by Madalyn SklarWhat drives your music? When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?
Strong emotions fuel my creative drive. My passion, compassion, anger and joy all connect with my need to make music. My music is a window into what’s going on in or around my life. I knew I wanted to be a musician when I was a little kid, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a singer until I was around 12 and I got my first guitar.Describe your music style and name three (or 6) musicians you have been inspired by and why.
I live in a blended world and my musical style reflects that. My style is “Eclectic Soul” (how’s that for a new genre)! It’s soul music mixed with pop, folk and jazz musings. I dig artists like Paula Cole, Dionne Farris, Annie Lennox, Brenda Russell, Donnie Hathaway and Peter Gabriel. They are such phenomenal songwriters and listening to them inspires me to get out of my songwriting comfort zone and try new approaches.What's your ideal venue atmosphere?
Intimate rooms, like De Badcuyp in Amsterdam, are where I love to perform my mid-tempo, groove-driven, up close and personal set. Big venues, like festivals, allow me to play higher energy tunes and bring that intimate feeling in a larger arena.Describe how your music career has evolved since you first started performing.
I interrupted college to go sing in a Funk/rock band and went on to sing in all kinds of cover bands. It was a great experience. I learned how to handle myself on the road and eventually teamed up with some wonderful musicians and began doing originals. I worked for many years at record labels, learned a lot about the industry and eventually started my own label, Orisha Records, to release my own material. I’ve been blessed to have songs featured in a movie (Spike Lee), on TV (HBO) and to do voiceover work (Grand Theft Auto IV). I’ve co-written with songwriters in Germany and Holland and I absolutely love being a singer/songwriter.How would you describe the music scene in your area?
NYC is a magnet for every kind of music in the world. It’s teeming with musicians and it can be difficult to be heard. But come across the bridge to Brooklyn and a vibrant, music community is on the rise. Lots of music venues have opened up, the Knitting Factory is even moving over.What was the inspiration for your latest release?
The inspiration for my last album, “Yummy”, was based on the first song “Blood”, which is the story of my family’s evolution. Something very personal, yet universal, which is always the challenge in songwriting. The desire to record and release this song kept me focused on the project. The other songs on the album continued in that vein, they are songs that needed/wanted to be written.What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?
Artistically, be ready to speak your truth, don’t hide what is unique about your music and don’t waste time comparing yourself to what’s already out there. Then, before you set foot in the studio, practice your singing, rehearse with the musicians and develop a production plan. The biggest money/time killer in the studio is being unprepared. I like to do as much pre-production in my home studio then I bump up to a big studio for vocals, overdubs and mixing.What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion?
Professionalism and graciousness will get you far in any situation. Music is no different. Be on time, be prepared, be open to change, check your attitude before you go through the door and don’t forget to say thank you. Sounds like what your mama used to say.Describe your toughest moments in your quest for a music career and tell us how you overcame them.
Making the transition to a performing songwriter has been challenging. It’s hard to play live shows in a market that doesn’t seem to place a high value on musicians. Too many venues want you to “pass the hat” instead of paying a working wage. It’s extremely expensive to pay my musicians, so I don’t play a lot of full band shows. When I play overseas it’s a different story. Music, and the people who play it, are valued and paid decently.What advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don't give up?
Feeling discouraged will pass. It always does. In the meantime don’t lose your sense of humor. There are days when I feel like throwing my music gear out of the window, packing my suitcase and going off to join the circus. So, I’ve learned to allow myself a “pity-party”, which is a couple of hours to call my friends and bitch about what’s wrong in my career, my life, the world …whatever! By the time I’m finished hating-on-folks, I have to start laughing myself and usually decide that the circus gig would probably suck – they have to get up too early in the morning.Tell us something you want the music world to know about you.
Ok, here’s the thing. If there’s anything you need to know about me, just listen to my songs. It’s all there and so am I.What have you gotten out of being a member of the GoGirls community?
I’ve met some amazing people by being a GoGirls member. I participated in one of the Mastermind groups and still keep in touch with some of the ladies.
Having a music career is all about relationships. I found people that I can vibe with, hang with and grow with. It’s a beautiful thing.Check out Pantera at http://www.panterasaint.com
Copyright © 2009 Madalyn Sklar, GoGirlsMusic.com
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.
Madalyn's Sites:GoGirlsMusic.comSocial Networks for Musicians
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Labels: gogirls interview, Pantera Saint-Montaigne