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

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Sharon Van Etten

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Sharon Van Etten

We all have those friends we connect with musically.  Those people whose taste  mirror your own interests. I’m fortunate to have several of those people in my life. My buddy Julie is one of those. I know if she likes a band or musician that I probably will  too.  We’re also constantly bouncing our own new songs/recordings off of each other for feedback. Back in 2009, my friend Julie and her friend, Clo, were invited by Sharon Van Etten to one of her shows. Immediately after the show, I got a message telling me to order “Because I Was In Love”.  I did, of course. Julie’s always right about thsoe things. The package came from Brooklyn.  Sharon had written a thank you note on the outside of the mailer.  She also wrote a second thank you note saying “this means so much, thank you” inside with the CD.  It was very sincere and endearing.   I connected with her songs and voice at first listen and am thrilled that she has such wide recognition now.

I’ve heard that as more people know about you, you lose yourself because each of those people take a piece of you. But, everything I hear and read tells me that Sharon remains the same genuine, sincere person she’s always been.  That’s an amazing thing in this social media driven music world we live in. We need more Sharon Van Ettens in music and life.

Sharon Van Etten
Current City: New York, NY
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Most Recent Release:  ‘Tramp’ (2012)

BIO: Born and raised in NJ. Moved to TN. Her heart was broken. She moved back home where her family nursed her back to health. She started writing songs as therapy and fell in love with a boy in New York and the rest is history.

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Sharon Van Etten:
I write stream of consciousness when I am going through a hard time as therapy. I hit record as I play guitar and work on a melody and listen back and try to understand what it is I am trying to say, what I am feeling, and then I try to shape those words into something sensical.

OSW: Have you become comfortable with writing on the road, or is that something you still do at home?
Sharon Van Etten: It’s hard for me to write on the road because you never have a moment alone. Downtime is in a van, backstage, or before bed. And we usually share rooms… so it’s hard to get away. But sometimes I put headphones on and work on electronic music on garageband as exercise. It’s always good to write, just to write.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Sharon Van Etten: Not giving up yet. it’s rough out there. I love my band. I am proud of my band and the friendships we’ve created.

OSW: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Sharon Van Etten: I revise. They’re the hardest for me.

OSW: You are someone that promotes and supports their friends, and is in turn supported strongly by your friends. It’s really important for musicians to “hold each other up” isn’t it?
Sharon Van Etten: With anything. It’s important to be supportive of those you believe in. It’s easy to get disheartened. If you don’t support the kind of music you believe in it won’t be around for very long – for you or for anyone else.

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Sharon Van Etten: ever? maybe jeff buckley ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’, “she’s a tear that hangs inside my soul forever.” god, I hope I can write something like that some day.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Sharon Van Etten: Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep writing.

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Sharon Van Etten: That’s a tough one. Maybe Neil Young ‘Harvest’.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Sharon Van Etten: Bob Dylan… but he probably would be mean to me…

Sharon Van Etten on the Web
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr
Pinterest

Bonus Materials

To view Sharon Van Etten’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.

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.

Thank YOU, it’s been a great week.

Peter Broderick

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Peter Broderick

Genuine. Sincere.Kind.

The more I read of Peter Broderick’s; lyrics, stories behind his songs at itstartshear.com, interactions with fans and interview, the more these words keep re-appearing in my head. The world of music needs more of these 3 words. Actually, all of us could benefit from having more of those in our lives.  The same is true for his sister Heather Woods Broderick, who I hope to interview in the future. I also hear the same things about Sharon Van Etten, who Heather tours with and whose interview I’ll share with you on Friday. I’ve been fascinated by itstartshear.com for a while.  It’s the site that Peter put up for his album It Starts Hear.  Peter posted the lyrics, a back story to each song, the song and an area for fans to comment on each song. He takes the time to read and comment back. He’s a true storyteller whether talking about a life he stole or letters to an ex-lover. Spend some time listening to his songs and on the sites listed below.

Peter Broderick
Home town:
Portland, OR
Record Labels: Bella Union, Erased Tapes, Hush Records, Team Love
Most Recent Releases: 
Broderick & Broderick (self titled collaboration with my father, Team Love 2013)

These Walls Of Mine (experimental solo album, Erased Tapes 2012)

Band affiliation: Efterklang (touring musician 2007-2013)

Brief intro/bio:
Peter Broderick (1987) is an American born musician who grew up studying the violin from age 7. In his teenage years he began to collect any and all musical instruments he could get his hands on, and developed his own self-taught methods with all of those new instrument friends. He then lived in Portland, Oregon for a few years, where he quickly started playing and recording with a variety of bands and singer-songwriters (Horse Feathers, M Ward, Loch Lomond, Laura Gibson, etc.), and in late 2007 he moved to Copenhagen to start touring with Danish band Efterklang, and  to explore a path as a solo artist. He spent nearly six years touring the globe, sharing music by himself and with groups, scoring a number of independent film and dance productions, widening his vision and refining his craft. The last three years have seen Peter living in Berlin, collaborating with many of the wonderful musicians in that vastly creative town (Nils Frahm, Greg Haines, Martyn Heyne, etc.), and 2013 sees Peter returning to his homeland, where he plans to slow down a bit with his musical output, to soak up all the love that a motherland has to offer after having been away for so long, and to share his musical experiences from the Old Land with his fellow Americans.

OSW; What is your songwriting/composing process?
Peter Broderick; I tend to be a little all over the place . . . sometimes I start with an instrumental line on guitar or banjo or violin (whatever instruments are around), and then I’ll add words and a vocal melody at the end. Other times I start with a poem or an a cappella vocal melody, and then later set that to music.

OSW; What are you most proud of?Peter Broderick; To this day, the musical project I am most proud of is one that I’ve never dared to share with anyone beyond a few close friends . . . perhaps that’s why I’m so attached to it. It involved a series of very intense, vivid dreams, which I wrote down upon waking, and later set to music and a very loose and improvisatory manner… I think I am proud of it because it really felt like I was doing it purely for the sake of creation, with 100% love, without any kind of commercial aspirations or dreams of success. That was really rewarding.

OSW; What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Peter Broderick; That’s tough! Bill Callahan says a lot of intriguing, memorable things . . . Arthur Russell has also caught my ear a lot with his more ethereal statements, sung with great passion. And I have to think of John Cage . . . some his vocal works are so clever yet very simple! There are plenty of others, but those are a few that come to mind right away.

OSW; You have a very musical family. You and Heather have played together in Efterklang and some other settings. Did you both develop interest in music at the same time or did one of you influence and/or lead the other into music?
Peter Broderick; Well, everyone in my family plays music . . . it’s almost like it wasn’t an option to not play music. But it also wasn’t forced. I think music is just such an important part of my parents’ lives, they imparted that upon us kids. As I’m the youngest of three children, I was naturally the last one to start playing. But I think we all started playing as soon as we could get our little fingers on the instruments.

OSW; As a followup. I love that you took your Dad’s Guitar part and built, with Heather, “Let Me Love You”. How did your Dad react to that creation?
Peter Broderick; He loves it. He really does. And it’s amazing because he’s so humble that he never dares to say he likes something that he took part in creating . . . but he told me he doesn’t listen to his part . . . he just hears the things Heather and I did, and in the back of his mind he knows it all started with his own guitar part, and he loves it. Awesome!

OSW; What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Peter Broderick; I think the most important thing is to follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to take chances, and also don’t be afraid to be cliché. And be sure to love everything you do . . . not in an egotistical way, but in an unconditional, general way. The more you love the songs, the more they love you!

OSW; You sincerely engage your fans by including back-stories on your lyrics (which lead me to do the same on my site) and recording audio answers to their questions. How did this all develop?
Peter Broderick;

I’m not sure if I can pinpoint how all that developed . . . the questions/answers thing on my website simply came one day when I couldn’t decide how to write a biography of myself for the site. I wondered, what to people actually want to know? So then I just decided to form some kind of weird biography based on questions that came from the people who actually came there to find out information about me. I think behind it all, there is this underlying idea that without the audience, the artist is nothing. I try to demonstrate as much as possible, that the audience is a huge and essential part of what I’m doing. We are doing it together.OSW; What’s the best. or most interesting, fan submitted question you’ve been asked?

Peter Broderick; One person asked me about my best and worst childhood memories . . . that was quite a fun question to answer. I also love when people ask really specific questions about particular songs or moments in a song. That always makes me aware that people are really paying attention.

OSW; If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?

Peter Broderick; It would be Arthur Russell. He remains such a mystery to me . . . I’ve seen the film about him several times, I’ve read the book about him, I’ve listened to his records countless times, and still he’s a total mystery. I’d love to get the chance to pick is brain.

Peter Broderick on the web

Website
http://www.itstartshear.com/

Bonus Materials

To view Peter Broderick’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.

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.

Please stop back on Friday for the interview with Sharon Van Etten.

Thanks for coming by and reading to the end… roll credits…..

 

 

Andrew Belle

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Andrew Belle

It’s amazing to see musicians come together to support each other and create something. I’m so impressed with the people that developed and continued to support both The Hotel Cafe Tour and Ten Out Of Tenn.  They’ve both developed into recognizable brands that; bring people to shows, help to sell the artists music and merchandise, guarantee high quality and have inspired people to make films;

Map The Music
Sing
Any Day Now

My son and I saw Andrew Belle in the Fall of 2009 on one of his early shows with Ten Out Of Tenn. I know a lot of the musicians who were on the tour and we even hung out with KS Rhoads and Butterfly Boucher before the show. I knew Andrew was the new guy but had heard great things.  We were both blown away by Andrew’s voice and songs.  I’m thrilled to see the success he’s had since then and really look forward to his upcoming album. So, I’m happy to share this songwriting discussion with Andrew Belle.

ANDREW BELLE
Home Town/Current City: 
Chicago, IL/Nashville, TN
Record Label: 1L Music / Elm City Music
Recent Release: ‘Black Bear’ (August 20, 2013)

OSW; What is your songwriting/composing process?
Andrew Belle; My approach is a little different than most songwriters, I think. I don’t write very often. So far there have been 2-3 major seasons where I get really inspired, write 10-12 songs, and then exhaust myself so much in the process of making them meaningful and unique, that I don’t make another attempt for a year or two. It’s sort of sporadic and bizarre, so that’s typically why I am so bent on making the most of every syllable I write down. My process for this last record was: sit down at the keyboard, find some fun sounds on logic pro, play around until I have a cool chord progression, and then crank up the reverb on my mic and start mumbling crazy melodies until something sticks. I usually find my melodies in falsetto (because it’s easier for me to explore up there) and then I end up having to work them back down to my normal singing range. Although sometimes I leave them up there or find way to re-incorporate them in order to keep things interesting.

OSW; What are you most proud of?
Andrew Belle; I’m asked this now and again and I usually sit and try to think of all of the opportunities I’ve been blessed with over the past few years and really I’m just proud that I’m able to make music that I enjoy and support my family out of that. But even that I can’t take full credit for – any talent, opportunities, or even passion to create that I have, exists because God has allowed it to be set into motion.

OSW; Ten out of Tenn has developed into such a great musical movement. Such great musicians and the people I know personally are just wonderful. How did that develop and who started it?
Andrew Belle; TOT was started by Trent Dabbs and his wife Kristen some years back, as a way to showcase the young, up & coming talent that was being made in Nashville. I saw them on a whim in Chicago when they came through on their first big tour in 2008 and was totally blown away. I left the venue that night thinking that I would give anything to be a part of such a stellar lineup. The following year, I moved to Nashville to make my record ‘The Ladder’, and was soon after asked to be a part of a new TOT lineup that was being organized for a tour later that fall. We ended up doing two tours that year and a 3rd in 2011. It’s been such a privilege and an honor to be a part of such an accomplished and talented group of people.

OSW; What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Andrew Belle; I don’t know if I have a favorite – but this was one of the first lyrics that ever meant anything to me:

The smell of hospitals in winter

And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls

All at once you look across a crowded room

To see the way that light attaches to a girl

“A Long December” – Counting Crows

OSW; What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Andrew Belle; Find the first song that ever made you feel an emotion; the songs that led you to fall in love with music in the first place. Study it until you understand what it was that resonated with you; then chase that feeling in your own music, and don’t settle for anything less.

OSW; If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Andrew Belle; Jesse Lacey. His approach to lyrics and melodies were what drove me to songwriting for myself.

OSW; Do you have anything new releasing soon?
Andrew Belle; My new album, Black Bear, releases on August 20th, 2013.

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Come back on Wednesday for an interview with Peter Broderick and on Friday when we share the interview with Sharon Van Etten.  Thanks for reading to the end!! You rock.

Adam Levy

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Adam Levy

Adam Levy is a craftsman, in his Guitar playing, in his composition, in his lyric writing and in how he thinks about music. Or maybe Master Craftsman would be more appropriate;

Master Craftsman- An aspiring master would have to pass through the career chain from apprentice to journeyman before he could be elected to become a master craftsman. He would then have to produce a sum of money and a masterpiece before he could actually join the guild……

Adam is an incredible Guitar player in all styles.  He tells interesting stories in his lyrics with a unique perspective. But, he can tell his story much better than I can….

Adam Levy
Current City- Los Angeles, CA
Record Label- Lost Wax Records
Most Recent Release-  Portuguese Subtitles (2013).
Band Affiliation- The Mint Imperials

Brief Intro/Bio
I’m probably best known as “Norah Jones’ guitar player,” though I haven’t played with her since 2007. I was featured on her first three records and toured extensively with Norah from 2002 thru ’07. I’ve also recorded with Amos Lee, Tracy Chapman, and many other fine songwriters.

I started writing my own songs in 2002, sort of on a dare from Norah Jones. (She recorded that first “dared” song I wrote—”In the Morning”—on her second album, ‘Feels Like Home.’) This was a pretty big step sideways for me, having been a jazz-oriented guitar player for the 15 or 20 years prior. I kept on writing and found my own style, and eventually started performing and recording my songs. Since then, I’ve released six song-oriented titles on my own Lost Wax label. I’ve continued to write and release jazzier music as well. (My next release will be an all-instrumental album called ‘Town & Country.’)

What is your songwriting/composing process?
I write lyrics first, always. I’ll usually start with a title, or some kind of phrase that I want to work into the lyric. (I’m collecting titles and interesting phrases all the time, keeping notes on my iPhone.) More often that not, I’ll use a fixed meter and rhyme-scheme. I may borrow a meter and/or rhyme-scheme from a classic song, or make up my own. I try to do something different each time. For example, if the last song I wrote had a four-line verse form with 10 beats (syllables) per line, I’d challenge myself to write in a completely different form the next time. I don’t want to write the same song over and over again.

Once the lyric feels complete, I’ll read it aloud several times and try to hear the melodies inherent in the poetry. When the melodies begin to take shape, then—finally—I’ll pick up my guitar and try to find some chords that feel right.

Now, this how I write on my own. Co-writing is usually quite different from that—the process varying from song to song, co-writer to co-writer.

You do a lot of collaborating.  Do you enjoy writing with someone else?
I do, perhaps because of my background in playing jazz and improvised music. When I’m writing alone, it can feel a little lonely. But when I’m collaborating with someone in real time—bouncing ideas back and forth—that feels kind of like playing jazz.

What are you most proud of?
The fact that other songwriters have recorded and performed some of my songs. That’s something I really never dreamt of when I started writing.

I like that you are open to trying different things in music.  From the Jazz chords of “I Wish I Could Change Your Mind” to simple I-IV-V when needed, you seem comfortable doing whatever is best for the song/story.  How did this develop?
Jazz had been my comfort zone, for many years, well before I ever wrote lyrical songs. When I started writing songs, around 2002 or so, I made an effort to write with mostly I-IV-V sorts of progressions. I really wanted to develop my lyric-writing skills, and I didn’t want to use my knowledge of jazz harmony as a crutch. And, of course, I-IV-V was the harmonic language of most of my favorite songs— from blues to Bob Dylan to the Beatles. Little by little, I learned to use the chords as a kind of underscoring—setting them behind a lyric in a way that helps tell the story. I don’t have a formula for that. I just experiment until it feels right.

Anyway, I think we’ll always find new ways to put words together. Chords, on the other hand, tend to follow patterns and routines. I don’t fight the chords’ natural tendencies, and I’m not afraid to borrow chordal ideas from songs I love.

Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Lyrics tend to come quickly for me. If they get revised, it’s not by sitting down to intentionally revise them but rather via incremental changes that happen naturally over time as the song gets sung again and again.

Is rhyming still important to lyric writing?
It is to me—if only as a mnemonic device to help me remember the lyrics when I’m singing! Seriously, though, there’s magnetic power in rhyming. Then there’s Lucinda Williams’ “Lake Charles”—which doesn’t rhyme at all (except in the middle 8)—and is a thing of beauty.

What is your favorite songwriting lyric?

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
Want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater, want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better, want to make you feel free

(Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want”—from her 1971 album, ‘Blue.’)

What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Write a lot of songs! Write and write and write. And read a lot—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever. The big idea is to go as deep as you can into the world of words.

You must have some favorite songs—classics, current hits, or anything at all. Take one of your favorite songs apart to see what makes it tick. What’s the structure? What’s the rhyme scheme? What’s the meter? What’s the chord progression? Learn to sing and play the song, then try to write something of your own using a similar form. Repeat this process as many times as you like.

If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Talk Talk’s ‘Laughing Stock,’ from 1991. This record is an utter enigma to me. So beautiful! I don’t know what I would have added, but I wish I could’ve at least been a fly on the wall.

If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Tom Petty. He seems to have figured out many the mysteries of songwriting, yet he still sounds so down-to-earth when he sings his songs. That’s hard to do—to be so fussy, yet deliver the goods in an unfussy way. I’d like to talk about that, and about his writing process in general.

Adam on the Web

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To view Adam’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.

I truly appreciate everyone that has stopped by, talked about this blog and/or shared with friends. Please continue to share this page and site with fellow music lovers. Next time you’re out at a venue watching music, ask the performer(s) about songwriting, music, lyrics etc. You’ll enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


Sigrid Zeiner

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Sigrid Zeiner, Photo by Andrea Gamst

I stumbled on to Sigrid’s music somewhere.  I think it may have been via a Twitter post originally. You’ll see at the end of this interview that she has a wide spread Web presence so it could of been several places.  I was intrigued by her mix of Acoustic/Pop and Electronica and her voice.  I’m guessing that most of you, not here via SIgrid, have never heard her before.  I’m hoping that you all spend some time listening to her music after this.

Name: Sigrid Zeiner
Current City/Home Town: London/Oslo
Most recent release: Demo version of ‘Uncomfortable’
Band Affiliation: Sigrid Zeiner, Circumnavigate

BIO
Sigrid Zeiner is a pop/electronica artist. Taking inspiration from artist such as Ellie Goulding, Sigur Rós and Imogen Heap she writes, produces and records her music in her home studio in West London.

Sigrid Zeiner-Gundersen started her solo project Sigrid Zeiner in 2011. She wrote and produced her first song “Naked To The Fingertips” in her grandmother’s basement. In 2012 Sigrid become artist of the week on the Norwegian web page/radio station P3 Urørt with her song ‘Over The Hill’. This station is known for breaking up-and-coming acts, . She also performed on the popular festival ‘Slottsfjell’ in Tønsberg, Norway that Summer. Since then, Sigrid’s music has been seen on several Norwegian TV channels. Her vocals are also featured on Maverick Sabre’s track “Let Me Go” as the main female vocal. Sigrid also was as a session singer for the UK based band Crystal Fighters on their new album ‘Cave Rave’ (released in May 2013).

Sigrid has been the lead vocalist and writer of the Norwegian pop/jazz/folk band Circumnavigate  since 2005 when she and three friends created the band. It wasn’t until she moved to London to learn more about the world of pop music that she gave in to her creative self and consistently began writing songs. She is currently producing her solo debut EP and her bands debut EP ‘Stranger’ which will both be released by the end of this Summer!

What is your songwriting/composing process?
Most of my songs are created on the go with melody chords and lyrics coming all at once – at least when I am on the piano or guitar. As I don’t focus a lot of my time on my piano playing technique I sometimes find a lot of creative help using Logic Pro on my Mac. The world of technology and music producing definitely opened up another creative world to me.

Whenever I write with my band we usually start jamming and I come up with vocal line and lyrics. I usually make them loop whatever they’re playing while I write the lyrics. It’s a great way of writing to live background music, so thanks guys for being so patient =D

Lyrically, I have always felt the need to express myself.  Writing has been a natural outlet for my thoughts. I write on the tube, in the car, on the bus or in my bed if I’m listening to something that inspires me. Other times, they come to me as I sing out loud and most of all they appear when I’m feeling melancholic. I have caught myself thinking of something that bothers me to get the inspiration going. I guess ‘the tortured artist’ is kind of a cliché but it definitely makes sense to me.

What are you most proud of?
Musically, I think my proudest moment must be when my song was first played on the radio in Norway. It felt really good thinking that I had created everything myself.  =)

What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
My favorite lyric I think must be “The Scientist” by Coldplay. I love that I can’t really figure it out. Another definite favorite is “Youth” by Daughter. It’s so lovely;.

“we are the reckless

we are the wild youth

chasing visions of our future”

and

“If you’re in love, then you are the lucky one,

‘cause most of us are bitter over someone”

What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
I haven’t been asked to give advice before! I still feel like there are so many more things for me to learn first. But, I think a great way to start at least for singers is to become as independent in the process as possible. The more you can do on your own the easier it will be to have creative freedom and continuously write. I really wish I could play piano and guitar better so I guess I’d encourage that for others as well. My focus has been getting on developing my production and technology skills instead. Although, I’m far from good enough yet. Another thing I would say is to write as much as possible. The more times you try to do something the more you will be inclined to think of new ways to do it. This improves your process and helps you become more creative.

If you could sit down and talk songwriting with anyone who would it be, and why?
I think the dream would be to talk about songwriting with Imogen Heap. She is a great inspiration to me as she is so creative and independent as an artist. She also has brilliant songwriting ideas. I’d love to sit down with her and talk about her writing process.

Another artist I would love to talk to would be Ellie Goulding. Her melody lines and lyrics are always quirky and different. I love that!

How does technology impact your writing? Have you ever taken any of your more electronic based songs and played acoustic versions of them?
Technology has a huge impact on my songwriting. Sometimes I start on a production idea first and create sort of a backing track for myself to add vocals to. I definitely get a different outcome then if I start on the piano. I usually end up with more upbeat songs when I start with the electronic approach. I’d love to use this angle more. When it comes to acoustic versions of my ‘more electronic songs” I still find it hard to let my ‘sounds’ go but I love playing them all stripped down and definitely want to explore it more. Any good song should work either way – acoustic or not! I guess the production and arranging side of things is the wrapping that fits you into a genre.

Sigrid on the Web
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Circumnavigate
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Bonus Materials
To view Sigrid’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.

I truly appreciate everyone that has stopped by, talked about this blog and/or shared with friends. Please continue to share this page and site with fellow music lovers. Some incredible interviews came in just today, that I’m thrilled to share with you.  You’re really going to enjoy these.

Thanks so much for spending some time here,
Mike

 

Adam Daniel

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Adam Daniel

Adam Daniel is my cousin. Half 2nd or 3rd something cousin, but related anyhow.  There’s a lot of creators on that side in the family; musicians, conductor, Film people, TV Producer and a legendary Architect. But, Adam and I really did not know each other until this interview. So, starting this blog is also, apparently, bringing my family together.

Adam Daniel
Current City- Los Angeles, CA
Most recent release- Pop, Baby” (released July 2013)

BIO
Adam Daniel is a songwriter, producer, and power pop recording artist. His new album “Pop, Baby” is a mashup of Elton John piano, fuzz guitars, Beach Boys vocal stacks, and new wave synth candy. All his favorite things.What is your songwriting/composing process?
It’s fits and starts with me: I’m dry for months and then I write an album in a week. Songs usually start with piano or guitar noodling, then a vocal melody comes, then I start crafting lyrics. But then some songs just kind of come into my head all at once, fully formed. And some simmer for months before finally pulling together. So there’s clearly no rule to it. It’s chaos and patience.

What are you most proud of?
My one year old daughter screams and bounces in her seat every time she hears James Brown. Couldn’t be more proud.

Otherwise, being fully DIY. I did my album myself on a laptop: writing, arranging, producing, performing, recording, mixing, and mastering. I also do my album art, web design, bio writing, videos, etc.

I’m a little nuts. Insomnia helps. Obsessiveness helps.

You had some songs in the George Clooney film “The Descendants” last year. How did that come about?
I have an alt-country side project called The Flutterbies. A couple songs I wrote with the band’s singer Maureen Davis caught the attention of the film’s music supervisor, Dondi Bastone. Maureen met him years ago and kept in regular touch, sending him new recordings, etc. Our songs “Hummingbird Heart” and “Faith in Rain” reached him while he was working on The Descendants, and he thought they fit perfectly as background to the big confrontation scene toward the end of the film.

What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
By someone else, the opening lines of “Stars” by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals: “I lit a fire with the love you left behind, and it burned wild and crept up the mountainside.” Damn, I wish I’d written that.

By me, probably these lines from the first verse of “Dream Out Loud” off my new record: “You’re like Salome when you dance in that veil, so say so and all the head you want is yours.” A sacrilegious pun in a power pop song.

If you could sit down and talk songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Brian Wilson. The dude wrote “Vegetables.” I just wanna know what’s going on in there.

What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Here’s a good rule of thumb: You’ll know you’ve written a standout when it sounds great sang in any style: metal, disco, reggae, jazz, polka, whatever. The best songs hold up no matter the production. Try it in your head with one of your favorite hits. Fun at parties.

Adam Daniel on the Web
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Bonus Materials
To view Adam’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.

I truly appreciate everyone that has stopped by, talked about this blog and/or shared with friends. Please continue to share this page and site with fellow music lovers.

Thanks so much for spending some time here,
Mike