13th Annual Pop EP Nominee
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Canberra, Australia
Genre: Folk Pop
Category Entered: Pop EP
Work Submitted: EP Oh My Lullaby
Artists Featured: Amber Nichols
Who are your influences?: My influences vary from the old greats like Etta James, Elvis through to Joni Mitchell, Elton John and more recently London Grammar, Coldplay and Sia
Describe your nominated work: I write from personal experiences. This EP is a collection of songs or lullabies that encapsulated my thoughts, feelings and life at the time. The title track Oh My Lullaby is dedicated to my brother Ethan who has Down syndrome and is a constant inspiration to me. He reminds me to always stay true to myself and embrace who I am because that is when I truly shine. Thief describes how love crept up on me when I fell in love with a friend, my now husband. Hello Winter and This Time represent longing and loss and the importance of holding onto faith and hope as like the seasons the pain too shall pass and evolve with time. Apple Tree is a throwback to young love and the care free days of my youth and May You Find Love a prayer for the hurting and the lonely.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: There is a consistent theme of harps and xylophones the work to bring a cute yet quirky sensibility whilst keeping the feel quite organic. If you listen closely you may also hear some rain sticks.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: We used some of my vocal out takes to chop up, put effects on and place in the mix as other instruments / sounds. What looked like scraps became wonderful additions and added the much needed icing on top (with sprinkles!)
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I work full time as an Account Manager, chasing the dream outside the hours of 9 to 5 so I funded much of the EP myself including trips round Australia to write and record with Australia’s best songwriters and producers. I then had the task of stripping all those songs back down to my top 6. It was at this point that I sought the help of my friends and fans through crowdfunding to finalize the works and release them. Crowdfunding is such a wonderful way of allowing your fans to contribute to the realization of your dream and share in the success of your creation. I was lucky enough to exceed my target with each contributor receiving copies of the EP, badges, hugs and personal concerts as rewards. I expect it to be another year before I recoup those costs.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 13th IMAs?: Good things doesn’t come to those who wait it comes to those who dream big, chase those dreams and grab a hold of them with everything they have. I am constantly looking for ways to gain exposure and to share my music and my soul with a wider audience. This seemed like a great platform to do so.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: To be able to do music full time is the dream. To spend my time creating and sharing fulltime with an audience and to have that audience impacted by my melodies and lyrics. When I can say goodbye to the 9 to 5 I will know I am on the way.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: I will publicize it through press, social media and word of mouth. I will build on this great honor and achievement to further network and gain contacts in the industry that can help me further exploit my music and give it the exposure I hope it deserves.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: I don’t believe my music discriminates when it comes to age. I have received many emails and comments from all ages including mothers who play my songs as they rock their babies to sleep. The themes are relatable to all ages young and old. My fans know what it is to love deeply and to lose. They this precious world we have the privilege to be a part of and most of all they value each other.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: My guilty pleasure on the road are caramel slices. My weakness is food and my tooth is sweet!
One mishap that comes to mind: We had arrived in Singapore to take part in the Christmas in Singapore festival which was a series of shows on Orchard Road all leading up to the final concert on Christmas night where we would play to a crowd of over 60,000. When we arrived we were told to meet in the lobby in our National Costume. We looked at each other in horror, we obviously missed this vital piece of information back in Australia. When we congregated in the lobby later that evening there were performers and dancers from Hawaii, New Zealand, different parts of South East Asia and Africa, all in these elaborate costumes with feathers, grass skirts and jewels and we stood twiddling our thumbs in jeans, t-shirts and some cheap Australia flags we found at a local market tied round our heads and waists. Shameful!
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Joni Mitchell is probably my biggest musical influence. Her songs are packed full of truth and raw emotion, they hit me right where it hurts. I love the way she can say something so simple but with so much beauty.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: “Amazing Grace.” I don’t know a song that expresses greater hope than this.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I discover new music through streaming. Pandora is a great station for putting in your current favorite artists and then seeing what other music is out there that is similar to that artist. As soon as I hear a song I like I have to have it. And not just a digital copy. I am a must hold the album in my hands girl. I like to enjoy the booklet, the artwork the lyrics, the thankyou’s. It’s all part of the experience for me.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: I think crowdfunding is a great way to get your fans involved in the process of making the music BEFORE it’s available for sale. To take them on that journey with you and allow them insight into the creative process then once the works are finished they are made available to the fans that pledged to have them created in the first place. This is a fantastic way to have them feel invested in the artist, a part of the project and to ensure they pay for the end result. Crowdfuding also allows fans to have a greater connection with favorite artists through updates and also rewards with many artists offering tutorials, workshops, private concerts, tickets to shows, credits on the album etc.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: I think it’s a lack of understanding of what goes into making a successful piece of work. The time spent writing, the studio time, the producers, engineers and musicians required, the manufacturing and the marketing and publicity and that at the end of all that there is a person. Not a label with an endless supply of gold. An artist that just wants to be heard.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: Hard to say. Whilst there is a drip feeding mentality going on, with singles dropping every few months there are also artists building on the standard album like Beyonce and Coldplay with their visual albums. I’ll sit on the fence on this one and see how it plays out.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…a big secret and I want to know it.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: Last year I spent some time in LA recording and writing and I have some great new singles that I’m really proud of to release over the coming months.