Interview With Jazz Sensation Fiona Ross


Award winning vocalist, pianist, composer and producer Fiona Ross has become known for creating her own contemporary Jazz sound using fast paced Latin Jazz, vintage jazz club and a little neo soul along with heart wrenching ballads that demonstrate that “Her style is poetic and the messages ooze with Millennial angst” (Jazz weekly).

 

She came to the world’s attention as “The artist that gave Ed Sheeran his ‘first push'” (Daily Express), but has very quickly established herself as an artist in her own right and has received incredible reviews across the globe for all of her four albums. Her live performances have seen her perform at prestigious venues including 606 Club, Pizza Express, Bulls Head, Nells Jazz and Blues and Toulouse Lautrec and her music is played on radio stations all over the world including 40 stations in the USA as well as in Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Netherlands and Spain.

 

Fiona has achieved many accolades for her most recent album, including Best Jazz Song from the World Songwriting Awards for her song ‘For My Dad’, Outstanding achievement awarded by the Global Music Awards and most recently International female songwriter of the year from the International Singer Songwriters Association. She has been featured in many publications including Tinnitist, Jazziz, Record World Magazine, Jazz Corner, Ink 19 and Jazz Quarterly and was thrilled to be in the top ten of most played videos recently in Tinnitist. Fiona’s song ‘Mistress’ which was recorded live in a stairwell, was selected to be included in the British Library archives for prosperity.

 

 

Jazz Singer


 

MT: Hello Fiona, how long have you been singing for and when did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?

 

Fiona: Hi! Thank you so much for interviewing me. Ha, well, my Mum used to say I was singing before I could talk. But I never had that defining moment when I decided to work in the creative arts. It’s just what I have always done. I trained in dance and drama as well as music from a very age and in fact had my first professional job when I was about two and was working quite significantly from about the age of six, in theatre. I just don’t know any different. I guess my parents decided it was what I was supposed to do, but I never objected or questioned it. It’s just who I am.

 

MT: Who is your influence; why did you choose to sing jazz and what do you love about singing jazz?

Fiona: I have been surrounded by a whole range of musical influences all my life and there are so many to mention. My older brother was always listening to more rock based music and great songwriters which had a huge impact on my style – Eagles, Blondie, Kate Bush,  Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell – my Mum was a huge opera fan and also wanted me to be the next Julie Andrews, ha. My Dad was all about old school Jazz – Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong. But also for me, my youth was full of Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin – all the power vocalists. I was also obsessed with Prince. Still am.

Jazz, for me, is about freedom. It allows me to write music that doesn’t have to fit into any boxes. There is room for a bit of everything. So, I can write some Latin Jazz, or something more soul influenced – I love the space it gives me to do whatever I want

 

MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?

Fiona: Again, so many I could mention, but, I listen to some Earth, Wind and Fire everyday without fail, they always put me in the right frame of mind – positivity. Michel Camilo and Hiromi are my heroes and I am huge fans of their work. I love finding new music and my work as a journalist allows me to meet and explore many artists and it’s quite wonderful!

 

MT: Your ‘Live Sessions’ in lockdown video album is divine; how long did it take to record the full video album?  

Fiona: Thank you so much! It was so much fun. We recorded it during two sessions, so two days. The production side of it took much longer.

 

MT: I noticed that you wrote all the songs on the entire album; Do you collaborate with other writers and is there a personal favourite?

Fiona: Yes, I write all my own material, so haven’t collaborated with anyone yet. I’m sure I will at some point. I don’t have any favourites as such, but I enjoy different songs for different reasons. So, ‘Let Me Go’ is just fun to sing, and one my easier songs, vocally, whereas ‘The Evidence Suggests’ is really hard to sing and very emotional for me, so always a challenge, but in a good way. So, all the songs have different elements that mean something for me.

Jazz Singer and Band

MT: Did you arrange all the songs for the band? If so, how do you do this; do you physically write each part for each musician, or how do you show your songs to your band to play?

Fiona: Yes, I arrange everything, apart from their solos of course. I do it differently based on what my musicians need. Everyone has a basic score, but then some prefer parts written out, and others, I will play or sing the parts and they notate it out in their way. I always like to give them whatever they need!

 

MT: When was your very first recording and release?

Fiona: As a Jazz Artist in my own right, it was A Twist of Blue a few years ago – 2016. I have been working as a session musician/composer etc for many years, but I have only been doing my Jazz thing for four years.

 

MT: Can you explain a little bit about your song-writing process?

Fiona: Of course. Well, I don’t have one process, other than, I write whatever is going on in my head at the time. So sometimes, a song will start with a bass line that I’ve come up with, and sometimes it might be a groove or a chord sequence – it varies all the time. Almost always music first and then lyrics as I’m going along

 

MT: As an independent artist, it looks and sounds like you have a great band; are they your regular musicians who you have beside you when performing at a live gig?

Fiona: Yes, I am so very lucky to work with some incredible musicians, live and on my albums. I have the occasional dep player, if there is a gig clash, as they all work for other artists as well, so scheduling can be tricky, but yes, I work with the same group of musicians all the time. It’s very important to me. The chemistry and our different backgrounds and influences is so wonderful.

 

MT: How long did it take to record your lockdown live video album and where was it recorded?

Fiona: I did two sessions, both in London. One was at St Cuthbert’s Church, which was a four hour session where we recorded 2 songs. The other was at The Premises Studio where we did 7 songs, over about 4 hours, although the setting up took a while.

 

MT: Covid 19 has proved an enormous challenge for artists in thinking outside the box and how to get ‘Out There’ so to speak. You have obviously taken this on with ease (or so it looks) with your live in lockdown album. What has been your frustrations and challenge during the pandemic?

Fiona: Ease? Ha, well it has been so very challenging for everyone – and still is. But you know, I am a very positive person – sometimes annoyingly I reckon – and I have always lived by three simple rules based on the quote by

Reinhold Niebuhr: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

So with COVID, I cannot change that situation, so I haven’t felt frustrated as such, I’ve just tried to do what I can under the circumstances. I have had to accept that gigs were cancelled and goodness knows when they will return, so I’ve tried to do more online – with this live album for example. It also came at quite a good time for me, as I was supposed to be writing my next studio album, so I wasn’t supposed to be gigging a huge amount until January anyway, so this was helpful. My biggest concern was how to help others. So many of my friends suffering with no income and feeling very down, that has been the hardest thing. It has been just heart breaking.

 

MT: As a whole, what has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Fiona: Well, for me, it’s never thinking I’m good enough. There are so many incredible artists out there and if I stop and think about it, I would just give up. So many of us just trying to do our thing and it can be very hard.  I always get genuinely overwhelmed when people say nice things about my music, as for me, it’s never good enough. But the positive in that, is that it always drives me to be the best I can be and strive to be better – both as a human being and as an artist. I am not trying to be the ‘best’ artist, I am trying to be the best me I guess.

Interview With Hypnotic Soul Singer Amanda St John

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming independent artists?

Fiona: Strength and resilience are key. Belief in yourself as an artist and what you are trying to achieve, no matter what people tell you. If you don’t fit in a box, embrace that rather than try to fit. Surround yourself with good people who care about not just your art, but you and your wellbeing. And always remember you are part of an amazing community – help and support each other, other artists – you are all in this together and it is not a competition.

 

MT: Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments? How long have you been playing them?

Fiona:Yes, I am also a pianist and started playing when I was six.

 

MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Fiona: Well, before COVID, I would have said I don’t have a typical day, but I do have more of a routine for now at least. Yes, music everyday. I practice for four hours a day and at the moment I’m spending time on writing my next album. I also work as a Jazz journalist, so I’m often interviewing people or writing reviews. The business side of my music is time consuming – not fun, but has to be done. The continual self promotion is always a challenge for me, as I would far rather talk about other people, but it has to be done! The only thing I do that is not music, is Taekwondo and I read a lot.

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Fiona, I really appreciate it and all the very best with ‘The Live Sessions Video Album’.

Interview With Jazz Sensation Fiona Ross

Interview With Jazz Sensation Fiona Ross

Classy and Simply Superb New Song from Gravity Castle


Indie Pop Duo Gravity Castle

Gravity Castle – ‘Different Than You’

Classy and Simply Superb New Song from Gravity Castle

What begins with soothing guitar followed by the distinctive voice of Oli Kersey from the Duo, Gravity Castle gives this a feeling of peace and acceptance in an instance.

 

Gravity Castle are Oli Kersey and Gabriel Glenhill released their first single, ‘I’m Sorry’ in early 2019.

 

Their most recent track, ‘Different Than You’ sparked my attention in a way not many tracks do.

‘Different Than You’ is somewhat controlled freedom that’s smooth and relaxing while remaining current and pop based.

The more I thought about it while reviewing this song, the more I realize what a real feat it is to these guys to write and produce such a prominent track.

 

While music in general during Covid 19 has seen an increased pace in tempo in pop music, Gravity Castle have taken the complete opposite in direction.

 

What makes ‘Different Than You’ so enticing, is the build up from something very simple, evolving both musically and lyrically. Crisp clear production with an underlying pad adding warmth and flow followed by the moving beats that shuffles the track into a slow groove. The bass of the song perfectly balanced adding the vital extra layer of depth.

 

Lyrically, ‘Different Than You’ encourages strength through the storm people face alongside each of our differences.  “I was told that it’s better to stand up in a storm, Then I’ll, Rediscover my fire I’ve had since I was born, I want more” are words in which are relatable to everyone, but what makes this song lyrically brilliant is from where it comes from in the verses. Simple and clever words indeed to reach us all exploding into a chorus of hope; and don’t we all need that right now!

 

Gravity Castle explain – “We live in challenging times. Times that put all our weaknesses and mistakes on full display in a digital world. Despite such hardships and in the midst of this war of opinions and debate, we’ve become less connected and compassionate as a people. Our new single, Different Than You, speaks directly to this. Unconditional love towards our neighbor is how we move forward. Combatting the weight of discrimination with acts of fellowship, kindness and selflessness. We must become unified in the acts of respect, kindness, inclusion and thoughtfulness towards one another if we are to ever removing the negative actions and emotions that plague our world today. With that said, we humbly share… ‘Different Than You’”

A classy, delicate and simply superb track by Gravity Castle.

 

Tracey gives 5 out of 5 Stars

Review Rating

 

 

 

 

 

Read to find out more about Gravity Castle in our Interview from 2019

GRAVITY CASTLE INTERVIEW

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GRAVITY CASTLE

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gravitycastle/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/gravitycastle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gravitycastlemusic/

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/different-than-you/1529989259?i=1529989262

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6u-gDt2TOpLQmkOdmHrwUQ

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2msjgoJb8qDx3MhAbrq0GI?si=CjEvz37CQLu-7Am3VcMJ-Q

Classy and Simply Superb New Song from Gravity Castle

Gutsy and Explosive Unforgettable New Music from Emme Lentino


New Music Release

Emme Lentino – ‘Some Other Girl’

Gutsy and Explosive Unforgettable New Music from Emme Lentino

Emme Lentino is one of the nicest people I’ve encountered. Born in USA and now residing in New Zealand, Emme has a long history in the music business and with each new music release, she just gets better and better; like a fine red wine. J

Her latest track due for release in October, shows real grit. An unforgettable explosive catchy upbeat love song about ‘Some Other Girl’ who ‘Had My Heart and You Threw It Away’ is a rather common crazy issue in relationships and while it seems from my review that perhaps it’s a depressing song; it’s not! By far.

“The song is about empowerment and not letting heartache stop you from thriving and also helping you to discover who you really are” say’s Emme.

Emme not only shows the grit and guts in her vocals but co-insides with a hard-hitting production that would get anyone fired up.

‘Some Other Girl’ is a fiery upbeat country-pop production recorded in London by Al Clay and lends itself to an array of possible versions; which for me, shows a great quality song in itself proving Emme’s song writing skills and capabilities of the highest calibre.

While the production of ‘Some Other Girl’ is great at it is, I would love to hear an acoustic version as well. Alongside perhaps a different approach to vocal performance in the verses with the voice super close to the mic with an almost angry sung/spoken attitude with less reverb. Don’t get me wrong, this production as a stand-alone is mind blowing, but when I can hear so much else in addition to what’s already there, I get excited.

Emme has also filmed a high-quality music video to co-inside with its release giving the visual element of the story line.

Whatever you do, don’t miss ‘Some Other Girl’ when it’s released on October 2nd on all major streaming platforms.

 

Pre-Order now through Apple: https://music.apple.com/au/album/some-other-girl-single/1528465045

 

Tracey gives 5 out of 5 Stars

Review Rating

 

 

 

 

 

Read to find out more about Emme Lentino in our Intervew

https://www.musictalks.xyz/interview/emme-lentino-you-are-loved-just-as-you-are/

·Singer

 

EMME LENTINO

Website: https://www.emmelentino.com/

 Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/emmelentino/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmeLentino

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emmelentino

YouTube: EMME LENTINO

Spotify: EMME LENTINO

Gutsy and Explosive Unforgettable New Music from Emme Lentino

New Pop Music to Empower the People from Ruth Brosnan


Indie Pop Artist
Picture: Miki Barlok

Ruth Brosnan – Toodle-OO

New Pop Music to Empower the People from Ruth Brosnan

Ruth Brosnan is certainly making a name for herself. Hailing from Cork in Ireland, Ruth’s debut single, Good Enough received thousands of streams on Spotify as well as sparking attention across radio and blog platforms around the world.

 

Her latest release, Toodle-oo shows her love for quirky upbeat pop and the need to help women throughout the messages of her lyrics in her songs. “I wrote the song to empower people” say’s Ruth. There’s certainly something in which resonates with people through “Toodle-oo”, as in under 24 hours the track gained over 65K views on Facebook alone.

 

The upbeat energetic pop dance song pulls me towards the liking of the hit song Flashdance from the 80’s, with deep base, synth lines and what sounds like a timpani incorporated within the pop beat; and who doesn’t like Flashdance; what a feeling!

 

The production is crisp and clean with a super catchy chorus and awesome bridge, while Ruth’s music video shows her fun personality with back up dancers amidst those classy Audi’s, (my favourite car)). The Music video takes me back to the days of how music videos used to be made, and by no means is that a negative, in fact, quite the contrary. It is revitalising to see the story, music and energy with a human perspective within the video. It’s not a music video that is over produced with effects which is un-relatable.

Perhaps this will encourage the younger generation to seek acceptance for talent as dancers and performers in music videos on a general scale. I really love that Ruth tells the story with simple visuals without having to guess what it’s all about.  

 

Toodle-oo is an attractive pop song which teens and the mid twenty age groups would easily relate to with lyrics of strength to stand up for themselves.

Lyrics such as “I ain’t playing games, take a look around” and “Sick of giving you the benefit of doubt”, are strong words which in turn will teach young people not to sink or dwell on issues they face, encouraging them to keep moving.

 

Of late I’m hearing a lot of 80’s and 90’s inspired tracks and sounds, and while I love these era’s as they send me back in time, it is really nice to hear the younger artists embrace these sounds and productions. I often remind myself that these young artists are perceiving these sounds as new and if they are embracing them for the new music coming out today, then artists and musicians must have done something right back then. So, from an old artist of the 90’s to one of 2020, Well done Ruth!

 

Very cool, easy to listen to classic pop dance track.

 

Tracey gives 4 out of 5 Stars

Star Rating

 

 

 

 

New Pop Music to Empower the People from Ruth Brosnan

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RUTH BROSNAN

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ruth_brosnan

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ruthbrosnanmusic

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ruth_brosnan/

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/3fvMKlh7R0A9lqaDxfnRSC?highlight=spotify:track:6xGfZaEcZvOLQfyk9cJ8tW

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB_F-EVgvAo

New Pop Music to Empower the People from Ruth Brosnan

Lo-Fi Pop Makes My Energy Contagious and Exciting from Edward Knocks


Single Cover

Edward Knocks – My Energy

Lo-Fi Pop Makes My Energy Contagious and Exciting from Edward Knocks

Isn’t it a great feeling when you play a song, (not knowing anything about the track), for it to change your mood in an instant.

I’ll admit, this doesn’t happen very often to me, but was so pleasantly surprised when I hit play.

There aren’t too many songs that make me go, “YEAH”, along with the whole dancing thing in my chair to then explode making it a natural reaction to actually get up and dance, even inviting the dogs to dance with me.

I was doubting myself in recent times that I may never feel energy again, or genuinely smile naturally. (Sad, I know, maybe it’s just the world we are living in.)

This may be a big call to make, but the fact that this track gave me hope, feel freedom and happiness, is a sign of exceptional things for Edward Knocks. If this doesn’t become a hit, then there is something wrong with people’s ears. 

The lo-fi Pop song to be released on 28th August actually says it all in the title; “My Energy”! How spot on is this!!

As soon as My Energy begins with the first words of “Hello World, Hello Friends”, you’re sucked right in. At approximately 120 bpm, this high energy track twists with various sounds integrating the catchy 80’s and 90’s era and incorporating very cool synth, beats, enhanced vocalisation and various effects bringing it all together making it a new and exciting 2020 masterpiece.

Edward Knocks was previously signed to a label under a different name; who that was, I don’t know, but whether he was successful or not, I don’t care because My Energy proves Edward Knocks knows how to create and generate mind-blowing songs to grab attention.

Knocks’s vocals are smooth and almost spoken like over a pumping beat that’s contagious to say the least.

If this doesn’t make you happy and you can’t feel it, then perhaps it’s time you consider seeing a psychologist 😂

 

My Energy is quirky, uplifting and free flowing. Don’t miss the release on Friday 28th August on our New Music Page.

5 out of 5  Stars from Tracey

Review Star Rating

 

 

 

PRE-SAVE

Lo-Fi Pop Makes My Energy Contagious and Exciting from Edward Knocks

OUT FRIDAY 28TH AUGUST

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Edward Knocks

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/EdwardKnocks

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/edwardknocksmusic/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/edward_knocks/

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/edwardknocks

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYf3ug9dzoIw5hwzn5WLPXA

Lo-Fi Pop Makes My Energy Contagious and Exciting from Edward Knocks

David Biviano and Jonathan Wood Create Addictive Dance Pop Junk Masterpiece


Junk Single Cover

David Biviano and Jonathan Wood – Junk

David Biviano and Jonathan Wood Create Addictive Dance Pop Junk Masterpiece

David Biviano and Jonathan Wood are two musicians who have seemed to find a mutual understanding and love for writing, recording and producing music while at opposite ends of the world.  

For Australian artist David, writing has been a long-time desire since the age of 13. Now, a few decades later, it looks like the wait was worth it.

Jonathan hails from Cheshire, England and both met online at https://www.premiersongproduction.com/

 

Junk is a high energy funky dance track which exudes qualities reminiscent of the 90’s era with a groove, vocal harmonies and beats to put a smile on your dial making you feel the need to press replay again and again.

While the track is about the struggle of coming clean off heroin, the vibrancy of this track doesn’t allow you to wallow.

The lyrics could very well portray any difficulty associated with the power of the mind and very cleverly written.

 

There’s a lot going on within the track, but don’t let that fool you as an over produced song!

The instrumentation is placed so very well, elements of that funky guitar, clean crisp piano and electronic sounds poke through the grooving beats that surrounds and explodes throughout.

There are so many great elements of surprise as the track progresses. Before you know it, it’s all over……hence, having to play it all over again.

Lyrics by David Biviano and music composed, arranged and produce by song writing partner, Jonathan Wood, it’s clear this working duo have found the magic key of writing, recording and producing great quality music.

 

It has me shaking my booty! A super catchy cracking track!

 

5 out of 5  Stars from Tracey

Review Star Rating

 

 

 

 

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DAVID BIVIANO AND JONATHAN WOOD

STREAM: https://davidbivianojonathanmwood.bandcamp.com/track/junk

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/davidbiviano4

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/David-Biviano-121680749230679/

David Biviano and Jonathan Wood Create Addictive Dance Pop Junk Masterpiece

Mac Frey Delivers A Natural Soulful Futuristic Fairy Tale


Mac Frey Single

MAC FREY – Natural

Mac Frey Delivers A Natural Soulful Futuristic Fairy Tale

If you know me by now, then I don’t need to tell you, that when I hear a voice that sounds like strawberries and cream, I get excited; And Mac Frey not only has the strawberries and cream, but he’s been dipped in warm smooth flowing chocolate, just to top it off. (and who doesn’t love chocolate!)

Mac’s voice is to die for. I mean… this is the kind of singer who takes you on a journey; a tour of the world without having to leave your living room, and this is exactly what his latest single, ’Natural’ does.

‘Natural’ feels like a futuristic fairy tale as a soulful blues, almost electronic-pop ballad encased with warm vocals via tone and performance, and a very cool extensive range soaring into falsetto accompanied by glorious harmonies.

The piano cuts through as it shimmers like stars in the sky. However, this illustrious slow, groove ballad feels just a little high on the top end as I was waiting for a deep base to drop in at some point. I feel it is also a little heavy on the reverb which I think hides Mac’s broader warm tone in his vocal; but perhaps without it, Natural wouldn’t have the futuristic feel it is intended for.

As mentioned with the release of ‘Natural’, It’s a dream from the perspective of someone in the future (say, 3020). They’re dreaming about the beautiful natural world we live in and 2020, and how they wish the world could be like that still. “I just wanna sail away like nothing’s real tonight, ‘cause I remember like a dreamboat, floating so Natural”. I think we’re all guilty of being lazy at when it comes to climate change: say’s Mac… We say to ourselves that “our voices won’t create change” like an excuse not to do anything. “Can I just bathe into the sunlight, just one more time” instead of actually fighting for our Planet.

Loving this track from Mac!

 

4.5 out of 5  Stars from Tracey

Star Rating

 

 

 

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MAC FREY

STREAM: https://ditto.fm/natural-mac-frey

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJmNZVg95cY059j-8_X5IkQ

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/macfrey123/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/mac.frey/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/macfrey_

Mac Frey Delivers A Natural Soulful Futuristic Fairy Tale

Interview With Hypnotic Soul Singer Amanda St John


Amanda St John is a soulful singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland. She is a mainstay on the Irish radio, festival and gig circuit and has been described as a “Head-turning vocalist with serious song writing prowess………a sensational artist” (Visit Dublin). She has worked with artists like Brian Kennedy, Eddi Reader, Mary Coughlan, Gareth Dunlop, Ciaran Gribbin (of INXS) and Jon Tiven (Grammy winning Nashville writer/producer whose CV has included BB King, Van Morrison and The Rolling Stones etc…).

After hearing Amanda’s voice, I had to find out more about her. Read the interview below and of course, take a listen to her music.

 

 

Indie Singer


Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

MT: Hello Amanda, nice to cyber meet you. Wow, what a voice! Your voice and style, inclusive of the BV’s, are reminiscent of the real soul music from the good ol’ days. Who did you grow up listening to?

Amanda: Hey there, and thanks so much for the feedback. I actually grew up listening to Irish folk music, it wasn’t until I was about 18 that I started listening to soul music. I heard Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s going On’ album and it blew my mind. I started exploring the classics then like Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Roberts Flack and was so moved by the power and expression of these artists.

 

MT: Having been the 1st Independent Irish artist to record in the ‘Fame’ studios in Alabama, can you share your experience and the differences recording there as opposed to other studios you had previously recorded?

 

Amanda: It was like a dream come true walking in those doors and standing in the same vocal booth with the same mics and same musicians as my heros. At one point I had this really overwhelming thought and was like “Aretha was here!” It was a very different experience than my 1st album as I took my time with that and recorded it over a 6 month period here in a studio in Northern Ireland (with producer Mike Mormecha). This album was all live tracked (bass, guitar, drums and keys) and we were really on the clock as we had just 5 days to record the whole album. I traveled there with co-writer/drummer/producer Mike Mormecha and co-writer/guitar player Paul Tierney and I hired 2 of the original ‘swampers’ session musicians to complete the band. It was an absolute joy to work with David Hood (Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Paul Simon, Alesha Keys etc.) and Clayton Ivey (James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Joss Stone etc) who welcomed us with open hearts and shared their wisdom and expertise so generously.

 

MT: Who do you now enjoy listening to as a fan?

Amanda: I’m listening to Gregory Porter, Lianne La Havas, Erika Badu and Leif Vollebekk a lot at the moment. I’m starting to write again for my next album so I’ve been revisiting classic songwriters like Joni Mitchel and Carole King for inspiration.

 

MT: When was your very first recording and release?

Amanda: I released my debut Ep ‘Where is The Man’ in 2012. I was late committing to myself and my music career to be honest.

 

MT: Your recent track of ‘Made Myself a Name’ indicates the struggles of trying to make it as a singer. Can you tell us what you find has been the most frustrating aspect of trying to make it in this business?

Amanda: The most frustrating part is getting your music to the right people. There are some playlists and DJ’s that I know my music would suit but without a budget for a radio plugger it’s difficult to reach these people. Finances are definitely the biggest struggle overall. It’s so expensive to produce good quality recordings, then you need a massive amount more for quality videos and promo material. I just wish a had a digital marketing budget too. Lol. Without big budgets everything just takes more time and you have to keep plugging away to build your fanbase organically.

 

MT: I believe you are a household name in Ireland, I apologise for not knowing you here in Australia, however, that will soon change   Where are you based at the moment and where do you plan and hope to take your music?

Amanda: Lol, you’re very kind and I wish I was but like so many artists I’m still building my name here too. I do have a good following in certain circles though and I’m grateful for that. I am based in Co.Antrim in a small rural seaside village, it’s such a lovely place to live and create. Belfast is my closest city. I’ve been very lucky to tour across the Uk & Ireland and also in the USA the last few years. I’d love to take my music to the European market and festival scene now, though I’m open to anywhere that receives my music well. 

 

MT: Can you explain a little bit about your song-writing process, who you have collaborated with and what it’s like to collaborate with such music royalty?

Amanda: I’ve been very lucky to write with some super talented Grammy award winning writers over the years but for this album most of it was written with my 2 main collaborators Paul Tierney and Mike Mormecha. I love collaborating as it helps bring a song to a new level when other writers add their ideas and creativity. It’s such a rewarding process to see an idea grow and take life.

 

MT: As an artist myself (way back), no matter how many releases you have, there is always excitement around each new release. Do you feel that each time you release something new, given the times we are in, (in regards to streaming and fans attempting to find new music); do you try and think of new ways/strategies with each new release?

Amanda: Yes it really is exciting but also very nerve wrecking. I write very autobiographically and these songs in particular are very raw emotionally in parts. It’s quite a vulnerable experience releasing your innermost thoughts and feelings into the world and sharing yourself at this level. The release strategy and business side of it is so important as every artist wants people to hear their music and reach press if you are to have any impact. I do find this the hardest part of things. Spotify and streaming has changed the game slightly too as it has really meant that music is more about numbers than sales these days. Everybody is literally learning to adapt and change to a very quick moving industry and figures suggest that less people are listening to albums so I released a lot more singles ahead of the full album this time to try and slowly increase fan base and listeners with each song. It’s all a bit trial and error to be honest but I am learning a lot.

 

MT: When you record, do you produce or arrange all the vocal parts, and do you naturally progress to the classic soul sounds of the likes of Aretha Franklin or Dusty Springfield; Is this a part of your nature and soul?

Amanda: That soul sound is very much at my core so I don’t have to think about it too much. I do all my own vocal parts and arrangements and a large majority if the backing vocal parts too. I actually had very severe vocal damage during production time and I had some good vocalist friends Matt McGinn and Siobhan Brown (who I’ve collaborated with a lot in the past and is so gifted at soul harmonies) who stepped in to help get the final bv parts recorded. I also love gospel choirs so had a small choir which I arranged parts for and led the recordings for a few songs.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Amanda: I’ve had a lot of life challenges the last few years which make my music career hard to focus on and put me under immense pressure financially. During the production period with this album I lost a large amount of money when Pledge Music went bankrupt and I had a lot of time off earning due to caring for my father (who was terminally ill) and then soon after that the vocal damage I talked about. That was an extremely difficult period of life for me. I had just invested my life’s work into an album, was so broke I had no money to finish it and was told after 4 months of vocal treatment that the damage was so bad I might never sing again. I had so much work to do to heal and get back on my feet, and raise the funds I needed before I could release this album, it just makes me all the more proud though that I’ve finally got it out there into the world despite some very difficult obstacles.

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming independent artists?

Amanda: Have a vision outside of success that you want to achieve and appreciate the small victories. You will get more rejections than successes but if you believe in yourself and that your music has a purpose then you will keep moving towards your goal even if it is taking longer than you hoped. Sometimes I get caught up in the business side of things and forget how far I’ve come as well as the joy of creating and touching audiences.

Indie Soul Singer

MT:   Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments and How long have you been playing them?

Amanda: I have played guitar since I was a teenager, though I’m much more confident as the singer.

 

MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Amanda: First and foremost I am a mum, I have a 12 year old daughter) who is my main focus in life. I also teach workshops on personal development, vocals and songwriting. I work with a lot of community and charity projects (mostly with teenagers) and am so committed to other people having belief in themselves and reaching their full potential. On my downtime I live by the beach and am very into nature and the outdoors.

 

MT: You have some major performances under your belt, including the prestigious Folk Alliance Festival, performing for the US president among many; Do you have any specific rituals or do anything specific before you head out on stage or even before you record your vocals in the studio?

Amanda: Yeah I do have to get into the zone and try to filter out all the nerves and inner noise. I usually do some vocal warm ups and deep breathing techniques to ground me and make me present to the moment.

 

MT:   In these horrid times of Covid 19, what are your music plans for this year and how has this current climate affected you both musically and personally?

Amanda: My plans have obviously changed drastically due to Covid. I had to cancel my US, UK & Irish Album release tour as well as all my festival dates for the summer. I’ve had to completely restructure my plans and focus on reaching people digitally. I’ve been doing Facebook Lives as well as Zoom concerts and have been working hard on creating new digital content. It’s been a huge blow financially but so many people are in the same boat so I can’t complain, I’m just grateful to be healthy at this point.

Personally I’ve really enjoyed the slower pace of life and appreciate the extra time with my daughter. We’re lucky to live in the countryside and the weather has been great so I feel like I’m getting a chance to recharge my batteries after such a stressful couple of years.

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Amanda, I really appreciate it.

 

Amanda St John Latest Release June 2020 – ‘Take A Leap’

Take A Leap Single Cover

Interview With Hypnotic Soul Singer Amanda St John

Interview With Hypnotic Soul Singer Amanda St John

The Woman Behind Successful Indie Music Women Blog; Linda Garnett

 

Picture Of Linda Garnett from Indie Music Women

After playing on social media for quite some time, you notice people; You notice their enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and of course, their passion.

Indie Music Women AKA Linda Garnett is one of those who always grabbed my attention, and although there are so many other blogs and radio platforms out there, trust me, there aren’t too many who put in the work on social media.

Quite some time ago, I remember posting to artists to never give up, keep posting your music and don’t worry about the likes or shares. Keep going, because you never know who’s watching. Well…dare I say, admittedly, I am one that watches without liking or sharing. (sorry about that;))

But the one person I have watched, (not creepy btw:))), is none other that the ever growing Indie Music Women.

From when Linda began some 3 years ago, I’ve been noticing an ever growing blog site turn into a larger platform transpiring to radio and so much more, alongside an ever growing fan base. 

I thought it was time I approached Linda to find out more about her and her successful ‘Indie Music Women’. I hope you enjoy! 


The Woman Behind Successful Indie Music Women Blog; Linda Garnett

MT: Hello Linda! So lovely to have you here. When did you begin your original ‘Indie Music Women’ blog?

Linda: Thank you, Tracey! Happy to be here! I began my original Indie Music Women blog a little over 3 years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun!

 

MT: What was it you were doing before Indie Music Women?

Linda: I owned Fuzzy Speakers which was a music information research company focused on providing timely information, historical perspective, candid analysis on the music industry, and music reviews. It covered all genres in both independent and mainstream music and both female and male artists/bands.

 

MT: Did you sing yourself or how did you become involved in the music business?

Linda: I didn’t sing as a profession but I did have vocal lessons to prep for one. I told my parents that I was going to be a rock star when I grew up, which horrified them. I did form a female 3 piece band in high school with friends and we did perform in front of 300 people for a talent show to win a bet. 

The short version of how I became involved in the music business is that I initially found sound engineering was what I wanted to do, especially for radio. I was fortunate enough to have an informal mentorship at a popular San Francisco radio station with their sound engineer. I had written to and originally asked for advice for entering the profession and he offered to mentor me. But my experiences in the industry changed my perspective and I decided maybe it wasn’t for me.

Years later, I rekindled my dream of being a sound engineer and gained some “live” performance experience but I never gave up my stable corporate career. Later on, I worked toward a DigiDesign operator certificate in Pro Tools post-production. But, I retired my dream due to what I experienced and witnessed first-hand with the treatment women in the industry. I decided to marry my two passions, writing and music, and started my first music review blog in 2009.

 

MT: How do you find the uber talented indie music women?

Linda: I have an ear for good music. 🙂  Seriously, though, I find them through my social media calls for submission’s posts, when they submit their music for my playlists, and just asking for recommendations or receiving recommendations through social media or friends. I also love to explore Spotify playlists curated by indie artists and I’ve discovered some really wonderful women artists that way.   

 

MT: Why do you feel it’s important to focus on the women in the music industry?

Linda: Women in the music industry, whether artist, musician, producer, or behind the scenes in any capacity, are not given the visibility, respect, or support and that needs to change. For example, here we are in the 21st century, fighting for country music women artists to be visible on the mainstream music charts, to be played more on the radio and to be respected more than as “the tomato on top of the salad”.

Women songwriters account for a small percentage compared to men songwriters in the industry, and along with artists, mixing and mastering engineers, and producers, aren’t being nominated in proportionate numbers for mainstream music awards, instead, they’re being told to “step up” their game.  There are stories of the sound guy who treats the woman artist setting up her own gear like she doesn’t know what’s she’s doing, and the same in the studio for women engineers and producers.

Women in the music industry are being underrepresented, ignored, dismissed, and not respected. This is what fuels me to help women in the music industry get that recognition and support, break barriers, and level the playing field so in the end, we are all artists, producers, engineers, etc., first, without prefacing our job title with “woman” or “female”.  And most importantly, never having to prove ourselves to anyone, in our professions.

 

MT: Is there anyone who inspires you as a writer/interviewer?

Linda: Yes! Investigative reporter and journalist Bob Woodward is my inspiration! I consider him the absolute master in the art of interviewing and investigative reporting. I took an online course he did on how to interview and investigate, and I came away with a much better understanding of how to interview by his breaking down of the investigations and interviewees he conducted over his iconic career.  I learned how to dig deep, how to get in-depth with my interviewees, and researching, among other techniques.

 

MT: Who do you now enjoy listening to as a fan?

Linda: There are too many artists that I can’t just pick just one! I’m a fan of different genres, and I’m always discovering new artists through my platform that I’ve become a fan of.

 

MT: What’s a typical day for you? What other activities or hobbies besides running ‘Indie Music Women’, do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Linda: A typical day for me is that I work on specific projects or things I have scheduled for that particular day. When I take a break, I love to interact with my supportive social media audience.

Other activities I like to do is read books (the physical kind), which can be about business, music industry, or fiction, or a biography.

I like to write flash fiction (stories under 1000 words), and have had several of my stories published.  I love to participate every year in the National Novel Writing Month (called NaNoWriMo) in November when you write a novel in 30 days. 

I enjoy west coast swing dancing and attending dance conventions, and I used to compete as a swing dancer for many years.

 

MT: Apart from the interviews, you have your Spotify playlist and have recently began your own radio show; How many hours a week would you spend on the whole ‘Indie Music Women’ platform, and do have any help?

Linda: I also have a bi-weekly newsletter for indie music women artists — 5 Must Reads for Musicians, as well as creating the Indie Music Women’s Featured Artist of the Day on Instagram three times a week. I typically spend 40 hours a week on my platform. I know some people get the impression from the name that there is a group of women behind it, but it’s actually just me running Indie Music Women without any help.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in running ‘Indie Music Women’? How do you overcome those challenges?

Linda: Time management is the biggest challenge I have in running Indie Music Women. I use what is called ‘batching’ to overcome it. This is a process where I create batches of similar work in one day that will be scheduled for weeks in advance. For example, if I had a once a weekly podcast, I would record a month’s worth of shows in advance. This process frees me up to take on other projects and I don’t have to be stressed about content creation. On the days that I don’t batch, I prioritize three things that need to be done and complete them. Taking on more than three leads to inefficiency and never getting anything completed.

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming independent artists?

Linda: My advice based on what I have learned is to be you. Be strong. Be empowered. Don’t settle. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t compare yourself to other artists; this is your unique journey, not theirs. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing with your career, your music, or your image. Surround yourself with a supportive network of people in and out of the music business. I believe it’s also important to connect with professionals in the music industry because those relationships you develop can help you to learn of opportunities or bring them your way.

Your music career is a business which means you must invest in it. Keep learning and improving in your craft whether that’s your instrument, voice, or songwriting, to be the best at what you do. Learn as much as you can about the music industry and the business side by attending conferences, webinars, taking courses, listening to podcasts, reading newsletters, books, etc. You never know when these could result in discovering opportunities for your music.  

I’d also advise women artists to really support each other. There’s an empowerment in lifting each other up both professionally and personally in an industry that doesn’t offer either for them. 

 

MT: Ive noticed that you are in the process of creating The Indie Women Community; Can you tell us a bit more about this and what it will involve?

Linda: The Indie Music Woman Community will be a live online membership platform that provides a private online community that will give artists a place to share advice, support, and common experiences, and to lift each other up professionally, emotionally, and intellectually. It will be protected from public scrutiny to promote open dialogue so they can build new long-term relationships with like-minded individuals.

It will also welcome participants from all parts of the Indie Music industry, mutually helping everyone gain new opportunities.

My hope is that the community will be another vehicle that can help women artists grow in their career, break down barriers, and achieve greater success and satisfaction.

I invite anyone who is interested to mail me at linda [at] indiemusicwomen.com

 

MT:   Has Covid 19 affected you at all and the running of your platform? What differences have you noticed since the isolation and lockdowns all over the world? 

Linda: I have always worked from home so Covid-19 has not affected how I run my platform. I haven’t had to pivot in how I do things. The differences I’ve noticed however, are that I’m receiving a much higher number of music submission requests from artists, PR agencies, etc., as well as emails from musicians looking for advice on how to reach more fans, raise their profile, and so on.

I have noticed that the worldwide lockdown and isolation has unleashed a lot of incredible creativity among artists from releasing songs that depict dealing with the isolation and mental health, to remote collaborations, song/EP releases, 

live streaming shows, to reaching out to fans to engage more than ever via social media. 

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Linda, All the best with Indie Music Women!

Linda: Thank you very much, Tracey!

LINKS TO INDIE MUSIC WOMEN

Website: https://indiemusicwomen.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indiemusicwomen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indiemusicwomen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indiemusicwomen/

IMW Radio Show: https://indiemusicwomen.com/imw-radio-show/ 

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4TqPAxeE6yhbuWfYOwlQZW?si=S2_zQJiSQwCErmZlrLZ0eQ

The Woman Behind Successful Indie Music Women Blog; Linda Garnett

Shimmering Celtic Perfection from Ella Roberts


Celtic Music Review

Ella Roberts

Shimmering Celtic Perfection from Ella Roberts

When it comes to Celtic music or the likes of, this is exactly what comes to mind, but this example is just so much better.

The voice of Australian singer, Ella Roberts is soothing to say the least. In fact, I am to go so far as to say, it’s super close to perfection.

Gentle, precise and meaningful as Ella’s voice glides with ease with each of her songs making them relaxing to listen to and a need to want to listen to more.

It’s clear Ella knows how to sing; her falsetto clear as a pure diamond sparkling beneath the sun. Her vibrato is faultless and clearly shows she has had classical training along the way.

The music is a real as you’ll get as drums banging alongside guitars, strings and of course bagpipes as the man behind the music, producer, Adrian Hannan, shows great understanding of how the sounds and arrangements shimmer, standing out as a piece of art on its own, while enabling the vocal to remain front and centre.

Ella’s latest single, ‘Errigal’ is now available, and while it is difficult for me to choose a favourite, I do find that her cover of ‘Lift the Wings’ enchanting.

 

Ella Roberts is purely breathtaking !

 

5  Stars from Tracey

5 Stars

 

 

‘Errigal’ Available Here

 

ELLA ROBERTS

WEBSITE: https://www.ellarobertsmusic.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ellarobertsmusic/

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhqqdzwqFSE

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ellarobertsmusic/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ellarobertsmuso

Shimmering Celtic Perfection from Ella Roberts

Indie Artist Madison Mueller Rising To The Top


Exhale Acoustic

Madison Mueller – ‘Exhale’

indie-artist-madison-mueller-rising-to-the-top

Madison Mueller is a star already in my eyes. Over the past few years I have been one of the lucky ones to have not only watched her grow and blossom into an artist in her own right, but am privileged to have Maddie as one of our Teen Talks writers/journalists on Music Talks.

In 2018 I asked Maddie if she would be interested in being a part of Music Talks with the teenage artists after hearing her music and appearing on Music Talks back in Jan 2018, as I witnessed a unique raw and honest talent and artist who could not only sing, write songs and perform, but a young dedicated girl with an old soul, who seemed to know instinctively what music was all about. 

Maddie follows her heart, stay’s true to herself and delivers effortless performances in all the music she has recorded and performed.

After performing her song “Exhale” acoustically, live on the Global TV Morning Show in the summer of 2019, fans have been requesting a released version, and It seemed like the right time to release the acoustic version coming off the success of the new, Exhale music video.

Her newest single “Too Nice”, was played on her local radio station in Canada, 89.1 Max FM, recently and has seen her topping charts around the world!

Since 2018 Maddie has been honoured with 4 international and local awards with 2020 looking like a stand out year for Maddie having been nominated for 5 ISSA (International Singer Songwriter Association) Awards which will be taking place in Atlanta Aug. 2020.

Maddie’s nominations include International Vocalist of the Year, Young Adult Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year along with Video of the Year for “Exhale” and Single of the Year for “Too Nice”. 

Maddie is shocked at the recognition she is receiving for her music and excited to see where it takes her!

You can see Madison doing live performances on her Facebook and Instagram during the lockdown. She has been supporting local charities for Barrie’s Live Music Show and plans on doing more live shows, so be sure to follow her on all her social media channels to see when the next one is scheduled. You won’t be disappointed.

There’s only one way for Maddie; be one of the her first fans; follow Maddie’s journey, share and watch this young woman take on the world. You will be glad you did!

Support Maddie and indie artists by purchasing their music. ‘Exhale’ is available on Bandcamp. (link below)

 

5 Super Stars from Tracey

5 Stars

FOLLOW MADISON MUELLER

Bandcamp – https://madisonmueller.bandcamp.com/track/exhale-acoustic

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/maddiemakesmusic77/

Website –   http://www.maddiemakesmusic.com

Twitter –      https://twitter.com/_maddiemueller_

Instagram   https://www.instagram.com/maddiemakesmusic

Official Exhale Music Video

Indie Artist Madison Mueller Rising To The Top

New Jazz Album from Frances Madden Assures Us a Beautiful World


Australian Jazz Singer

Frances Madden – ‘Beautiful World’

New Jazz Album from Frances Madden Assures Us a Beautiful World

Frances Madden is an Australian jazz vocalist who’s built her audience from live shows as well as releases and will continue to do so if ‘Beautiful World’ is anything to go by.

With eight of the 10 tracks produced by ARIA award winner and music director of other great Australian artists such as John Farnham and Olivia Newton John, Chong Lim, this album is yet another refreshing album that can change any low mood into putting a spring in your step, even in these times of isolation.

This album contains a variety of jazz assorted tracks from the up-tempo titled track ‘Beautiful World’ which paints some beautiful pictures upon listening to the lyrics, I could very easily hear this placed in movies such as La La Land.

‘Side By Side’, Frances shows off her well controlled vocal as she cruises with ease, much like flowing melted chocolate, indicating her enchanting vocal ability isn’t limited; Frances could sing any genre.

The production is spacious and bright, allowing you to hear every beautiful instrument and BV’s. And how about that piano in ‘The Tango Never Lies’!

Frances’s jazz rendition of ‘I Go to Rio’, originally made famous by none other than our other Aussie crooner, Peter Allan, is a swinging ditty that would make Mr Allan proud.

A purely magical album that will have you feeling on top of this beautiful world, even in these trying times.

This album will have you to believe that we will, once again, have a beautiful world.

 

Tracey giving 10 Beautiful Worlds

🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎

SPOTIFY

2018 INTERVIEW with France Madden

New Jazz Album from Frances Madden Assures Us a Beautiful World

Flashfires Sprinkle Some Moonshine with Champagne from Mars


Indie Band

Flashfires – ‘Champagne from Mars’

Flashfires Sprinkle Some Moonshine with Champagne from Mars

Flashfires are the four-piece band from London, who’s turning heads, and it’s easy to hear why.

Their latest single, ‘Champagne from Mars’ has instant appeal as soon as you hit play.

An easy-going understated production that’s somewhat familiar in melody and sound which makes it the kind of track I found myself wanting to hear again. Not bad for me I say.

 

Upon my first listen, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to a mix mash of The Beatles on Broadway performing songs from a Chorus Line. Rather a strange concept I know, but this only left me thinking how clever these boys really are.

 

As the song approaches the chorus and those guitars begin-a-strumming…oh, those guitars….did you hear me say, those guitars; Sweetly produced without over-riding the vocal, is the clean lead guitar echoed all the way from Mars.

 

The skilful vocals of Alexander Gonzato breezes throughout the song, no sweat, making me feel like a glass of champagne, and I don’t really care if it came from Mars, because this track makes me feel mighty fine just as it is, right here on earth.

 

The melody shows creative flair for their song writing, as it simply allows the bubbles to keep flowing nicely. Flashfires seemed to have mastered the art of a delicate balance between self-restraint and a grungy swagger sprinkled with moonshine throughout ‘Champagne from Mars’.

 

Pour me 9 glasses of Champagne from Mars please.

Review RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview RatingReview Rating

 

SPOTIFY

WEBSITE: https://www.flashfiresofficial.com/

Flashfires Sprinkle Some Moonshine with Champagne from Mars

INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music


Nic Rollo would have to be one of the most talented artists I’ve seen of late. With super cool new music that’s incredibly catchy with the driving beat behind his latest single, ‘Monster’, showcasing his effortless vocals and producing skills with a sound that is new, yet familiar.   

Hailing from Perth, Australia, why am I not surprised. As I’ve said before, there must be something in the water over in the west. 

Rollo’s personal musical tastes include acts such as The Weeknd and Drake and shows determination and dedication to his art which is apparent throughout our interview.

 

 

Australian Indie Artist


Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

MT: Hi Nic, how long have you been singing for and who are some of your musical influences? When did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?

Nic: Hello hello.  I’ve been singing since I was 15 and have been really focusing on improving for the past 2-3 years after getting a good vocal coach.  It’s been those last few years that I’ve seen the most progress.  Musical influence wise there’s quite a lot, ranging from Tears for Fears, Bonobo, The Weeknd, Drake, etc etc.  I like to listen to as much music as I can to expand those musical horizons.  Ever since I started getting into recording and producing I loved the idea of being a musician, and I think the further I got into it the more it became clear that this was what I was going to do with my life. 

 

MT: Was it a conscious decision to pursue a music career or was it something you just loved, and fell into?

Nic:  It was definitely just something I did a lot of as a hobby that started becoming more and more a pathway I wanted to pursue as a career.  It was about halfway through my uni degree that I really decided I was going to commit to music after recording an EP that sounded better than anything I’d done before.

 

MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?

Nic: There’s a few, acts like The Weeknd and Drake have been huge inspirations of mine for the longest time.  More recently I’ve been really enjoying Conan Gray and Kacey Musgraves.  These questions are always tricky, I feel like I listen to new stuff every week so my favourite tracks are typically just that week/months findings.

 

MT: When was your very first recording and release?

Nic: Well there were a few tracks back from when I was 15 that I uploaded to my soundcloud and shared with my friends (it sucks).  Here have a listen if you want to hear a poorly recorded, produced, written and mixed song from young Nic.  Aside from those early attempts at music, I recorded a song with my previous band Deli Days (Time-Bomb, which is still on Spotify etc).  It was super exciting going into a proper recording studio for that for the first time, and hearing back a polished song was amazing.  I think those first few times will stay with me forever, there was something magical about it.

 

MT: Can you explain more about the meaning of the ‘Monster’ and how it ties into your music goals?

Nic: Monster is about saying things that you regret, essentially.  It was written during a turbulent time in a previous relationship where it felt like I kept saying petty things that would slowly cause more and more conflict.  The song is about trying to watch those inner demons.  I guess Monster was one of the first songs that I started writing with more of a commercial sound in mind, not that it’s even that hifi.  So I guess it stands as the starting point to a more refined sound from my music. 

 

MT: Do you perform live? Where can people see you perform?

NicI do perform live, although I’ve been taking a break for the past few months to focus on other areas of music like writing songs.  They can see me perform around Perth, and perhaps over East later in the year!

 

MT: I love how the video clip is shot, there looks to be a lot digging going on; how long did you have to dig for and how long did it take to shoot the video?

Nic: Thanks!  Yeah there was certainly a fair amount of digging, although not as much as you might think for a human sized hole.  I was probably only digging for 10 minutes to get it reasonably sized.  The video itself was shot over 2 nights and probably took somewhere between 10-15 hours in total (including driving to scenes, setting up etc ec).  It was a lot of fun!

MT: I see that you are also a producer, so I’m assuming you produced ‘Monster’; How did you begin producing and have you produced other artists’ tracks?

Nic: I sure did.  Producing was never a conscious thought or decision to pursue, I’ve always done it ever since I started writing my own songs.  Over the years (I like to think) I’ve honed the craft to a point where I’m pretty happy with it, although I actively try and improve all the time.  At this stage I have not produced for other artists, but I’d love to at some point in the future!

 

MT: I see that ‘Monster was mastered by Chris Gehringer (Harry Styles, Rihanna and Halsey); what was the experience like working with a person of this calibre?

Nic: Mastering is a bit of a dark art, you send the track to them and they sort of magic it up and send it back.  So in that sense I had very little contact with Chris, but he did a fantastic job.  It’s cool working with people of such high calibres, largely because you don’t have to worry too much about if they’re doing a good or bad job (since they typically do a good job).

 

MT: What’s the best piece of advice that you have received in which you stand by?

Nic: It’s probably some iteration of ‘ be so good that they can’t ignore you’.  I feel like in the music industry you really do have to be creating fantastic music to stand out, so that’s what I try to do.  I’m not saying I’m fantastic, but that’s the goal one day.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Nic: It’s probably just the resistance at times I’ve faced from other people in the Perth scene to get around the music I’m creating, both industry people and artists.  I think back when I was starting I had this expectation of everyone jumping on board the Nic Rollo train and saying ‘wow this is incredible’, but obviously that didn’t happen (probably for good reasons).  It was a good thing though, it forced me to focus and work harder on improving the music which I think is the most critical task anyway.

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business?

Nic: You just have to keep going and ignore the others around you.  Everyone is on a different timeline/trajectory, so there’s often no point in comparing yourself to other artists who are doing well.  I think the music industry is one of the industries that can be kind of fickle sometimes, so it’s a good strategy to just focus on improving your music as much as you can and hopefully the industry/scenes will get around it at some point.

Australian Indie Artist

 

MT: I saw on Instagram that you can cook up a pretty mean Chocolate cake! What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Nic: Hahaha thank you, it’s some of my finest work.  A typical day often revolves around music, I’ll try to do a bit of writing/producing every day, as well as practicing instruments.  Lately I’ve been teaching music lessons so that will often occupy a few hours in the afternoon.  In terms of other hobbies, I spend a lot of time trying to craft social media content (lately the focus has been TikTok), so that can take up a disgusting amount of time sometimes.  Aside from that I like hanging with my cat Tiggy.

 

MT: Just curious to know about your cat, Tiggy; What on earth is he lying in, were you preparing him for the ‘Monster’ clip or something? Lol

Nic: Tiggy is my favourite and least favourite creature on the planet.  She’s amazing, but she also has a love of peeing on my bed occasionally which isn’t my favourite thing in the world.  She’s probably lying in this big tunnel toy that I got her, she loves to play in it.  Yeah… Monster is actually about Tiggy, she’s evil.

  

MT: Can you tell us why it took so long to release ‘Monster’? 

Nic: I’ve been running on a timeline roughly a year ahead of schedule.  I recorded an EP a few years ago, and an album at the start of last year.  So when I started releasing the EP I was finishing the album.  Monster was always going to be one of the first singles for the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020, and by the time I released it I’d been sitting on the song for pretty much a year.  It was a little bit painful holding onto one of my favourite tracks for so long, but it was worth it.

 

MT:   What are your music plans for 2020? Will we see an EP or Album?

Nic: Lots of releases!  I’ve got a tonne of songs to release over the next few months, and an album that will hopefully drop by the end of this year or beginning of next year.  I’m also looking forward to setting up a few collaborations with other artists this year, as well as ideally a bit of touring later in the year.  All in all it’s looking to be a pretty exciting year.

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Nic, wishing you all the best! 

INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music

INTERVIEW with Nic Rollo; Just Focus On Improving Your Music

Alternative Pop Artist Alto Key is Not Colourless


Alternative Pop

Alto Key – ‘Colourless’

 

‘Colourless’ is the latest single from London alternative-pop artist Alto Key; and is Nice; really nice.

The vocals of Alto Key were the first to grab my attention. A voice that’s contrasting packed with raw emotion and well performed.

 

One aspect of a great vocal is the ability to tell the story, to allow the lyrics to sing within itself. Alto Keys vocal empowers a prominent performance. Alto Key’s performance is very clear, enabling you to hear every word integrated with a sense of urgency which is highlighted by use of his vibrato.

 

The message is one in which many struggle with in life as they attempt to find themselves, with lyrics communicating to those around to accept you as the person you are and not trying to change or modify that person.

 

‘Colourless’ is, on the contrary, chock-full of colour as the highs and lows of cinematic quality Strings sour throughout choruses, flying through and around, creating the feeling of freedom. A rather clever integration suiting the context of the track.

Like I said, Nice!

 

Tracey gives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating

 

WEBSITE: https://altokey.com/

Alternative Pop Artist Alto Key is Not Colourless

A Delightful Interview with Americana Gospel Indie Artist Katie Garibaldi


I consider myself lucky when it comes to having the opportunity to interview so many wonderful independent artists, and when Katie Garibaldi sprung up in front of me recently, there was no question or hesitation what-so-ever.

Having the pleasure of knowing Katie since Music Talks first began (almost 5 years ago) she has been one of those artists who you will always be more than happy to accomodate and work with.

Katie’s music is blissfully calming and easy to listen too with a gentle and alluring personality; I believe it is only a matter of time before Katie Garibaldi ‘s music reaches the masses and touches more souls around the world.

 

 

Americana Indie Artist Singer


Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

Tracey: Hello Katie, great to have you back on Music Talks. It has been a little while since your amazing Delightful song. Can you tell us and everyone how long you’ve been singing and performing for?

Katie: Thanks Tracey! At the risk of sounding cliche, I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Humming and making up melodies was something I always did as a kid. I just loved singing. When I learned how to play the guitar at age 11, I started writing songs and discovered my love of songwriting, and soon after that I started performing live while in high school. I always feel really grateful for finding a passion for something at such a young age because music really helped define who I am as I grew up.

 

MT: Delightful is truly delightful; Can you tell us what this song is about and what inspired you to write it? 

Katie: Thank you! I had been playing around with the guitar melody for “Delightful” for a little while and when I sat down to play with it, my emotions were more in a melancholy state. I became aware that I was allowing other people’s negativity get me down. So the lyrics for the verses are a bit heavy: “How did I get here, losing myself in fear?” But as I progressed through the songwriting process, it turned out to be a very positive song, more of a call to action to take control of my own happiness. So the chorus is about finding liberation in honoring the light inside myself as well as in others: “Take these shades off of my eyes and shine all of the light inside. We could be delightful.” I love songwriting so much because it allows me to connect with a higher realm that can deliver messages I need to hear, as well as share with others.

A Delightful Interview with Americana Gospel Indie Artist Katie Garibaldi

MT: Who was your biggest inspiration when you were growing that perhaps helped you pave your way and decision to make music your career?

Katie: Hands down, Jewel was a huge inspiration for me when I was starting out. Her big debut album Pieces of You was released around the same time that I was learning guitar and starting to write songs, so her guitar playing really inspired me to expand my practice on the instrument as well as be authentic in my songwriting. I remember seeing her on the cover of guitar and music magazines and feeling so motivated to pursue my career in music. Also seeing her play live and how she commands an audience as a solo performer inspired me to be more confident onstage.

 

MT: When you were little, what kind of things did you do in regards to music? Did you sing in-front of the mirror with a hairbrush, or sing along to your favourite artists performing for family members?

Katie: When I was little, I was always, always, always singing. I was a very shy girl, so I probably sang more than I spoke! I didn’t really do it for anyone else. I just sang because I loved it. It made me happy and I felt connected to my true essence through music. My brother and I however did perform some Christmastime “shows” for our family back in the day. He played guitar too so we’d put on little concerts of songs we’d practiced and I would sing a Christmas song every year for a while. We had a lot of fun.

 

MT: I’ve noticed the feel and genre (although we don’t like to put artists in boxes) varies from Folk style Pop, Country/Americana, Christian pop and even noticed some jazz elements to some of your songs. Do you have a preference?

Katie: That is so true and I do get this question a lot because I think it’s kind of difficult to define my genre. I don’t have a preference for what someone labels my genre as. I love that different listeners connect with different aspects of my songs. It’s very endearing because I don’t sit down to write a “country” song or a “Christian” song. I just sit down to write what’s in my heart. So to hear someone call it what it means to them is cool because it reached them in that way. Yes, as an artist I do need to put myself in a box in a sense sometimes in order to promote my music more strategically, but I don’t let that interfere with my creative process so I just try to go with the flow.

Americana Indie Artist

MT: How would you describe your sound? 

Katie: I typically use Americana as the term to describe my genre because it’s such a wide umbrella to encompass the folk, country, and roots sounding element to my music. And mainly, Americana is welcoming to storytelling centered songs. I don’t think my songs are very folk in the traditional sense where I’m telling long stories, but the story in the lyrics is a very important element in my songs. I like to weave in an aspect of hope as an underlying theme for the most part too. 

 

MT: What is your most recent release? 

Katie: My most recent album release is an original holiday and faith inspired album called Home Sweet Christmas, which is available on iTunes, Spotify, and other online stores. My most recent music videos are “Safe and Warm (Lullaby for Jesus)” and “Wonderful Mother Mary,” which can both be found on youtube.com/katiegaribaldi.

 

MT: Your songs have been described as ‘Grammy Award Winning’ and you have won so many awards and accolades; Have you been nominated for any Grammy’s yet amongst all your other awards? (I think it’s about time)

Katie: Thank you so much! I haven’t had a Grammy nomination, but I am a member of the Recording Academy and very active at their events as they’re heavily involved in songwriters’ rights and fair pay. It’s also been a lovely opportunity to network with so many great artists and creatives.

 

MT: How often do you perform live and where can people see you? Do you have a residency anywhere?

Katie: A couple years back I was playing out at least twice a week, if not more, and traveling a lot for mini tours. As much as I absolutely love performing live, this kind of schedule really burnt me out because at the same time I was also recording, promoting—doing all the things, all at once. So I found that at the end of the day I couldn’t fully enjoy anything! Last year I made a conscious decision to cut back on playing live and create the space I felt I needed to write my new album and fall more in love with music again. So I only played a handful of gigs, and for the majority of the year I wrote. It was an extremely healing process and necessary for my mental health as well. I was also busy last year traveling to different film festivals to represent my video screenings, so that kind of took the place of live shows as far as being out on the road and meeting people. It was a lot of fun. Now, I’m looking forward to recording my new songs so I can share them in a lot of different and new ways, including live shows when possible.

 

MT: When you write your songs, how do you decide on what the topic or sound of that song should be?

Katie: The process is different for every song. I don’t have one set way of writing. Sometimes I have a lyric idea and then will sit down with my guitar to work with that, and other times my guitar playing will be the instigator for an idea. Typically though, it starts with melody, whether I hum a melody or find something on the guitar. Once I get an inspirational inkling, I’ll play around on the guitar and when I find a melody or chord progression that moves me, I’ll keep playing until the words start to form. It’s a very difficult thing to describe the creative process because most of it is just following my intuition and responding to an inspirational call. Usually the first few words that start coming together will inform me of what the song is going to be about, not so much me telling the song what to do. Once the song starts coming to fruition, I’ll start to get a sense of what I want the sonic production to entail.

 

MT: Do you have any special moments through a collaboration, either in writing or performing that you would like to share with us?

Katie: Sure. I’ve always loved the sound of stringed instruments and envisioned my songs accompanied by an orchestra. On my Follow Your Heart album, I had a couple songs that I really felt strongly about recording with an orchestra on. I had the opportunity to work with the Magik*Magik Orchestra here in San Francisco on those songs, and was able to sit down with the arranger Minna Choi before going into the studio. I hummed out the string melodies that I wanted and she wrote them into the arrangements. There were parts I heard strongly in my head. Other parts I didn’t quite know what to do, but I knew the emotion I wanted or the general vibe, for instance, building up slowly. Minna was able to add her creative ideas to that and came up with some beautiful arrangements. It was a really cool experience being able to witness the melodies in my head come to life in such a beautiful way.

 

MT: Do you have your own band or regular musicians who record and perform with you?

Katie: I work with a variety of musicians for studio sessions as well as live performances, so they vary depending on the project, location, and availability. I’m grateful to have met some gifted musicians and engineers in different stages of my career. Shout out to Todd Richardson, an amazing drummer and percussionist, who has worked on many of my recordings and live shows. He’s one of the most talented and professional musicians I’ve worked with, and a great person too.

 

Indie Gospel Americana Artist

MT: Do you have a favourite song of yours and what makes this your favourite?

Katie: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite song I’ve written because they’re all meaningful to me for different reasons. I’m particularly close with my song “Delightful” though because it’s become somewhat of a personal anthem for me on my philosophy of how I want to live my life and the kind of message I want to share with other people as an artist.

 

MT: What would be the hardest time so far in your career? How did you get through this time?

Katie: One hard time was the period leading up to recording my album Follow Your Heart. I had back-to-back producers not work out right before we were set to go into the studio. So it was twice the disappointment. Not a great way to start a new project. I went through a period of depression because I felt like I was being repeatedly let down, when I had been so pumped up and excited to record my new music. I was at a standstill, not wanting to trust anyone else with my creative endeavors. I got through it by eventually loosening my grip on the way I thought things should be, and started to shift my perspective on the situation. Instead of an obstacle, I had an opportunity to reclaim my power and ended up producing the album myself, which was an extremely crucial and magical adventure for me as an artist. It took some time, but once I redirected my focus from fear to faith, things came together in a way I would have never expected, bringing the right people into my circle to create the album, and it’s still one of the best experiences of my life.

 

MT: Have you ever felt like giving up music?

Katie: Although I’ve had hard times, like I’m sure every artist goes through, I wouldn’t say in my heart of hearts that I ever felt like giving up music. I’ve definitely been in black holes before where I took a break from my guitar before picking it up again. But I never abandoned music. It’s sort of the vibration deep inside my soul that has always sustained me. If I lost that, perhaps I’d really be giving up on myself. I’ve had times where I’ll question my path: “How do I keep going?” But I just always kept going.

 

MT: How important to you is it to keep your faith in what can be regarded as a difficult industry?

Katie: Keeping my faith is extremely important to me in anything, including my professional life. This industry can be regarded as difficult, but I also think that has become an overrated notion. Just because a particular something was hard to accomplish for someone else, doesn’t mean it has to be hard for you. I’d love to start hearing people in the industry tell artists and songwriters, “Go for it,” instead of, “Well, it’s really hard so what’s your backup plan?” These stories should be questioned and challenged. I hold on to my faith like it’s nobody’s business in this regard because even when I tell these stories to myself (“you’ll never be successful”), which is what the industry can cater towards, I find that one tiny whisper that is saying, “You got this,” and hold on to that. I’ve discovered that success is not in doing, it’s in being. It’s just being true to yourself. That’s success! To be. God has given me my light for a reason so dimming it would only be telling God he made a mistake. I feel more aligned with my purpose when I put my faith first and simply be who I am.

 

MT: Your music videos are just gorgeous. Where do the ideas of how your music videos should look, or the storyboard ideas come from?

Katie: Thank you so much! The creative process for my music videos varies with each project, depending on the video and who I’m working with. For “Delightful,” I trusted the director Anna Haas’ vision because I wanted the video to portray the message of taking responsibility for my own happiness and loving myself first, which Anna told in a beautiful story. For my video “Wonderful Mother Mary,” I was more involved in the production and wanted to tell the story of an awakening of faith by using a few different factors, including color. So the video starts in black and white, slowly turns to a sepia tone, and then is in full color by the end. I wanted it to be more of a performance video so the lyrics of the song could be the focus, but certain film techniques like color, fog, and light, would take the viewer on a visual journey. I absolutely love how music videos can make a song shine in a whole new way.

 

 MT: Are there any rituals or lucky charms you may do or have before you go on stage?

Katie: Before I play a show or do a radio interview or anything where I’ll be sharing my voice, I usually say a prayer, which is something along the lines of, “God, please use me for the highest good. Allow the light inside my heart to be received with love and allow me to see and receive the light from others in return. May this performance/conversation be rooted in love.”

 

MT: Do you have any plans for any music releases in 2020?

Katie: Yeah! I’m currently in the pre-production stage of a new music video, which I’ll be filming in Los Angeles soon. I’m hoping to release that in the summertime. I’m also planning on recording my new album this year. I don’t know the exact release timeline yet, but I’m excited to share my new songs very soon and looking forward to getting back into the studio.

 

MT: What advice would you give to other upcoming artists or those who have been trying to break with their music?

Katie: Being an independent artist is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of work, but if you love it, the work is fun and fulfilling. Don’t let the work intimidate you. If you love doing music and being creative is what lights you up, it’s so worth it. All I would advise is to be conscious of staying in flow with the directions that life takes you. If you focus on the end result too strongly and hang on to a particular outcome too tightly, that’s when things get tough. Work really hard, but also be comfortable with letting go and trusting. That’s when things come together and you can enjoy it.

 

MT: Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Katie: I want to say thank you so much for everything you do for artists and songwriters. Music Talks gives us a platform to share the stories behind our musical journeys, which allows for a deeper human connection. So I really appreciate it, and appreciate you!

 

Thank you heaps for your time Katie, have a great day !

Katie: Thank you so much for this opportunity!

 

A Delightful Interview with Americana Gospel Indie Artist Katie Garibaldi

Another Dream, Dark and Impressive Song from Serenade The Stars


Indie Rock Pop Band

SeRENADE THE STARS – ‘DREAM’

 

Serenade The Stars is one band in which I have had the pleasure to follow and watch, and more importantly listen to and enjoy listening to the entirety of their music.

 

Quite often when sifting through music, there’s little time to listen to the entirety of a song, and recognising a good ‘thing’, a good or great artist, after 30 secs to a minute in.

This is not the case with Serenade the Stars.

 

The 5-piece indie pop rock band embrace change and seem to enjoy it while experimenting with their music, which has led to impressive stand-alone tracks.

 

Their latest song, ‘Dream’, is one that lifts you up as the chorus explodes into an impressive melody, souring through the stars. The production is smooth and grand as it begins with guitar picking and minor instrumentation, lifting into the chorus with well blended BV’s, sustained by a pad of electronic undertones before the wild and free guitar solo shows its stuff in the bridge.

 

Matthew Harman’s voice is outstanding as his vocals are seamless as he takes this song to another level. That said, the song itself, written by the band, is yet another killer.

 

As the lyrics resonate so close, to many; I would imagine. The opening verse ‘I wake up to the voice inside of me, and I’m calling out and I can’t even breathe. The coffee cup is tainted, I poured it in so gently wishing that the day would fade away.”

 

Dark and Mysterious are just a few words describing ‘Dream’, yet relatable to those who have loved and lost, yearning for things to be different; to be good again.

It has a sense of being lost within your own soul; perhaps struggling as life continues to move and shift in way’s no-one can prepare you for.

 

‘Dream’ is a surprise track from ‘Serenade The Stars’ following their impeccable ‘Reflections’ single which was released in December. You can read the review and hear Reflections here. REFLECTIONS – Serenade The Stars

 

Tracey gives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Star Rating

 

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/serenadethestars/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/stars_serenade

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/59G8rFF3rAQmV44tlqhszU

Another Dream, Dark and Impressive Song from Serenade The Stars

Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage


Sage is independent artist, musician, singer and songwriter who has just released her debut single, ‘From Dust’. 

Stunning music that’s beautiful, enchanting and delicate but also has a sense of innocence. 

This young Australian artist has been drawn to folk music ,showing the talent of Sages vocals, cello and songwriting in a more contemporary folk style. 

Although this is Sages first release, don’t let that fool you in regards to her experience and talent as a seasoned musician, as you will read below in our interview.

 

 

Australian Indie Artist


Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

MT: Hi Sage, nice to cyber meet you. Your voice is so soothing, how long have you been singing for?

Sage: Nice to cyber meet you too! I’ve been singing since I could talk, and maybe even before then, but you’d have to ask my Mum. Apparently as a toddler she used to have to beg me to stop singing; it’s not that I sang badly, I just didn’t have an off switch! It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. 

 

MT: Your current single, ‘From Dust’ feels like the warmth of the sun on a beautiful Autumn day. Can you explain the meaning behind the song? 

Sage: Thank you, that’s so sweet! The song is sung from the perspective of a person who has been separated from their loved one after a long life together. This loved one is no longer around, but has passed on and become a star in the sky. The person left behind is thinking back on all of the beautiful memories they shared, and pining to be together again. It’s a happy-sad fairytale. I think a lot of that warmth you mentioned comes from the sentiment of the song, but also the lush layers of cello at the foundation.

 

MT: I’d love to know your age; reason being, I don’t often hear many young singers and songwriters who are writing and recording folk style music. If you don’t mind, how old are you?

Sage: Not at all! I’m 26 years old. And it’s funny you say “young” because, yes I am young, but a small part of me wants to be 18 again to get another head start on this music journey I’m on. 

 

MT: Who introduced you to folk music?

Sage: I really couldn’t say. I’ve been exposed to so much music in my life, particularly through my family and my education. I loved listening to artists like James Vincent McMorrow, Joanna Newsom, and First Aid Kit in high school. Folk exists in 2 universes in my mind; there’s the contemporary folk that I write and sing, and the traditional folk that I play in jam sessions with other fiddlers. The latter I was introduced to a couple of years ago on an immersive folk music camp called Stringmania. 

 

MT: I see you play Cello throughout ‘From Dust’. What came first; playing the cello or singing?

Sage: Singing. I got my first cello when I was about 13 or 14, and I think we paid just over $200 for it on ebay. I’ve taken that cello all over the world and it’s opened so many doors for me. I never took a singing lesson until 2 months ago actually! Before then I just translated everything I knew about cello, flute, and piano to how I should treat my voice as another instrument.

 

MT: Do you play other instruments? If so what else do you play?

Sage: I started piano when I was 6 and flute when I was 10. I dabbled in guitar briefly but it’s not my forte. Put anything in front of me and I’ll make it work! If I played another instrument it would be the harp; I just feel like you could play all the wrong notes in the world and it would still sound beautiful. My fiance is a musician as well, so I think we’ll be hoarding a lot of instruments in the future. 

 

MT: How long have you been in the music business as an independent artist? When was your very first recording and release?

Sage: A week ago! It makes me sound really green, but I’ve been studying classical music at conservatories since I was 18 so I’ve been working in other musical spheres for a long time. I picked up the stringer-songwriter thing many years ago but it was a secondary thing for a long while. Being my first official release I keep telling people that I’m equally excited and terrified about it. They’re the good kind of nerves that remind you how much you care about what you’re doing. 

 

MT: Can you tell us how you came into contact to work with members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra? What was it like to work with Richard Vaudrey?

Sage: When I was at university studying classical cello, all of my teachers were members of the MSO. At first they seem like celebrities, but then they become mentors and friends. My network was always in the classical stream, but meeting Richard was actually a separate thing altogether. My best friend was 1 of 5 girls, and one of her sisters was dating this cellist and living in NY. Eventually I got to meet him, and I kind of just looked up to him from afar until I got up the idea to ask to work with him on this EP.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Sage: There are always hurdles like making ends meet, or dealing with burnout. They’re very real. Then there are the musical hurdles like obsessing over lyrics, or not being able to finish a song. I’ve always been really resilient and been able to push through all of these things, but there are definitely days when it’s all too much. It’s good to remember your track record of getting through bad days when you come up against the next one. Personally, I also really struggle with my health on a daily basis due to a major spinal surgery I had when I was 18. It makes all the simple things like just sitting in a chair or carrying my groceries much harder. For a long time I just put on a brave face about how much pain I was in, but now I’m better at telling people when I need help. Ask for help, whatever it is! I really believe people want to help people. 

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming independent artists?

Sage: You have to forcibly and decisively make time for what is important. Unless you take time out to turn your ideas into a product, they’ll only ever be ideas. Unless you set boundaries on your time, you’ll miss out on the balance you need to be happy and functional. You’ll be working hard, not working smart. Time is precious; a lot of the time I feel like I’m running out of it, but I have to remind myself that it’s not the case. 

 

MT:   Can you tell us a bit about your music video which accompanies ‘From Dust’? Was this your first music video and what was the experience like for you?

Sage: This was my first music video, and it was the best way to ease me into this medium. I really didn’t want to sing to a camera, or be an actress. I’m more open to that idea now, but at the time I just wanted to make something aesthetic and feature myself and the cello in it. It’s an important visual for me. Better to keep it simple and let the song shine! The experience was just so fun. It was only three of us walking around these gardens all day and searching for beautiful things, and I got to play dress up! 

 

MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Sage: I’ll get up and get ready for the day, then smash out as much admin work as I can so that I have the rest of the day to dedicate to work or play. I’ve never been a coffee drinker so I always have an almond milk hot chocolate with marshmallows by my side. At the moment I’m planning my wedding, and working as a freelance orchestra manager for a project of 64 musicians to tour Melbourne & Sydney, so I’m definitely not short on tasks to do! Yesterday was super busy so I didn’t get to sit down at the piano until about 9pm, but it was so lovely to play in the quiet of the night and I’ll probably spend a lot more of today working on music. Other than that, I just love living on the Mornington Peninsula. When you have a day off or even a couple of hours, you feel like you’re on holiday. I go to pilates three times a week, go to the beach, walk at The Briars, play with my cat, and bake! I just got a watercolour set for Christmas so that’s going to be a new hobby for me.

 

MT:   We’re really looking forward to your EP ‘Tethered’ due for release on February 27th; what can we expect on the EP?

Sage: A lot more ethereal vocals and cello! I’m really proud of how each song is entirely different from the next, but they still feel like a family. ‘From Dust’ is so happy, but you only have to listen to the next track and things start to get a little dark and cinematic. There’s folk in there, there’s pop, there’s beats, there’s guitar, and glockenspiel; there’s definitely some unexpected sounds going on in there that make it unique, and I can’t wait for people to tell me what they think! 

 

MT: Did you write and/or co-write all the tracks on ‘Tethered’? Who produced the EP?

Sage: The music is 100% written by me! I wrote, arranged, and performed everything that needed to be tracked before production, then that part went to Richard Vaudrey. I sure could not have done it without him! I learnt so much watching him work and am now starting to make basic demos at home with the skills I’ve picked up. My best friend and colleague Navin Gulavita also played violin and viola on the last three tracks of the EP, and I’m so glad he did! He has a beautiful tone and the strings are one of my favourite parts about those songs. 

 

MT: Are people able to see you perform anywhere?

Sage: Yes! Stay tuned on my socials for the dates, I’d love to see you! I’ve been in Canada and the US for the past 5 weeks, so now that I’m back I’m rehearsing with the band and putting a show or two together. 

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Sage, good luck with the EP release! 

 

 

 

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT SAGE HERE

Enchanting, Beautiful & Delicate Music from Young Indie Artist, Sage

Good Ol’ Fashion Bona Fide Music From Dallas Cosmas


Australian Indie Artist

Dallas Cosmas – ‘Hand In Hand’

Good Ol’ Fashion Bona Fide Music From Dallas Cosmas

If you are a lover of the independent music that screams the warmth and celebration of woodstock, and the good ol’ fashion use of genuine music comprising bona fide instruments, then I suggest you take a listen to the work from Dallas Cosmas.

 

Dallas Cosmas is one of the Melbournian artists where there must be something grand in their water-ways oozing music talent organisms or something of that nature.

He is certainly no new-comer, having been the man behind many productions and musical endeavours for over three decades.

His latest release, ‘Hand in Hand’ from the album ‘Alpha Betta Gamma’ remains in line with the melancholy experience whilst rising above with commemorating melodies.

What may be a new auditory experience for millennials and Gen Z, Cosmas sits firmly in the credible era of music with the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and Ike & Tina to name a few. (google those Gen Z and listen well)

Lavish gospel backing vocals are a stand out in ‘Hand In Hand’ in association with authentic drumming and guitar.

The rejuvenating music video shows the coherence feeling of ease as with many, in a time and world before when the widespread populace enjoyed viewing the going-on’s within the studio and recording process as a simple music video that still remains engaging and entertaining to watch.

 

Tracey gives 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Star Rating

http://prototypemusique.com/

SPOTIFY

Good Ol’ Fashion Bona Fide Music From Dallas Cosmas

The Freakish Talent of Samuel Jacks Natural Soul Finesse


Make sure you write this name down ladies and gentlemen; ‘Samuel Jack”

Every once in a while you hear a voice which screams to your soul, and Mr Jack is just one artist who’s songs and vocals command attention leaving you wanting more.

The London born singer songwriter has grown up with Blues, Motown, Roots and RnB music and has mastered his craft to perfection. 

His voice is rugged and warm as his songs make an intense connection with the emotions of depth and security, as if a blanket has been wrapped around you. Samuel Jack’s is a surviver who’s songs ooze the experience and vulnerabilities as they are written from the heart.

With all of his natural talents combined, Mr Jack is high on the radar and most certainly one to follow.

 

Pop Soul Singer


The Freakish Talent of Samuel Jacks Natural Soul Finesse

MT: Hi Samuel, Who are some of your musical influences and When did you know music was your calling? and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?

Samuel: I was raised on blues and soul music predominantly, but also love hip hop, pop and rock music, I kinda listen to anything that gives me all the feels. I started out on music pretty late, at first it was college bands and singing down the pub, I spent a bit of time in recording studios through my late teens and just got the bug for it – it wasn’t ‘til after that in my early twenty’s that’s I started writing my own music.

 

 

MT: When did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?

Samuel: Good question. I think it’s just that feeling that says ‘nothing else makes you feel like this’ I’ve always loved music, it’s been my rock. I remember sending a song called ‘weatherman’ to my now long-standing writing partners over on America – it was the first time someone told me I was a songwriter, I think if I had to name one time that was definitive for me it would be then.

MT: How long have you been singing and performing for?

Samuel: Professionally for about 5 years. And probably about another 5 or 6 before that

 

MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?

Samuel: I’m really into Jordon Mackampa at the moment. I love Leon Bridges, Jessie Ware and Dermot Kennedy is a beast right now

 

MT: When was your very first recording and release?

Samuel: My first release was my ‘Let It All Out EP’ in 2016/17 – I’ve been on quite the journey since then.

 

MT: You recently released your single “In My Head”.  Can you explain more about the meaning of the song?

Samuel: In My Head is a hugely personal song to me. My first time publically opening up about struggles with mental health, and essentially about my fight against it – it was hard to write, but as always I find writing songs a really cathartic experience it was actually really helpful. I just hope it has some similar effect for the people listening

MT: Your voice and sound is so soulful and rich, did you have formal training?

Samuel: I didn’t. I just strive make sure every word and note that comes out my mouth is honest…and hope its in tune 😊

 

MT: You are quite open and honest about your struggle with depression. Can you tell me, how does this affect your songwriting; how does it help you?

Samuel: I consider myself somewhat of a survivor to those problems – looking back I don’t know how I came to write some songs, but at times it did bizarrely help. It’s a strange paradox, but again, going back to honesty – I voice the way I feeling at that moment on paper and through my songs.

 

MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Samuel: There’s constantly new challenges. Everything’s gone up a level for me now so I’m taking it one day at a time and working hard to overcome them – my biggest challenge so far was probably performing live believe it or not. I used to be so nervous. Uncomfortable. But now I can’t wait to get on stage. It just comes through perseverance, reevaluating in order to improve and strive to constantly make the next show better than the last.

 

MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming new artists?

Indie Artist Soul Singer

Samuel: I’ve got a list as long as my arm hahah. I think the most important thing is hard work and determination. Nothing falls on your lap, I was bangin on the door for years before I made headway – and it’s not like I’m getting a helicopter to the Grammys just yet. I’d say, be decent to people, work hard and persevere.

 

MT:   Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments? How long have you been playing them?

Samuel: I play a little piano. I’m a deeply average pianist to be honest, but I love playing live and that’s where I wrote the majority of my music.

 

MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?

Samuel: Football. Sorry. I can’t help it. I just love it. I still play when I can. But most days are all about music now.

 

MT:   You have had several singles and EP’s released including live performances, do you have a personal favourite? 

Samuel: I really love the Live EP’s ‘Live from Glastonbury’ and ‘Live From The Church’. The Glastonbury one mainly for nostalgic reasons and the church just because I feel like we captured that natural acoustic beauty that only a church can provide.

 

MT: Do you have any specific rituals or do anything specific before you head out on stage or even before you record your vocals in the studio?

Samuel: I like to be on my own for a minute. Hahah, I can’t even look at my manager before I go on, I realise that sounds weird, but I just like to get in the zone. That and a good glass of whiskey.

 

MT:    Do you have any up-coming performances you would like fans to know about? Is there anything else you would like to announce for your fans or anything you would like them to know? Plans for 2020?

Samuel: OH YES. My first headline show of the year is at Omeara in London on March 23rd! This is going to be a very special night, for reasons that will shortly be announced J So, please come down for a sing!

 

MT: Where can people see you perform next?

Samuel: London – March 23rd @ Omeara. Further tour dates to be announced shortly.

 

MT: Thank you so much for your time Samuel, I really appreciate it!

 

 

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT SAMUEL JACK HERE

 

See here for more information about Samuel Jack’s Performance at Omeara on March 23rd