Monday, 26 September 2016

Beehive Candy Talking To - Jen Baron

A week ago we featured singer and songwriter Jen Baron and her composition 'Til I've Got You.

Since then we have had the opportunity to ask her some questions, and of course being Beehive Candy use this, as a valid reason to share another song, in this instance 'Joy Machine' a much rockier piece and a really good one at that!

The major labels have been slow adopters of all things Internet, do you think they now 'get it'? - I definitely see their presence on platforms like Sound Cloud and Instagram. It's a great way for them to promote their artists. I think we'll only see more engagement in the future.

Live gigs or selling music, whats the lucrative one these days? - As a songwriter and producer, I'm rarely out there playing live music. The last time I played live was for a Girls Rock SB benefit concert. For me, I'm focused on licensing my music and working with artists directly to cover the songs I write. What I love about the landscape of the millennial music industry is there are so many options for artists to get their music out there.

Can music still influence people on mass, like the "protest songs" of the sixties, and if so, in a positive manner? - Wow - that's such a good and thought provoking question! I would like to say yes and believe that exists, but honestly I don't know if music is the catalyst for change anymore. It seems like the power of social media has taken it's place in a big way. I wish music was still a driving force of political activism - I know the punk scene still uses it in that way.....but that is usually more underground.

How does a song writer go about getting others to perform their material these days? - All I can do is speak from my own personal experience. I asked people I knew for a lot of advice starting out. I think industry folks are just inundated with artists wanting them to listen to their material and help give them a leg up, but asking for advice - I think it's less daunting. I keep every response I've ever received in an email folder and I frequently go back and look at peoples comments . I focus on forming meaningful relationships. I stay open to critique and always, always try and remember those pieces of critique when I'm writing. I work hard. However hard I expect a publisher or management team to work for me and run the material, I expect even more of myself. From the outside the music industry looks like a locked kingdom - but if you take the time to form the relationships, be open to advice, and really work on your craft, you'll start to see the doors open.

What's the future of music radio in the age of streaming Spotify, Itunes etc? - I rarely stream music. I have an 11-year-old who lives by streaming services like Spotify though. There is something I just love about radio: great DJ's and personalities, contests.. oh my god there was seriously nothing better than winning a pair of concert tickets as a teen! If I heard one of my songs on Pandora I'd be like, " that's cool!", but if my song was charting on the radio -- I would flip out! I think radio still has such a strong place in our future.

Whats the best thing you have got out of the music industry (and the worst)? - The best thing are the wonderful people I've met. I've had the opportunity to work with incredible song writers and industry professionals who have become like family to me over the years. The worst thing? hmm.. I think in the beginning hearing critique from music bloggers especially was hard. Now I look back - and I considered a bad review someone saying " such a great song, just needs some work on the production"  - and it would just gut me. Now I'm like, "cool - i'm gonna focus on a killer production for this track".

What motivates you to write songs? - Heartbreak. mine or others. I'm an overly empathetic person, which as a songwriter gives me a really unique ability to tell stories that are not my own, but still have the emotional underbelly of a first hand experience. My kid says I only know how to write sad songs, so then I wrote " She Looks Like Katy Perry " just to prove him wrong.

Tell us a little about the Girls Rock project? - Girls Rock SB is a non-profit I founded that empowers girls through music education, creative expression and performance. I started it in 2012 with 29 girls enrolled and today we serve over 500 girls between the ages of 7-17 years old a year. It's just the coolest curriculum: girls sign up to learn to play either drums, bass, guitar, vocals, or keys, they form a band, are mentored by our all-female staff, and spend 10 weeks in our after school program or a week in our summer camps writing an original song, recording it and performing it to a sold out crowd. Last year girls in our program wrote 81 original songs!! Two years ago we expanded our program to include a photography and film track, journalism track and sleep away camp for our teens. Girls are gaining important leadership skills and learning to work in a team, supporting each other instead of tearing each other down. We're changing the world and the coolest thing is we are part of a much larger network of like-minded non-profits who share the same mission. Want to talk about music influencing political change - it's rad!

Can musicians, songwriters, survive professionally long term these days? - I sure hope so. Ha! I think the best thing to do is surround yourself with a creative team you believe in and who believe in you.

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