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

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Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting Interview

Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting INterview

Benjamin Verdoes – photo by Megumi Shauna Arai

Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting Interview

Current City- Seattle, WA
Record Label- Brick Lane Records
Most Recent Release- ‘The Evil Eye’

Band Affiliations- Iska Dhaaf, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

Brief Intro- Benjamin Verdoes is a songwriter from the Pacific Northwest often known for his unorthodox approach to composition. In the last decade he has written four albums, two as a part Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band. The Evil Eye, which he began composing in 2011, is the first recording released under his own name. Verdoes also currently plays alongside Nathan Quiroga in the emerging Seattle band Iska Dhaaf.

Our Scattered Words- What is your songwriting/composing process and does it vary greatly on the other projects you’re involved with?
Benjamin Verdoes- I write using several different methods, although most of the things I write happen when I am not intending to write. I go into a strange zone where I forget what I’m doing. It is similar to a daydream. I think that is where my psyche unravels into ideas. Other times I make loop of parts I like and walk around the house singing with them.

Our Scattered Words- Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Benjamin Verdoes- Some lyrics come right away or before the music. More often I get a few lines and expand and refine them over a long stretch of time.

Our Scattered Words- The bio info for Iska Dhaaf says that you were inspired by Sufi poetry.  I always encourage people interested in songwriting to study Rumi and Hafiz because I believe those two were so incredible in telling moving stories with such minimal words. Plus, they see right to the truth of emotions and relationships. How did they influence you and Nathan?
Benjamin Verdoes- I think Nathan and I were both at a point of searching and transition when we met. We were looking to get beyond ourselves with our art, and in our personal lives. Sufi poets and mystics are inspiring because they are profoundly human and spiritual at the same time. I would say the transcendence of their writing came from their ability to reconcile life’s seemingly impossible contradictions, namely the eternal and the ephemeral. And yes, perhaps they are concise because they rely on triggering things within a person rather than trying to create something that seeks attention.

Our Scattered Words- I really like and am intrigued by your description of your new album, ““The Evil Eye is a record I made for a beautiful person. It is a rebuttal to those seemingly powerful forces that tell you what you can and cannot do–the eyes that watch carelessly and tongues that move thoughtlessly in an attempt to describe and limit something that is spiritual and perfect. It is a love story.”  What is the thing you’re reflecting on that’s “spiritual and Perfect”, the person? Love? What are the forces fighting against this ideal state?
Benjamin Verdoes- All of the above: the person, the relationship/love, and the story we created together. Not to say that there are not struggles or problems, but that our connection is based on something eternal and beautiful. Perfect is a strange word. In fact, it doesn’t even exist in a few languages I’ve learned/ learned about. To me, it means something that is true and intuitive.

People (myself included) often fall into the mode of thinking that everything in love, life, and relationships is in the final outcome, or in the endurance in our life span. While that is important and may be true to an extent, I think each moment and connection is eternal. I tried to reflect that element in the songs. In some sense, the forces fighting us were people who were hoping or guessing the relationship would end. But also, anything that tried to take the focus off of what we were/are creating, including flattery, insincerity, or negativity.

Our Scattered Words- We all have “unknown fears”, especially those of us working as artists.  What fears are your biggest hurdles and how do you get past them?
Benjamin Verdoes- “Unknown Fears” is about anxiety, specifically the point when it all blends into an unclear feeling of discomfort and stress. It’s mostly tied to social situations. I tend to worry about offending people or not engaging them thoughtfully. Sometimes I am just off, and I get anxiety about conversations. The song is about triggers and things that set you off into that realm and render you useless in your attempts to communicate or connect with others. This includes, to some extent, performing music.

Our Scattered Words- What constitutes a good story for you?
Benjamin Verdoes- Something that is honest and skillfully told. Something that impacts me and causes a reaction.

Our Scattered Words- What are you most proud of?
Benjamin Verdoes- In regards to music, the fact that I continue to make songs and records, and that I have pushed myself to try new things.

Our Scattered Words- What do you wish you did better?
Benjamin Verdoes- I wish I were better at recording my own music. I am working on it.

Our Scattered Words- What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Benjamin Verdoes- Nate wrote the words to this song, and it has become very important to me. At the current moment, these are my favorite words:


Our Scattered Words- 
What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Benjamin Verdoes- Be honest, read a lot, be patient, and don’t quit.

Our Scattered Words- If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Benjamin Verdoes- I would have liked to hear Otis Redding’s vocal performances and the process of his records.

Our Scattered Words- If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Benjamin Verdoes- Leonard Cohen. He is such a great storyteller and draws from so many sources. His songs stand alone. He is a poet, novelist, and incredible songwriter.

Benjamin Verdoes on the Web
Website
Iska Dhaaf
Twitter  @benjaminverdoes   &  @iska_dhaaf

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

Bonus materials for Benjamin include 3 music videos of songs he’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

 

Kendra Morris Interview Part II

Kendra Morris Interview

Kendra Morris Interview

Kendra Morris Interview, Part 2

If you have not read it yet, please start with Part 1 of the interview with Kendra Morris

OSW: Both of your parents were musicians, so you had music around all of the time.  Your first recording goes way back doesn’t it?
Kendra Morris: Oh yeah.  Both my parents are musicians.  I remember, as a kid, my idea of fun always involved music.  Whether I had a fake band, or whether my friend, Jacqueline and I  would always think of these groups, and we would perform for each other out in my front yard and  put on shows.  With the recording, I wasn’t interested in having a lot of friends and being part of the Girl Scouts or anything like that.  I was always interested in creating things and making things. I remember getting a karaoke machine for Christmas.  I think I used it for karaoke maybe once.  I got the whole box of cassette tapes, and instead, I would take blank tapes, and I would just sing on them.  I’d take it into my closet and I would make songs. I started realizing that I could bounce my vocals and make all these other vocal parts.  I would sit in my closet and make songs with backup harmonies, and that is how I started learning.  Little did I know at 8 or 9 years old, that what I was doing was something that people in big studios in New York City were doing. That was how I just started hearing melodies.  My mom sings, and we would just always have harmonizing contests with each other.  We’d sit in the car and try to harmonize to everything.  I’ve saved everything from over the years; all my recordings.  I’ve tried everything.  I’ve been in all kinds of bands.  When I think back, I have been journaling since I was about 12 years old also, and I have just piles of journals from over the years, and music was always just, asides from teenage girl drama, the focus.  I’ve always been involved with making music somehow.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Kendra Morris: I guess what I’m most proud of is that I’ve kept going,  I went to a performing arts high school, and everybody started out with the same dream.  Everybody was like, “I want to be on Broadway,” or “I want to be a singer,” but as you get older, what you want changes.  Some people are like, “Actually, I want to start a family,” or “I don’t think maybe acting is what I’m cut out for, but I think I’m better for this,” and that’s fine.  Everybody has their own paths, and everybody gets to where they’re going. But, singing has been what I’ve always wanted as far back as I can remember, since I was performing for stuffed animals.  I think what I’m really proud of is that over all these years, I have stuck with it.  It feels good to stick with something.  There have been setbacks, and some days are better than others, but to create and to make music that is what makes me the happiest.  When I’m making something…. when I’m making something out of nothing.  Just to have kept going and now it has been 10 years, and I’m still at it. It’s also nice that now starting to see the fruits of hard labor.  I’m definitely one of those advocates of “The world is your oyster. If you want something bad enough, if you really want something, you can do anything.”  That’s how the Eiffel Tower was built.  That’s how the pyramids were built.  When you think of this whole planet, everything on it, is because of someone’s crazy idea and making it happen.  I’ve been just really excited seeing things come together.  I’ve had my days where I am kind of bummed out; I can be hard on myself, but then it’s kind of taking a step back from the big picture and saying, “I’m putting myself out there, and people are responding to it”, and it’s affecting other people day to day.”  That is the beauty of music.

OSW: It really is. The thing that I don’t think any of of us realize going in is how much time the non-musical stuff ends up taking so you can make music.
Kendra Morris: Oh yes.  Lately, I’ve been just crazy busy.  My days will fill up so fast, not just with the creative side of things.  I sell a lot my posters on my website, and I print those then go to the post office, or there are days I spend hours just answering emails.  There is so much that goes into it, especially when you’re doing everything on your own.  There are the Lady Gaga’s of the world.  She has huge teams of people working for her.  She is still doing tons of work.  But at the level she is at, she has to have teams of people, as well.  There are a lot of artists who don’t have teams of people, but you have to keep the ball rolling.  It doesn’t matter the amount of people who hear your music.  For me, every single person is just as important.  If one person sends me an email, I have to find time to write them back.  They’re the ones that keep me in music. I think it is so important to be in touch with your fan base.  It’s a nonstop thing.

OSW: How did the tour with Dennis Coffey come about?
Kendra Morris: That was so cool.  Randomly, the guy who was managing Dennis had heard of me.  He’s an avid Wax Poetics magazine reader and just had heard of me through them.  He’d seen me in some ads and went and looked up some of my stuff.  When I first signed with them, they put on a 45 of me; Syl Johnson was on one side; I was on the other. He called Wax Poetics and said “We’re doing this showcase at South By Southwest and Dennis needs a singer on some of these songs. I joined Dennis Coffey on stage for that, and it went over really well.  Then he asked, “We’re doing a tour over the summer in the Midwest “ I said Yes! Are you crazy?! Absolutely, I want to do this!”

OSW: Do any books or movies influence your writing?
Kendra Morris: A lot of both.  I watch a lot of movies.  My nighttime is my down time where I try to give myself time to do something like that, and I read a lot.  I get so many influences from between what I’m reading, what I’m collecting.  I collect oddity-sort of things; taxidermy.  I flea market a lot.  That is pretty much my weekend therapy.  I’ll get up early, go to a flea market in NY and just walk around.  Sometimes I’ll buy stuff; sometimes I won’t.  I love looking at these old things that somebody else used to love.  Sometimes, I’ll look through all the old family photos, sometimes, it’s just the design of a piece of furniture. I get really inspired by the past.  All the stuff on the cover of “Banshee” is stuff from my apartment, and we just took it.

Kendra Morris Banshee

OSW: The same things go in the collages you make?
Kendra Morris: With the collages I do, I collect old nature books, old encyclopedias and old magazines.  My whole book shelves are full of these books.  There is a guy on my street who sells all sorts of weird stuff…… sometimes it’s junk; sometimes it’s treasure, but I check it every day.  He’ll put things aside for me that he knows I’ll like.  I am really influenced by art.  I do these collages, and I feel like those influence my writing, too. Making a collage, you’re creating this world out of something else.  In the same way, you’re doing that with a song sometimes, too.  You’re taking all these pieces of instruments to create a song or whatever is influencing your lyrics, just all your day to day influences.  Sometimes, when I do a collage, I can go back and I can write better.  The cool thing about creating something is always trying to be outside of the box, finding a different way to do something.  There are a million-and-one ways to look at one thing; it’s all perspective.  My best friend and I, our summer project, we did a Stop Motion video to an unreleased song of mine (“Winding) that I had always wanted to release.  I said, “Let’s do something,” so we decided to do Stop Motion with collages.  All summer, that’s what we worked on, a Stop Motion music video.  We actually just finished it last week, but it took us about 70-something hours to do.  It is so much; writing a song; it is completely different, but so much alike.  You’re trying to find things that fit the pieces together.

OSW: You’re trying to find a different way to tell that story
Kendra Morris: Yeah. Doing Stop Motion, we did not storyboard it.  We did it one scene at a time.  Every day we worked on a different scene, and we did a lot of stream of consciousness.  The key to it… we felt like we were MacGyver, because we’d start the day out, and you have to find a way to go from one scene into the next scene.  With Stop Motion, it has to be constant moving.  Something always has to be going.  So each day it was figuring out how to go from the scene from the day before into the new scene. Then when you finish up, leave it in place so the next time you work, you can go from there.  We would give ourselves challenges.  We couldn’t ever do the same transition twice, and we couldn’t  do the same thing for the second time the chorus goes around.  We didn’t let ourselves use double footage.  I think with Art, whether it’s making music or making a painting, it’s all kind of coming from the same place.

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any session what would it be?
Kendra Morris: Oooh, there’s so many. I would sit in on ‘ Pet Sounds’
OSW: yeah that one comes up a lot.
Kendra Morris: I started reading a book about the making of Pet Sounds, and it was pretty crazy.  Hearing how he was working alongside Phil Spector or in the same studio. I’m also curious about the Wall of Sound andwould love to sit in on some Phil Spector sessions as well.  I’d love to sit in on Jimi Hendrix, ‘Electric Ladyland’  It was so good. … or an R Kelly Session,  or Les Baxter when he did ‘The Dunwich Horror soundtrack’.

OSW: What is your favorite lyric?
Kendra Morris:
Wanda Jackson  ‘Whirlpool’. Great lyrics throughout the entire song!!!!!!

“You got me falling down and down. You got me me spinning round and round. Loving good and loving true.. In a whirlpool. The waters deep and dark around as I go falling down and down. I reach out and what i touch. Your lovin’ hands I need so much. Whirl, whirl pool. Crazy, crazy over you. In a whirlpool I’m loving you.”

When people ask me what sort of music is influencing me, it changes.  I’ve been buying a lot of records lately, and I’ll listen to a record to death.  I finally got a record player, and there are a couple really good record stores by my apartment.  I’ll take a break from working on stuff, and I’ll walk to the record store and pick out something that sticks out to me. Then I’ll listen to that record over and over and over again.  Lately, I got Temptations, ‘Psychedelic Shack’.  That album is so good, and Dennis Coffey is all over it.  You hear it all over.  It’s kind of trippy, because that record is so good, and I think, “Man I got to sing with that guy.”  It’s a cool feeling.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Kendra Morris: To keep going if you really want it.  You’ll never know what could have happened if you quit, so keep at it.Also to accept your setbacks as your building muscle.  You need those….. whether you want to call them failures or setbacks.  I call them little tests.  You have to have those.  I talked with a friend the other night.  She’s going through a rough time with her music.  She is so crazy talented.  Her music is amazing and she’s just going through an itch right now, and I said, “Just keep going.  You are building your story right now, and in 50 years this will be a blip.  You’ll be glad that you had these things, and you can’t just stop at the blip.”

OSW:  If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Kendra Morris: I wouldn’t mind picking Leonard Cohen’s brain a little bit.  I love his songs.  His lyrics are so great.  They’re like poetry.  I just saw him at Radio City back in March.  I didn’t become a really big fan of his until probably then.
OSW: Yeah, he was one that  I didn’t get for a while.  But when I did he became one of my favorite writers.
Kendra Morris: I was familiar with him, but just hearing him there, it was like, “Wow! What have I been missing out on?”  I really appreciate him.  I would also love to  sit down with Buddy Holly.  I think he was such an incredible songwriter. His songs are just so classic and simple, and I love that about them.  I am always blown away by someone who can do that.
OSW: Yeah, an old Nashville writer Harlan Howard said, “All you need is 3 chords and the Truth.”
Kendra Morris: Yeah, some of the hardest and the best songs are the most simple.  Some of the songs even that I’ve written that I’ve been happiest with, they were the hardest to write, and the ones that people are attracted to the most because it just simply says something.  It’s easy to find a vague way to describe something; that’s always  a lot easier, but to find a way to just put something out there and just clearly say something using the perfect words to say. It’s why we do this.

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Thanks again to Kendra Morris.  I really enjoyed our phone interview.  Please check out Part I of the interview if you’re reading this first. Please check out Kendra on the web also;

Kendra Morris on the Web
Website
Facebook
Twitter @kendramorris
Instagram @kendramorris

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Kendra Morris, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future. PLEASE go check out Kendra’s playlists there!  This time we have 4 videos of Kendra and 4 videos of songs she likes.

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Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Peter Doran

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Peter Doran

I didn’t know about Peter Doran until a friend from Germany, who’s a huge music supporter, named Dieter shared his contact info. It’s really a shame that I didn’t know about Peter sooner because he’s a talented singer and writer and I’ve really enjoyed his songs.  But this whole interaction got me thinking… There’s no music without people like Dieter sharing songs and new releases by artists he likes every day, pledging on fan funding drives, going to shows and buying music. So, once in a while I’m going to mix in some interviews with uber music supporters like Dieter and good “musician friendly” venue owners like Pascale from Opening Bell Coffee and Marko from Hotel Cafe. We can talk all we want about songwriting, but without support from people like this it’s all pointless. Sean Hannity’s not doing anything to help musicians. (there’s your current events reference). Oh and for tying things together, Peter “virtually” knows Salim Nourallah my first interview here. So, here’s Peter Doran….

Peter Doran
Home Town: Mullingar, Ireland
Most recent release: “Overhead The Stars”

Brief Intro/Bio:
Independent Irish Singer Songwriter with 3 albums released to date, and multiple tours of Ireland/Europe.

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Peter Doran: The process can and will vary wildly from song to song. It will always start with a scrap of something. That something could be a melody, a chord progression, a lyric or an outline of a story… Sometimes you get lucky and it comes together very quickly. Other times it’s a longer drawn out of process of experiment and waiting. I have been trying more and more these days to put aside a block of time each day for creative work, as opposed to just waiting for inspiration to strike. Someone once said “inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work” … I like that. Regardless of the process you have to put in the time.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Peter Doran: Probably the last record “Overhead the Stars”. As a project it was so much fun and extremely rewarding. I got to work with some amazing musicians in a wonderful studio, I think it’s a good bunch of songs too, so listening back I’m just proud we managed to pull it off.

OSW: You partially funded your last album by a fan-funding campaign. How do you feel about the fan-funding movement that has developed the past 5 years?
Peter Doran: It’s not something I’ve been following very closely to be honest. There are definitely a lot more people doing it now, it hasreally exploded in the last five years. It is an amazing platform to have, if you have the people to go along with you and make it work.

OSW: I’ve played on several albums without even meeting the person. We discuss the parts, they send a track and we file share parts until they have what they want. Now that you basically have access to any musician in the world, have you thought about having some virtual parts added to your album?
Peter Doran: I worked with an Online Session-Drummer based in Colorado for a few tracks on my “Sleepless Street” album. That was a fun experience and the guy did an amazing job. With technology now the world has opened up in amazing ways, but I still do prefer to record with guys in the same room. I love the good old-fashioned human interaction 🙂

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Peter Doran: Impossible to say, but there’s a good chance Bob Dylan wrote it…

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Peter Doran: Write as much as possible, keep going, document every scrap of an idea. Record it on your phone, write it on paper. Don’t be afraid to rewrite. Listen to many types of music.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Peter Doran: I think Leonard Cohen. It would just be amazing to spend an afternoon with the guy. He is an absolute grand-master of a songwriter and human being.

I’m convinced he makes good tea too.Peter Doran on the Web
Website
Bandcamp
Facebook
TwitterBonus Materials

To view Peter Doran’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.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.