Tag Archives: Vocals

Artist Feature: Zoë Owen

Zoë Owen is a musician and singer-songwriter straight out of Canterbury, England and now resides in Madrid, Spain. While living in Madrid, Zoë has become involved in the city’s vibrant music scene recording solo work while also participating in the 7-piece band “Waiting For Eva,” that includes members from around the world, and a collaboration with a Belgian electronic producer. Our dialogue comments on the power of Reflection against a dangerous current of “distraction,” that can inhibit self-expression, and how Reflection and Response build on each other as symbiotic processes that are continuously happening. Zoë also brings us the interesting stories behind her original works Too Terrified and White Noise. We’re excited to watch as this artist looks to keep building while studying the craft of the ukulele and bringing her music and message to wider audiences.

Zoë Owen

If we do not reflect on our own behavior, and our own experiences or environment, then we are powerless to improve the quality of both our lives and the lives of those around us…If I am honest, I sometimes feel quite scared about how “Distraction” has usurped “Reflection” in modern society.

– Zoë Owen

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

ZO: Pleasure to meet you, I’m Zoë and at this present moment in time I am 28 years of age and residing in Madrid, the capital of Spain. I am a musician, singer and songwriter, living with my folding bicycle and ukulele in an unapologetically cute and colourful apartment in “barrio Malasaña”, the Hipster-heart of Madrid, a city which has been my adoptive home for about 6 years now. Why Madrid? I’m not really sure to be honest… it was a bit of a gamble to leave my somewhat institutionalized English life behind me, but as far as creativity is concerned, I feel like I really hit the jackpot! I came here with the sole intention of learning Spanish, and what I inadvertently found here was a key that unlocked a deeper chamber inside me, one where art and music had been cowering away. That key is the right mixture of people, places and circumstance.

Madrid is quite a far-cry from the places I grew up in. I hail from the leafy suburbs of Canterbury, a picturesque medieval city in England, home to Chaucer’s famous tales and, arguably, the world’s sexiest elf, Orlando Bloom. Aged 18, I swapped Canterbury for Cambridge, where I spent 3 incredibly enchanted years immersed in Latin & Greek literature, dining with Stephen Hawking and living in a spiral tower. Cambridge was the parent that taught me to work hard and aim high, because there is always something better that you can achieve. By contrast, Madrid has been the cheeky devil on my shoulder, testing me, and showing me that sometimes, it’s absolutely ok, if not essential to break the mould and to stop taking everything so damned seriously. And have a mojito. That part is non-negotiable.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

ZO: Nowadays, I would say reflection is the cornerstone of my life, and the principal agent of change. Without reflection we cannot achieve awareness of ourselves and the world around us. If we are not aware then we are not truly in control of our lives and we are resigned to being like the driftwood that Fran Healy sings about. “Floating underwater. Breaking into pieces. Hollow and of no use.” If we do not reflect on our own behavior, and our own experiences or environment, then we are powerless to improve the quality of both our lives and the lives of those around us. I don’t have bread in my house, or a television. I do have a quiet corner and a vase of flowers. If I am honest, I sometimes feel quite scared about how “Distraction” has usurped “Reflection” in modern society.

Response is a little harder for me to define. I think response can come about as a result of reflection or it can prompt reflection. Songwriting for me often begins with response, rather than reflection. I am often inspired to write music as a means of responding to a stimulus (something I have seen or heard). The idea is born in order to respond, but in order to decide what form my response takes, reflection is necessary. I would interpret response as a more subconscious process. We can respond to things quite thoughtlessly sometimes. So I suppose my conclusion is that Reflection & Response is akin to the “Chicken & The Egg” conundrum…

How does your work fit in with that definition?

ZO: I have written a couple of songs, which were essentially responses to feeling powerless. The first, “Too Terrified”, was conceived when I was standing on a balcony in Tuscany. I had just finished university and I honestly had no idea what to do next with my life. The feeling was suffocating and terrifying, and I remember making the connection between the vertigo that I felt being so high on that balcony, and the fact that, metaphorically I felt like I was teetering on the edge of a precipitous cliff and about to jump into the unknown. I used the balcony metaphor in the lyrics of Too Terrified” to reflect on my new situation and the lack of control I felt over where my future was going.

The same feelings are re-evoked in “White Noise”, although this song responds to the feeling of being on a path towards the wrong future, and knowing where the right path is, but ignoring this knowledge. I felt like there was a voice inside me telling me exactly what I really wanted in life, but that I had been ignoring it so strongly that the voice had become a drone, in essence, just white noise. My solo stuff is a lot more depressing than my collaborative work that’s actually more upbeat.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

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Feature: Whitney Killian

How’s it going y’all! Hope each and every one of you is doing well out there in the world. Thanks again for tuning into another feature here at the LIFESTYLE. Today, we have a super down to earth artist who has been so kind as to share a few words. There is something so charming about the simplicity of her swing. It’s as if she has invited us to dream with her, and that’s never a bad thing. Coming out of Seattle, operating through performance and staying connected through the likes of tumblr and pinterest(be sure and look her up), her writing is very expressive. The young lady is canary yellow against a clear blue sky. With that said, it’s our pleasure to present you Whitney Killian.

Whitney Killian Feature

 

I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

WK: Born and raised in the small town of Sumner, Washington – but truly bred in the great city of Seattle, my current home. Over the years, I’ve had some pretty amazing chances to grow and express myself as a vocalist. From my high school choir room, to the jam room in Delta Upsilon at UW, to the basement of the house on 55th & Brooklyn Ave, to the stages of dive bars and the balcony at the KeyArena… with some pretty talented people to help me along the way. I currently have the pleasure of singing feature and backup vocals for Ayo Dot, a respected Seattle hip hop artist, and when I’m lucky enough, I get to jam with the amazing guys of Victory Lap, a great side project cover band we started back in September. Throw in a couple reality TV show auditions over the last few years, and there you have it. Music is important to me and my general happiness, so I always try to keep fun projects on the books.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? How do your projects fit in with that definition?

WK: Reflection has been my best friend lately. Hardships happen, things won’t always go your way. When storms come and all seems to be lost in chaos, there also comes a unique opportunity to reflect about your response to everything that’s thrown your way. The response can’t happen without the reflection, and the reflection often doesn’t happen without the storm. The best part is that in reflection, some of the greatest and most raw work is produced. I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react. I’m writing every day, humming new melodies, putting the products of my storms onto paper and into song. I’m crafting my response.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

WK: My biggest focus right now is developing my own catalogue of songs and writings. Piano has always been of interest to me, so I’m working to pick up that skill so that I can really start to stand on my own as an artist. Aside from my own writing, I’m loving the super fun and fresh work I get to do with Ayo Dot & crew. Since I joined the band in November, we’ve played a few shows and have been working on some new tracks as a band. Being a part of something new and exciting is completely refreshing, and as an artist who’s looking to establish myself and grow, working with Ayo and the guys has been a great opportunity.

Who or what inspires you?

WK: Lately, the lyrics of great female singers & songwriters have been my inspiration. Ellie Goulding, Stevie Nicks, Adele, Sara Bareilles, and more. These women are powerhouses, and I’ve found their strength to be contagious. I live for the moments when a song – or just one line – can stop me in my tracks and make me feel something, help me gain clarity, or resonate so loudly and so closely that the lyrics start to feel like they’re becoming my own. Those moments make me want to write and create things that will inspire others in similar ways. Oh, and Pinterest and Tumblr, where everyone else’s very public passions inspire me to be a better writer and better human being in general.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

WK: On the subject of the Collective… I respect the work you guys do. So much. You’ve taken the time to reflect and respond, and to cause others to do the same. It’s people like you who inspire people like me to keep working, to keep making pretty things and putting them out into the universe. Thank you for doing what you do.

Shout out to…?

WK: To my close friends and incredible family – you’ve held me together like glue, you’ve kept me laughing (mostly at myself), you are the reasons why I’m still standing, and you are the reasons why I will not just survive, but thrive. Especially my amazing life coach, Cortney – thanks for keeping your big sis in line.

“Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele, featuring Austin Silva on keyboard and Peter Muller on guitar

Untitled By Whitney Killian

you were my sunshine

my warm summer day

but it’s been coming down hard

since the night you walked away

the storm clouds in my heart

keep me crying over you

they darken my days

they’re not just passing through

you know what they say

when it rains, it pours

and it’s drowning my heart

since i’m no longer yours

Victory Lap Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VictoryLapSEA    

Ayo Dot website: http://ayodot.com/

Whitney’s tumblr: http://whitneykaykillian.tumblr.com/

Whitney’s pintrist: http://pinterest.com/whitkay/boards/

Whitney’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/whitneykay2

-Reflection and Response

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Feature: Veronica Jones

Yo, here we go—here we go—here we go again. Hope everyone had a great week. We at the LIFESTYLE are hosting Veronica Jones today as she explores her identity within music as well as in her professional pursuits. Through a blend of soulful sounds, icons, and inspiration, Veronica shares her thoughts on and relationship to Reflection and Response through music. She also names a few great artists to look up and plug into if by any chance you haven’t already. We especially want to take the time to thank Veronica for making space for us in her schedule and wish her the absolute best in her pursuit of Law. That’s enough from us; lets dive in!!

Veronica Jones

Reflection & Response in a musical context means that you are taking a really personal, introspective look into your feelings, your life, your relationships, and also taking time to empathize with & understand the lives of others.

– Veronica Jones

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

VJ: Hey, I’m Veronica, I’m 25 y.o. and was born & raised in Houston, TX (like Beyoncé!!!!) but I am currently living in New Orleans attending law school at Loyola New Orleans College of Law. After law school I am not sure where I will end up or what type of law I want to practice, but considering practicing criminal law, business law, international law, or entertainment law.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

VJ: Reflection & Response in a musical context to me means that you are taking a really personal, introspective look into your feelings, your life, your relationships, and also taking time to empathize with & understand the lives of others. After taking time to really understand your emotions and also see all kinds of conflicts & joys that occur in life, you are able to meaningfully convey your experience, or the experiences of others through music.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

VJ: Although I have not recorded any of my original pieces, I am a fan of jazz and have recorded a few jazz standards (Mood Indigo, Lullaby of Birdland & Fever). Also, while living in Spain I recorded a song called “Let the Music Play.”

“Mood Indigo” is a very melancholy song. It is about a person whose lover left them and is now dealing with loneliness. This song fits perfectly within the theme of Reflection & Response because when it comes to someone you love you have to first recognize your feelings with the situation and understand them and only after that should you decide how to react to them.

“Fever” is pretty self-explanatory, but just focuses on how a guy is giving her that special feeling.

“Lullaby of Birdland” uses a metaphor about birds singing to describe how she feels about the one she loves. Sometimes being direct about a situation is not the best way to explain how you feel.

“Let the Music Play” is all about losing your inhibitions and just experiencing the music and having a good time.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

VJ: Sadly, recently, I have not been working on anything. Since I am in my first year of law school, I find myself too busy to be involved in recording/gigging. But I certainly do sing around my house in my spare time!! Looking forward; I plan on staying in New Orleans for the summer & hopefully finding opportunities to gig/record while here.

Who or what inspires you?

VJ: My family inspires me so much, in particular my mother. She is one of the most generous people I have ever met, and has been supportive of my musical talents since I was a child.

Also I feel that my life experiences and those of others inspire me to think about situations more in depth and convey them in a way that really expresses the true meaning of a song.

Musicians that influence and inspire me are Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, The Weeknd, Adele, Brandy, and Lianna La Havas.

In particular Beyoncé inspires me because she has some of the BEST vocals known to man. Every album she puts out shows her progression and she has not been afraid to venture outside of her comfort zone.

Amy Winehouse inspires me because of the pure emotion she can put in a song with her voice. Its gritty, rough, soulful, and at the same time relatable.

Lianna la Havas inspires me because she has a very pure tone and uses tons of acoustic guitar, which I love. Her voice conveys tons of emotion as well.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

VJ: Just want to say that I have grown so much from my experiences and have come to realize that music can be very personal. When I was younger, I never understood that, but now that I am older, and singing about topics and situations that have affected me or my loved ones, I know that it takes courage to be able to be so transparent and share your stories with so many people you don’t know.

Shout out to…

VJ: Just wanna give a quick shout out to Peter for asking me to do this. I appreciate the involvement! Also, to my supportive/loving family and friends. And a shout out to New Orleans, for being the city which is my first stepping stone to becoming the successful lawyer that I want to be!!

Reflection and Response.

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Argentina Thursdays: What She’ll Miss

I used to be in a band during my first few years of college called Tuition Well Spent. Before I left to Argentina I recorded a melody I had written with Mike, the vocalist from Tuition. When I was in Argentina and learning how to use Logic Express 8 I found the vocal parts and decided to see what I could do with them. I can be heard using drum sticks to tap a rhythm out in the background during the vocal track. I also let Mike know that I felt the take by the grunts at the end.

Full Track

Vocal Track


So she doesn’t want to see me I can tell

Why she takes me so high that I fell

Maybe I over-think it all but I’m not sure

I got these blues baby I need a cure

So she doesn’t want to see me I can tell

Why she takes me so high that I fell

Maybe I over-think it all but I’m not sure

I got these blues baby I need a cure

Such a princess perfect every way

Find myself losing yet still I chase

One day she’ll know what she missed

Until then I swallow this bitterness

Reflection and Response

-P

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