The second artist to feature in my Music Interview Marathon is American singer/songwriter Holly Penfield. She tells us about her musical creative process and shares how being a solo artist can be lonely at times but also is important in finding your own style.
Artist’s Name: Holly Penfield
Genre: Eclectic rock, pop
Originated From: San Francisco, California, USA
Discography: Full Grown Child (Dreamland Records, Inc), Parts of my Privacy (Traffic) & Tree Woman (Raymond Records)
How would you describe your music?
My newest album Tree Woman is a passionate collection of song styles ranging from rock to pop to blues to latin. It’s very emotional music and lyric wise deals with the imperfect human condition gone wrong and then “maybe” gone right depending on my days of sanity and insanity.
There are some heartfelt ballads, a bit of levity with a song about Tom Waits or a just plane crazy song like Last Enemy with a frantic ska beat. There are campfire chats with owls hooting and Native Americans chanting. No kitchen sink though – Sorry!
What is your musical creative process like?
Very erratic. It takes energy and calmness at the same time, which is a difficult balance. I go fishing for ideas as David Lynch recommends. The creative process is a very personal and sometimes meditative thing.
That’s why it really works when your heart is ready to “receive it”. Sometimes it comes from painful experiences and other times from blissful moments but when your heart and mind is confused it can get stuck in the shadows of your soul.
That is when I get sad or dare I say depressed. Some call it writers block. Still for me it always comes back when I go fishing again and find that weird balance of feelings.
Who influenced you within the music industry?
Endless love affairs with different artists – Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Elton John, John Lee Hooker, “especially Laura Nero and Tom Waits”, David Bowie and many many others.
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play?
That would be the 100 Club with my band just recently March 8th 2020. It was sold out and I launched my new album, Tree Woman. It was the dream of my long career of never giving up until I produced this album.
It was also the last night of innocence as coronavirus took hold that very next week. Everyone was on their feet going mad. Yes, the best gig of my life and the best album I’ve ever made, which goes to show your life is never over when it comes to creation and making art. It’s never too late to create your masterpiece!
What is the best thing about being a musician?
I would have to say that being in a band is much more fun. Being a solo artist is a lonely road yet sometimes it’s important to explore a solo approach for a while to help you find your own style.
Still it is great to combine it with other personal styles and sometimes you get lucky and hit the scene with a mighty force that only a band can create on stage and in the studio.
What is the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician?
Having the guts to keep going no matter what or who tries to make you give up.
What plans have you got coming up this year?
Waiting for the virus to be tamed so all of us artists who like to perform live can go back to work. Been doing live broadcasts on Facebook but it is just not the same.
What is your ultimate dream as a musician?
To go on a magical mystery tour!!!
Holly Penfield’s Tree Woman album is available to stream/purchase online.
If you’re in a band or a musician and would like to appear on this blog, please contact me and I’ll forward you an interview template.
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