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  Are you scared of being judged when you perform on stage? You are not alone, and this is not something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Find out what to focus on when all eyes are on you.

Caro Bridges is a songwriter, musician, composer and arranger, and performs with her band Caro Bridges & The River, The Enharmonic Collective with handpan virtuoso Milly Hoddo, and with violinist Emma Lloyd in touring duo Caro & Emma. She grew up in Norwich, the daughter of two musicians, and has lived and worked in Edinburgh since 2009. Working mainly as a choir leader and community musician, she cares about fun and healthy music making for everyone. She also works in sustainability.

DISCOVER:


  • is capitalism and the commodification of music bad for the emotional wellbeing of music makers?
  • tips on how to overcome performance anxiety
  • is artistic integrity the enemy of success?
  • overt and covert sexism in the music industry

? QUOTES:


Sharing is the core of healthy and fruitful practice. Ultimately you are standing in a room and it is about sharing about what you want to say. You are not your mistakes. You are the message you seek to share. This is not about me, it' s about what I have made and it's about giving that a fair hearing.


RESOURCES:


Caro Bridges Caro Bridges Official Website


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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH CARO BRIDGES

Speaker 2: Welcome to another episode of dare to be seen. I'm your host, Elisa Di Napoli aka Elyssa Vulpes. So today in the studio we've got, Caro bridges and Caro Bridges is a songwriter. She's a musician and arranger, a composer, and she performs with a band Kara bridges and the river. She also performs with the hen harmonic collective with and with violinists Emma Lloyd and touring duo, Kara and Emma. She grew up in Norwich, the daughter of two musicians, and has lived and worked in a number of since 2009. Working mainly as a choir leader and a community musicians. She really cares about fun and healthy music making for everybody. And she also works in sustainability. How, before we meet our guests for today, I would like to invite you to go to tiny url.com/pod of freebies, and you will be able to download for free my limiting beliefs, Busta worksheet, where you will discover a, how to let go of disempowering beliefs about your abilities as a performer. So you can unleash your inner superstar. And now here's our gas for today.

Speaker 1: There are techniques that you need to love, but if you're going to get them right, and you will get them wrong to start with, and you just accept that and you just have to move on and just try it again. And it's an it's, it's playfulness. It's all about having fun with it. I completely screwed up. cause I couldn't hit a guitar and I basically got to the end. I realized I was singing literally a semitone now with what I was playing and I just, I had to leave the building. I could not, I was like, Oh my God, because I just had no idea at the time.

Speaker 3: Oh, sweet.

Speaker 2: So welcome to the podcast, Caro. It's really good to have you. And how are you doing today

Speaker 3: Yeah, I'm not doing too badly and yeah, just kind of, yeah. I mean, these are challenging times for everyone, but I do feel like I've been lucky to kind of find my way through and, and feel part of a number of different communities that I feel quite well supported. So I'm dead. All right. Thank you.

Speaker 2: I've I've met and talked to her a few musicians that have found is sometimes pretty challenging, but I'm glad that you're, getting through it. So let's just get started. And I would like to ask you a few questions about, how your love for making music surfaced in your life and when you know, what got you into making music.

Speaker 3: And so that's quite an interesting question. I basically have always made music. as you've mentioned in my bio, I'm lucky enough to be the daughter of two musicians. So my father's a guitar teacher and professional guitarist, a started as a rock guitarist and now considers himself as he goes at old enough to play jazz. my mother is a pianist and what well she's had worked in various kind of settings as an organist and pianist accompanying people. and she's now very involved in her local community choir and plays piano for them and does a bit of leading as well. and so yeah, I grew up surrounded by it. So Christmas day typically will always feature music making of some sorts and it's just good. And I think, the fat within my family, I'm probably the person that's most confident using my voice as an instrument.

Speaker 3: And interestingly, I kind of started along the path as a guitarist when I was, that was my first instrument. and as a teenager, I was very lucky to be part of the knowledge students, jazz orchestra, which was an amazing to house orchestra. And that produced a lot of very high achieving talent. that's now very evident on the British jazz scene. So I was lucky enough to be in the same cohort as kit downs and Freddie Cavita and George Crowley, who are all quite big names on the kind of London and British jazz scene. so yeah, I was in the same year as them. And I think when I was in my teens, I didn't really find my voice with my guitar. I kind of, eh, you know, possibly partly I was surrounded by a lot of great talent, eh, which was, you know, as a, as a woman, actually, I was quite often the only woman in a sort of small group, just setting, especially as the guitarist.

Speaker 3: and it was possibly linked to that or possibly just being a teenager. Like everyone is pretty awkward when they're a teenager. but it just didn't quite sit with me. I was still quite technically skills and could handle it, but, and I've really felt like it was particularly me. And then when I was in my early twenties, I started writing songs and using my voice. I'd always sung in choirs and I'd also played clarinet kind of was always involved in music and always loved it, but only really sort of found a way to really speak through it when I explored my voice a bit more and started writing my own songs. I think that's kind of where I come from.

Speaker 4: Okay. And now would you say, you know, do you identify more with being a singer or a guitarist or is it the same I mean, is it equal

Speaker 3: yeah, I think, I think I just normally refer to myself as a musician because with the, I was very lucky, you'd have really good technical training and my team's around music theory and such, which then opens up a whole world. If you can read the dots on a page, like I've sort of from time to time, ended up jamming along on piano and like things like that, which I've not appear nest at all that I did to try lessons with my mom. But unfortunately my dad had got with guitar lessons first and I just had found the guitar was more my thing than the piano was. And so that sort of ended up with that, but it means that yeah, if I ended up playing, you know, bits of hand percussion or shaky egg, or it's not, you can, you can kind of do that sort of thing. And, and it's partly about, I think what I love about music is it's partly about, it's a connection between people and it's not always about the sort of instrument or the technical expertise. And so, yeah, so now I kind of generally I do refer to myself as a guitarist and singer primarily, but yeah, there's kind of other, other bits as well.

Speaker 4: Okay. So that was, that was really interesting. And I guess, I wanted to ask about, songwriting in general because you know, a lot of people play the guitar seeing bought, then they that's, it, you know, they might play other people's songs. So was there a moment in your life when you decided I want to write my own songs And what was that moment Do you remember what happened, how that came about

Speaker 3: Yeah, I do kind of. So when I was a teenager and kind of more studying music, I'd always focused on composition. I just enjoyed putting melodies together and finding out how they fitted it with certain harmonies and that kind of part of my brain had been very active, Jerry, my teens. And then it actually took me until I those 18, to put my guitar playing with singing. even though I'd both played the guitar and song for all of my life, I just, I don't know. I think I was just slow on the uptake. I kind of didn't quite put the two together. And then when I was 18, I went to India for seven months. So it was teaching English for five months and then traveled around for a bit and I didn't take a guitar. And for the first two weeks I've survived and it was fine.

Speaker 3: And then I couldn't not have a guitar, discovered, having played it since I was five years old, even though it was something that, like I said, I've kind of made a decision to, I wasn't considering myself. I wasn't going to be a professional guitarist. That wasn't my plan. but it, yeah, it was so important that I at least was able to play it every day. So I bought a guitar and then like learned some covers and kind of got into that air during that year. And then when I started at university and then I went on a year abroad through Erasmus to study in France and I started writing songs there because it kind of felt like I could, I'd kind of honed the craft to an extent where I could play and sing at the same time. And I think the kind of melodic creativity was there and have been triggered kind of earlier through doing a bit of composition.

Speaker 3: and with familiar familiarity with the guitar had obviously kind of grown up as well. and then bringing, yeah. And then suddenly I realized I could put all of these other things together and sort of bring words into it as well. And yeah, so I kind of wrote songs more just to kind of play like with my friends and in, at that point in France. And then when I came back to the UK, yeah, kind of started, I was at university for my undergraduate in Exeter. so just sort of, I played at an open mic night and I remember it was terrifying. My friend John came to see me and it was so nice having some word like actually paying attention. Cause it was an open mic in the pub. So like, no one's really destiny, you know, and, but he was just so, you know, kind of sat there and was clearly like attentive enough, but not so expected that it felt like much pressure. And, and it was really, yeah, it was, it was, it was interesting. I thought that, my voice was going to go because I thought that was the bit that I was scared about. And actually it was my guitar playing, I think is suddenly something my hand was shaking, which had never happened. Even though I had performed with this jazz orchestra, I was in my teens, I'd performed at the Royal Albert Hall. I performed at the festival. I was not expecting my hands to go. And they did. And they were like, Oh right.

Speaker 3: Which was, yeah, it was, it was fine. Like I got through it and, and it was more of a learning experience, you know, and I think that's something that's really important to be able to do as a songwriter. and as a musician in general, it's just a constant learning process. and I think that's something that was instilled in me from a young age, in my musical practice that it's always about. Yeah, there are techniques that you need to learn, but if you're going to get them right, you will get them wrong to start with and you just accept that and you just have to move on and just try it again. And it's an it's, it's playfulness. It's all about having fun with it. And so I think, yeah, some writing, you can do it, you can say a lot, you know

Speaker 3: but it's always about honing that and making it the best it can be for me. So I think, yeah, I just sort of tried to remain authentic and kind of yeah. And doing in the way that I write songs, but I think, yeah, when I started writing songs, it was definitely just a little bit of useful kind of, Oh, I wonder how much I can get away with like, kind of say like, Oh, well maybe you have this riff and then, Oh, well I'll put some words in about like, Oh, that guy was kind of mean to me. So I think I'll write about him. Like it was kind of, there was definitely a bit of that. So I feel like, yeah, my early summer writing was stuff that I needed to get in my head now I'm kind of like, well, I clearly needed to get out of my system, but at the same time it was kind of catchy and I learned I could do it and I could create something that was music and words together. I don't think it was necessarily true to any deep thoughts or inspiration I had. cause I think that takes a little bit more time and a bit more work. but I think overall, and it was an interesting, yeah, it was, that was sort of where I started doing those things.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I mean, there's so much, I want to ask you about that because actually, well, one thing I wanted to say as well, when we young, when we first start often, it can be very spontaneous, you know And it's like, Oh, we don't really think about, what do I want to say It's more like, well, what's happening in my life. I'll just talk about that. And we don't think about it too much, but, as that changed throughout, you know, as you learned more about the craft, do you feel that, that you've started talking about specific topics or is it as

Speaker 5: Still being just very spontaneous

Speaker 3: I think it's a balance. because I think whenever I'm doing anything artistically, eh, the two words that I kind of come back to us are, authenticity and connection and authenticity is kind of, you know, whatever topic I'm dealing with. As, yeah, as I mentioned in my bio, I work in sustainability as well as, kind of community music. So things I care about, sometimes related to nature or related to kind of the way that humans interact with the environment. And that's a really broad topic. So it's, it doesn't really limit you because everything is about the way that humans interact with the environment. but, but I suppose that's just the entire role of human experience. However, I think there's a, yeah, there's sort of something in the way that I tried to do it is like, yeah, we'd never write a song, but I, then I have a bit of an internal judge and I suppose if there is a bit of a filter process that happens, but I normally let myself break the filter for the first draft and then you've applied the filter afterwards, you know

Speaker 3: cause otherwise you'd never write anything, but I think, yeah, authenticity and connection. I do. I am someone who believes that as artists, as an artist, I have a responsibility to my audience, I believe so. I think I know that there are different schools of thought on that. Some people definitely see art as a cathartic process that allows them to process their ideas and imagination. I think definitely there is a bit of that. So definitely it is a learning process for me. I learned by creating music and by, by writing songs, but I yeah, seek a certain level of kind of integrity and, something that people can relate to a very sort of, I've worked with a lot of different people in community work. And I generally try to bear all of them in mind when I write. so I don't like to spend too much time kind of, creating songs that are just for myself. So I yeah. Prefer finding something that is, that I can share that connect with people that's where the connection comes in.

Speaker 5: Right. And do you have a creative process that you use in order, maybe a ritual How do you get into the flow

Speaker 3: Yeah, I think, well I say obviously I've been playing for a long time, so to play is very natural for me. and I quite often start at the guitar, and just kind of messing around, finding some co you know, just, I kind of build up a bank as a way of, of kind of musical ideas that might come into play. And so there's that side of things. And then on the lyrical side, because I very much see songs as kind of a marriage of words and music. I don't, I don't really believe that you write the music, then you write the words. It's kind of like, it's a, it's a symbiotic process. And so the way that I do things is yeah, kind of create a bit of a bank of musical material, because that's kind of something that's always in the back of my head anyway.

Speaker 3: but then when it comes to song and I will often kind of quickly find a little concept to kind of what I think of as a lyrical anchor for a song. and it could just be a couple of lines. It might not even end up featuring in the song, but it kind of is the idea behind the song and then unpack that by building up more words that go with that. And maybe sometimes it does vary. So sometimes I'll kind of free write and discover that actually there's a couple of, you know, there's a few couplets within there that, that somehow speak with each other. And so then I'll kind of go about putting, yeah. Putting the words and the music together, but they always, I think it's very important that when we write, we seek, yeah. We seek to find words and music to support each other in conveying the message of the song.

Speaker 3: So that's kind of what I'm most interested in and what I challenged myself to do. yeah. Cause I think, yeah, it's, there's so many different ways you can say the same thing. So I think it's always done at the visceral bit, the individual, but yeah, but I think it's about that sort of connecting the two. So I would say I nobody right. Once the music at the same time, and I only write, I am now quite disciplined, jeopardy tried to only write things that I really mean. which I think, yeah, like you say, kind of earlier on in your career, your is a little bit like, what can I get away with And now I'm a bit more like, well, do I need to write this and sort of examining my voice and yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 5: And do you have, you know, a discipline around music or is it more spontaneous or like, is it like, is it like, Oh today, you know, I just feel like playing, or is it a case of like a writer that writes every day, no matter whether they feel inspired or not,

Speaker 3: I generally do play every day. but I don't always, I aspire to have better practice than I do because I think, yeah, I think I should, pay more attention to whether I can sort of, up my skills a little bit, especially when it comes to the guitar, I think because I've done it a long time. Like for most of my life, I kind of slightly fall back on just habits, especially thinking about with that responsibility to the audience thing. I think a lot of responsibility comes from that where I end up because I'm a songwriter as well and end up writing things that are quite normal sounding chord sequences or whatever. And sometimes I want to challenge myself to, to put something a bit more music experimental in there. And so, yeah, I think if I did have slightly more rituals by practice, I'd probably be a bit better at doing that. So watch this space, but I think, yeah, it's kind of, yeah, it depends as well. Cause I'm also obviously working with choirs sometimes I'm not working with a guitar at all. And so that's more about just keeping my voice healthy and keeping it and well used and yeah, I'm definitely one of these people that hums around the house all the time. and I, I do proper vocal warmups and things as well before I sing, because I think, well, it's very important. So, so it sounds like

Speaker 4: Music is really a central part of your life, you know Cause my question was about, you know, what, what role does music play in shaping who you are as it sounds like it's a bit, it plays a big role in your identity because I know that some people see music as a hobby. Other people see it as a job. where, where are you in there

Speaker 3: I am, it's definitely sort of a combination. So like I said, my teens were quite sort of formative for me, musically. and I was very lucky to play in lots of different. Yeah. Like this jazz orchestra was amazing also that played in the school orchestra and clarinet. And like, I always, I just did it, because the opportunities were there and I wanted to, I enjoyed it. I really, I still enjoy it. So there was always that element, when it came to sort of deciding what I wanted to do with my life and everything, when I was sort of 16, 17, I considered going to music college. and my parents, neither of my parents went to music college, even though they'd both work professionally as musicians. And they were both a bit like, well, you know what, actually, you've got a good theory training.

Speaker 3: And if you really, you know, just don't put that pressure on yourself, go and do something. I was kind of academically smart as well. And so the way they saw it was like, well, you know, you want to keep those options open. You can always go back and do music. You're always play anyway. And at the time I was like, but what if I don't, what if I accidentally give up And I think, yeah, maybe the twenties I realized I was never going to accidentally give up. and the kind of way that it played out, I studied philosophy and history with European study for undergrad. And then I did a masters in environment, culture and society and all the time playing in my spare time and kind of by that point, writing songs, I had a band and, and then, and being in a choir as well and singing was something yeah.

Speaker 3: Was a sort of slightly different thing where I sort of realized, Oh, actually I have all these skills and I can make this sound. And it sounds fine. I know. So I've got this kind of technical understanding of what's going on and I was in a choir and I was like, Hmm, maybe this is what I can do. And then has a little at leading the choir that I was in and the conducted on Peyton, it was some of those things is a, cause it was kind of interested in like maybe conducting something and, and that was a total turning point of, Ooh, here we go. This is like, this is something I can do. And so I started to doing some training in that and at that point, music moved more from, I think as a songwriter, I kind of struggled with the idea of the music industry and I still do, but when it came to choirs and community music, I could suddenly see this way that I could contribute.

Speaker 3: And I was like, Oh, this is what I can do. And I went on this course at the Guild hall school, if he is a a summer school. yeah, it was a good tool. It wasn't that it wasn't that little, but it was a course. It was in creative music training that was like, and giving you kind of workshop techniques to help people create music. I T in my career, I've been doing quite a lot of workshop facilitation around climate change and the environment. And suddenly it just brought these two worlds together where I have these skills and facilitation and connecting with communities and listening and actually those skills and my skills as a musician can come together. And that was the moment where I was like, Oh, actually, this can be my job. I didn't really until then. Yeah. I kind of thought, well, yeah, there's, there's always that thing of, do you want to monetize what you love

Speaker 3: Do you want to worry about kind of grinding yourself down into, you know, I'd seen the music industry is complex and multifaceted, but as a songwriter playing around the local scene and Edinburgh, you know, I saw all these great people playing open mics and running music and pups, but then, you know, the actual bread and butter of that is playing covers for people who may not be listening on a Friday night, like, you know, and, and that's, and there's some great musicians out there that are completely doing that kind of thing because they want to support the fact that they are, they're also writing really great songs. And I think I kind of just asked myself like, well, what, you know, what do you want to do Is that, do you feel like you need to do that Or can you like, you know, kind of do other things, with your life that, yeah. So I had to kind of have this, I call it my day job, but, sustainability, and kind of slightly more working with the university of Edinburgh, looking at kind of community environmental solutions really, and working with staff and students. And so, yeah, so there was kind of, it wasn't until I found choirs and community music that I thought, Oh, hang on. This is, this is what I do. And so since then it's been, it's been a job. yeah.

Speaker 2: So then with that team in mind, I guess I wanted to ask you, what does success really mean to you as a musician Is it about connection with the community or is it about something else

Speaker 3: Yeah, I think it is, for me, connection is completely kind of, well, it's kind of the point. I feel like, especially now, like over the past few months as well, we've all had quite a lot of time to interrogate our practice. but I think a, you know, the things that have come up and the inequalities that have been exposed as a result of this pandemic, have certainly made me kind of to an extent, I don't know, I, I don't want to sort of come over as being like, sort of trying to be too righteous or whatever, but there is a sense of like, you know, the words you put out there matter and what you do matters as an artist. And I think that has made me realize that connection. It is important to me and it's like, yeah, that feeling of responsibility.

Speaker 3: If you have a voice, you have a responsibility in how you use that and how you give space to others as well. And so, yeah, I think that's absolutely part of what I do. I get a lot of joy out of it. Do you, a lot of group songwriting where I'll sort of facilitate, kind of games, really just improvisation games and activities, using music to bring people together and to sort of generate so that they can work on creating songs together. And so I've used that quite a bit with the choirs that I lead, and a couple of other community music projects I've done. and that's, I find that a very rewarding process and like sort of offering my skills as the, sort of the musical bit, to the kind of support them and bringing their messages and their voices to the fore. So, yeah, I think there's definitely something in that

Speaker 2: Sounds awesome. going back to what you were talking about at the beginning, when you were mentioning your first performance and you had your fingers tremble, how, what, I guess I wanted to ask her, you know, you said it's all about learning, it's all about doing it again and again, and, and basically really focusing on the play. I mean, the, the fact that it's enjoyable and I wanted to ask, you know, was that the only time you were nervous or, or did that, how did that change

Speaker 3: It's, it's definitely changed over the years. So, I think when I was a kid, I played at kind of music festivals. I'd had the experience of it. When I say music festival, I made it in the song. I don't know how to describe it, kind of regional English sense of, you have this sort of celebration of youth music or something, and everyone turns up with the best piece they can play. And they play in front of these adjudicators who then Mark you and give you certain marks. And it's, it's sort of a bit like an exam in a way. but it's kind of, I mean, it's nice that it's, it's an opportunity for people to share what they're up to, but it's still a very sort of traditional way of doing music. And I played in kind of classical guitar categories and clarinet categories and stuff.

Speaker 3: And I remember my first experience of like basically performance anxiety was playing, a clarinet piece when I, it was more that I never really noticed the symptoms of anxiety as a guitarist, as, when I was performing in those contexts, I was playing classical guitar. You have both your feet on the ground, you're seated and you are using your hands and you it's, it's kind of fine. Your body sort of falls in with it. And that experience of playing the clarinet, I suddenly realized my breath was really short. I just suddenly like, couldn't get enough breath. And that was really eyeopening for me, cause I'd never really, before that point, I picked up clarinet when I was about 15 and I progressed very quickly, because I could already read music and understood the theory side. And so I was playing quite a like grade five grade six thing when I did my first public performance. And it was, it was just really hard. I was suddenly like, Oh, Oh, I can't breathe.

Speaker 6: That's going to be a problem. And it was fine.

Speaker 3: I got through it. I didn't pass out. But what helped you overcome it I think it was just the observation of it, of knowing that that might happen and just doing various physical things to ensure that I was grounded and that I was expecting it in a way. And, but I think the thing that I always remember in those settings is ultimately this division between the audience and the performer is it's a blurry boundary. And if you have, if you are sharing what you're doing, you can bring those people along with you and they will be with you. If you I've done things like I've broken a string on stage, I've like sometimes forgotten the words or something. And I think if you're open and sharing what you're doing and then, and not putting too much pressure on yourself and also on your audience, then that moment that could be really awkward. Just turns into something that is a little accident that happened. Everyone makes mistakes. It's okay. I have had, I did have one thing where I was playing. It was an open mic and I couldn't really hear the guitar very well. and no one was really listening, so it really didn't matter, you know, but I completely screwed up. cause I couldn't hear the guitar and I basically got to the end and realized I was singing literally the semi-tone out.

Speaker 3: And I just, I had to leave the building. I could not, Oh my God. That was because I just had no idea at the time, but that was how awful it was. And then at the end, it suddenly, I was like, sort of heard my guitar and I was like, Oh my God, that's awful. I can't. So I think there is a limit to that. And that was my personal limit where I suddenly realized, Oh wow, I've completely messed that up. And yeah, no, it was definitely, that was, I think the only time when I have properly been sort of slightly over covered by it, but I always find in general, I'm more nervous or I can be nervous when I'm performing so low. but in a band I've never been nervous when performing with other people. And I think that might just be because I've been doing it for a long time.

Speaker 3: and I'm used to the, you know, often as well when you're performing on stage for me, I'm performing with people. I know who I've played with before. and it's a fun experience. And often if you're leading the band as I am with like with bridges and the river, you, you feel that sense of responsibility and of like, and wanting them to, to feel supported as well. So you kind of have to slightly just be the leader and not be afraid to do that, but also bringing those people along with you as well. So I think there's, it's something in the book of aptitude performance that I think it comes out there and I did last year, the scientists and the siren and we're focusing on, and it's still kind of an extended, both word and scripted narrative, which was, that was a challenge that was like definitely the biggest challenge I've had in terms of performance and anxiety, to an extent and yeah, cause it was just different to play music, but yeah, I think yeah, there have been. Okay.

Speaker 5: It just sounds like, even though you had that time, for example, on the stage you were singing a semitone higher sounds like you were able to laugh about it, you know, to not take it too seriously and that helped you to get over it.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, in that particular moment, I just had to leave. Like I was just like, I'm going home. There were a few of my friends who were there, including two people that I was in, you know, we were in a band together. So they knew that I didn't normally see us every time. And I was like, I'm sorry, I can't stay. I've got to go. They were like, okay, whatever you want to do. But of course, you know, the next day we have band practice, everyone's like, Oh yeah, you did that thing. That was kind of silly. Nevermind. Move on. It's not, they weren't kind of like, Oh, well you're such an awful musician. We're never going to play with you again. It was like, you know, that was clearly an exception and yeah. And most of the time, yeah, the process has to be fun. I feel with the way that, especially the way the independent songwriters make music, you have to have fun because ultimately, you know, the industry is such that the idea of making lots of money out of it just isn't really a factor. So you might as well have fun.

Speaker 5: Would that, what would be, you know, your advice for someone just starting on this journey

Speaker 3: I think, yeah, being open and sharing is like very much core to, I think, a healthy and fruitful practice. So, yeah, it's okay to be nervous. and to recognize that is, is important as well. but also ultimately you're standing in a room with a bunch of other people and you're sharing something that you want to say. And I think if you remember that it becomes a bit easier it's it doesn't yeah, I I'm sort of, I tried to, I think possibly people get a bit scared of being judged. They definitely, in that moment there that I'm talking about, I was, that was my own judgment. You know, it was my musical brain going, Oh God, that was absolutely excruciating. And the reality is that no one else really in the room was particularly this, my bandmates were listening. They knew that I'd got it wrong, but they weren't that's okay.

Speaker 3: You know, like people do make mistakes and it doesn't mean that that's who you are. You are not your mistakes. You are the message you seek to share. And it's just about finding a way that people perform in different ways as well. So some people do prefer to keep quite a strong wall between them and the Arctic audience, whereas others prefer a slightly fuzzier boundary. It's, it's all part of finding that is all part of finding out who you are as a performer. and you just have to try those things out. You're never gonna know if you don't try. So I think my advice would be that.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And I think a lot of people are just focus too much on themselves or then the message, like you say the song, you know, what are you trying to say Because once you do that, you know, no longer self-conscious, it's not about you. Really.

Speaker 3: Exactly, exactly. That actually. Yeah. It sounds a little bit, it's a little bit mean, but there is part of me that's like sometimes, sometimes you just have to get over yourself and just be like, this is not about me. This is about the thing I've made and it's about giving that a fair hearing and yeah. So just changing

Speaker 2: Slightly subjects, you were talking about the music industry and I think there's quite a lot to talk about there. I guess what, I'm the things I'm more most interested in is talking about women and within the industry, do you think women are underrepresented

Speaker 3: It depends where you look. So I think, I don't know. So just to get slightly radical here, I'm not a big, but I'm not a big fan of capitalism. So, so just on a basic level, I sort of struggle a bit with this sort of idea of kind of the consumerization of music is a really tough one because obviously as an artist you create and people do want to buy things, they want to support you. But I think there is, hopefully we're moving more towards sort of questioning that rather linear model of consumerism that kind of follows this capitalist ideal of like you somehow generate a thing that is unique and then somebody else buys the thing I'm like, that's not realistically music is, it shouldn't be a linear industry. It doesn't make any sense that we do that really, that people just kind of feel they have to churn out record after record.

Speaker 3: I'm like, I don't, I don't know what the answer is economically, but it doesn't feel sustainable to, in terms of people's like emotional wellbeing and their capacity to create as well. I think that's part of why I have gone more in the direction of community music is like partly just the industry side, just didn't didn't call me at all. Like I kind of, I mean, I came to it classically for, you know, music industry terms. Definitely when I started writing songs, I was like 21, 22. I didn't really get into performing them till I was about 24, 25, by which point in classic music industry terms women over the age of 25 just were not the thing at that time. And I don't know. yeah, I dunno. I'd also, I was coming at it from, you know, nobody, nobody really wants to pay money to someone who wants to stand there and say, I kind of feel uncomfortable about the concept of money so I can completely, I was.

Speaker 3: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I, I like to think that I would always, I sort of prioritize, I suppose, the artistic integrity, over the kind of a success thing. And I suppose to, in order to be successful in the music industry, you probably have to find the balance that you want between those two things. So whether you want to, I think there are some really great managers out there though. And some really great promoters who really do want to see the success of people who have that artistic integrity, but there's also a lot of the industry that's geared towards finding things that people will buy in the moment. And it doesn't really think all that hard about the artists and creators involved. So I suppose that's my, my slight yeah. something that I think about a lot and yeah, it's like, it's kind of, I, I do think that artists should be paid fairly for their work.

Speaker 3: So I don't in any way want that to sound like, I think everyone should do it for free. but I think it's more about the way it's monetized as an individual product that you can buy. I think possibly more models like the, you know, like the Patriot and model, of kind of supporting artists, seeing it as something where you're kind of almost sponsoring that person, rather than to create the things that they want. Great. Because you believe in their artistic credibility, rather than buying the thing that they made, because it's pretty and you want to, I think the thing is that that may work for like visual arts and craft, but for, because there is a physical product that comes out of that, but with music, it just doesn't feel the same. but that's the way that the industry has kind of taken it over the last sort of, you know, it's not really all that long over the last half century, bit more or something, and that's just kind of the direction it's gone in, but I don't think it has to be that way. And I hope that, especially in light of the current situation, that we've all got a bit of time to kind of examine, yeah. Like how it can look moving forward.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And as a, I guess, as a woman, did you ever feel a pressure to look a certain way to get the attention for your music

Speaker 3: I did have one that there was one person who, at some point I was probably about 27, 28 or something. And I add this person who shall remain nameless, but it was a man said, I, you know, I kind of said, yeah, basically he was like, Oh, you know, you've got really great songs. And like you should, because the problem was being an independent artist, which it happens to everyone, even people who really are quite successful, but people that gigs don't necessarily know that the sort of successful industry terms or whatever. And, and so they say, Oh, you know, you should really do more of this. And you're like, I spend every day of my life doing that. But thanks, thanks for your useful feedback. So I think that, so someone who had he'd said something like that and, you know, I kind of said, well, I was potentially having a day where I was particularly disillusioned with global capitalism.

Speaker 3: So it was kind of like, well, you know, realistically, I'm probably not going to like make it in those terms because I'm already 27. And like the industry isn't interested in that kind of thing, like musically I'm coming from a place that is not entirely obscured, but it's not entirely traditional either. And like, you know, like where I don't, I don't really fit into that world. And his response was, well, I don't know, look at it. And then he talked about another female artist who I think is great actually, and we should not denigrate her in any way, but he used terroristic. So I was like, he was like, well, she's in her late thirties. And she just puts a lot more makeup than you. I was just like, are you actually genuinely suggesting that I just wear short skirts and put more makeup on

Speaker 3: Thank you. Like, that was kind of, I was like, yeah, interesting. Yeah, no, I'm not going to do that. so I think that's kind of, I don't know, actually I used to sing for a band and play guitar for a band called the last battle for a Scottish indie band. A and there, I really enjoyed my time with them. I was, I think I was 26 or so when I, yeah, I was like 26, 27, 28, something like that. played for them for a couple of years, replacing a previous female singer who had been more of a backing vocalist and then moved more towards this sort of dual led kind of band a with the, the main songwriter Scott Long year, who was great to work with. And they were like, so yeah, I was the youngest in the band. I was the only woman, where it was an interesting mix.

Speaker 3: So like the eldest member of the band was when he was early forties. He was a fiddle player, absolute genius, like just incredible. And the drummer a and a soul band as well. Eh, but they were all like three of them were like lads from penny cook, which are not, you know, like traditionally you might not think of as being the most enlightened of, of people, but they were completely, they, they didn't, I just, yeah. I never felt that they required me to be anything other than myself, which I found really. Yeah, just really quite empowering and like good fun. They were really good. They really respected me as a musician and all that kind of thing. So I suppose I've had some positive experiences that have definitely outweigh the negatives.

Speaker 5: So apart from that experience, do you think, you know, have you ever faced discrimination from being a woman within the context of, being a singer songwriter only from non-musician

Speaker 3: I don't think I've ever, I've never come across another musician who, who discriminated against me. I think there have definitely been situations with, like, I don't know. I mean, but I think it's just possibly part of this wider issue of kind of commodification of music where, you know, they'll kind of say, Oh, well, we're not really looking that kind of thing. And sometimes that kind of thing, it means the fact that you're so that, yeah, no, that has probably happened a few times, but I'm never in a way that I, I think because they focus so heavily on the sort of how I create what I create and who I create it with that I've just been lucky to, well, partly been lucky, but partly chosen the people I work with, that I, I feel like I, I try to, I think there is a different way to do things and I think that, yeah, we just need to find, make the connections that, that can create that. because I think the discrimination does exist and I've been, yeah, possibly partly, just lucky, but, also it's the circles I move in. That's like, yeah,

Speaker 7: Just on a related tone, you know, have you ever, have you ever gone out with someone that was in your band and if so, how did that go

Speaker 3: I did. I went out with my bass player for a bit. it was a weird time for everyone involved. No, it was totally, it was actually fine. retrospectively, and actually musically totally fine. Like the relationship was not destined to last, so, but the, playing relationship did, last and yeah. And ultimately the friendship side did win out, so it was okay. But, I think it was never that awkward because I suppose we were also just both at the stage in our lives where it wasn't a, you know, it wasn't a kind of forever relationship. Right. I have like my partner, is who I'm with, you know, and like the suspect I will be with for significant amount of time, is also a musician. He's a rapper and beatboxer, and we do sometimes create music together, but we do it for fun and we do it like in an informal kind of way.

Speaker 3: So I wouldn't consider him a colleague in the same way that I would consider most band mates. I've sort of, sometimes, sometimes I've tried to, sometimes I've intentionally kept that boundary, with, with people I've worked with where I've just been like, I'm just not even going to consider that because I just don't want to get into the politics of it. because I think it can put a strain on, yeah, I mean, obviously it would be a strain to, you know, if you're in a relationship with someone and you're working with them, that's a lot of time. That's just a lot of time spent together. I think there's a certain level of intimacy to artistic relationships as well. Like I've spoken to friends about this before, where, I just think you don't get that depth of relationship with many people in your life.

Speaker 3: So in, you know, if you live your life and you don't do anything sort of artistic or creative, that requires you to really sort of share ideas about, you know, the way you think the world is. I think that's what it comes down to is like, if you're writing a song with someone or your creating something together, it's, it's a really intimate process. and I think like when you've worked in, the same band as someone for like eight, nine years, it, it can lead to, you know, there are, you've been through stuff like you've been through sharing deep ideas, you've been through conflict, and you're still together. And there's like, there's something very intimate about that, that, that quite a lot of, if you don't create music or you don't create those kinds of things that require that collaboration, then the only experience you have of that type of relationship is the romantic one, which is, which is quite interesting. So I don't know. I think there's an intimacy in relationships of creation.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. I'm impressed that you were in a band for nine years. I've, I've had many, many bands and none of them has, has lasted nine years. That sets a skill.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, it's nice. It's also the result of like, you know, I'm a professional musician, but the rest of the band are not professional musicians. And I think a, you know, there's a nice thing, which actually for me is fun. Cause it's keeps it quite playful. but it does mean there are challenges around what you can and can't do then, but there are ways there are challenges. So

Speaker 2: Yeah. So, before we play some of your music and we'll also have Carl do some, live music for us, which is wonderful, wonderful gift today. But before that, I just, the last question I wanted to ask you was what's the next level for you now

Speaker 3: Yeah, I think, so I briefly mentioned earlier that, last year worked on a show, created a, a show that was a storytelling and music show called the scientist and the siren. And I suppose my next step really is to bring that to a slightly more fruition cause it was a work in progress. I was lucky to do a short residency at the piano Drome during its installation at the theater, where I performed it for the first time. And then I shared it in another sharing in December, and got some really good feedback and useful feedback around how to take it a bit further. so my next step for that is to work with, yes, to get a director on board who I've identified someone I went to work with and I was lucky to work in collaboration with Deb Shaw, who places, Aurora engine, she's also a songwriter and, and brilliant musician. And, and she played the harp for me was very great. added some singing and a bit of talking as well. but yeah, so I think that's my next step really is like, I think I'm kind of expanding slightly in terms of what I do practically. So, yeah, kind of pushing that to include spoken narrative, and always thinking about that idea of songs as being stories you were telling me,

Speaker 8: You've got a new song and you were going to play it for us. And this song is called the night.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So, so recently I've been during lockdown. I did some Instagram live sessions. I was really sort of struggling as always with this idea of what I could contribute to anything like, you know, what's the most useful thing I can do is like constantly the question I'm asking myself. And at that time it felt like people were really seeking a bit of restorative and kind of contemplative time. and so I started doing, nightly lullabies. So, I was playing on the Instagram live every night. just one song a night, a and kind of sharing the, my flat, where I live is a little bit, looks a bit like a spaceship from the outside. So I called it sunset from the spaceship and they played just one song at sunset every night, for about, I think there were about 15, 16. so this was a song that I wrote and sort of throughout that process. and it was about not really being able to sleep just happened to be very often, but, thinks I'm lucky like that, but it is about not being able to sleep.

Speaker 8: Oh, the nights when sleep is just like, I count the sheep, the planets, tell them morning, we are just standing black, joy happy. It's just deep all the nights where my heart is just in my chest. she of guest keeping time till the morning, we are just moment and blackness the hopefulness and it's just us space to be gaping. Why is that We both the nights, well is just a circle and Scott Bright twined pay out with no worries. We are just shapes and black and it's just a space thing. It's just a space for us to be gaping deeper. Why

Speaker 7: Oh, that was so lovely. I love that song. I hope you get to record it soon. So for, for anybody that wants to hear your music a little bit more, they would go to over the river music.wordpress.com. Is that correct Yeah, that's probably the best place to find it. Wonderful. So it's been a real pleasure to have you on the show and have you share so much of your experience and your songs. So really thank you for being with us today and all the best in your future musical journey. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Thank you very much, Lisa. Thanks so much heavy.

Speaker 7: That was my guest whom I like to thank once again for coming to the show every week, I'll be chatting to fantastic in the performance to uncover what it really takes to be a female independent singer songwriter in this day and age and how we can support one another to keep shining our light onto the world through our creative endeavors. So make sure you don't miss out by subscribing today to be seen and follow us on socials@tinyurl.com slash there to be seen pod. I've been your host, Lisa DiNapoli AKA. Lisa will pass. Thank you for listening and please do rate and review the show. I'd love to hear your thoughts unless you hate me. In which case you can skip that bit.

Speaker 1: That's all for this episode of dare to BC. Join the conversation on facebook.com/groups/dare to be seen podcast and help create an empowering community of independent female singer songwriters who support one another for show notes, resources and information on today's episode, visit tiny url.com/dare to be seen. I remember to shine your own unique light onto the world. It needs it.

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