on the back burner. However, she soon quit her nine-to-five job to pursue a full-time career in music.
“It was something I wanted to do my whole life,” Obenski said. “I wanted to switch my life and start pursuing my passions.”
Growing up, she sang in choirs and began playing the piano at an early age; the genre of jazzy folk-rock seemed the perfect fit for Obenski.
After adding acoustic guitar to her musical repertoire, she wrote her first album, “What We Tell,” which was released in 2003.
Obenski’s lucky day came in 2005, when she received a mysterious e-mail from MTV executives asking to use her songs in several episodes of the popular MTV series “Made.” Apparently an executive heard one of Obenski’s songs on a friend’s iPod, and it made an impression.
Not bad for a striving musician.
Fast forward to 2007, after the release of her second album, “Kite,” when Obenski again received a random e-mail, this time from an editor of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” The editor had used one of Obenski’s songs in a scene on a whim, and the director loved it.
“Getting my songs on television was a complete surprise,” Obenski said. “I didn’t see it coming. I never try to play a specific type of music; I just write what feels natural to me.”
What comes naturally to Obenski is her ethereal vocals and infectious choruses, which sometimes brood with melancholy and at other times gleam with hope. Add some gentle piano ballads and acoustic strumming to the mix and you have an idea of what can be found on her latest album.
With the exposure from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Obenski’s song “Carousel” was propelled to No. 23 on last year’s iTunes folk music charts.
As a graduate in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz, Obenski continues her interest in protecting the outdoors through her music. Last year she played in the “Take Back Your Forest” benefit concert, aimed at raising funds for the purchase and protection of Santa Cruz forestland from loggers and developers.
When not performing in her hometown, Obenski can be found touring the Bay Area as well as other parts of the West Coast. She’ll be bringing her live performance to Linnaea’s Café Saturday night for an 8 p.m. show.
In an age where it seems hard to get noticed, Obenski has already made her mark within her genre while at the same time turning a lifelong aspiration into a reality.
“The independent music movement is here,” Obenski said. “Anybody who has talent and desire can do it; it’s just a matter of putting your mind to it.”