A Debut Album, Self-Doubt and Preserving Tenderness Within–Evangeline Gentle (Ep 172)
Scottish-Canadian singer-songwriter Evangeline Gentle is set to release a debut album three years in the making. In this episode, they talk about writing the new album during a period of deep self-doubt as well as the struggle to preserve the softness and tenderness within. We also discuss about homophobia and misogyny in the music business, what it’s like being a queer person in the business, how the Covid crisis altered their path, the integration of Celtic folk music in their music, PR, indie record label representation and much more.
This is the Unstarving Musicians podcast. I am your host Robonzo. This podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. It’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing, business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. Make music.
Thanks for joining me for another episode. Before we get started, I am excited to announce that the recording of my very first single is done. So if the champagne cork noises could be happening, right, here’s where it would happen. If you’re listening to this episode in August of 2020, you can get a sneak preview of my new song by simply contacting me Just go to unstopping musician calm to find all my contact details right there. More to come on this.
My guest for this episode is Scottish Canadian singer songwriter eventually in gentle ventually was set to release a new album at the time of this conversation. This album is a project that spanned about three years. I got a lucky preview and it’s quite good. My favorite track at the moment is dropped my name. You can check it out at evangelium gentle music.com there will be a link in the show notes for that. In this conversation, we discuss Evangeline’s writing for the new album, during a period of deep self doubt, a period of trying to preserve softness and tenderness within. We talked about homophobia and misogyny in the music business. what it’s like being a queer person in the business, how the covid crisis altered their path, the integration of Celtic folk music into eventually into music, PR, indie record label representation and much, much more. Okay, without further ado, here is me and eventually
I noticed that you are, were born in Scotland. And I was curious to know how much time you spend there between there in Canada. Are you always in Canada?
Um, I was 11 when I moved to Canada with my family. All of us came over. We had a family move after the Second World War, and we’d come over and visit those relatives, and like their children, stuff like that extended family members. And my parents just really, really loved Ontario. And so we made the move when I was 11. And I’m 24 now, so it’s been a while.
Yeah. Do you ever go back to Scotland?
Yeah, I actually have I went back in January, I played a show in London. I was at Americana Fest UK, and then I traveled to Scotland just to have a visit before I flew home which was really really nice.
Very nice. What what? Not that I Know the country terribly well I have visited but what where are you from in Scotland?
I’m from Aberdeenshire, a place called Peterhead, which is most Eastern point of mainland Scotland. It’s beautiful coastal town.
Wow, the 13 year old in me started laughing when you told me the name of the town, but I’m sure it’s beautiful.
Evangeline 3:20[Laughs] Yeah.
Yeah, my wife and I have been to Inverness, which is really lovely. I would, I would like very much to explore more of the country one of these days, but glad to hear you get back. I presume you have family there and friends and stuff. And then I bet it was a blast to play shows there. But it’s a blast.
It was awesome.
So I was listening to some of your newer music. Thanks, by the way for giving me the sneak preview and or I guess I should I should think Zoe. You know, I have not spoken to Zoe, Does she call herself Zo or Zoe?
I’m not sure. I think Zoe, I haven’t spoken to her like in person, just through emails. But she’s super lovely. Our email correspondence has been awesome. She’s doing so much amazing work for me, but I don’t know if she goes by Zo or Zoe.
I just always called her Zoe.
I know I’m sure I could ask around because she has that. I was gonna say umlaut. I think that’s right in her on the “e” of her name. I’m actually trying to get her on the show. I just asked her yesterday because I thought that the PR perspective would be wonderful for a lot of artists to hear. I have another rep I’ve been trying to get on and she’s been very gracious about saying yes, but she keeps rescheduling so I’m afraid she’s dodging the interview. I don’t know. But yeah, Zoe…
I think that is a really cool perspective for sure
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. She’s kind of checking on she’s with a, you know, someone. I don’t know how big they are. But they’re, you know, like somewhat of a bigger company. It’s not super duper boutique anyway, and so she’s got to check what the policy is and doing interviews but she sounded up for it. So hopefully,
Yeah, she works for Sacks & Co which is I have two publicists at Sacks & Co. And I’m like, they’re amazing. They’re amazing. And definitely interviewing them would be a great idea. Because they, their perspective in the industry is so different than the artists. And lots of ways, I bet.
Sure. And I mean, to me, how cool is it for artists who don’t really know, about publicists and sort of getting connected with them and what it takes on their part and, and what they can do. It would be really nice to hear that firsthand, too.
Yeah, absolutely. I didn’t know what a publicist was until I was about to put my record out. And someone said to me, and other musicians said to me, you know, like, this is a really big part of putting out a record like you should totally do this. But you don’t really get taught those things when you’re an independent musician. Yeah, just starting out. So hearing about these things and industry is really important for artists for sure.
Well, that was a nice recommendation and how did you get yourself aligned with them with the SacksCo?
I started working with them, while we decided to approach them about this record, when we when my record label and managers and I were going to do a global release of the album, which isn’t, which is happening in August, because we had put it out in Canada. Wo we were looking for publicists outside of Canada. And they were recommended to us. And we approached them kind of like a shot in the dark because they they work with some really high profile artists. And, yeah, luckily they were, they were interested, and we got to talking and really got along super well. And, yeah, they decided to, that they would take on my project, which I’m really grateful for. But again, it helped, having, you know, a record label and managers behind me to sort of just support that; and then my Canadian publicist is Ken Bettie and he works at KillBeat. So for anyone that’s looking for a Canadian publicist that’s listening to this podcast. He’s definitely someone to approach. He’s amazing. Yeah, does great work.
Cool and how do you how do you spell Ken’s last name? So I can find him
B E A T T I E, and his company’s called KillBeat.
Okay and kill beat, like to kill or to be killed and beat as in drummer?
I wasn’t sure what word I was gonna use for that second one. I was… [thinking] beat as in Take a public… No. Terrible, terrible. Um, so you have an album that’s coming out really soon.
Yeah, I’m really excited about it.
And did now did I catch that right. So this hasn’t been previously released in Canada or were you referring to another album?
Yeah, so it was released in Canada in 2019. And I released it myself. And then my record label, it’s called Sonic Unyon Records. Um they approached me and they wanted to rerelease the record for me outside of Canada. And so that’s what we’re doing now. So my singles are coming out. And then yeah, the the whole album comes out on August 21st .
Um, the name the label, what was the name of it again?
Sonic Unyon Records.
Okay, I was just… There is this, I don’t know if it’s the same company, but I guess on the pre save or something like one of the links that I was given. It’s a company Sonic something, but it might just be the URL that I’m looking at. Is that the same one or is there another company that has the word Sonic and that’s involved in the…
I don’t think there is I think it…
Ah, I see it. I see it. It’s the way it’s spelt U N Y O N.
Yeah, exactly. Some people Think it’s union or onion, I get asked that all the time. But…
Is that just a play on words? Or is that someone’s name or what? I thought it was?
I think it’s, it’s a play on words. I’d have to, I’d have to ask my my managers like, why they named their company Sonic Unyon, but I think it’s a reference to some song that they were that they really liked in the 90s. They started the company in 1993. And they’re one of Canada’s longest standing indie record labels, actually. Which is super cool, but, uh, yeah, I’m not sure where they got the name Sonic Unyon from
Trivial I guess. Um, and as far as putting the album together. Do I have it right that you spent about three years writing for the for the album?
Yeah, I spent three years writing and recording it like I would. I went into the studio. Sorry, the phone’s ringing. Hope you can’t hear that.
Oh, yes. I can.
Can you? Okay?
It’s done. Thank you.
I stopped. Sorry. Yes, I spent three years writing and recording the album, sort of going into the studio. Like I’d write some songs and then go into the studio on record them, and then go home and then write some more songs and go into the studio. And the whole process took about three years from start to finish.
So, you know, this is probably really, I don’t know if it’s more significant for someone of your age than it is for anyone else. But it does strike me as such a period of change for someone who’s well, so you were in your 20s, right? Or were your 19 when you started?
I was 19 when I started Yeah,
So anyway, it seems like a big time of change. And then particularly, particularly, in your own in your own life, do you when you kind of look back on the process. Do you feel that was the case or not so much?
Yeah for sure, when I talk about the record, I usually tell people that all the songs sort of feel like, you know, landmark sort of on of coming of age experiences that I had. And when I was sort of deciding what was going to be on the record, I thought that, you know, what would likely happen is that the songs that I had written when I was 19, wouldn’t feel relevant enough to me anymore to make it onto the record, but I don’t know it’s it’s sort of told a story from start to finish. And I wasn’t sure what the overarching theme of the album was going to be because I had written it over so many years, and it sort of just revealed itself to me in the ending stages of, you know, trying to remain soft in the world when it can harden you and having all of these new experiences that have left me feeling really vulnerable. But all the connections that I’ve made through being vulnerable, and trying to say, trying to stay compassionate, these kinds of things. But yeah, it’s a lot of between those years of 19 and 22. Lots of things happen in that time.
I can imagine. And when you say, remaining soft in the world, can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Mm hmm. I was reading a lot of different books by an author named Eckhart Tolle. I think that’s how you pronounce his last his last name. And then there’s a Buddhist monk from Canada. Her name is Pema Chödrön. And I was reading a lot of like works by these authors, talking about different Buddhist principles of compassion, like radical compassion, and then also things like radical self compassion, but… Basically the power of vulnerability and how it can connect you to other people in the world around you in much more meaningful ways than the walls that we put up. But at the time I was having all these experiences that were really sort of hardening me or making me aware of the realities of the world. And I felt myself getting a little bit jaded and struggling with some depression and these kinds of things. And then I decided that I was going to do my absolute best to preserve this softness within me. And this tender heartedness, I guess. And yeah, so that so thinking about a lot of those things at the time, for sure.
Yeah. And did that desire to do to maintain the softness? Was that really prompted through your reading or maybe just the reading was coincidental you were you were trying to find that state of being alone.
Yeah, I think That I think it was coincidental. And I think the reason why I got into those books was because I was trying to figure out, you know, how to continue to be myself, even when I felt like I was being told to like develop a thick skin about things. So I didn’t actually want to develop a thick skin about if that makes sense. Yeah, sure. Um, so yeah, I think it was coincidental that I was reading those books at the time.
Sure. Well, before we started recording officially. We, I had asked you about, you know, a personal pesut of your life, and it was it was okay to talk about and can you? I think it would be really valuable for at least some of our listeners to hear some of that. Can you talk about the things that were driving the self doubt and the parts of your life that were making you feel this way and maybe perhaps, driving you through phases of depression and all that?
Yeah, absolutely. So I identify as queer, and I came out as gay when I was super young. I was 13 when I came out to my family and my friends at the time, and now I identify with ideas of gender fluidity. And the reason why I identify as queer is because I find that labels can be quite restrictive as far as identity goes, like I like the idea of just being myself. [Yeah.] And knowing that I have a queer identity, you know what I mean? Like I’m not I’m not straight, and I’m not cisgender but I don’t want to say that I am just gay or I am, you know, non binary, these kinds of things. I like to just sort of say that I’m myself. But I definitely struggled a lot with internalized homophobia and things like that, growing up, and that definitely made it like showed itself, while trying to establish myself in the music industry as a professional artist. And I felt that there wasn’t going to be room for me basically in Canadian pop popular music as a queer artist, but, but actually a lot of people ask me, you know, like, what kinds of experiences have you had with homophobia? in the music industry in particular? and I actually haven’t had any direct experiences of homophobia in the music industry, but I have had direct experiences of sexism and misogyny. So that’s actually impacted me more. That being read as a woman in the music industry has impacted me more than being openly queer, I think. I’m coming to realize this now in reflecting on my experiences, But I definitely struggled with a lot of internalized homophobia. And I felt that being queer made me inherently less gifted and valuable as an artist. But I also took a lot of comfort in seeing other queer musicians in the world, and felt really guided by them in lots of different ways, which has made me feel really strongly about wanting to talk about my identity openly, because I know how impactful it can be to someone else to see themselves represented in music and art and culture. And so I want to offer that to somebody else if I can.
Yes, sure. Yeah, I mentioned to you and another artist that I had spoken with recently named Juno, and that she had just put out in conversation I didn’t know, you know, and she identifies as a queer person. Yeah, I, if you have time, I recommend you listening to her story. It’s a fascinating story anyway, just because of some of the heights of professionalism that she reached and some of these strange things that happened to her and where she came from and all that, but yeah, I can imagine. So, did I understand, right? So the, the sort of fears of homophobia in the music industry, specifically in Canada, were maybe not what you thought they were, but unfortunately experienced some other things and was really just to ask was that was that were the fears of homophobia, somewhat unwarranted? Or, you know, like, it was just something that you expected?
Yeah, I think in lots of ways they, they were but I think what it was, is that my experiences of homophobia as a teenager and as a child, I went to a Catholic elementary school. And that was really hard for me, [Sure.] Because I knew that I was queer, very young, and having to sit in classes where my identity was talked about, as you know, sinful, shameful all these kinds of things, it… that really… I internalized that a lot. And then in high school, I had different experiences of homophobia. That really impacted again, how I felt about myself and all of those experiences created this idea for me that that I was going to continue to have those experiences in whatever career path I chose, but I had already knew that I was going to go into music and do this professionally.
And that Yeah, I was gonna say I’m sorry, by the way to hear that the other things that you did experience in the music industry there, and Juno said the exact same thing when she moved into a solo career. [Did she really?] Yeah, she really Did that’s, and that was why I’m sorry, I had to just throw that at you because that was why I brought it up in the second time anyway, so sorry, I interrupted you. Go ahead.
No, that’s okay. I definitely am gonna listen to what she had to say about things. I had one sort of pivotal experience in my career, that that really impacted me and how I felt about myself within the industry. And it had everything to do about being a young woman and nothing to do with being queer. But I was 16 years old, and I started playing music really young. I was playing shows and bars and things like that when I was 14, like as soon as I started high school, I was playing all the shows that I possibly could I was in different bands. I was playing in all the all ages, venues. And by the time that I was 16, I was nominated in Peterborough, Ontario, the town that I was living in. I was nominated for I think it was like Best Female Vocalist or something at the local Arts Awards. And I won. And so I had to go down onto the stage and I was 16. So I was super, super nervous, and had to go down onto the stage in front of the whole audience and accept this award, but the person who was presenting the award was a man in his 40s and he made a joke about female vocalists being like really, he made it super degrading sexual joke. Joke I say with, you know, quotation marks about how about comparing female vocalists to like a good blow job, essentially, that’s what he was saying…
At the award ceremony?!?!
…at the award ceremony and then he said that I won. So I had to go and accept this award as a 16 year old, after this man just totally like stole the experience for me, because I was so… I felt so disgusting having to go accept that award after he said that to me. And that experience was probably one of the most mortifying experiences I’ve ever had in my life. And it it stuck with me. It totally stuck with me and impacted how I felt about myself and the industry going forward which is depressing because obviously it I know now that it says a lot more about him than it does anybody else but yeah, at the time, I was so embarrassed.
Oh what an ass. My god…
Yeah, it was brutal.
Alright, so this translates into your music obviously, and, and lyrics and I guess I’m a little bit curious about the um… maybe they’re separate things I don’t know. But I would imagine that these experiences translate mostly in to lyrics and I’d never really thought about this, but clearly emotions translate into music for artists as well. Was that the case for you as you were going along the journey? Or is melody and musicality just is it at all separate?
It’s definitely not separate for me. I wrote a song called The Strongest People Have Tender Hearts, which is on the record, and I wrote it around the time after Well, it was probably in a year or so after the me too movement happened. And I was feeling like, a lot of anger, like processing a lot of anger and hurt thinking about my own experiences that I’ve had growing up as a as a woman in the world. And I was specifically thinking of that experience that I had with that with that man at the awards, at the award show. But at the time, again, like I was saying to you, I was trying, I was reading all these books about compassion and and I really wanted to write a song. that was that felt like processing my anger in a responsible way. So I, yeah, I got all the compassion I could possibly find for the situation. And I wrote the song The Strongest People Have Tender Hearts, which is all about the way that we devalue femininity in society and devalue femininity within men, and make it really, really hard for men to express their feelings. The way that we treat young young boys the way that we enforce this hyper masculinity on boys. And basically how it makes sense that we live in a world where there’s a crisis of violence against women. Yeah, so it… My experiences definitely translate into my, into my lyrics. They’re very much one in the same. I’m not somebody that can write really about experiences that aren’t my own. I feel like my work is definitely autobiographical in that way.
Sure. So speaking of the musicality in the melody, melodies of your work, I’m, I’m going through the album for a second time. And I’ve listened to some of the first songs a couple of times, and obviously a big change from the acapella work that you did. And yeah, yeah, and sonically, some of it. You know, I wasn’t exactly sure where to categorize it, but I was not going to categorize it in Americana. But if I remember right now, I haven’t gotten… It’s been a span of weeks since I listened to it the first time, but as I was progressing, progressing through it the first time I thought it, perhaps that it does venture into the Americana. I guess I want to ask, do you have a background for a taste in rock music or pop music, as well as folk or Americana.
Absolutely. I love all kinds of music. But when I was growing up and starting to write songs for the first time and things like that and learning how to play guitar, I was heavily influenced by folk artists like Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor, Neil Young. My dad bought me Carole King’s album Tapestry, [Great album] And he wrote… Oh it’s like, it’s one of the best. And he wrote out all of his favorite songs on the record, why they were his favorite songs, why he felt like this album would be influential to me at you know, 12 years old when I’m just starting to write songs. And my favorite band of all time is the Dixie Chicks. They’re now called The Chicks. They dropped the Dixie.
I saw that! Yeah.
Yeah. They’re my favorite band of all time. I started listening to their music right around the time where I was making my own tastes, independent of what my parents were listening to and my older sisters were listening to. They’re all very, very musical. And two of my sisters are musicians and my dad is a musician as well. But I started listening to the Dixie Chicks and really appreciated them as like strong women and they were political and hugely influential to me in that respect. But I actually learned how to play guitar. So I had a Dixie Chicks songbook, and it had like chords and stuff written in it. And so that’s how I learned how to play guitar. But then when I was I got into high school and I started to further explore different kinds of music. I got really into early Madonna. I got into Joan Jett. I got into Blondie. I started listening to Tegan and Sara, because I also wanted to listen to some queer artists. And so I started listening to Tegan and Sara, and then some Canadian music that was more rock like Metric. Do you know the band Metric.
No, I don’t think I do. I’d I would like to listen to them though.
Yeah, they’re really really, really amazing. Canadian alternative band. But yeah, when I got into high school my tastes in music just totally expanded and I was listening to a wide variety of everything. Yeah and I… my album is definitely not solely an Americana album. It’s also a pop album. But when I went into the studio with my producer Jim Bryson, he works with a lot of Americana artists. He works with Kathleen Edwards. Do know Kathleen Edwards?
I don’t. Is she Canadian?
She’s Canadian. Yeah, she’s just releasing another another album right now actually, but he works in the Americana realm of things. But when I went to him, I said, You know, I I don’t think I want to make a folk album, because I had felt pigeon holed into that genre as a woman in music. As a young songwriter and music, I felt pigeon holed into that particular genre. Even though I love it so much like I love it so much. I listen to American music, heavily influenced by it, but I wanted to go beyond that. You know, I wanted to cross genres a little bit. And I didn’t know what that was going to look like. But… I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I wasn’t just going into the studio and renting a studio for a week. I was working with Jim Bryson as my producer, and it was very much collaborative experience. There is no time limit on things we had had a lot of opportunity to, to work on different ideas and experiment and sort of figure out what the sound of the album was going to be together. And it’s, yeah, it’s this cross between Americana and pop I would say and some rock as well.
Yeah, like the opening track, and I’m not sure if it’s even the best example but, you know, I hear a rock song. Not necessarily hidden but lurking about within it. And [Abolutely] Yeah, and I was kind of hoping the whole thing was going to be more like that. But the songs or the songs are all… You can tell I have a penchant toward rock, right, but the songs are all great and your voice is amazing. And what, what drove you to do the acapella releases, not that you did so many of them that I can see or maybe you did, but that you know, like, I have, you have three things that I can see on Spotify. A lot of times I’ll say something like this and it turns out there a whole other part of the catalog I can’t see or didn’t notice but I see three things on Spotify one of them from your upcoming album and then two acapella releases. Yeah. Is there a story behind the acapella ones?
I, yeah there is. So I for a while now have been opening my live set with the acapella song that I released called You And I which is basically just two verses. And I I open my shows with that, because I feel like it’s a good introduction almost. It immediately gets people’s attention basically, but it’s also the most vulnerable I think I can possibly be on stage.
Oh, sure. I can imagine.
And just just like singing into a room of people, with no instrumentation to support me is, it’s very scary, but it’s also good for me. So I feel like I’m making this really vulnerable entrance and introduction to my audience. And then I can sort of settle, settle in a little bit playing the songs. But the acapella track is about vulnerability. It is about this idea that despite all of our differences as people, we share the same visceral experience of life. That’s one of the lyrics. And that that should be something that connects us. And so when I’m singing that song, introducing myself to an audience, I’m trying to make that connection with them that like, I am the same as you even though we’re different. And my stories is similar to your story, essentially. And then the other song that I did, acapella is called Black Is The Color, and it’s a traditional Scottish folk song. And when I was growing up in Scotland, I we did listen to a lot of traditional Celtic folk music in my house, and I love it. I love… I love Celtic folk music, and that was one of my favorite songs. And I also was incorporating that into my live set because I feel like that’s another part of me that I’m sharing with my audience, where I come from that kind of thing. But we, I decided that I was going to record those songs about three weeks before before we went into lockdown in Ontario. And I recorded the two videos that I released with those songs, right, like, a week before quarantine as well, we recorded them and then released them during quarantine. But I couldn’t have anticipated like, also how applicable the idea of just singing alone unaccompanied about human connection. I couldn’t have anticipated how relevant that would be to the current situation that we were in at the time that I released them. Yeah,
Yeah. You just from… You know, I love that you have latched on to the cultural, cultural aspect of the music you grew up with. And I was reminded of Linda Ronstadt. I’m assuming you know who she is. And I’ve heard some music.
Yeah she’s awesome.
Yeah, she went through a phase in her life where she reconnected with. Now Actually, I don’t recall if she was Mexican, but I want to say she was that may not be correct. But anyway, that she reconnected with Latin music of her culture and saying, you know, did like a Spanish album, maybe more than than one. But anyway, it’s very cool that that you have that connection. I love it.
I love that too. Yeah, that’s awesome that she did that as well. I think it’s when you’re wanting to share who you are on stage. You have to share where you come from, as well. It’s like it’s a big part of who you are, why you are the way you are and how you came to be here.
Yeah. So tell me it’s your first full length album, right? Yes. Okay. You’re kind of at the beginning of your career. You’re about to release it. You spent three years putting it together. And here comes COVID What, what is it? What have you been going through, you know, like emotionally based on what you thought was gonna happen later this year and the way things are going, you know, the way things have changed, and the way you’re adapting.
It’s definitely been hard. I feel like I’ve experienced some grief almost around the ideas that I had, how supposed to be right now. I’m supposed to be in Germany and the UK. I had some festivals booked that I was going to play and it would have been my first time playing in Europe outside of the UK. So I was really, really excited about that. And very disappointed when I you know, realized that that wasn’t going to happen, but I’m just sort of trying to do my best to stay positive and hopeful about things. It’s hard right now as well because a lot of music venues are closing. In Ontario in particular, and outside of Ontario as well. In Canada, we’re seeing a lot of small to mid sized music venues closing that musicians in Canada have like treasured, you know, they’re part of the part of the community part of the scene. But it is discouraging when you see venues closing. And when tours are canceled, and everybody’s needing to push their tours, and it’s it’s creating a lot of anxiety about what the future holds for touring artists. [Yeah] But I’m, I’m really, really fortunate to be supported by such an amazing team at Sonic Unyon records. My managers are awesome. I have amazing, an amazing Canadian team. I have amazing American team of publicists. I have amazing team in the UK helping me with this release. So I’m a lot so I’m very lucky and in a better position to deal with COVID you know and to get through this time, but it I definitely have experienced grief about what I thought things were going to look like over this time as far as touring goes.
You know, just reflecting. So when I first started this whole Unstarving Musician thing it it was started came from an idea for a book that I wrote, and in that I was… It wasn’t the book wasn’t to chronicle my my gigging journey, it well in a way it was but it was more to share with how I was getting, you know, paid gigs, at will with with people that I enjoyed playing with because I thought some people would benefit from that. But one of the things I wrote at that time was that I had seen in Silicon Valley where I was living over the years that I was there that venues will come and go, and sometimes they’ll go in mass and for for me, there were two periods of time, one of them was the dot com implosion and the other one was the real estate crisis that happened in the latter part of like, I guess 2008 and because for different reasons, they were economically driven as really honestly COVID is, you know, the economics of COVID is has done the same thing. But yeah, it just kind of took me back to thinking about those things and what what we you know, mean my then bandmates did what we had to adapt in a different way. We were fortunate, you know, it was completely different situation, obviously, but I recall very vividly that an emerging venue scene came up and that was at wineries in the area. And those were for, of course, acoustic gigs where I’ve been, and I had also the other twist was i’d also been playing in full instrumentation, electric rock, you know, pop bands, and so in multiple cases, we scaled down to acoustic sets and took them to a growing number of wineries that wanted to to host live music and it happened little by little. But anyway, it taught me that these things are, you know, the state of a local music or regional music venue landscape is very fluid ever changing like the industry, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the industry is, is changing so much and changing rapidly. But I do think that its new form will reveal itself over time and artists and people will sort of adapt. There’s a Gillean Welch song that I love and one of the lyrics in the song is there we’re gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn’t pay and I think it’s just so true about artists is that we will continue to make music and adapt in any way that we need to.
Yeah, I was gonna say most of us are some of us I have. I wanted to share a short story with you about Amazing folk, say American artists name as Ezra Vancil, who I met through the podcast. He’s based in Oak Cliff Texas where Stevie Ray Vaughn is from. And he’s very talented. He’s he does a lot in the folk festivals, regional folk festivals and award winning. And as Covid came down on us, he was at a festival out of state, in fact, played it. And then the outbreak occurred and he has his family with him there. And they were driving the trip. So, he told me, you know, the story of what happened on their journey home, which was unpleasant, you know, just everyone’s very scared, you know, and, you know, on the border of panic, but he he’s been in music for quite a while. And he told me, although I don’t know, you know, it’s not the end, but he told me, I’ve had a really great running music and everything I did was about playing live. And he goes, I think I’m just gonna go do something else. “I’ll still play,” he said, but I feel like, you know, this is a great time to just maybe move on to new chapter. Now. He said that to me a few weeks ago, and I was really sad, but I totally understood and he’s a writer, he’s been writing literature or, you know, working on books for a long time that he’s never pursued publishing. So that was something he wanted to do. But I’m still getting fortunately, I’m still getting emails from him about his music. So I don’t think it’s going to die very easily. But my my point was, is that some people you know, will, unfortunately feel that they’re just going to stop, they’ve done it enough, and they’re gonna do something else. But certainly, as many of my friends have said, that one you know, if you’re a musician or a songwriter, you never retire. You never stop being creative. So you’ll, we’ll all do something anyway.
I’ve, I’ve tried in my life, actually at different times to pursue a different path because I felt like it’s what I should should do or what would be easier. But it’s always been a situation where all roads sort of lead back to this one. And I actually don’t, because it doesn’t look like there’s other options for me, you know what I mean? And I have musician friends that will say the same thing where it’s just like, we have to do it. You know, there’s, we just have to do it. And I can understand why for people who’ve been working the industry for a long time. would want to sort of retire or semi retire. After all this stuff happenings COVID and, and it’s and the impact it’s having on the industry. But I yeah, I’m just, I’m too, too hopeful, too [laughs].
That’s good. I’m glad to hear it. I am actually, I think, you know, I’m watching because I got to talk to so many artists, I’m watching the different ways that people are pivoting, some of them very exciting and creative. And, and for me personally, I was I’ve spent years playing live and performing. I’ve always said performing as my zen, right? So you would think it’s a great opportunity for me to just be really uptight. But I’m just coincidentally, I, something else I’ve always wanted to do is record. And so I started in investing in that right before Covid came in, I also had in the back of my head, I want to, you know, start writing music again, it had been a really long time, and I’ve never, I’ve never really devoted any time to it. It just was a fleeting thing in my life many years ago. So, for me, I’m excited about the, you know, the new opportunities and new frontiers that, yeah, we’re sort of stuck with or forced into. And I’m finding all kinds of opportunities to record and collaborate; which brings me to something I wanted to ask you about. I’m, I’m pretty excited about it these days, because I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic and I’m writing an article about the online or the apps that that enable collaboration. Have you ever used, tried, Or are you very plugged into what’s going on in the space of collaboration apps?
No, I actually have no idea what that is.
Well… well, I want you to here’s your homework, if you know if you have time, I want you to check out. I’ll give you the names of a couple. And in fact, I’ll say them here, but I can send them to you as well. But there’s one called SoundStorming. There’s another one called Trackd without the E between the K and the D. And then there’s a very, I like to call it an old school one called Kompoz with a K and a Z. And there’s a whole there’s a whole bunch of others, but they interestingly, they’re, they’re mostly tools for you know, one of the concerns that comes up are, yeah, but who owns that song? How do you do splits? These are mostly tools for collaborating. I think the most exciting thing about it for people like you is that It’s a new way to engage fans and to bring them into the creative process. If that’s something you so desire, I know that I know that a lot of fans out there, really desire that. And a lot of fans, if you think about it, this is the other thing I’ve become aware of is they are creators too. And some artists are actually bringing fans into the creative process. And I’ve seen that before. I’ve seen that outside of these apps with another guest I had in the early days of the podcast, who’s in the UK, she’s always done a lot of you know, videos, and she’s very into Twitter, YouTube and her email list of course, and so she’s always invited her fans and to give feedback on on songs she’s working on and help her put them together in this regard. So in a way she was doing that, but I would love to know if you do check the any of these out what your take is on them just conceptually. Certainly, if you try any of them it would be fun to to hear what you have to say. But I think like I said, the most exciting part is that there’s an opportunity to engage fans in in.. a different kind of fan, a new breed of fan, I think.
Yeah, that’s actually super awesome. I haven’t even heard of those apps before. It’s surprising to me but I’ll definitely check those out. I also like the idea of that being a way to… I imagine that you can co write with other artists as well [Yeah] remotely, You know, when you’re trying to be socially distancing from people and that kind of thing, but you, you want to co write with different people, especially when musicians are on tour a lot as well. Like you can collaborate with other musicians while they’re on the road. I really like that idea. And I definitely will check it out for sure.
Yeah, and I’m gonna have to look up the name of this other one that my friend Judy Rodman has been in the business a long time and and she’s in Nashville, you know, home seems like a home of cowriting. She Yeah, I sent out a questionnaire to some former guests about song you know, challenges with songwriting and she, I sent I also included a short list of recommended apps I check out which include the ones that I mentioned to you. And she sent one back to me that was born in Nashville. And it’s very, very focused on co writing. So I’ll be sure to send you that one too. It’s, I know, it’s not gonna be hard to find, I think they have the exact same letters in their name as South by Southwest. So s x s w, but it’s not in the same order. I just can’t remember the name. I think it’s like, so we should write together something like that. But yeah, but it looks like a really nice app. And yeah, I’ll send you the full list that I have to so in case you, you know, I haven’t looked at all of them. But I’ve certainly read about many of them. And I’ve been playing with one of them. That’s not so much mobile app based. It’s more web web app, but I’m definitely going to try Trackd. And at some point, I’ll try SoundStorming too, but SoundStorming is more for idea sharing. So they’ll, they they want you to you know, they enable you to capture your idea right on your phone. And share it if you want to, with a community. And whereas Trackd has a unique, basically like a mobile, digital audio workstation in your phone, and they’ve got some pretty interesting technology for making it sound really nice, given that you’re just using your phone. It’s pretty remarkable.
That’s awesome. Yeah, and I mean, it’s a perfect time to be trying out these new things. When I was in quarantine. I was definitely experimenting a lot with making demos of my ideas and stuff. I just have a really simple interface and an iPad and like some MIDI controllers. And I had a lot of fun experimenting with that. And having the extra time to do so it was really beneficial. But yeah, I will I’ll definitely be checking out those apps for sure.
Well, I’m glad to hear that you have been playing around with recording at all. I hope to hear that you’re pursuing more and more. And yeah, it will be interesting. I think, especially with like Trackd or maybe even Kompoz. But I got, I spoke to a couple of user, you know, members of Trackd this week, to just sort of further my research and it was pretty interesting to hear how it’s really changed their lives. One of them is a busker, like a street performer, but he’s been doing it forever. And he’s very serious about it. And he’s been releasing music music Trackd and the other one is a drummer singer, multi instrumentalist, but for a drummer first, and she just, she had not really been recording much at all. And then someone introduced her to it, and she’s going gangbusters on it now. It’s pretty interesting.
That’s amazing. [Yeah.] I love that. That’s awesome.
So, in the short time that we have left, tell me what you feel coming on the horizon for your career.
I’m really, really excited to release my record, and I that I’ll be able to reach wider audiences with it. I’ve been doing pretty well so far and played on the radio in the UK and Ireland, and I’m getting some really amazing opportunities with American news outlets and, you know, people like yourself wanting to interview me, which is amazing. And thank you very, very much for having me on the podcast. I really, really appreciate
Oh for sure.
And yeah, I’m really hoping that in the next couple of years, some touring is going to be on the horizon. I don’t know what touring is gonna look like in the time of this pandemic, but I hope to see myself on the road again. And yeah, I’ve started working on my second record and writing that and I’m hoping to go into the studio with that at the beginning of next year. So I’ve been using this this time in quarantine to write a lot. So I’ve been writing my second record, which is really exciting as well. But who knows what the future holds? Really? I think that it’s a matter of how the industry moves on from this.
Yes, we’ll come on vaccine right. And I’m…
I’m happy to hear your writing. I’m excited for you with the upcoming release. I can’t wait to share a conversation and I really appreciate you taking time out to speak with me on this Friday.
Thank you so so much.
This episode was powered by ConvertKit. I have been to ConvertKit users since early 2016. And I really love it for the email marketing aspects of what I do. It’s more than just an email marketing company though. They are focused on landing pages to giving beginner creators everything they need to start building their email lists. Their new free plan allows creators to make unlimited landing pages and forms and you can choose from multiple templates. personalize them with design. include an incentive email, create a thank you page, manage all your subscribers and of course send broadcast emails. The support is great. And that is important to me to learn how ConvertKit can help you connect with your audience so that you can make a living doing work you love, go to UnstarvingMusician.com/Convert or the Show Notes for this episode.
This episode was powered by Bandzoogle are the easiest all in one professional website platform for musicians and bands. Two things that will help ensure you’re in control of your music business and your fan base community are a website and an email list. Bandzoogle can help you do both. Plus a solid website makes you look legit! Serious musicians, singers, songwriters, composers and performers noticed to be true. If you don’t yet have your own website. Check out Bandzoogle. It was created by musicians for musicians. I use it and I love it. It’s as easy as easy to use gets and you don’t have to worry about plugin updates. security patches Bandzoogle takes care of all that for you. The features and support are both incredible. See for yourself, go to Bandzoogle com to start a 30-day free trial and use the promo code Robonzo to get 15% off your first year plans start at just $8.29 a month. That’s Bandzoogle.com promo code Robonzo R O B O N Z O to start your free trial today.
Did you know you can help other independent artists find this podcast by subscribing on Apple podcast or wherever you are listening to your podcast these days. It really does help so I hope you will consider it. The Unstarving Musician podcast is made possible through the support and generosity of listeners like you. One of the easiest ways to support the podcast if you’re a musician is to join the starving musician community which you can do at you guessed it on UnstarvingMusician.com. In joining the community and get tips and insights you can use in your music journey that comes not only from me and my years of experience, but also from the hundreds of other musicians that I see. too as part of the Unstarving Musician project and podcast, plus, you’ll get a free copy of my Unstarving Musicians Guide to Getting Paid Gigs ebook, the official version. And that’s all for free just for being part of the community. You can learn about other ways of offering support by visiting the Unstarving Musician crowd sponsor page at UnstarvingMusician.com/CrowdSponsor. And if you have feedback, please go to UnstarvingMusician.com to get all my contact info, you can text me call me email me leave a voice message right there on that page, just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at UnstarvingMusician.com/Podcast. All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, fans. Peace, gratitude and a whole lot of love.
Support the Podcast
The Unstarving Musician exists solely through the generosity of its listeners, readers, and viewers. Visit our Crowd Sponsor page to learn how you can offer your support.
Pardon the Interruption (Disclosure) Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I make a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you purchase using those links. Thanks for your support!
This episode is brought to you by Bandzoogle.
From garage bands to Grammy winners, Bandzoogle powers the websites for thousands of musicians around the world.
Plans start at just $8.29/month, which includes hosting and your own free custom domain name. Go to Bandzoogle.com to start your 30 day free trial. Use promo code “robonzo” to get 15% off the first year of any subscription.