The 2019 Acoustic Guitarist of the Year happens to be a Tampa native.
One of the things we love about being this area’s performing arts center is that we get to host so many incredible Tampa Bay-area talents early in their careers. One such—guitarist Christie Lenee—appeared in the Jaeb Theater in 2018, already crowned 2017’s International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. But before that, she step-ball-changed her way across our stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a kid.
Her background is straightforward: she graduated from Blake High School as part of the arts magnet school component, focusing her studies on classical guitar and acting, then continued at University of South Florida with music composition and classical and jazz guitar. Everybody who heard her play knew she was something special, and now she’s considered one of the greatest guitar players in the world.
Her tapping fingerstyle emerged while composing choral music on guitar and needing to play multiple parts. The tap served as a stand-in piano but the technique fit Christie so well it became a part of her signature style.
Christie’s ability to make one guitar sound like a folk acoustic chamber music trio is best seen to be believed. Here she is performing her song, “Breath of Spring,” on Music City Roots Nashville:
Winning Takamine’s Acoustic Guitarist of the Year in 2019 was no small feat considering her competition. Take a look at the three finalists.
Like many artists in this historic moment, Christie has risen to the challenge, appearing live on Facebook with music to inspire and uplift while we’re not gathering in public together.
If she’s not on your radar, we’d love for you to check her out. We are big fans and super proud of her contributions to fingerstyle and acoustic guitar.
Hopefully, life will go back to the old normal soon; and, if so, you’ll be able to see Christie Lenee live and in person at the Hideaway Café on Central Ave in St Pete on May 31. Keep up with her concert sched on http://christielenee.com/.