The Ready Set
By Dani Felt (March 1, 2017)
- Who or what is your biggest inspiration that helps you be a better artist?
Listening to everything. I try not to let one specific thing be my main inspiration ever, because i don’t want to fall into a sound derivative of something else. Every song i hear, i think, subconsciously inspires me. I just want inspiration to come naturally, i think that’s where the best songs come from- a headspace where you don’t even have to think about it.
- Do you have a support system? If so, who are the people that are part of it and how they helped you in your career?
My family and girlfriend, always. They’ve never doubted me since the beginning, and i think that maintaining an attitude of “this is what I’m going to do until it succeeds” is really valuable and amazing, especially when you’re starting out. it can really affect the way you perceive things. It’s all about anticipating the best and going with the flow, and they enable me to do that.
- How does reality impact your craft? Does music help you escape it, or confront it?
a little bit of both. for me, i hope my music creates an escape if somebody wants that, and i hope it adds to their reality if they want that. I’ve written songs based around true events in my life, and I’ve written lyrics that are just made up in my head, but that’s not the important part to me- what matters is that listeners connect to it and interpret or apply it in their own way. i always prefer when artists don’t give away the exact inspiration, it’s like a cool mystery.
- Do you feel pressured to be a certain kind of artist and create a specific product? If so, do you believe your music is compromised by following nowadays “norms”?
for a little while i was under that weight like crazy. there are a few things I’ve done that felt compromised, but I’ve come to terms with that and i believe everything is all part of the journey, as cliché as that sounds. I’m very focused on doing what feels natural to me. I’ve found that my fans tend to relate more to that really “TRS-sounding” vibe than to something that sounds like it was written to “be” something. luckily i have a great team who really backs that kind of mindset.
- If you could pick anyone in the world to collaborate with, who would that be and why?
probably prince because.. it’s prince.
- Do you consider yourself as a brand? If so, how does that change the way you approach you career? If you don’t, what is the principle behind it?
kind of, kind of not. on a human level, it’s important to be in touch with the things about you that fans connect to, but not to the point of where you begin to act in a certain way in an attempt alter their perception of you. it’s a really fine line, i think. in the sense of marketing, design, merchandise, etc., i definitely do, but in a weird way- i don’t want my fans to feel like I’m trying to be a salesman. i design my own merchandise, album art, etc. etc., and i think that’s played a big part in letting people know that everything they’re getting from TRS is entirely me and I’m not trying to pander to anyone. i want it all to feel cool and real.
- In your experience, does social media help your artistry and to build a loyal fan base? How important is networking to you?
the most important. that along with touring make the biggest difference. i built my career off of social media entirely- and that paired with touring and making face to face connections with those dedicated fans goes a super long way. not to mention i love doing both things. i can sit on twitter for hours and talk to my fans and it’s great- they’re super sweet and funny.
- What would you say to a struggling musician who is about to give up?
for me personally, every time something bad happened to me, shortly after things would look up. there’s really never anywhere to go but up as long as you see it that way. all the negative things will make for good stories once you make it through them. the first show i ever played on tour was to 50 kids, where i earned $50 (not enough to get a hotel). i slept in my SUV on top of speakers that night, and my keyboard player slept in a display shed outside of a home depot. i remember feeling so defeated, but i got up the next day and pressed on. everything can get better as long as you take yourself out of a negative, defeated mindset.
- Where do you see the music business going in five years? Where do you see yourself then?
I’m not really sure, i don’t think about it much. a lot of people stress about it like crazy. it’s not anything that’s in my control, so my thing is just to do what i do, and try to do it progressively better. the business is probably going to downsize and maybe the heavy-hitter major labels will all merge together or something, but i think good music will always thrive.. so I’ll try to be good. there will always be new avenues for artists, i mean, 5 years ago it was all MySpace, and now it’s YouTube which can be super profitable in a ton of ways. things change. who knows, maybe it’ll turn around in 5 years and it will be like the 80’s all over again and everybody will have gazillion dollar video budgets. actually this is probably the most thought I’ve put into the music industry in a while. as for myself, who knows! i guarantee I’ll still be writing, producing, touring, etc. though..
- What is the hardest aspect of being in the music world and how do you protect yourself?
critics, rude people, reviews, etc. etc. the standard territory. what gets me the most are album reviews- i think a lot of artists would agree with me there. it could be a great review but it still feels cheap when i read it (which is not something i often do). it’s like months of work condensed into a short paragraph based on one person’s opinion saying “good” or “bad” with a star rating scale that compares you to the artists of whatever genre of music that particular press outlet focuses on. i can’t read anyone’s reviews, mine or otherwise, because i feel like the reviewer is listening to music from a judgmental place rather than just taking it in for what it is. it reminds me of being graded for math tests. i actually dropped out of algebra 2.
- What do you want your legacy to be?
i just want to accomplish the things i want to accomplish, make people happy, write songs that people love for a long long time, and never worry about what people will think about the result. i want my legacy to be the most chill legacy of all time.
- What do you think, the 5-year old you would think about where you are right now in your career?
I’d probably be pretty stoked. i was really into trains at the time, so I’d probably be like “cool!” and then go back to messing with locomotives.