My goal is to introduce you to music that doesn’t fit in your “I only like pop/country/rock etc genre”. There are so many songs & artists to explore that are waiting for you to discover them. I am here to help. Let me be “Your Music Stylist”
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Stay tuned for artist interviews… and catch me on my Instagram @music_stylist for more updates on new music.
Q: XI:XI is the band’s name, do you refer to yourself as 11:11 or am I pronouncing that incorrectly?
Destin: We pronounce it like 11:11, like the time of day where you’re supposed to look at the clock and make a wish. Those numbers have personal significance for the two of us. It’s a long story but if you catch us at a showtime we’ll tell you the unabridged version.
Q: You guys happen to be married, Destin and Madi. Did you perform together before you got together or is this something new?
Madi: Yes, we performed together multiple times. I didn’t know at the time, but Destin was just trying to get more rehearsal time in to see me more….but I enjoyed it.
Destin: Madi and I have both been playing music for years so when we met each other it was an easy point of common interest. I may have parlayed our love for music into a reason to hang out with Madi before we started dating as well.
Q: You’re from the Springfield, MO area. What is the music scene like in Springfield? Did you do any busking on street corners to get noticed? Favorite places to perform in the area?
Madi: I’m originally from San Diego, but when I started performing in Springfield, I mostly went to Walkabout Coffee’s open mic nights with my cousin. I also played a gig at the Cardinals’ stadium with my short-lived rock band Sugar High.
Destin: I remember busking quite a bit as a kid. I would set up on street corners and play for strangers until I had enough money to buy a box of cereal. For some reason cereal was always my go-to post-performance snack. One time I got into some legal trouble while busking on top of the fountain at Missouri State University but that’s another story. Thankfully, we’ve upgraded from street corners to larger stages since then. We’re partial to Lindbergh’s because we live close by and they have a cozy stage and a neat environment. We play a lot in the Kansas City and St Louis areas as well.
Q: How would you define your sound? Pop? Indie? Grunge? Combo?
Madi: Pop-grunge! We do like to dip into some acoustic sounds from time to time, but we enjoy upbeat music for live gigs.
Destin: I think we’re a grunge band that got distracted by all of the cool sounds you can create these days. Old 90’s rock music has always had a special place in our hearts but we also get excited by the prospect of creating something new.
Q: You’ve released 3 songs. Tonic & For The Record in 2019 and you’re latest released in August, California, which I absolutely love. I can’t put my finger on it but it has this familiar best just reminds me of the 80’s synth pop sound… bands like Yaz, Erasure or The Monroes. Talk about your new song California… Is this song about anyone is particular?
Madi: I feel like everyone always asks if we write songs about particular people, but that’s normally not the case. This was was mostly Destin’s creation about church girls and all the silliness before me.
Destin: I usually write songs about themes rather than individuals. There are several people who inspired the feeling behind the song but I won’t name any names. This song was originally more satirical than anything. We used to play it as an intro to our cover of All The Small Things by Blink-182. I think the lyrics mostly came from situations I found myself in back when I was dating around before I met Madi — at the time they seemed fairly dire, but in retrospect, they’re all fairly funny stories.
Q: From mid March to now, things are still kind if restrictive across the US, how have you coped during this time of uncertainty & how do you see it affecting the music business in the future?
Madi: Unfortunately, a lot of shows have been cancelled. It’s not fun. But I think, once all is said and done, there are going to be more parties than ever before, and we’ll be there to play them!
Destin: I think this unpredictable season has necessitated a little more creativity from the music industry. It has definitely shifted things around, but I think with enough time we’ll see a resurgence of cool new music and fun new shows, but with a little more variety. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.
Quick hits: Only 1 answer
A: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
Destin: Social media is just a necessary evil
B: Cotton Candy, Twizzlers or Swedish Fish
Destin: I don’t eat sugar. Sorry, I’m not much fun.
C: The Big Biscuit, Black Sheep Burgers or The Wheelhouse
Destin: Blacksheep but barely. I’m partial to The Wheelhouse as well because I’ve known the owners for a couple of decades.
D: Ripped jeans, acid washed jeans or camo jeans
Madi: Probably ripped
Destin: Ripped jeans are grungy!
E: P!nk, Lady Gaga or Billie Eilish
Madi: That’s hard. P!nk?
Destin: I’m a big fan of Billie’s style. Tough question though!
Q: When can we expect see an album/EP? And where can fans find your music?
Destin: Magicians can never reveal their secrets but we can guarantee new material will be coming before too long. Look us up on Instagram @officialxixi to keep in touch and look for XI:XI tunes wherever you get your music — although if you use any platform other than Spotify, you’re missing out.
Thank you to Madi & Destin for speaking with me. Be sure to stream their latest single California on Spotify or wherever music is heard..
Coming soon interviews from The Thieves About, Hellcats, Sixela and more.. Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda
Q: As you know by now, I’m a huge fan of the band and love your sound, which I often compare you to The Ballroom Thieves but you have a new single releasing Friday September 4th and it’s completely different from the usual songs you’ve recorded. Take me through the writing and recording process on this one:
Erika: Sirens came to life under the circumstances of the a Covid 19 pandemic. It was also around the time of my kidney transplant when this song sprouted new branches. Though Ryan wrote it about a year ago on his guitar, based off one of his poems, and though we planned to record it with just an acoustic and both of us singing, fate had other plans for its final passage. I put down drum tracks before my surgery. We were actually planning to do a whole album, mostly acoustic, but time got funky and making music became less a priority, especially after my transplant. While I was recovering, Ryan began to mess around with piano and additional beats just to build an arrangement map. He was really just biding his time, waiting for me to get better so we could continue to work on the album.
Ryan: I was exploring a new direction in composition, letting my creative guard down, arranging and composing everything from pure emotion, using sound and color as my guide. As I worked, I would concentrate on thoughts of Erika healing and growing strong again. It became a mantra in all my decisions and actions. I would work on it alone while Erika was resting, I wasn’t really trying to get anywhere with it but eventually it started to sound really good, yet totally different than our usual sound. Since we were doing everything backwards, we still didn’t have vocals, so I just kept messing around with the music. I pulled my original guitar tracks out and recorded into a reverse effect and sprinkled parts throughout. About three weeks or so after Erika’s surgery, she was able to lay down the vocals. I had bought a really nice tube mic for her and we used it for the first time on Sirens. I remember the moment she first began singing into that mic, standing in the middle of our bedroom in just her underwear because it was so unbearably hot in the early August heat wave and you can’t run a noisy AC when you record. It was heaven to my ears. She sounded so good, I decided I didn’t need to sing on this one, so we kept it as is. In the end, it really came together in such a different way than we intended, but it felt natural, transcending into a song that definitely reflects common emotion and abstract perception, that we all share one way or another, especially these days. Like all our songs, Sirens took on its own life, reflecting our perception about the times we live in. We hope people find a positive connection with this one. For me it’s very meditative, almost trance-like. This song was obviously meant for Erika’s voice. It has so much color, hence the track art. In the face of this pandemic, we’ve all experienced tragedy but hopefully some miracles and blessing as well. I feel very thankful and hopeful despite not knowing what the future holds. I could say more, but it’s all in the lyrics, in her voice and in the colors.
Q: You also have a couple of other songs you released in December 2019, Footsteps and Let Go in May of this year. Are you working on a full length album?
Erika: Footsteps and Let Go are on the album “Let Go” which was released on May 15, 2020. All the songs on that album are a compilation of singles we released over the last year. Sirens is part of a new album we are working on.
Q: For those of you who do not know, Muddy Ruckus consists of 2 members, Ryan Flaherty and Erika Stahl. What I love about you as musicians is that so many songs sound so different and I attribute that to the numerous amount of instruments you guys can play. Who plays what instrument and talk about that drum set?
Erika: Ryan plays guitar and banjo and I’m the percussionist. The drum kit is definitely not the standard set up. It consists of a snare, floor Tom, high-hat and a suitcase kick drum. The suitcase is an old American Tourister hard shell. It’s one tough cookie! It’s held up pretty well considering 5 years of touring packed with equipment and me pounding on it.
Q: 2020 has been a not so great year for musicians but has been a good year for both of you as far as Erika’s health is concerned. How did going through this health scare make the both of you stronger?
Erika: The start of the year was rough for us. I would up in the hospital right after Christmas – for kidney failure. I had to have a catheter put in my chest so I could begin receiving dialysis treatments right away. Despite being on dialysis, I wanted to continue performing and touring so we set out in February on our scheduled tour through Florida and Texas, doing daily dialysis along the way. While in Florida, I got the phone call that a friend was approved to donate one of her kidneys to me and surgery was scheduled for April. This was amazing news and such a huge blessing. Of course, Covid-19 happened and my surgery was pushed back a month but I was able to have the surgery on May 26th. My donor and I had to go through surgery and recovery in the hospital alone because of the virus. It was hard for Ryan and I, my donor and her husband, not being able to be with our loved ones as we went through this but everything went well and she and I were both out of the hospital after three days. Ryan and my son took care of me as I recovered the first few weeks after the transplant. Don’t know what I would have done without them! It’s now been three months since the transplant and I’m doing great! I’ve fully recovered from surgery and the new kidney is functioning at 100%! I think I can speak for both of us and say that going through all this in addition to dealing with Covid mentally and spiritually prepared us to handle whatever else may come our way and we are much stronger in our relationship and life in general.
Q: The impact of Covid-19 has had on small independent music venues has been devastating. What are your hopes of how the music industry & these smaller venues might be able to survive?
Erika: It’s so sad what’s happening to these venues. We lost Port City Music Hall here in Maine and that’s just one of many across the country. Our hopes are that Congress will step up and come through with support for small independent venues so they can get through this time and that local communities will continue to support their local venues in any way possible.
Q: What was your favorite quarantine “go to” snack, restaurant and drink?
A: Carl’s Meat Market in Kittery, Maine has definitely been our Go To. It’s really close to home and they make the best sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches around.
Q: Will we see another online music show/concert from you soon?
Erika: We’re actually playing an outdoor socially distanced show on September 5th at Maine Craft Distilling. As far as online shows go, we do plan on doing more of those but don’t have any dates set as of now.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: You can find our music and merch through our website muddyruckus.com , SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music.
Thanks Erika and Ryan! Make sure you go check out their single out today!! Stay tuned for more interviews with XI:XI; The Thieves About and The Hellcats..
Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias
A: I’ve actually been releasing solo music for as long as I can remember. I fronted a band in high school and released a few SoundCloud EP’s my first few years of college. I took a break once I started joining other bands and stepped into a side man role. After a few years in MB&T, I had such a backlog of songs that I wanted to put a few out there.
Q: When did you start playing the piano? And who are some keys players you admire?
A: My mom is a piano teacher, so I grew up with the piano in my home. She started teaching me around the age of 5. In terms of pianists that I admire, I’ve always loved Greta Salpeter from The Hush Sound and Landed by Ben Folds is one of the most beautiful pop piano compositions of all time. Period.
Q: Any favorite songs to perform? I see you’re a fan of Taylor Swift’s, “New Year’s Day”. What are your impressions of her new album, Folklore? And name some artists that you admire lyrically? Who do you consider a great songwriter?
A: I’m actually not much of a Swiftie. Haha! My wife is though and I hear a lot of T-Swift’s music through osmosis. That song – New Year’s Day – really stuck with me when I heard it. Folklore is my favorite Taylor Swift album, just because it sounds the least T-Swift. Haha! T-Swift is an excellent songwriter, but I feel like lyrically it’s pretty hit or miss. A lot of strong ideas that could have been improved with some rewrites. Pete Wentz is one of my all time favorite lyricists. I love how he uses self deprecating humor and puns, but they never come across as humorous. And everything is super ambiguous. I think that ambiguity has kept Fall Out Boy relevant. My next favorite lyricist is Charlie Fink of Noah and The Whale. The way he can tell succinct stories that resonate emotionally in a single verse is incredible. I think John Mayer, Colbie Caillat and Shawn Mendes are excellent songwriters. Catchy hooks with solid arrangements, great vocals and solid lyrics. I love performing “Sing Me Something New” with MB&T and “This Isn’t Love” as a solo artist. “This Love” by Maroon 5 and “Waiting on The World To Change” by John Mayer are my favorites to cover.
Q: If you had to say if there was any “silver lining” in quarantining at home, what would it be for you?
A: That silver lining has definitely been more time with family. I played 50 shows across the west last year with MB&T. I was gone a LOT. It’s been good to have movie nights with my wife and kids and go on walks together every night. Quarantine has also been great for songwriting. I wrote a zachisatourist record this year and will be recording it once MB&T wraps production on our new full length record. MB&T also made a TON of stuff this year because of quarantine. We released a lo-fi jams record earlier this year on YouTube, we have a remix record coming out in September, and we’ve put out way more videos than usual. Haha.. It has been a lot of fun to just make stuff again.
Q: Your latest single, You Love Me Anyway, released this year.. it reminds me lyrically of one my favorite performers, Ben Folds. This song is about your wife, correct? How has she changed your life for the better?
A: That comparison is super flattering. I love Ben Folds!! It is about my wife. We’ve been married for almost 6 years and we’ve been through a lot. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, trying to balance all of my roles as a musician, provider, dad and husband. But she’s supportive and has always picked me up when I’m down. Like most artists, I’ve wrestled with a lot of insecurity. She’s my biggest fan. Always having someone in my corner has been huge for me.
Q: Can your fans expect any more music released from you soon?
A: Most definitely! I’m hoping to get one more song out by the end of 2020. You’ll also hear some MB&T songs that I remixed for our next EP. I should have a record out in 2021.
Q: Your new single, Thriving, was just released. What’s the song about?
A: I didn’t write this song about a ‘guy’ — I wrote it about the feeling I often get second guessing myself for making a choice and owning it and about the desire to be unafraid of being perceived as intimidating just because I’m succeeding in something. I hope this song empowers everyone who hears it to own their choices and to stop feeling like they have to dumb themselves down or make themselves smaller to make others comfortable. And to have fun with it.
Q: Have you been working on an album/EP? Will it be out this year?
A: Yes! I have a full album sequenced. Hopefully it will be out later this year or early next.
From time to time, I promote new music by independent artists & I spoke to The Faux about his new release out Friday 8/21.
Q: New song out tomorrow 8/21 called Sad Song..what/who is this song about?
A: Yes! I am very excited to be able to share it with everyone. This song is really about losing someone close to you, whether it be a friend or lover and just feeling lost without them. I had a friend that I was very close with in high school, but after high school we ended up just not friends anymore, which is really where this song came from.
Q: When did The Faux first start writing & recording music?
A: So I started writing & recording music in 2018 kinda as a hobby, the first song I worked on that I put out there was a remix for a competition on a song called, Know This Love by KREAM, remixing it really just showed me how much fun making music is and the different possibilities in it.
Q: Name some artists that would be a dream to collaborate with.
A: Well one of the first EDM artists I started listening to was Dabin so working with him would definitely be a dream come true. I also feel like working with Ghastly would be an awesome collaboration especially since he is from Arizona like me!
Q: When can we expect to see an album/EP come out?
A: At this point, I’m shooting for next year with an EP which will feature “Sad Days” on it.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: All of my music is on https://soundcloud.com/thefauxx and then all the singles I’ve released are also on major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon and so on. I have done quite a few songs for remix competitions so I wasn’t allowed to release those songs officially but they are on my SoundCloud and can be listened to there!
So tomorrow Friday 8/21 , Sad Song will be out… make sure to go to The Faux’s Instagram for more info.. The Faux Official
So here’s another great local band from MA… let me introduce you to LOVE LOVE
Q: Thanks for speaking with me today Jefferson… LOVE LOVE formed in/around 2013 when you and Chris Toppin, the other lead singer, wrote a song together. How did that conversation go? Let’s write a song together and wanna start a band?
A: Chris and I were hired guns in bands for years, and so we knew each other and admired each other’s voices and talents. One day she called me up and told me she was working on a murder ballad and would I come over and help her finish it. I did and so it went well that we decided to write more songs together —- usually bringing one that was unfinished and the two of us finishing it together. After singing together and feeling the incredible magic in the air between us, we knew we had to work with each other and we started LOVE LOVE, in the summer of 2013.
Q: The band is from the Boston area, specifically Jamaica Plain. What local venues have been your favorite to perform at?
A: Our first show was at the Midway and that has remained a dear spot for us, (in fact we had our marriage reception at The Midway). Other favorite local venues include Toad, Lizard Lounge and The Square Root. The Pump House in R.I. is a nice place too.
Q: Tell me more about your fairly new label, Witchwood Music. Why did you decide to start your own music label? What’s it like working with so many new talented artists?
A: Chris and I have been doing this music business thing for a long time and we kinda just felt like we had all this experience and in-house talent, why not? We realized that we could manage, produce, and promote others at the same time we were doing it for ourselves. LOVE LOVE had built up a little promotions and dissemination team and Chris and I were giving music lessons on the side and discovering great new talent. Eventually it was irresistible, like an undertow, and we fell into the role of producer-managers pretty easily. It is our latest baby and we are proud new parents with that proud parent glow. The experience has been wonderful and rewarding and it is one of our life’s ambitions to get to discover and appreciate great new music. Cuz it’s out there! All around!
Q: Who are some of the band’s influences both on a world scale & locally?
A: LOVE LOVE has the blessing and curse of having a plethora of diverse influences. I say ‘blessing and curse’ because the music industry has only gotten more and more specialized and specific and categorized —- all things that are kind of anathema to me. I grew up listening to and loving everything from The Beatles to King Crimson to Miles Davis; I considered diversity with one album a wonderful thing. My idols were Hendrix and Bowie. For LOVE LOVE, we just wanted to write the best songs we possibly could; vocal and lyric driven songs tapping into The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and such. Radiohead was a big influence as was The Mamas and the Papas. I continue to like what Rick Berlin is putting out, as well as Amy Fairchild; and of course we really really dig what our Witchwood artists are doing: acts like Rocky Ludden and Jeffrey Perrin.
Q: Your album Picture was released in 2018. Of course, I’m partial to the track Rhode Island because that’s my home but what song did you have the most fun writing?
A: Rhode Island was probably the most fun to write, but my daughter Nora and I wrote and performed “Pond” together, so that was pretty special and “Blind in the Sunshine” was a magical Saturday afternoon of co-writing: that one was literally written on the spot out of no preconceived idea, in one afternoon.
Q: Talk about the obstacles that COVID-19 has affected the band so far? And can you find any positivity coming out of this virus for the band?
A: What worries me about the COVID thing is how many live music venues it’s going to destroy. Live music venues were already hurting and this is making it far worse and quickening the death for many. But new means of live performance are already starting to present themselves. For LOVE LOVE, and for my new solo project, Lopey Sole, it has been a time of reflection and production. The spirit that moves creativity can thrive in any environment.
Q: What does the band do when not making music?
A: Watch bad television, read great books, teach music and literature; parent.
Q: Any new music being released soon?
A: Since Picture, we’ve put out an EP (“the Rhode Island eeppee”) and an extended EP (“OK”) is due out in September. I am very proud of both of these releases.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Everything can be found at the band’s website: loveloveband.com but we are also available wherever you stream live music and of course through our label site: witchwoodmusic.com.
Thanks to Jefferson and LOVE LOVE for taking the time to answer my questions. We will be having some new artist interviews coming up with Cenza & Mellifera.. also Zachisatourist, The Mighty Pines and XI: XI
If you have a new music release and/or like an interview, please reach out to me through my IG @music_stylist. Until next time, I am Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.
Let’s jump right into it… thank you for speaking with me Rich..
Q: So you’ve been on many sides of the music business including tv, film, advertising, frontman, session musician and recording artist. How did you get into tv, film and advertising as a musician?
A: Yeah, I’m kind of a music prostitute…I’ll do anything! LOL! I actually like doing different things all the time to keep my interest fresh and to exercise different musical muscles as well as to keep growing and learning. I love the challenge of trying to make something great in any style project I do. The sync biz stuff came about by accident (as most great things do) I was part of a little local songwriting group and a random request for music came in from one of the guy’s lawyer friends. Luckily, the song I wrote and recorded was selected for a huge national tv ad campaign for Audi…so I thought, well, this is probably not an accident, that maybe I’m good at this.
Q: How do you decide whether or not you will work with an artist in studio? Do they reach out to you or vice versa?
A: Yeah, usually one of my music business friends will turn an artist on to me and ask if I’ll work with someone. I haven’t done it in a while because of the Covid and my family being home 24/7 as well as everyone else quarantining. Honestly, I’ve been less into writing/producing for others since most folks don’t listen. Hee Hee.,, I can’t blame them, I didn’t listen to good advice when I was coming up either. As I found later, it’s the surest sign of an amateur, which I also was, to disregard craft for ego. Meaning..artists saying “I think something’s great and finished, because of course it is…I’m awesome!” Without doing the professional thing in exploring options, rewriting, trying new parts..etc etc.. all the things that the real artists do.
Q: Tell me about Heller Highwater Music Productions.
A: Heller Highwater started in a basement on Heller Parkway in Newark, NJ in my old band house. It was my first makeshift studio but it used to flood on occasion…thus “Heller Highwater” LOL…I’ve used it ever since for my productions.
Q: So I first heard Clouds and Thorns on Spotify & instantly loved the song Everything is Possible Now..not realizing this song was released 3 years ago..it sounds so familiar…what’s the story behind this song?
A: Likely you’ve felt like you’ve heard, “Everything is Possible Now” before because you have..LOL..it’s been used in just about everything for many years.. TV shows, trailers, TV ads, etc etc.. Some even before it was ever released under Clouds and Thorns. C&T actually started as a collection of similar vibe songs that felt like part of an album. Because I do so many different styles, it was fun to find some that resonate together and make a “band” out of them. It didn’t seem right that I simply use my name as the artist since it’s only a small part of who I am or what a I do then as C&T got released, it started taking on a life of its own as people around the world started really embracing it and loving the songs. Honestly, it surprised me more than anyone..LOL.
Q: Your latest single, Hello My Old Friend, would make a good quarantine song…is this about anyone particular?
A: “Hello” is just simply about me enjoying connecting with some old friends. The song was started a couple of years ago, and somewhere in the Fall I started envisioning how I could finish it. Unfortunately, my process is long and arduous. LOL.. There’s hundreds of songs being worked on in various stages at the same time.. all while I’m constantly creating new stuff every day. It’s overwhelming mostly. I usually get stuck in 2 places….1 is in singing performance. I’m not a good singer, the songs that do get finished are ones that I can pull off vocally enough to feel ok with releasing.. The second is lyrics. I hate writing them because that’s all about craft and finding lyrics that say something and keep evolving through the song…like a novel in some ways..but done in a few lines. I’m very tough on myself, so very few get finished and it’s usually me just abandoning the process and saying it’s good enough. But back to “Hello” it came at a good time for me I guess, as people are missing their friends during this whole disaster. Hopefully, it’ll get picked up for an ad and really start to find an audience.
Q: What’s up next for Clouds and Thorns?
A: Next for C&T will likely be a bit of break as I try new things….maybe grab a different collection of songs and start a “band” with those as the theme. Likely something a little darker. As much as I love doing the happy C&T songs, I’m really into things that are much deeper.. Of course, there’s literally 30 C&T songs that are in various stages of competition, so I’m sure a few of those will get finished in this year. I really do feel a need to give the fans new music. The positive message I think is really important right now. I know it helps and inspires people. The overall message of C&T has always been “the greatest form of rebellion is to make something beautiful.” We all could use more beauty in our worlds.
Q: Any live streams planned in the future?
A: I’ve been doing these short snippets here on Instagram. Which I like…Especially since the songs I do on IG are likely ones I’ll never get to finish. I can’t remember specific details so trying to perform and and remember lyrics is nearly impossible for me. Doing anything live would likely be ok for listeners, but a disaster in my opinion. Plus, I find I reach waaaaay more listeners doing the sync things and getting on TV shows and ads etc. I’d have to do hundreds of small shows to reach the same number of people as one TV showing. I did all my touring and performing and I’ve retired my leather pants.. LOL!
Thank you for the great interview.. make sure you check out Rich’s Instagram page as well Clouds and Thorns IG.. I will be interviewing ZachisATourist & The Mighty Pines in the near future… if you have new music or would like an interview, please contact me through IG.
Until next time, I am Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.
Q: Thanks for speaking with me today.. quick bio: You’re 17 yrs old, stage name Izora, and born & raised in India… Where did the name Izora originate from? Were your parents influential in getting you interested in music?
A: Hey! Glad to be here. So basically I was thinking about what I wanted my stage name to be and the name Izora very randomly popped in my head and I instantly thought it was perfect and for those of you that don’t know; my real name is Shreya Jaswal. My parents played a massive role not only in influencing my taste in music but also in encouraging me to pursue my passion (music). I’ve listened to almost all of my Dad’s song collection which starts from the 70’s music and my mom encouraged me to take guitar lessons in 5th grade which basically was the beginning of my musical journey.
Q: Who are some artists that you consider your influences? I had my 11 yr old nephew listen to your music and he says Billie Eilish & I say, Lana Del Ray with a hint of Lorde.
A: Haha..that a very good guess. Presently my biggest influences are Lana Del Ray, Lorde, Daughter, Billie Eilish of course and Gabriella Wilson (H.E.R.)
Q: You had 2 singles released in 2019, Feel Better & Midnight…Give me a quick run down of what these songs are about.
A: Feel Better is a song about how we all go through these tough times and society in a way has made expressing sadness a sign of weakness so everyone is just told to smile and get over it when you really are trying to process your emotions. I wrote Midnight after watching Stranger Things lol. But it turned out to be about this “dark side” almost all of us have inside us and sometimes it takes control of our emotions. I’m on the outside looking in and trying to connect to that side and eventually am able to come back to my senses. Then again music is all about perspective, different people can have different takes on the same song.
Q: Let’s talk about Grey, your latest single. This song was produced by Jessy Covets.. Tell me what it was like working with her and what did you learn from her while making the song?
A: It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with a producer. I’m all about supporting the women in music so I DM’ed her on Instagram and she almost instantly understood exactly what I was going for, she is one of the best producers out there and is also super sweet and easy to work with. I really look forward to working with her again and would recommend her to everyone. She is madly talented.
Q: Grey is about your mental health issues…have your fans reached out to you about dealing with their own issues and see this as being therapeutic for them? It really is such a beautiful haunting song..
A: Thank you so much! When I get a text from someone that goes something along the lines of my music helping them overcome a mental health issue or how they were feeling down all day and started to feel great after listening to my tracks, I instantly feel wholesome and a little emotional. It feels like a giant warm hug…. Music heals….and I’m glad something I created in my little bedroom helps someone halfway across the world. I’m super grateful.
Q: Quick hits: only 1 answer…. a) Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat b) Rap, Alternative or EDM c) Science, Math or Economics d) Football, Kabaddi or Squash e) Mango Bite, Pulse or Toffee f) Justin Timberlake, Drake or Harry Styles
A: a) Instagram b) Alternative c) Economics d) Football e) I don’t like candy (please don’t kill me) f) Harry Styles
Q: Any live-streams in the near future?
A: Yes. I usually do live streams at around 11:30am PST
Q: Where can people listen to Izora and stream your music?
This ad kept popping up on my IG account about some band called The Sulls so I decided to find more about them myself. So here is the interview with the band..
Q: So the band is headed by brothers, Brendan and Kyle Sullivan… when did you guys start playing music together… early on growing up?
A: Yes! We started playing music in our basement when we were just starting middle school. It was very loud. Looking back, I can’t believe our neighbors were cool with it.
Q: You guys play a lot of events especially weddings… whose idea was it that it was a good idea to start playing weddings?
A: We definitely pride ourselves on having been successful across the wedding, corporate, private and college event spaces. Each market has its own unique aspects that make them enjoyable. We pursue everything as a team and both decided that weddings would be a market we could offer something unique in.
Q: The band was voted Best Rock Band in 2019… that’s pretty cool..you guys must be pretty proud of that…
A: 2019 no doubt was an awesome year. We did a lot of acoustic gigs which made it funny to us that we get voted best rock band during a year we played mostly acoustic gigs haha!
Q: Now in 2020, everything is kind of at a stand still in the music industry. … as a band, primarily that plays weddings, how had the coronavirus affected you?
A: Covid-19 has really taken its toll on the live event industry. It’s caused a lot of uncertainty towards our couples. We try to be as flexible as possible with not only our wedding couples but anyone who booked us to for an event. Although Covid-19 has caused a lot of things to be rescheduled, we’re looking forward to getting out there and providing some awesome entertainment for people when this is over.
Q: What had you been doing during the stay at home orders? Music or non music related?
A: Music-wise we have been learning some new songs to add to the set list. We’ve also been working on a new lighting design which is going to be awesome to see live. Non music-related, we’ve been getting really good at Call of Duty.
Q: Any live-streams happening?
A: We’ve done 4 so far and a studio session. We’re tossing around some ideas to keep things interesting. Keep an eye out!
Q: So the coronavirus restrictions have really hit the music industry hard and for many artists like yourself, this can be hard financially…What have you been doing during these “stay at home” orders? And where can people go to buy your merchandise?
A: It has been difficult and really the big unknown of how long until we can gather in big numbers is the real concern. We’ve been doing a virtual tip jar on the livestream and ask folks to play our music as much as possible or consider purchasing merch.