Interviews with Music Fans (Part 3 of 3)

3 Hour Tour Group - Interviews with Music Fans

Interviews with Music Fans (photo by Sereyna Avila)

PARTS 1 and 2 of the Series
Interviews with Music Fans-Part I of 3
Interviews with Music Fans-Part 2 of 3

Music brings people together. The photo above is a group shot of musicians and music fans from The 3 Hour Tour.  I’ve interviewed, or will interview soon, many of the musicians above. We were all brought together by Erin who’s included in the interviews today. Music is a very personal and subjective topic to all of us.  It has a deep, powerful and individualized effect on us.  Yet, I believe, the best musical moments are shared musical experiences.  Magical performances that you share with friends or strangers (that may even become friends). I started this series because my experience and perception of musical performances is so different than someone who doesn’t play an instrument.  I, in most cases, know exactly what notes they’re playing, what the chords are and why those chose them, what the rhyme scheme is maybe even what lyric is probably coming up next, why the instruments vary what they play on each section….. maybe even what they could do to make it better.  I have to make myself pull out of and turn off that analytic side and just enjoy and experience the moment.  There’s magic that can happen on stages, in coffeehouses and even on Yachts and you don’t want to miss those moments.  Just last night I was playing with an incredible singer as a duo.  We’ve never played as a duo, never rehearsed and decided what songs to do right on stage.  But something happened and we just locked in together and went to the same places, made the same choices.  It was magical and having played gigs for almost 40 years I know that does not happen every night.  The small but engaged crowd knew and were silent for the set.  We heard from so many people afterwards that they knew something special had just happened.  We all need more magical times in our life and music is a pretty good place to find magic and share it with your friends.

These last 3 people are special to me.  2 of them are at almost every gig I play and sometimes even the rehearsals.  The third organized one of the most memorable music afternoons of my life.  Hope you enjoy this final, for now, episode.  Thanks for being part of this.

Erin (Nashville, TN)

Image

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Erin: I took piano lessons for a number of years, but can’t play much more than Mary Had A Little Lamb, Heart & Soul, When You Wish Upon A Star and Penquins at Play from my Primary lesson book.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Erin: Back in my mid-20’s (the wild days) I went to 2-3 shows a week.  I think I saw more than 200 performances in a single year at my pinnacle. These days, with life demands getting in the way and less energy in my 30’s I probably get out to 2-3 shows a month if I’m lucky.  Having just moved to Nashville I have a feeling that number is going to spike a bit more again this year!

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Erin: It takes me back to places and times.  I can remember the day some songs were debuted on stage (i.e. were born).  I can remember where I was when I first heard them on the radio.  Sometimes the lyrics hit me in such powerful ways I just break down (especially worship music) and sometimes when a day is rough I just need to crank up a song with a good beat (preferably old school rap/hip hop) and listen on repeat til my stress goes away.  Music is a very emotional experience for me, and having the opportunity to me and be friends (albeit distant for many) with the people who write and sing them only add to the depth it can tie me to songs emotionally.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Erin: I rarely listen to instrumental music unless it’s something I’m playing in the background to help concentrate (i.e. classical).  I connect much more with music that has lyrics, and moreso lyrics that speak to me.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Erin: To some extent yes, a song can hit home just as much live as it does when I hear it in my car on the drive home, or when it comes up on my iPod or through Spotify as I’m getting ready in the morning.  However, the experience of live music always adds another dimension to music that can’t be captured in a recording.  The energy of the fans taking in the live music, seeing the performer deliver the song, watching the background music come to life through keys and strings and hits on drums all adds a much fuller sensory experience to listening to music.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Erin: Absolutely.  Each and every playlist I have takes me to one place or another.  My past, my present, this experience, that memory, those people, this roadtrip, that time in my life.  I even have songs that I imagine dancing to at my wedding (despite the fact that I haven’t even met my husband yet).  Music being able to bind itself to key moments in my life is one of my favorite attributes about it.  Putting the iPod on shuffle is like taking a walk down memory lane.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Erin: I don’t use the term “friends” as loosely as Facebook.  I tend to call them “musician friends” if they are artists that I like to support that I have come to know in going to their shows over the years who know me. If we don’t typically share meals together when we get together, chat on the phone or talk about subjects other than music – I don’t usually define them as a friend.  A handful have definitely become close personal friends, and I’m very blessed to have found them through music.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Erin: The best musicians know their fans, cater to their fans, appreciate their fans, and tailor their sets to what makes it the most enjoyable experience.  It really doesn’t matter if they forget lyrics, have a mishap on stage, it’s the realness and vulnerability they bring to their set that makes it fun to be a part of.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Erin: How great of a connection it can be between people, you and your emotions, experiences that will be the most memorable in your life and so much more.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Erin: It’s the cheapest therapy you can ever buy!

Cathy (Dallas, TX)

Interviews with music fans

Cathy

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Cathy: When I was about 6 years old, my mom was a big Broadway musical fan. Talent shows and music on the record player filled many days. Then came the Beatles, need I say more?

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Cathy: I tried the piano but just did not work..could play a bit by ear, but reading music and making my hands do what the sheet music said was just too frustrating. I resigned myself long ago to let others play the instruments the way they were intended..

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Cathy: I used to do at least 5 or 6 big concerts a year, along with some smaller local ones. The cost of those big shows, a desire to invest my hard-earned dollars where I think they can do the most good, and a desire to have a more personal experience, has me focusing my attention on local talent and smaller venues. I go to quite a few shows doing that!

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Cathy:  Music speaks to my heart and soul. It revs me up and slows me down, it makes me cry and makes me laugh. It makes me think.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Cathy: Humm, yes I listen to instrumental music almost as much as a song with lyrics. The instrumentals fill your senses with the unspoken passions of the musician(s) and give the music a freedom that reaches beyond words. It amazes me the way some instruments, such as the guitar, sound as if they are speaking words to me, or burrowing the notes in my head and heart.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Cathy: Depends on my mood, and who I am watching. For the most part, live music is the most fulfilling because I can actually watch it being created, the improvisations, the attachment between the artists and audience. But I love rocking, dancing and singing in the living room too!

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Cathy: Sure, many. Most of the important moments somehow connect to a song, since music is so important in my life.  “All My Lovin’” by the Beatles takes me back to the real beginning, “So Low” by Linda Ronstadt still brings out the tears, and “Dancin’ in the Dark” by Springsteen, well, I will keep that to myself!

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Cathy: Yes, I feel a real connection to musicians/artists. Perhaps because I connect to music so strongly, not to mention musicians tend to be more expressive, creative and connected to what life is. I love to watch the creative process. Through these wonderful friendships, I feel the music on an even more personal level than I thought was possible.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Cathy: Play your music from that place way down deep in your soul – believe in yourself!

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Cathy: I wish more music fans would be appreciative of the time and energy it takes for an artist to create and perform. Music is a gift from, musicians are sharing a part, a moment of their life with us. While not all music appeals to everyone, music is hard work, it has meaning, and importance to the artist that created it.  Respect that if nothing else.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Cathy: Music is life.

Netty (Fort Worth, TX)

Interviews with Music Fans

Netty

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Netty: We did not have a tv in our home when I grew up.  We did however have a radio which was almost always turned on to jazz and classical music.  When I was about 5 I asked for my own radio and cassette recorder.  When I moved from The Netherlands to the US I had 2 suitcases with me.  One was filled with cassettes containing music, the other was filled with “stuff.”

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Netty: Music may give me energy, help me focus, allow me to easily connect to feelings of happiness.  As a child I always listened to music while doing homework.  It was almost always instrumental music, most of the time jazz, sometimes classical.  During difficult times, it helps take the edge off pain, both physically and emotionally.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Netty: Stronger actually. For me it is easier to experience instrumental music.

Our Scattered Words: What do you hear in the instrumental music that draws you in?
Netty:  Brass instruments; phrasing.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Netty: Live music is what I prefer.  Live music allows for a very different connection to the music, including a physical connection.  I find myself hearing the music differently and believe that’s impacted by the visual experience.  With live music you never know what to expect, especially in jazz.  There is a different level of excitement, in part because of others in the crowd.  There is nothing like being in a room of music lovers and great musicians.  The energy that is created can result is the most amazing musical moments that will last a life time.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Netty: Absolutely.  Some are connected to travel, while others are directly connected to people, or periods of sadness or joy.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Netty: Yes.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Netty: Possibly share more of what is happening on stage for them.  It’s not about whether your performance is technically perfect, it’s about how your interpretation and presentation of the music makes us feel.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Netty:  That listening at a live performance will enhance the experience for everybody 🙂

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Netty: As a “foreigner” I can attest that music is truly a universal language.  While two people speaking a different language may not be able to “connect” emotionally, music can change that in an instant.  For me personally music has helped me learn, heal, feel at home anywhere, and imagine the impossible.

PARTS 1 and 2 of the Series
Interviews with Music Fans-Part I of 3
Interviews with Music Fans-Part 2 of 3

Thank for for supporting music, creating music, reading about music how ever it is that you’re involved! Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Now go out and listen to some live music with your friends.

Thanks also for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

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Interviews with Music Fans (part 2 of 3)

Amber

Interviews with Music Fans (this photo by Jessica Loucks)

I’m really overwhelmed by how many of you stopped by to read Part 1 of the interviews with music fans.  Thank you for stopping by and all of your favorable comments.  This week it’s part 2 of the 3 part series. In full disclosure, much of my SXSW was spent with 2 of the people interviewed this time. I have either attended shows with this group and/or had them come see me play.  I guess I just enjoy hanging out with good people!

AJ Lark (Austin, TX)
http://musicismyfirstlanguage.wordpress.com/

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
AJ Lark: I was born with music inside of me. Music was one of my parts — it was a force already within me when I arrived at the scene.” (Ray Charles) I may not create my own music, but that’s exactly how I feel about it. Music wasn’t a constant in my house growing up, but it was always accessible. My dad has a beautiful voice and some of my favorite childhood memories center around sitting at his feet while he played the guitar and sang; The Beach Boys will always make me think of my dad. He also led worship at church and I vividly remember the feeling of pride swelling in my chest when I listened to him sing, that’s my dad. My parents were divorced, so these were summertime memories — limited in quantity, which made them sacred. My dad also played the saxophone and the piano. He didn’t read music, either. He played by ear. His musical bad-assery left me in a constant state of awe. My mom’s taste was all over the place. She had this amazing collection of 45s and I used to go through them listening one at a time and making stacks of the ones I liked and the ones I didn’t like. My musical taste was always my own, though. I liked the Beatles at a very young age, when no one I knew listened to the Beatles. I liked 80’s new wave bands that didn’t get much radio play in the small Colorado town where I grew up. I had no use for the country music that ruled the airways. We weren’t allowed to watch much TV at home, so I’d sneak over to friends’ houses as often as I could to watch MTV. Then I’d beg my mom to take me to the library where I’d check out records and cassette tapes.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
AJ Lark: I took piano lessons for a short time when I was 11 or 12. It came naturally and I wish I had stuck with it, but it didn’t hold my interest. I wanted gymnastics. I wanted dance. I couldn’t be bothered with hours spent practicing piano. I do remember the only thing I loved playing and actually invested in getting good at was Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet (the Love Theme)’.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
AJ Lark: This varies. Not nearly as many as I’d like (complications of being a single parent). There was a time in my life when I saw a bare minimum of two shows a week and that’s how I would like it.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
AJ Lark: There is no high like a good live show. I feel fluttery heart palpitations and a rising sense of euphoria just thinking about it.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
AJ Lark: Definitely not.

Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Amber: While I thoroughly enjoy instrumental music, especially anything with strings, it’s the lyrics that I find seductive and magnetic. It’s rare that I truly connect with something that doesn’t have lyrics.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
AJ Lark: No. But both are necessary. One is food and the other is water, in a way. Recorded music is water. I need it, lots of it, to survive. Live music is more like a delicious meal. Still a requirement for life, but I can get by on less. Live music is such an “all in” experience for me. Heart, mind, body, soul – I’m in another place. Recorded music allows me to process on a more conscious level. I can dissect something and articulate why I do or don’t connect with it. I lose that rational capability with live music. I’m moved to tears or I’m not. I’m moved to dance, or I’m not. I’m stunned speechless by the beauty of it all, or I’m not.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
AJ Lark: It seems strange to say “no”, but somehow I can’t think of any! Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me” was playing on the radio when I cartwheeled my car down a mountainside when I was 16 years old. Does that count?!

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
AJ Lark: Yes, absolutely.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
AJ Lark: Interesting question. I don’t know. For me it’s always, “What could the fans do?” Or “What could the venues do?” I think more often than not the musicians do all the can. They bring it heart and soul, 24/7.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
AJ Lark: I wish they could understand that their incessant chatter during live shows causes me, and others like me, physical pain. Outside of that I don’t waste much breath trying to convert or convince people. You either get it, or you don’t.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
AJ Lark: To quote Hunter S. Thompson: “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” I think that about covers it.
(please check out AJ’s blog Music Is My First Language. one of my favorites)

Giselle

Interviews with Music Fans

Giselle (Vancouver)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Giselle: can’t remember but i’ve always liked it – for as long as i can remember i’ve always been aware of any music that’s playing (even if it’s in the background)

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Giselle: no

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Giselle: i’d go to more if i could but, i’m probably averaging seeing 100 bands i like in a year

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Giselle: ‘i don’t listen to music based on my moods and i rarely pay attention to lyrics but listening to a song i like or discovering a new band always makes me feel a bit better about the world’

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Giselle: no
Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Giselle: not sure because i don’t really pay attention to the lyrics (i like music in languages i don’t speak)

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Giselle: it can but i usually use the recorded music to decide if i’ll see an artist live and if they’re good live, then i’ll listen to the recorded music more

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Giselle: yes (which is so great)

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Giselle: hard to say because i never really know why i like some performances and why i don’t like others

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Giselle: i don’t think i understand music but i do wish most people were more open to music discovery – there’s alot of amazing artists out there who don’t get the recognition because they don’t have the right record company or the right p.r or their song doesn’t get played in the right tv show or whatever …

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Giselle: i think the great thing about music is that it affects everyone differently – you and i may have completely different reasons for liking a song but we can share a connection because we both like it …

carla

Interviews with Music Fans

Carla (Carrollton)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Carla: I grew up in the 50s – my parents were young and loved music. Neither were musicians, but we always had the radio or records going. Mom was a big Elvis fan, my dad liked Louis Armstrong – they both had country favorites and enjoyed the big band sound of their youth. I was exposed to a lot of tunes!

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Carla: No. I tinkered around for a while with a piano as a young adult but never learned to play with the exception of picking put a few notes (very slowly) from sheet music.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Carla: Hard to say. Most shows I attend are local artists. It would really vary depending upon what else was going on in my life but I will venture a guess at somewhere between 25 and 40. [OSW NOTE: Carla also does a lot to personally help support local musicians in many ways, including several of the artists I’ve interviewed]

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Carla: When I was in my 20’s and needed a good cry I would put on “Late For The Sky” by Jackson Browne. A sad song can make me sad. An inspiring song can make me cry. But mostly music brings me great joy. That feeling of transcending.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Carla: No
Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Carla: Where instrumental music can be very moving to me, particularly classical music where the instruments become like living voices, I am more drawn to songs with lyrics. Words are exciting – they paint a picture – a perfect rhyme will give me chills, a great metaphor is aweinspiring (and makes me so jealous because I can’t do it!). Instrumental music lacks that particular magic to me.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Carla: No. Live music is an entire experience – connection with the artist, energy from the audience, and live instruments always grab my attention more than those on recordings. There are certain notes and tones, particularly from a keyboard, that I can feel in my cells. Sometimes though, recordingscan get me pumped, all cranked up, and make me sing (not so well) and dance about the house.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Carla: Not really. Songs will invoke memories or feelings, particularly nostalgia. Sometimes songs remind me of a certain person. I’ve been around for a while, so there’s a lot of this going on!

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Carla: Yes. I’ve had musician friends all my adult life. A few have become close friends. Indie artists are accessible for the most part and are happy to meet their fans and many times that evolves into a friendship. The musicians I know and have known all just want people to listen, they notice those who do.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Carla: I think fans want great sound and a relatively clean and comfortable venue. Not sure how much control the artists have over that. I have a pet peeve about being intentionally misinformed about the time of the performance so as get people there on time. Those of us who are always on time have a bit of an issue then having to wait. However, none of the inconveniences matter once the music starts – at that point, the sound is important!

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Carla: My interest in that would mostly be to have more attendance at local shows. I want that for the artists and the future of local music.  Music itself can be a very personal thing. I believe we each get to decide what is “good” music and what is not. I would hope that music fans would slow down and let the music work its magic. Listen and experience the great joy that can come from allowing it to take over your senses. Then there is actually magic that happens between the audience and the performers that keeps people coming back.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Carla: Music is a gift from the Universe. It is truly a universal language crossing all borders and barriers. We can all participate.

jeffrey

Interviews with Music Fans

 

Jeffrey (DeSoto, TX)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Jeffrey: Have no idea

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Jeffrey: Played a french horn in jr. high school but didn’t know what I was doing.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Jeffrey: Local – probably about 50 – National acts maybe 3 or 4.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Jeffrey: Sometimes music can really be uplifting. I used to listen to lyrics a lot more than I do now.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Jeffrey: Yes

Our Scattered Words: What do you hear in the instrumental music that draws you in?
Jeffrey: Tough question. It depends on the song. I really like music that’s layered where you have to listen several times to hear everything. I guess a good beat and bass line is what initially catches my attention as long as it’s not too repetitive.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Jeffrey: Yes, each has it’s own place

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Jeffrey: Most definitely, maybe more of a connection in periods of my life as opposed to important moments.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Jeffrey: No

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Jeffrey: Play more original music.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Jeffrey: I don’t really care about other music fans. You either have an appreciation for music or you don’t. I really don’t believe that it’s a choice. Just as musicians are bless with the talent of music some of us are also bless with an inherent appreciation of music.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Jeffrey: I think one of the most important things about music is that music can bring all types of racial, ethnic or whatever types of people together. It also provides and emotional escape from our everyday problems. Most of all when a song is good you feel it in your soul.

PART 1 of the Series
Interviews with Music Fans-Part I of 3

Thank for for supporting music, creating music, reading about music how ever it is that you’re involved! Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Come back for the final part of this series on Friday!

Thanks also for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Lauren Turk Songwriting Interview

Lauren Turk Songwriting Interview

Lauren Turk Songwriting

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” this is a quote often misattributed to Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein. Whatever the source, be it a scientist/philosopher or Narcotics Anonymous brochure,  it’s a trap that musicians often fall into. We often expect what worked 5, 10, 30 years ago to work today and that’s a bad idea.  Technology has changed people’s views on, and access to, the arts.  If you give a group of people the choice between free and legal access to a song/movie/book and paid access (even at a minimal cost) a majority of people will, not surprisingly, chose free access.  Digitizing creations has lessened the general populations perceptions about the value of songs and movie.  They enjoy having them, but there’s no tangible thing to hold so they perceive to be of less value than an LP or …..Laser Disc. [note to self; why does this opening read like a Masters Thesis?].  I don’t like that this perception exists regarding music, but we need let that new paradigm guide what we do.

Musicians need to find different ways to connect with people, new ways to distribute and share their creations.  That’s exactly what intrigued me about Lauren Turk.  I read through posts at Good.is a couple of times a week to find people and organizations pursuing similar goals that we can partner with. It’s become one of my best resources to find good contacts. [readers thoughts; “I thought this was a songwriting blog? Did I click the wrong link?] One day I found an article about Lauren at the Good site.  It caught my attention immediately because she found a new way to get her music out to people and, in doing so, it provided help to a great cause. I immediately contacted her to set up this interview.

Lauren Turk Songwriting INterview

Lauren Turk
Hometown- 
Chicagoland Current City- Los Angeles
Most Recent Release- “Forward” EP, July 2013 – Genre: Pop Electronica
Band Affiliation- The New History (my newest music project)

Brief Intro- 
Made in Chicago, living in Los Angeles.  I’m a singer-songwriter with a few degrees. Two bachelor’s — Business/French and Communications — and one masters in Political Science from the University of Illinois and Sciences-Po in Paris, France.

I learned piano and violin as a kid, and developed a proclivity for classical music. After an adolescence in musicals, competitive singing, choir and lots of national anthems, I put music aside for many years while studying other things… until one fine day in Paris…I fell hard for a former love…(music).

Before you could say “quarter-life-crisis” I was singing with jazz bands across Paris, and earned spots in both the Sciences-Po Orchestra & choir. The occasional escape to Berlin came to include rather profitable and oh-so enjoyable busking escapades in the cityscape. These years sparked a vibrant realization – my life could not be full without creating music.

Once finished with school in May 2012, I  shook off the cobwebs with concerts in Europe and the United States. Excitement ensued, and I packed my bags for Los Angeles to have a go at the music industry.

Today in the city of angels, I write and perform music on the regular, experimenting with styles, discovering my sound. My bottom line is simply a love for singing and performing.

A self-titled artivist, I care deeply about issues which mark our evermore interconnected societies; sustaining/protecting the environment, feeding/educating people, making our world one that is not violent and respects people equally. I try to embed these themes into my work and do my part, sometimes through the song itself, other times through other work, events and community initiatives.

My mission is to live a life of symbiosis –making a positive difference by combining the things I love to do.

Our Scattered Words: I stumbled on to your story via GOOD. In a very short time I’ve found it to be an incredible resource to find people and organizations that; want to help each other and want to champion positive actions happening in the world.  How did that connection come about and how has it impacted you?
Lauren Turk: GOOD was one of the first and best things I discovered when I moved to LA. It opened up my eyes to this city’s vibrant ecosystem of start-ups, young companies and cooperatives with their heads and hearts in the right place. It’s a big part of why I love being here

Furthermore, the first GOOD article I read helped shift my perspective on what success in the music industry means to me. I had (and still have) my goals set very high, but had always vowed that once I met “success” that I’d use the accompanying platform as an agent of change. I had a Gwen Stefani moment and realized “Whatchyou waiting for”? Making a difference starts the moment you decide to take action. The best we can do is use what we have, there’s no need to reach a certain “level” first.

Our Scattered Words: Do you think you’ll ever work renewable energy policies into a song idea?
Lauren Turk: Yes!! I think about it everyday (I also wrote a master’s thesis on this topic). There’s actually a song on my EP called “Generation” that’s about waking up and taking action to salvage our environment.

I plan to write more in the future in different genres. It’s a challenge to turn this topic into a song without being preachy or doomsday, and you could lose your audience…

Unfortunately, the impacts of climate change are so globally pervasive and large that taking responsibility on an individual level and accepting the sobering truth about what’s happening to our environment, food and water is so often shrugged off. A lot of people don’t want to hear it, think about it, or realize their direct impact. The plot thickens with companies and governments the all powerful M word ($$). My dream is to write something that is both digestible and compelling to people.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Lauren Turk: My method is sort of strange. I get inspiration at really inconvenient times! Invariably when I am moving from point A to B – biking, walking, driving, and especially when working out. Movement turns my creative brain on like no other. Typically words come first, and then I find a chord progression to match the mood of my thoughts, and last the melody. That’s when I’m songwriting alone. When I songwrite with others, I try to absorb their vibe and let something come out naturally, usually on the spot. I love doing it both ways.

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Lauren Turk: Sometimes (and almost exclusively for love songs), I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with lyrics at my fingertips in a sort of lucid dreaming state (my song “Impasse” happened like this).

For the most part, I write the songs pretty immediately and try not to sit on things longer than a month or so. I find I lose momentum and I might end up completely changing the mood of the song if I revisit it too long after. Maybe this makes my work less than it’s best sometimes…but I also think it makes for an honest portrayal of the inspirational place it originated from 🙂

If I feel blocked or uninspired, sometimes I have a look through my old songwriting journals, especially from my travels.

Our Scattered Words:  Artists are not always the strongest communicators off of the stage.  Has your degree in degree in Business and Communications helped you in developing your music career?
Lauren Turk: I definitely think so. These credentials allow me work on amazing projects part-time by day with people who value the different goals and aspirations I have. With a little time management, I get the best of both worlds. That said, the music industry is a totally different animal— the protocols, socializing, competition and hierarchies are unique to what you encounter in other sectors. I’ve been learning a lot. I’d say my background has helped me think strategically about the music industry instead of just creatively (music-making).  I also like to think I’m harder to trap in a contract than the next guy 😉

Our Scattered Words: What constitutes a good story for you?
Lauren Turk: Ideally a good story is relatable, comes from a unique angle, and is genuine. The moment I doubt whether a story is contrived or staged, I enjoy it less.  Metaphors are also powerful aspects of a good story.

Our Scattered Words: Were your parents involved in music at all? What do they think of music becoming your career path?
Lauren Turk: No, not really. They’ve always been supportive of my pursuit of happiness, whatever that may be. I’m very lucky for that. I think they thought I was crazy when I announced that after finishing my masters I was going to head to L.A. to have a go at the music industry. They were confused, but when they saw that this was coming from my heart, their confusion dissipated 🙂

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish you did better?
Lauren Turk: I wish I were stronger in music theory. It’s crazy, I studied piano, violin, and singing for so many years, but didn’t like music theory. I would skip over it, and I think it slipped under my teachers’ radar because I had a good ear and progressed quickly. Now, I have to make up for that. It’s such a pain! I’m a stickler for theory with the kids I teach (piano and violin) so that they don’t suffer the same fate, haha.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Lauren Turk: This is such an impossible question. A lot of my favorite lyrics are in French… but lately, the lyric that has been running around in my head is from First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou” “Now so much I know that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience”. That resonates deeply with me.

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Lauren Turk: 

  1. Never give up!
  2. Only two opinions matter when it comes to critiquing and modifying your work. That of the non-musician (do they like it?) and that of the expert (what is missing, what doesn’t make sense?). The endless opinions in between can just distract you from the unique flavor you bring to the table (the producer of my EP “Forward”, Rudi Meibergen, said this to me)
  3. There’s an audience for everything…just do your own thing and have fun! The rest will fall into place.

Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Lauren Turk: Oh my…anything with Michael Jackson. He was brilliant – he would come in and sing all the harmonies and notes for each player on every instrument…it didn’t matter whether it was for guitar or a trumpet. He had it all in his head. I feel like it would be so overwhelmingly inspiring to witness something like that, and I would most likely cry from awesomeness overload.

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Lauren Turk: Leonard Cohen. In my opinion, no one really lights a candle to his songwriting ability. His lyrics just get you, and you feel like you get them. They are profound but not overdone. He was a master of finding that balance.

Our Scattered Words: What are you up to now?
Lauren Turk: I’m going on tour in Europe from April 10-April 28th introducing my new music project called The New History. We’re playing in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, then we’ll head to Urbana-Champaign (where I went to school) to play at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and in the first annual Agora festival (which I’m co-organizing), which celebrates community and collaboration as paradigms for happy and successful living. Then, we’re headed to Chicago to play at the Tonic Room and go on Fearless Radio! All these details will be posted on our website, www.thenewhistory.com. There will be links on my website, www.laurenturkmusic.com, as well!

Lauren Turk on the Wb

www.laurenturkmusic.com

www.facebook.com/LaurenTurkMusic

Follow on Instagram: @LaurenTurkMusic

Follow on Twitter: @LTsings

The New History

www.thenewhistory.com

www.facebook.com/TheNewHist

Follow on Instagram: @TheNewHistory

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Lauren Turk, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

Bonus materials for Lauren include 3 music videos of songs she’s been enjoying lately.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Follow on Twitter: @OSWBlog

Interviews with Music Fans (Part 1 of 3)

Jenney and Johnny at Granada Theater (Dallas)

Interviews with Music Fans

Interviews with Music Fans

I don’t think any of us can imagine our life without music.  For most people it’s a constant part of the day.  Music helps pull us through hard times, makes us realize that other have been through the same things we have, brings back our happiest memories and shows us there is incredible beauty here on this world. You’re here because you either create or listen to music. Without music fans and supporters, none of this would be possible.  If no one went to the Beatles early shows they’d be shipbuilders and plant workers in Liverpool still.  Without true supporters attending shows, buying music, sharing music with their friends then we’d be living in a world with no music and no on wants that.

These are some the strongest music supporters I know from all over the world.  They have, collectively, stayed up to watch live streams of local music shows in Dallas that ended at Midnight while living in Germany (do the Math on that!), showed up at rehearsals, set up house shows and done PR for bands, given up their couches or extra bedrooms to traveling bands, traveled from Vancouver to Austin, TX annually to support musicians they like, ran the merchandise table at shows etc.  Without passionate people like  this, it would not be possible to make a living as an independent musician.  I have so many interviews that I’m breaking this into 2 parts 3 parts! (these are so great but just 3 make for a good post.  It will be nice to spread these out)

Lona (Dallas, TX)

Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Lona: I grew up north of Philadelphia and was exposed to many types of music.  The music I initially gravitated toward was Motown, R&B, and Jazz, and of course, Rock ‘n Roll. Most of my high school friends were primarily into Rock ‘n Roll, and my parents didn’t listen to much music in our home on a regular basis. Philly has always had many GREAT musicians and plenty of great places to go listen.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Lona: No, but when I was growing up, I always wanted to play the piano. I do own a Native American drum and some rattles, but only play them for ceremonial purposes.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Lona: Gosh, that is easier for me to think in weekly terms.  A slow week for me would be one, but it is usually more like 2-5 a week.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Lona: Live music doesn’t always give me the ‘hit’ I’m seeking, even if the performance is on the highest level, but when it does, for me it can be one of the highest forms of meditation.  It seems to ‘hit’ at that moment when everyone is riding the same wave of energy.  It can literally take me on a natural HIGH that is addicting.  Even if I don’t reach it, I always remember how it feels and continually seek it and want MORE.  Many things can get in the way of my not reaching the ultimate high.  It can be as easy as my inability to tune in and forget the day’s annoyances, or failing to remain in the moment.  It can be that the band members don’t quite reach that place of combined energy and aren’t in sync.  It can simply be the distractions from other people chattering in the room, or the imbalance of sound.  For me it is such an honor and a THRILL to witness the MAGIC that sometimes happens during live musical performances, that is even more special than recorded music because of the ENERGY WAVE that can happen.  Having said that, even when I’m unable to reach my musical “high” it usually makes me feel a lot better than when I walked in the room.  I also listen to recorded music all the time, as well, and cannot imagine my life without it.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Lona: YES, and sometimes even MORE SO.
Our Scattered Words: What do you hear in the instrumental music that draws you in?
Lona: I hear the individual instruments and even the silence between the notes.  Of all the instruments, my ear seems to be most drawn to and resonate most with the piano, but I hear them ALL and appreciate them ALL.  I also appreciate the difference one without the other can make.  Case in point, I was listening to these awesome players one evening.  Nothing seemed to be missing until the bass player showed up late and joined in.  WOW!  I didn’t realize it was even missing until he started playing.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Lona: Not the same, but still can be AMAZING and in my case, needed daily.  Depending on the recording, and listening environment, it can get close to the same as live.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Lona: Of course.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Lona: Yes, and it is always amazing to me just how appreciative and friendly most musicians truly are when all I do is show up to receive the magic of their gifts.  It supports a personal belief that I have that the biggest gift you can give someone is to focus on their highest gifts, for what we focus on expands.  It is amazing how much that helps raise people’s consciousness and costs nothing and takes very little effort.  One of the highest compliments I receive fairly often is, “We always seem to play better when you are in the room.”

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Lona: The same things I try to do … let the cares of the day go, get in the groove of the moment and do what they can to get in on the wave of their fellow musicians.  For them, it seems they need to trust in themselves and their learned abilities and trust and allow the magic to happen.  To take that one step further, if they can focus a little on how great the other players are, it lifts them up, as well.  The same thing holds true when they are thinking they suck, for they will often not disappoint.  People feel it whether words are spoken or not.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Lona: That they can learn to appreciate music they aren’t naturally drawn to, and that exposure is the key.  After enough exposure to all, they will realize which ones they are drawn to and resonate with.  People forget that music can literally transform one’s mood and it is GOOD FOR THEIR SOUL. It can be like a tuning fork for the entire body.  So it is essentially good for the mind, body and spirit.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Lona: To quote Wendell Sneed who would always conclude every weekly DMA “Jazz in the Atrium” performance with “We hope we have helped you find your groove, but If you haven’t … tough!”  LOL … So I say, FIND YOUR GROOVE and GROOVE OFTEN!

Dieter (Bremen, Germany)

Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Dieter: Music was always part of my life, when looking back on any periods or events of my history they are always connected to the music I was listening to at that time. After I retired seven years ago occupying with music became a passion, the matter of my day.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Dieter: I would love to do that and I tried it when I was younger but I don’t have the musical skills, even the mouth organ that was the gift of a friend refused to produce pleasant melodies.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Dieter: At least five or six nowadays, depending on the number of interesting artists playing in my city. In addition, I watch the live webcast from a venue in London, The Bedford, two or three times the week.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Dieter: A tough question, because music effects me in so many ways, at first it’s the background of everything I do, you won’t catch a moment without music in this house. There is a music genre for every kind of mood, jazz, folk, rock, pop, classic, whatever I feel, there is a rhythm for that emotion, to express or to overcome the feeling.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Dieter: It is mainly the instrumental music that affects me. Rhythm and melody catch my attention, thus, the instruments and as also a voice as an musical instrument influence me at first, the lyrics always come on second place when judging a song. Mostly, it’s a piano chord, a guitar riff, a sax solo or the beauty of a voice that makes me love a song.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Dieter: Listening to recorded music and experiencing a live gig are two very different things to me. The atmosphere of a concert, how the musicians connect to the audience are effecting me a lot. In general, I’m easier impressed by music played live, really live, not recorded live.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Dieter: Certainly, how can I forget singing “Smoke on the Water” on my 18th birthday! The songs of CCR are firmly connected to the hours after high school, Five Hand Reel’s live performance of “Wee Wee German Lairdie” with my time as a bartender, Tina’s “Nutbush City Limits” with my days in the Navy, Werner Lämmerhirt’s “Angie” with the one big love…

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Dieter: The musicians I support live far away from here, we are exchanging friendly words on Facebook but never became closer friends.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Dieter: Hehehe, at least know the name of the city you’re playing in! Well, I don’t know and just have some word for the audience: The key to experience a nice live gig is to pay attention, respect the artist and don’t talk during the performance.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Dieter: Music is a basis for connecting people, I learned to know much more interesting people through sharing musical interests than any other aspect of life… and that without having any musical skills myself.

I close with the words of my favorite author Nick Hornby: “And mostly all I have to say about these songs is that I love them, and want to sing along to them, and force other people to listen to them, and get cross when these other people don’t like them as much as I do.”

Carolyn (Philadelphia, PA)
Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Carolyn: I think I’ve just grown up being exposed to different music.  I remember whenever I’d ride with my parents there was always different music in the car; Paul Simon, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett…just many different genres.  If I stayed with my grandparents, I remember my grandma playing the piano or her organ everyday and singing.  Music has just always been around in some form.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Carolyn: Does the recorder count?  There are several phases I’ve gone through in life where I’ve wanted to learn an instrument, but have never been able to sit down and focus on learning it properly. I almost learned the flute, piano and guitar, but I only really ever learned to play the recorder in like 3rd grade because I had to.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Carolyn: Too many to count! I go to a minimum of 2 a month, so you can do the math!

Our Scattered Words: How does music affect you at an emotional level?
Carolyn: There are some albums that I have that can just be my soundtrack to whenever I’m feeling down.  Some lyrics that just hit you right where you didn’t see coming, stick with you and make you feel that someone else is feeling what you’re feeling and telling you it’s going to be ok.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Carolyn: For the most part, no.  Sometimes I do like to have a good Vivaldi session though.  I think for the most part I just like to hear the whole package.  I can appreciate instrumental music for what it’s worth, but I feel it doesn’t hold my attention as long as something with lyrics.  Lyrics give me something to follow, memorize and think about.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Carolyn: I think they both have their own appealing elements.  I always find it interesting to see how an artist is going to carry over a recorded version of a song into a live performance.  Sometime they decide to strip it down instead or change elements, so you there’s that sense of surprise in a live performance I think in comparison to recorded songs.  Someone can add as many effects and edits to a recorded version to make it stand out and play on repeat, but pulling something off live in an effective way I think is a huge part of a someone’s career to be memorable.  The way I see it..recorded music is what you can have in the presence, but seeing something live is what you’re really going to take with you.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Carolyn: Absolutely!  There are always those songs that seem to come on at the time you need them and that moment just sticks with you.   “Amazing Grace” is always one I associate with my grandfather’s funeral, so that one has a sad memory for me despite being an uplifting song.  “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day was the first song that came on the radio after my last day of summer camp when I was younger, after going to the same place since I was little it was a good way to cap things off and one of those moments I vividly remember.  There are also those songs from movies or TV that stand in your memory too.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Carolyn: After knowing a handful of them for a few years now it’s hard to not become friends.  You all can easily connect on a level because of working with music.  You build trust and friendships and can bounce ideas and advice off each other.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Carolyn: Interaction is key.  Obviously everyone is there to hear your music (unless they’re the rude people who are just there to talk) but there should be that level of “getting to know you” during the performance too.  Getting people involved and feeling like they’re let in on the show I think is something that helps to draw people in more.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Carolyn: I think the first thing that comes to mind is the level of respect at a show.  It takes a lot for someone to get up on a stage and pour their hearts out to a crowd of people.  It always baffles me when people pay to come into a show and then all they do is spend their time talking over the people around them having a conversation with people or texting on their phone while someone is performing.  Just think of how you would feel the other way around…

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Carolyn: It just is!  For some people like me, music is the only thing that gets me through the day.  It’s therapy, something that can get you through hard times, highlight good times, connect people, it’s something universal.

Thank for for supporting music, creating music, reading about music how ever it is that you’re involved! Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks also for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words.