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)

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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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Ernie Halter

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Ernie Halter (photo by Erin Yaeger)

In the earlyish days of social media I was part of a music website/blog/MySpace page called The Hub (or The Music Hub). Each week we would interview and feature a different artist. Most of my musical connections come from there or a songwriting group I organized at that same time. Even my connection to my favorite venue in town, Opening Bell Coffee, came because I was helping musicians from The Hub book shows. So, without a music blog out of LA I may not have met John Lefler or Camille Cortinas who are both here in Dallas.  Weird how this music world works. But, the best thing about music is the people you meet through it.  The connections from The Hub are still some of the closest friends I have. The Hub developed such a following that we decided to organize something special. The Three Hour Tour was a series of concerts on a Yacht out of Newport beach.  I went on the first one.  It was an magical afternoon.  Performers included; Rob Giles, Tony Lucca, Jay Nash, Jessie Baylin, Laura Jansen, Joey Ryan and a singer I’d never heard of before named Katy Perry.  Also on this performance was………

Ernie Halter
Current City: Nashville, TN, Hometown: Tustin, CA
Record Label: Grateful King Music (Ernie’s own label)
Most recent release: Just released a single “I’m Getting Ready”. Last full length release was ‘Franklin & Vermont’ (Rockridge Music LLC

BRIEF INTRO (condensed, read the full thing here )
(Official)
“Influenced by some of the legendary names of pop and soul, such as the Beatles, Elton John, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder, Californian Ernie Halter first began to make waves for himself with the release of his 2005 collection, Lo-Fidelity. The singer and songwriter got his start playing a small — mostly covers — coffeehouse gig in 1992, and was able to maintain the difficult position of being a working musician (and closet songwriter) by simply paying his dues, working on songs in his spare time, and playing in coffeehouses and smaller gigs to keep active on the scene and to sharpen his skills. Eventually, word of mouth and the Internet community on websites such as MySpace and YouTube worked in Halter’s favor, and by 2007 — and his next release, Congress Hotel (on Rock Ridge Music) — he had built up quite a buzz, and the staunchly indie Halter could be seen touring throughout much of the United States.” (Chris True All Music Guide)

(Unnoficial- Ernie’s words- “My official bio tells you what I’ve done but not who I am, so..”)
My mom had an upright piano in the house, and I was messing around with it ever since I could reach the keys. When I was 8, she found me a teacher. I preferred Beatles to Bach and after 5 years convinced my parents to let me quit piano lessons. I taught myself to read chord charts out of pop song books and I was hooked again. I learned to play guitar and sing at 15 and was writing songs shortly after. I’ve pretty much been obsessed with music ever since.

Other passions of mine include aviation (I take flying lessons when I have the time and money), audiobooks, learning new things, and I have a long standing love affair with technology. I’d rather leave the house without pants than without my iPhone. (Though where would I put my phone?)

I’m also the father of an amazing 5 year old boy who lights up my world. My wife Kristen and I also have identical twin 2 year old girls. We call them The Twinjas.

What is your songwriting/composing process? What are you most proud of?
The writing process is different every time. I do quite a bit of co-writing, so it depends on who I’m writing with. Typically I write down titles and save them up. When I sit down to write, I write to the title. Trying to get a lyrical shape first before coming up with music.

Most proud of my latest project. The 52 Songs Club. I’m writing a song a week for a year. The project raised $35,000 via Kickstarter from fan support. Currently on week #37.

What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
of mine? “I wanna be your black dress, hold you like a silhouette”

of someone elses: “work all day till the sun don’t shine – struggle like a catfish on the line – they let me off about suppertime, and I’m swimming through the tail lights” – sean mcconnell

What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
write every day. don’t worry about it being perfect. writing is a process. it deserves attention and practice. first work on writing songs consistently. the art of writing good songs comes later.

You’ve done some collaborative writing. Do you enjoy writing with others?
i do. i find that i accomplish more when co-writing. its also social, and good to get to know people via writing together.

If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
paul mccartney, because i’ve been such a big fan of his work. same with james taylor.

When’s the new record coming out?
Aiming for a September release. First record I’ll have where I’m playing most all the parts, producing and mixing on my own. So far its been a lot of fun. Can’t wait for people to hear it.

Ernie Halter on the web
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Bonus Materials

To view Ernie’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to; http://www.ourscattereddreams.com/songwriting-blog.html

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

Thanks for stopping by and sharing with your friends.  We always appreciate your comments and thoughts on the blog. Please stop by our Facebook page and let us know who you’d like to see interviewed.