by Madalyn SklarWhat drives your music? When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?
When Tracy and I first formed our band South85, we were already good friends. We shared the same passion and drive for music. We both wanted to help and inspire others. Making music and performing is not all about the glitz for us. Our aim is not to get our picture on the front of People magazine (though we wouldn’t turn it down or the cover of Rolling Stone!!) We love making people smile and having them be a part of the fun. Once we started out, we knew it was meant to be because it consumed us!Describe your music style and name three musicians you have been inspired by and why.
Our style is country rock. Tracy has an excellent full country vocal, but we like to rock out onstage too! We love outlaw country artists like Waylon, Loretta, and Willie Nelson for their rebellious writing and standing up for what they felt country music should be and also what they believed in. Kathy loves alternative artists like Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams who paint different pictures in your mind and can give music a surprising twist to the ear.What's your ideal venue atmosphere?
We enjoy outdoor settings a lot like amphitheaters and festivals. We love places like this where we can closely interact with our fans and be accessible to them!Describe how your music career has evolved since you first started performing.
Well, we didn’t expect to have things take off so well as they have already! We’ve been together for three years and in that time a lot has changed. We’ve grown as musicians in how we play, sing, and entertain as well as become a lot more professional onstage. We’ve tried to take on specifics like watching other performers to see what they do, especially when it comes to audience participation – most importantly making sure they have a great time! We never thought within three years we’d open for big acts like Little Texas!How would you describe the music scene in your area?
Spartanburg, SC has produced some truly great undiscovered talent – many people know about The Marshall Tucker Band that is based here, but also groups that have spawned lately like The Belleville Outfit, the Watts, Shane Pruitt and more. Fayssoux Mclean calls Spartanburg home and frequently still plays out with Brandon Turner. “Sparkle City” is an undiscovered gem, but it may not stay that way for long with all this talent!What was the inspiration for your latest release?
Our debut CD El Camino encompassed a lot of the independent cowgirl attitude that we share. We hope a lot of females can relate to it, but in general we wanted everyone to experience a full range of emotions from laughs to serious reflection. Kathy was most inspired on her trips to Arizona where she found her love of the desert.What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project and and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?
Have great songs together first. Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself and don’t be scared to ask others, especially industry folks to help you or give you feedback. It’s always helpful to have extra tunes to pick from, and rehearse as much as you can before you get in there because it can be pricey! If you can talk to a more seasoned artist beforehand that’s great, especially if you haven’t sang or recorded in a studio a lot (it can be quite shocking to hear yourself in there the first time!). We are lucky to have our lead guitarist Mike who’s a wiz with music recording and devices. We can record a lot of our demos out beforehand with him before we even get to the studio. There are some pretty inexpensive home recording software packages available now.What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion?
For a band, it’s probably keeping the group dynamics in check, making sure everyone is on board with the same goal, keeping the bigger picture in mind and being patient through the slow and crazy times. Many times you won’t be doing music full time as your main income so things can take a toll on you personally with all the multitasking and even stress your relationship with your significant other.Describe your toughest moments in your quest for a music career and tell us how you overcame them.
For a full electric band it was finding capable musicians with the same professional attitude that had the same goal in mind. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, and practice. Balancing your “real job” and life until you hit the big time can be pretty stressful. It’s all about making sacrifices. You have to choose how you want to spend every bit of time in 24 hrs and prioritize your day.What advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don't give up?
It truly has to be a passion in your heart, a yearning. You may ask a lot “will it ever happen?” If it’s truly meant to be, giving up won’t even be an option. Things will come together for you, but take the steps now to be ready for it – play play play for anyone who will listen, take notes from other pros, and don’t take criticism personally. Your friends and family want to see you succeed!Tell us something you want the independent music world to know about you.
We love our fellow artists in the indie world and we think there’s exciting things to come for all of us! We want to help others out as much as we can and share our love of music.What have you gotten out of being a member of the GoGirls community?
We’ve played with and met some fantastic artists in this community and love inspiring and supporting women in music. GoGirls is invaluable! It’s a great resource for networking, learning the biz, and making a difference. Finally, a place for us chicks who love to rock and can share that process and all that goes along with it!!! :o)More about South85:
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Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 13 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.
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Labels: gogirls interview, South85