Ten Cent Poetry

Asheville, NC
Folk / Pop / Acoustic
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I will be playing the West Asheville Farmer's Market. 

3:30-6:30 in support of Local Farming and Food and the future of our planet. Come on out!




You can hear us on 98.1 around 4pm.


Stream it!


August 22, 2013. 

Ten Cent Orchestra

Pritchard Park


with poetry by Luke Hankins

(Editor of Asheville Poetry Review)

free show! family friendly!


Get your tickets now!

Isis Theater Show

September 27, 2013

Ten Cent Orchestra will be playing with Alex Krug Combo.


Your Song : Your Voice
Songwriter's Course starts up again in September.
Write a song a week!
Hosted by Chelsea Lynn La Bate

The Artist's Journey. 
A 12 Week artist support group using The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
Hosted by Chelsea Lynn La Bate.
Battery Park Book Exchange.
Sundays. 7pm.
Starting September 22, 2013. 


Press Release by James Cassara 

In the three short years since Chelsea Lynn La Bate rolled into Asheville-her ’95 Honda stuffed full with her belongings-she has quietly both observed and participated in our town’s vibrant and accepting music community. Hitting the road with the most Spartan of belongings, including her nylon stringed guitar, battery powered amp, clothes, and a “small collection of poetry books” La Bate had spent three solid years supporting herself through her music. Breaking even at best but doing what she chose to do. Having not even picked up the guitar until after finishing an undergraduate degree in visuals arts La Bate tenaciously bucked the odds and continued pursuing her dream. After finding Asheville (or perhaps more correctly after Asheville found her) she began making more deliberate plans as to what would come next. That “next” has culminated in the Ten Cent Orchestra, a series of shows arranged (in more ways than one) by La Bate that engage a semi-rotating cast of local musicians to perform compositions written by La Bate.  With several successful performances under their belt, including a half dozen or so this year alone, La Bate is expanding her vision and moving Ten Cent to what seems the next level. 

Give us a brief bit of background, where you were previously and what attracted you to Asheville. 

Before I came to Asheville, I was living out of my car, touring the South full time. Before that, I was in NYC playing music every night at songwriter showcases, open micas and headlining shows in mostly in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. My first tour was in Europe. I toured six countries and did thirty performances. After that I was sold on music. I came back to the states in search for a home base - one with a music scene, a healthy, happy, conscious community and access to wild and beautiful natural places.

Did you arrive here with a clear goal in mind?  How did you go about making contacts in an already crowded local music scene? 

Yes. My goal was to make my first album, Picking Through the Pawn Shop. I only had live recordings up until that point and wanted material radio would play. I couldn't do it living out of my car. I needed to be in one place. 

I won a lot of songwriting contests in a two month span and did a pre-order campaign, earning support from fans throughout the whole East Coast. I then had enough money to start recording and hire an engineer and producer. Over ten musicians from the Asheville scene were guests on the  record, most of them contacts from Jenny Greer's Brown Bag Competition.

You mentioned a bit that Asheville was initially not a good fit for you. You don’t play bluegrass or jam, and you don’t fit into the singer/songwriter mold.  What did it take to overcome that? 

I don't know that I have! Ha! I mean, I haven't been the first artist they call up for a street festival, but I'm not concerned with that. My goal has never been to be big in Asheville. I'm interested in my music reaching far beyond this town. I'm coming from a very big city of songwriters, several of whom toured the world with just their guitar or piano and now rule the airwaves. Around here it's "we don't do the songwriter thing." A lot of venues want funk bands that can sell beer. I'll never be that so I'm just do my own thing and stay away from places like that.

I have found my place here as a performer by learning to knock on the right doors and work with the right venues. I also rent out private spaces for the Ten Cent Orchestra so that I have full artistic control and we don't have to fork over all of our patrons donations to slimy club owners. 

The result has been the blessing a very engaged, intelligent, conscious, fan base here in Asheville and the South East. They are not the kind of people that flock out to a free jam night to drink cheap beer and talk over us while we play. Our fans come to the show because they know the music is made to be medicine. I work hard to create events that are intimate and articulate, where we can all relax into the experience, where the art comes first. 

So from that you’ve moved towards the Ten Cent Orchestra.  Talk a bit about what that project is, and what sets it apart from what might be described as the “typical Asheville show.”  

The Ten Cent Orchestra is my biggest dream. It's ten years of song writing, song wishing, song working, song sacrificing. Ten Cent Orchestra takes dozens of Ten Cent Poetry songs and invites classical instrumentation into the mix with masterful arrangements by Silas Durocher. Each song has been tediously composed and arranged with the skill and attention of classical music. The lyrics, however, bring the fresh voice of contemporary songwriting, songwriting that speaks on our times now, on our issues now as well as merging ancient human experience. 

What sets it apart from a typical show here in Asheville? Well, when is the last time you went to see a songwriter perform, only to discover they were playing with a full string orchestra? 

You’re working a lot with Alex Krug.  Can you expand a bit on that collaboration? 

Alex Krug is one of my dearest, closest friends. We hike together, celebrate each other's small victories and meet almost daily for pep talks and check ins. Artists need strong support from other artists. Only other artists can understand what it takes to walk this path. I mean, I wake up and write for five hours and when I clock out, there is no check waiting for me.

She is in this full force too and gets so excited about my artistic growth. She comes to my shows and does sound when I need it. She helps to sell merch and take care of my musicians. I do the same for her. I give her feedback on press releases and have made flyers in photoshop for her cd releases. I loan her my car when it's raining. We've had silkscreen sessions where we help each other print t-shirts and posters. We flyer downtown together. 

We swim upstream side by side. We are shoulder to shoulder in this from the emotional to artistic to the technical. This has been going on for years, a huge investment in each other's artist and spiritual path. 

We have shared many big stages together, co-billing or singing with each other. Our show at the Isis Theater will be the most beautiful one yet. Me with the Orchestra, Alex with her combo and a handful of albums under her belt. 


What’s next for the Ten Cent Orchestra?  I assume there are plans to take it to other cities. 

Ten Cent Orchestra is not your typical music experience. It is looking for  listening rooms, theaters, old cathedrals, private spaces, festival stages. I want to bring it to schools, community orchestras, churches, universities. I can travel solo and collaborate with musicians anywhere in the world. I have the sheet music! They don't even have to speak English. That is the vision. To blaze through as a visiting artist, maybe do a workshop on songwriting, have dinner with the players and then have a sponsored or low cost performance that accessible to their community. If orchestra is going to survive and continue to be appreciated, it needs to be accessible both financially and socially. I want to see their craft survive. It is a beauty that we can't afford to lose.

Any else you’d like to add? 

I am an enthusiastic cheerleader for songwriters. I teach courses and workshops on songwriting. I do one on one lyric tutoring. I find it crucial to bring songwriters together so that they can find the support they need, support that they maybe don't get from their parents, spouses, teachers or local music scene. I also offer Artist Way Courses and am working towards artists retreats too!

I do visiting artist talks and love to perform and speak to students, especially empowering teenage girls. 

All of that information can be found at my website











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"intimate, acoustic and folksy"  RUPERT BOTTENBERG, Montreal Mirror

"Chelsea Lynn La Bate has a voice that stuns and mesmorizes."  Jeeroburkhan, CKUT 90.3 radio

"Her music is inspirational, melodic, and well worth a listen."  AVDJ, Dodson Bros


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