Each month I will be bringing you a Q&A style interview with a different creative entrepreneurial woman who is living creatively, blazing her own trail, and writing her own rules along the way.
Featured in this month’s DEBUT She Lives Creatively Spotlight is Austin’s own urban folk singer songwriter Erin Ivey!
Austin.com describes Erin as, “The queen of Austin singer songwriters.” The Daily News says she is, “Truly remarkable.” And The Oregonian says, “I’d kill for a purr like that.”
So let’s get started!
Erin, congratulations on recently releasing your newest album, Whisper of the Moon! I see you as an artist who is always stretching herself to grow and expand. How does this album differ from your earlier work?
Thank you! It’s been amazing to work with Tosca String Quartet and the arrangers (Christopher Cox and Leigh Mahoney) to make these songs come to life in new ways. It’s helped me to see there are endless possibilities for a song that was written with just a guitar and voice. I hope that the quality of my work continues to improve in every aspect of the process, from inspiration to production.
You’re a triple threat – a singer, songwriter, AND musician! Which talent revealed itself first? Or did they all emerge simultaneously, being so interrelated?
All those things come from the same root and are interrelated, but I think I loved singing first.
Growing up, was your family supportive of your creative pursuits? How did their support, or lack of support, influence your path?
I am grateful that my family has always been wonderfully supportive. My Grandma is a singer and music teacher. She taught me the most about using our voices as instruments of joy and healing.
How do you define success?
Right now, I define success as stability, health, and giving.
What’s the oddest job you’ve held to pay the bills while building your music career?
Probably doing voiceovers for animated corporate training videos. “Well, Susie, it looks like your actions have affected everyone on the team…” It’s like having to sit through corporate training videos, but worse, except you get paid.
What do you consider to be your greatest artistic achievement – so far?
What’s next? Now that Whisper of the Moon has been released, will you tour for a while?
“What’s next?” used to be my favorite question. Lately, though, I’m okay with not knowing the answer. I’m taking one day at a time and focusing more on priming the well. So, stay tuned! You’ll know when I do.
Are you always writing new songs? Or do you go through creative phases?
I go through phases. I’m always writing, but songs come best and fastest when I’m away from the world for a while.
What are your self-care practices (nutrition, exercise, etc.) that support your health and vitality?
These change as we move through new phases of life. The most important things for me right now are:
· Physical strength to overcome chronic pain from a car accident and guitars hanging from my shoulder
· Lyengar yoga at least once a week, walking daily, dancing often!
· More water, EFA’s, and coconut oil
· In Austin, Johnson’s Backyard Garden CSA home delivery is an amazing way to eat more vegetables and fruit. Still trying to figure out what to do with turnips, though…
· Slowing down, learning to chill, being kinder to loved ones. It’s a speed LIMIT, not a minimum – if you’re rushing, you’ve lost
· Play – new instruments, DRUMS!, vocal effects, learning to solo on the guitar by playing along with records
· Read and listen to inspiring things. I make a reading/listening list at the beginning of every month and go spend my “Waterloo Records allowance” with great joy. It’s amazing how much more time I have when I turn off the television and, as the great Maya Angelou says, “let them see you reading…”
How do you structure your days/week to balance creative time with managing your business and nurturing relationships?
Since I got married (in 2012 to the DJ genius Mixer Rogers), I’ve had to work very consciously to construct healthy boundaries. There is a compulsive drill sergeant part of me, for whom no amount of work will ever be enough, so it’s been a tough process. One tool that has helped me a lot is thinking of the next day as starting the night before. It could be as simple as looking ahead to make sure I get enough sleep.
Has your music career influenced your marital status or your decision whether or not to have children?
My career has been my life for the past seven years, so they seem inextricable. My husband and I first met at a showcase I was playing, but we would have found each other eventually. There’s definitely more freedom in being unattached, in that you can travel more easily and life is less expensive without children. There’s more time for work and creative pursuits. On the other hand, love has a way of unlocking parts of your heart that you didn’t even know existed and providing stability from which to flourish. That can be a great source for creative expression.
Any final words of advice for creative women who are aspiring or emerging singers / songwriters / musicians?
Music is its own reward. The greatest gift to yourself and others is the passionate pursuit of transcendent and inspirational musical experience. Do your thing. Keep working and playing. In the words of Leni Stern, “Get your heart not too broken and keep your spirits up. You're going to be honed like a fine diamond for all the hurt. You're going to bend the strings and somebody's gonna cry.”
Thank you Erin!
Thanks, Marcella! These are great questions. Congratulations on your new Spotlight! I’m honored to be part of it. xoxo
To learn more about Erin Ivey, and to join the Erin Ivey mailing list, visit www.ErinIvey.com.