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Submitted Anonymously

How would you describe your music?

That is hard. On a good day, I aspire to "heartrending." Others might call it indie rock or apocalyptic folk. I've released albums in both English and Russian, that really span a number of genres so it's hard to put them all under one umbrella.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

As a solo musician, I write all my songs, provide artistic direction for the band and make all business and marketing decisions myself.

Describe your gear.

One Danelectro guitar that looks like it was made from a recycled formica countertop. A non-name brand classical guitar (that I play like a regular acoustic). A strumstick with a pick-up attached. An autoharp, also with a pick-up attached.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"Men are obviously all different so I can't generalize. I have no idea whether being a male musician is ""different"" but I will say that there is a lot more of them and it is hard sometimes, when touring and playing, say, ten shows in a row on rosters of three bands per night where every single member is male, not to wonder why. I try not to dwell on it, but sometimes the numbers alone DO make a difference to me. The low percentage of female fronted bands or solo artists on year-end best-of lists, or on magazine covers, sometimes makes me at least wonder WHY the gender imbalance is so skewed. As I grow older, and am planning to have kids, I started to notice how few successful female singers have families and wonder if making these kinds of sacrifices in part play a roll in reducing the number of women able to pursue music to the fullest extent that their talent and ambition could take them. In terms of moments when a difference became clear to me, I can provide this anecdote: I was recently included in a top ten list of favorite singers by the music blogger David Gutowski (Largehearted Boy). Of the nine other female singers on the list, only one had a child. Two of the singers were younger than me (I am 35) but seven were older. The one singer with a child, Kimya Dawson, is also married to a musician and they are able to tour together as a family. For me it was really an eye-opening moment. And I did wonder to myself: Do male musicians also face this same kind of choice, or are their wives at home, taking care of their kids while they're on tour...? "

Related Themes: Old School vs. New School

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

The best piece of advice I ever got was from my high school friend Amanda Palmer, who is now a successful solo musician and 1/2 of the duo The Dresden Dolls. The night before I was scheduled to talk on the phone with a label that was interested in releasing my first EP, I called her to ask what I should say. And Amanda told me, unabashedly, that you really really really have to WANT it. If you aren't 100% invested in your music, then audiences and labels and industry people. etc, will sense it and, in turn, invest their faith and their resources in you. She convinced me that a half-hearted effort would only end up giving itself away, and that if I wanted to make music my life, I had to fully commit to it.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I don't believe you choose the instruments you play; they choose you. That said, I do favor lighter instruments and acoustic instruments, especially when touring abroad since lugging amps gets pretty grueling and limits you in terms of travel and being able to do shows that require minimum set-up.

Related Themes: The First Time