Socially-conscious jazzy soul from New York
'Survive' gave me chills. Your voice is incredible! Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I am so glad you dig it! My biggest influences (As far as other artists go) are; Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Debussy and I listen to a lot of 1930's song music like Cole Porter, Gershwin, Kurt Vile. Also these days, I love Nina Hagen. She is righteous.
However, the experiences of the things happening around me are probably my BIGGEST influence.
Tell me about how that influences your songwriting. The song 'Survive', has a strong anti-capitalism theme running through it..
Well, wealth distribution is something I think about a lot. Survive, is really about how every little thing we do, things that can seem really small like buying things when we really don't need it, consuming at establishments that we know are corrupt, use of plastic, etc ...
We all know, that even in America, there are people that have like a shit ton of money, they hold most of the wealth, and then there is everyone else, some richer and poorer than others and this is just America.
This song comes from the voice of me. A person who comes from a working class family, I support myself, probably would be considered on the poverty line if you calculated my yearly income. However, I live completely lavishly and have way more than I need compared to a great chunk of the world.
I eat more than I probably need to, have more clothing than I need to, use more running water then I need to, Occasionally buy a drink at Starbucks or something. This might seem trivial to most, though its not, every little thing adds up. We have to really think before we act. If we don't than you are being cold.
I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that.
I haven't met you but I get the impression that you don't take any shit! Have you had many experiences of sexism throughout your musical career, and if so how have you dealt with them?
I certainly experience it a lot, in different ways all the time. For example, the music business is all about making and establishing connections, and getting attention from people that might be able to help you with your career. I have had experiences with men, where I wanted to establish professional and friendly relationships but it would often turn out they wanted to sleep with me or something like that. It's definitely frustrating cause it makes me feel as though I have to keep a guard up and always question peoples intentions.
I deal with this by putting my foot down and showing that I am a strong person and really serious about what I do. I try to respect and trust everyone, come into relationships with an open mind and open arms. If I feel like if I am not being respected as a woman, or taken seriously I just don't feed into it. Its just simply not okay to let people manipulate you into situations like that. Also, you probably don't really want to work with someone who is trying to take advantage of you. This is a problem we all should recognize in different artistic communities.
Also, the music industry is kind of dominated by males. A lot of times there can be this underlying skepticism when a girl walks into recording or collaborating sessions. Most of the time, the skepticism is proven wrong but its still pretty fucked up for that kind attitude to be there from the get-go based on gender stereotypes.
I cannot express how important to stand your ground and not let male dominance override your artistic approach. I am not saying don't be self-critical, or don't take critique, because that is really important if you want your art to be good, gender aside. However, go into things with confidence. If you have strong ideas that you truly believe in then make that apparent. Don't let them shoot you down!
Do you feel that it's becoming better or worse for women in music?
Thats a really difficult question because I think it all depends on different situations and circles. I definitely think there still is like a lot of silent sexism that exists in the music industry, but again, it depends on who you are working with. Not everyone sees what happens behind closed doors. I think what is really great, are these communities, and circles of people like 'She's Pretty Good for a Girl' that are used as support systems to encourage and harness creativity and confidence for women artists.