What is your name and where are you from?
Terra Lightfoot (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Can you tell us a little about your new single “Pinball King”?
I love the video we just released for it. It communicates everything I originally wanted to get across with the song. It’s fun, colourful, fast, and exciting…and it definitely pays homage to the pinball/rock n roll connection. I like to think i wrote this for the pinball wizard once he grew up and started chasing girls….
What was the writing process like?
The song was written in Ottawa. I had come into town on a red eye from California, fresh from a songwriting thing in LA. I played a lovely concert, and after the show went out with some friends. We found a basement venue with a crazy loud band and a row of old pinball machines, which we played most of the night. I woke up the next morning in a beautiful hotel with my guitar out of the case on the bed beside me and started singing and playing the verse riff while my eyes were still closed. The whole song fell right out of the sky almost finished. It was a wonderful and unexpected surprise. And luckily I hit record on my phone to capture the moment so I could finish the tune when I was lucid.
What was the recording process like?
Fantastic. It’s the first album that I was really able to take charge of, in a lot of ways. Not that it was necessarily where I expected to be — there was a lot of stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’d worked with the producer, Gus van Go, on my previous album, so we already had a rapport, which was great not just because it made the session be more productive but also because we were at the point when we could be more honest. Gus challenged me to get the best guitar and vocal performances, stepping completely out of the range I thought I had before I met him. I also locked down a great band before the recording and since then we’ve bonded together in such a wonderful way – our live show communicates that I think, our friendship and the amount that we’ve been on the road together playing these songs.
You also premiered the video for “Pinball King”, any good memories from shooting?
The pinball machine we used in the video made me feel sooooo nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside. I think it’s that beautiful glowing light and all the old sounds that come out of those machines. I tried to capture that feeling in the song too. Also, we were playing silly covers of Zeppelin between takes and annoying the hell out of our director, Dustin Rabin. It was our second time with him (he also did the video for “Paradise”) so the comfort level was sky high. But we had fun.
You also have a tour coming up, what a can you tell us about it?
I’ll be returning in July, which I’m pretty excited about, but unfortunately venues and festivals can’t be announced yet. I’ll be playing a festival date in Switzerland — my first visit — which should be a blast.
Will there be merch? if so what can fans expect?
I’ll have albums on vinyl and CD, plus new T shirts which I had designed as a nod to Marc Bolan and T Rex…he’s one of my favourite guitar players and performers of all time. He was all sass and glam. We also bring guitar picks and stickers and I’m thinking about starting to bring PLANTS. (No, I can’t bring plants as merch — but if I could I would.)
Where can you get tickets?
You can find ticket links at terralightfoot.com/tour-dates
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any other artists or bands?
I’m always co-writing with friends, On our record I had a couple of guests – Oliver Wood from the Wood Brothers and Jake Clemons from the E Street Band. So that was pretty rad, to say the least.
Would you be up for collaborating with artists or bands? Dream collab?
I’m always up for collaborating and I do quite a bit of it.
Playing, writing or singing with Jackson Browne, Neil Young or Willie Nelson… all of those things would be a dream. Technically I did play with Jackson Browne for a night at a party, which was the best. But we haven’t written together yet. Oh, and Allie X — I think she is very talented.
What made you go in to music?
My grandmother was a professional piano player who ran the music in the VIA train from Toronto to Montreal from 1964-1967. She was an amazing influence on me and I essentially grew up on the piano bench beside her. Same with my aunt on the other side of the family who was a travelling guitar player with an all-girl country band in the 70s. She gave me my first guitar lesson when I was a kid and I haven’t looked back. It’s been really cool for me as a woman to have this profession normalized for me. I never knew that it wasn’t a popular choice for a woman to make a living playing music. I just started doing it.
Who are your influences when you were growing up?
Man, I was into everything. I played in the jazz band in high school so I was absorbing all of that while also making time for power pop and stuff like Weezer and The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel…. the Beach Boys were my first band that I probably fell in love with, I forced my parents to let me buy their tape in third grade….My parents didn’t listen to music at home which I also thought was normal until I got a little older and realized I had been deprived of a musical upbringing. haha.
Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?
On a beach. Maybe an Australian beach. I love it there.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I think that’s a really tough question for most musicians….sometimes we define ourselves by what we do, which is music, and it’s hard to see outside of that…I can’t see myself really doing anything else as a main gig….HOWEVER, I’ve become slightly obsessed with yoga this past year. It really helps keep me centered on the road and off….and I love hiking, cooking, reading, and I’ve taken up the cello as a hobby, which I don’t count as “music” quite yet.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
That there is room for everybody, and you should be kind to everyone you meet.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
The same advice that I’ve been given: there is room for everyone, and be kind to everyone you meet. Especially the sound person. If you approach each aspect of your career with discipline and passion, you will reap the benefits.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Oh man, I always forget my capo. I think I need a capo sponsorship… I can’t forget my main guitar, Veronica…she’s important to me. I usually forget to write a set list and freak out five minutes before the show… and I suppose the most important thing to remember is to say THANK YOU to everyone who came to see us. That part is necessary for me. I’m really grateful to be able to do this for a living.
You come off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
Such a tough call. Last time I came from the airport directly to a show to sing with my pal Daniel Lanois. That was a little wild. Other times I’ve gone straight home to bed.
2/Who do you see?
Friends or my family if anyone decides they missed me enough to pick me up at the airport.
3/What do you eat?
Tacos or Sushi — something simple and easy and preferably from a rad restaurant that I missed.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?