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DM) How did you get your start in music?
HF) After about a year of going to blues jams and getting my vocal chops together, I was approached by a great a guitarist, Jake Thompson, who really opened doors for me, creatively. We did the obligatory open mics, blues jams, etc... until we landed our first show, a non-paying opening slot for a local Seattle blues man, Eric Moore. That was about two years ago. I'd say we've come pretty far since then!
DM) Where did you learn to play guitar?
HF) I started playing guitar last year when I decided I wanted to move away from being only a lyricist and putting words to melodies that I created. I am self-taught, and it shows! Which is why I always travel with a guitarist...
DM) What part of playing are you currently studying? Bar chords, reading music?
HF) I play in open tunings exclusively and am working on finger-picking and slide guitar.
DM) You cover a few blues songs on this album. Who are some of your favorite blues artists?
HF) We only do one blues cover, "Walkin Blues", by Robert Johnson. That other blues tune is an original. Favorite blues artists include Sippy Wallace, Big Mama Thornton, Annie Raines, Peter "Madcat" Ruth, (hey, I'm a harp player, what do you expec
t?), and Mississippi Fred McDowell. I like Bonnie Raitt a great deal, too, but I wouldn't call her a "blues artist", per se....sort of, like I'm not really a blues artist either; I'm more of a songwriter with a very prominent blues influence.
DM) What other artists, outside of the world of blues, do you consider an influence?
HF) Joni Mitchell, Edie Brickell, Susan Werner, Bruce Hornsby, and Sting.
DM) Bruce Hornsby is a favorite of mine... When did you get into him?
HF) I was in high school when he came out with "The Way it Is." I immediately bought the record and have bought everything he's done since! I think acoustic musicians owe a great deal to him for bringing acoustic music back into the forefront. I'm glad he made enough money early on, feeding the pop machine, so now he can concentrate on making eclectic, funky a$% music, without worrying about selling enough albums to pay the record company back.
DM) Where do you see your musical career going in five years?
HF) With the advent of Indiegrrl, I've met some really exceptional people, made some great contacts and some even better friends. I am a firm believer that the only reason an artist needs a major label is because of financial constraints, which can be remedied within a cooperative, and that is what Indiegrrl is. Indiegrrl is now a non-profit organization, a record label with a comp CD being released in April, and an enormous cooperative effort of women and men, furthering the development of women in the music industry, without the assistance of major labels. So, in answer to this question (this would be the long answer.
..), I see myself continuing on with Indiegrrl Records, making a name for myself a la Ani DiFranco, and hopefully having more time to compose and record.
DM) Are you looking for more artists on Indiegrrl?
HF) Always. We are pretty selective about who is allowed to perform during an Indiegrrl event, but the main Indiegrrl Mailing list is available to everyone, regardless of their level of experience. I have seen the Indiegrrl list give new performers the courage to take to the stage and really progress at a pace they might not have been able to achieve without the support of other Indies. We all have to work together or nothing substantial gets done.
DM) What do you look for in new artists?
HF) When I get a press kit from a new artist, I open it, take out the CD, and toss the rest in a pile. If I like the CD after a full listen through, I'll look at the press kit itself and make a decision about placement (i.e., those with more experience get headlining spots, and those with less experience get supporting spots for exposu
re). If I don't like the CD, I won't open the kit. So the answer is, I suppose, I don't go for looks (if you suck but you're cute, you don't have a chance, so don't both
er), and I don't go for hype (if you suck, but you played the side stage at the Lilith Fair, I don't care....you still suc
k.) What matters is the music, bottom line, which is a huge difference between Indiegrrl and major labels. But I won't get started on that again.
Things are different now, too...look at Shawn Mullins...He self-produced 7 albums before he had any commercial success. No one really self-produced albums in the 80's...Independent music has taken over the industry. It's about damn time. I have this thing about major labels. They seem to find artists on polar ends of the spectrum. The artists are either too young and/or dumb (or they don't ca
re) to realize they are in the one-hit wonder-making machine, or they are desperate after struggling for so long to sign any deal. I was handed a contract once. I wasn't ready then (I was 20 years o
ld), and I'm not at my full potential as an artist now. I know that any contract offered to me at this point in my career is not going to be in my best interest. And at this point, I don't think I'll need a major label, maybe, ever. I already know how to manage a band, record, duplicate, distribute, and publicize a CD, book a tour, get publicity for myself, get radio airplay, and I kiss ass pretty well...the only thing a major can offer me is money and resources to do these things. And that is what Indiegrrl Inc. is for...to band independent artists together, pool our resources, play major cities, publicize the hell out of ourselves to gain exposure. Some of the girls are ready to be signed by a major...now. They just don't have the exposure. I hope we can provide that for them, if being signed is their goal.