What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Someone categorized it as cinematic pop once and that feels like a good description.
Give us a little bio about you.
I am a singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, violinist, producer, engineer, and GRAMMY voting member of The Recording Academy. I’ve written, arranged, and engineered music for other artists in varying genres and have worked as a session musician in a variety of contexts. As an adoptee and adoptee advocate, I’ve been emerging from a transformative time of reclamation and writing a lot of new songs that are a universal call for collective healing. You can read my full bio/story here: https://www.fereraswan.com/story
What made you go into music?
I started piano lessons at age 3, violin at age 6, and I’ve been writing music in my head for as long as I can remember. I always knew I was adopted, but after having it confirmed I wrote my first instrumental piece at age 10. I didn’t have language for what I was experiencing then, and music was my safe place to feel and explore.
Who are your influences?
I’ve always liked listening to a wide range of genres. I have a hard time pinpointing specific people/bands.
Are you signed?
You released your new single ‘To Say Goodbye’, tell us more about the single.
Over the summer, I had lunch with a fellow adoptee I was meeting for the first time. We connected with an ease that can only be shared between those of us who live the life experience of being involuntarily separated from our families of origin. In my thoughts after our conversation that afternoon, I sat down at the piano that night and wrote “To Say Goodbye”—it seemed effortless to write, as if it just fell out of my heart and into the words and melodies.
What is the meaning behind the single?
Over recent years, I’ve been raising awareness around grief, maternal separation & adoption trauma and advocating for family preservation and more ethical practices. Adoptee grief is largely misunderstood by those outside of this life experience. We grieve our mothers, families, our roots. I believe it’s in allowing ourselves to hold grief and gratitude simultaneously—the integration of both—where we can truly discover healing. The chorus of “To Say Goodbye” is intended to be more of a rhetorical question; an invitation of empathy. After struggling for most of my life asking, how do I let go of my mother? I’ve realized I don’t. With certain kinds of loss, perhaps it’s not about letting go, but about looking in, finding the courage to sit with our pain, being changed by what it teaches us and experiencing the healing that will come as a result of that act of self-love and bravery.
What was the writing and recording process like?
With all the changes in our world lately, I’ve been so thankful for the ability to work on music remotely. The lyrics and music came out simultaneously on this song, and I always write on the piano. I tracked my vocals and piano parts at home while collaborating remotely with my co-producer Jacob, and we’d send files via Dropbox. I wanted to get a good vocal take, so I decided to build a homemade vocal booth with mic stands, moving blankets, and a vocal shell, which was fun! I added some sparkly LED lights inside and put LED candles on the floor so I could see. It got a little warm and a mosquito kept biting me while I was recording, but I got it done!
Describe the track in two words.
Who did you work with on the single?
I worked with Jacob Hildebrand on the production; Bob Horn was the mixing engineer, and Randy Merrill was the mastering engineer. Deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with such incredibly talented and kind people.
Will we see a Music video for ‘To Say Goodbye’, what can we expect from the creative process?
There is a lyric video available, but I’d love to do an actual music video for this song at some point. Leading up to this new release, several adoptees with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences shared their own hearts with me using the words “to say goodbye” in support of this cause and adoptee movement. I imagine it would creatively incorporate that somehow.
Will we see an EP or Album and if so, can you give us a teaser of what to expect?
I have more music coming in the very near future! It’s definitely unlike anything I’ve shared.
Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you at?
I’m playing a little acoustic set at Cafe Mueller on March 18th here in Austin, and am also planning a virtual show soon.
What else can we expect in 2022?
More reclamation, more hope. More music for sure, and more videos.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Still speaking truth to power in a variety of healing forms, and emboldening others to do the same.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I wrote these two things years ago as I was working through some hard things, and have shared them on my social media: “Shame cannot survive where there is truth, courage, and a voice.”
“Our greatest gifts are often found in our deepest pain. Explore what hurts, and find yourself.”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Mic, Nord, keyboard stand, bench, iPad.