What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Indie-folk, folk, alternative folk
Give us a little bio about you.
Here’s my official bio: With her new single “Machine Age,” Terra Naomi reclaims her place in the cultural zeitgeist, first established ten years ago with her viral hit “Say It’s Possible.” A meditation on the culture shock of post-election America, “Machine Age,” Naomi’s self-described “lyric download,” is at once a dystopic anthem and a plea for peace.
Written in response to Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” 2007’s “Say It’s Possible” won a global fan base, along with the inaugural YouTube Award for Best Music Video. Naomi was quickly tapped as the only new artist invited to play Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, alongside Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Legend, David Gray, Foo Fighters, and The Black Eyed Peas.
Her new album (due this summer) was recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Schick (Wilco, Iron & Wine, Rufus Wainwright, Mavis Staples) and multi-instrumentalist Joe Adamik (Iron & Wine, Califone), at Wilco’s studio in Chicago. Naomi crowdfunded one of the top music campaigns in IndieGoGo’s history (and catalyzed $500K in matching funds for 5 charities). Recently, she’s played with artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Outlaw, and Robert Delong.
The songwriting on the new album comes from a place of emotional maturity, revelation, and unapologetic authenticity. Naomi’s songs are both intimate and universal; words and melodies move seamlessly between emotions, reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s vulnerable lyricism.
The mournfully political “Machine Age,” is emblematic of the album: a dramatic ride through a wide range of experience. From classical operatic training, through independent singer songwriter earnestness, then major label pop production, and finally beyond all those influences. The single, and the album it heralds, leave an undeniable imprint when the music ends.
What made you go in to music?
Music is the only thing I’ve consistently wanted to focus on, since I was about 4 years old.
Are you a signed?
No — I released my first album with Universal Island Records and Universal Music Publishing, and I am now releasing my music independently.
Your set to release your new single ‘Machine Age’, tell us more about it.
Like pretty much everyone, I’ve felt outrage and frustration for over a year. But I refuse to create more hate, and I’ve spent this year trying to figure out how to transform all this negativity into the love I want to see in the world. The song “Machine Age” literally downloaded through me one day in response. The last lines – I believe in love more than I want to hate – feel like a reminder, and then a plea, and then a mantra, and then a protest chant, and finally, an act of resistance. Because that’s what choosing love is these days.
Describe the track in two words.
Tell us about the writing process.
I was not planning to write a song — my album was done, or so I thought….I was in the shower, getting ready to go out, and one of the lines suddenly came into my head: “Now our screams are a reoccurring theme, and I screamed so many times, I used my voice til I was hoarse, and don’t tell me I’m a poet in a Machine Age, when you’ve programmed all my words into a lifeless machine brain…” and I knew I had to write the song. So I canceled my plans, sat down, and the song literally wrote itself in under an hour, beginning to end. I didn’t even know what I had written until I was finished, and I went back to listen to the recording on my iPhone, and read the words on my laptop.
Tell us more about the recording process.
I recorded the song with my friend Joe Adamik, in Chicago. Joe and I met in the studio, recording the rest of the album, last November, and we instantly connected. I knew I wanted to work with him again, so I sent him an iPhone voice memo recording of the song, and we were in the studio within two weeks. I knew exactly what I wanted this song to sound like, so I wanted to co-produce it with him. Joe and I and played everything on the track. It was my first time co-producing my music, and it was the best recording experience I’ve ever had. I stand behind every single sound, every note played — it’s all exactly as I want it to be — I didn’t compromise or settle on anything, which usually happens at least a little bit when you work with a producer, and that is an incredible feeling.
It was co-produce by multi-instrumentalist Joe Adamik, how did it come about an what was the process like?
See above 🙂
Will you be touring this year?
I certainly hope so!
If So where will you be heading?
Definitely UK and Europe, hopefully US and Canada, too.
What else can we expect from you in 2018?
The release of at least one more single, and then the album release in late summer!
Do you play any instruments?
Piano and guitar.
Who are your influences?
Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Mozart, Strauss
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
A lyric and melody usually come into my head unexpectedly; it’s often when I’m doing something completely unrelated to songwriting, like taking a shower, or driving, or walking.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Writing and recording song, playing music for people around the world.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I spend a lot of time on yoga and meditation because it helps with anxiety and depression, and keeps me focused on the present, rather than the past and future. I also love good television and movies. I love losing myself in a great story after a day of focused work. And I love traveling with my husband, as often as possible, and spending time with our family and friends.
You are from Los Angeles, what is the best event you have been too there?
Probably a tie between Dolly Parton at the Hollywood Bowl and Conor Oberst at the Greek.
Where would your dream venue to play in your hometown?
In LA, I’d love to start with the Wiltern, then the Greek, and then Hollywood Bowl. In NY, I’d love to play at The Town Hall.
For anyone visiting LA, where would you recommend to go?
There are so many places….Venice is really cool and interesting, the beach is great, I like walking around the side streets and looking at the houses, especially in the Venice Canals. The canals are one of my favorite parts of this city.
Would you be up for more collaborations? if so can artists contact you and where to contact you?
I’m up for collaborations, yeah, but I have very little time.
If you could collaborate with one UK Artists or Band who would it be?
If you could collaborate with one US Artists or Band who would it be?
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
A whole bunch of Elliott Smith songs.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
If there is anything else I can see myself doing happily, instead of pursuing music as my career, then DO THAT. Music is a rough ride.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Make music that you love, and don’t try to chase something that you think could be “popular” — popularity is usually short-lived and fleeting, and if you create music you love, no one can take that away from you.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
These days, it’s this quote by Elie Wiesel: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Do you mean when I’m playing a gig? I’m pretty low maintenance. Sure, I’d love to have both of my guitars and a piano and CDs to sell and my special capo and Fishman acoustic DI, and my own mics, and some gum to chew after I sing…but I’m fine without any/all of that, usually. I borrowed guitars from other artists or people coming to the shows, all across Europe and the UK on my recent tour, this past October/November!
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?