Hello there my loyal friends of music and just overall zen vibes. It is an honor and pleasure to be here. In Skope news as you have noticed the site is now Google approved mobile friendly on all devices and a Skopemag App is coming too. Now lets see what is going on in music today, Japan’s government has announced a draft revision of the country’s copyright law, which will be in line with the broad agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As part of the revision, the Government has decided to allow for the prosecution of copyright infringement without the need for a formal complaint from the original creator or rightsholder. In Japan, copyright violation is currently considered as a “shinkokuzai” – an offense that can only be prosecuted when a victim complains. In other news of interest, entries are now accepted for the 21st Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Songwriters vie for a chance to win a top prize of $50,000 worth of cash and merchandise such as music gear. Winning songs will be receiving radio airplay. Songwriters can enter in 15 different song categories such as: Pop, Rock/Alt, Folk, R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Instrumental, etc @ http://www.songwriting.net. So today we have a incredibly talented and beautiful musician from Portland, OR, Laura Berman. I came across Laura’s EP ‘Everything In Between’ and I was blown away. Her vocals and beautiful instrumentals just put you at ease, amazing! So join us today as Laura speaks on a rainyday in Portland, the album ‘Everything In Between’, her mood & setting to create her art, and so much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and how is 2016 so far?
I’m in Portland, Oregon! And 2016 is so far so good. We’re getting some rain, but it’s Portland after all.
Stoli: What are some music goals that you would like to accomplish this year?
Songwriting is the #1 priority for me in 2016. Since we moved cross country 7 years ago, I’ve been touring a lot and I’m really looking forward to being home this year and putting my energy into crafting and demo-ing my new songs and booking gigs right here in Portland. I’d also like to get even more connected with songwriters and artists in the Nashville scene. Lots of great stuff happening there. I want to connect with other great artists, too, planting seeds for double-bills later in the year, and in 2017.
Stoli: At what age did you start playing music and when did it become more than just a hobby?
I started singing at young age, around 4th grade. I was in the choir and school plays (although my grandmother would have later attested to the fact that I repeated “Row Row Row your boat” back to her at around 8 months old). I started violin around 4th grade, too and ended up choosing choir over orchestra in 8th grade and so began my love for singing. I also started piano lessons around age 8, and continued with those until I was 16 or so. Music always made me feel good, singing made my body buzz, there is nothing like it. I don’t think I ever made a conscious choice to make it more than a hobby; I just kept singing and playing and writing … There have definitely been times in my music career where the low money streams coming in could justify it being a hobby but that’s another conversation entirely…
Stoli: What other musician/band do you listen to and admire?
I love The Damnwells, and The Weepies, and singer/songwriters Peter Bradley Adams, Sara Groves, and Chris Stapleton is just Amazing. And Adele, c’mon now! I was really influenced by Edwin McCain, Jeffrey Gaines and Jonatha Brooke in my 20’s coming up in the NYC scene. Huge influence on my songwriting. I also listen to a lot of today’s pop country music, like Sam Hunt, Cam, Sara Evans and Jason Aldean, for their voices, but more specifically for the songwriting. Some AMAZING songwriters out there, Very inspiring.
Stoli: Has your family & friends been supportive of you and have you faced any adversity within the industry?
I’ve gotten so much love & support over the years from my family and friends, I’m so lucky. And the indie music industry has so many resources for support, marketing, touring, etc. that there’s not much you can’t do as an independent artist these days. As far as the corporate music industry, I haven’t ever really gotten that close to it as an artist to experience any adversity. Wish I was getting more from Spotify and Pandora, but I’m guessing that’s the wish of all indies, ha! And I know when songs get placed and cut, I’ve got great legal people in my camp and a good head on my shoulders. I’ll always know what to do.
‘EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN’ EP:
Stoli: When you are being creative & making music what kind of mood & setting is best for you?
I’ve got to have a lot of uninterrupted alone time for the space to write, and I’ve got to be persistent and not give up. I also have to give myself permission to go really deep inside, and not edit or monitor what I’m saying. Uncensored expression is vital … you can always edit later on. I also have to be taking good care of myself, and leave the worries outside the room. There’s nothing more prohibitive to my songwriting than being bent out of shape, or not feeling well physically or emotionally … But now that I think about it, when I’m not feeling well emotionally lots of great stuff can be put on the pad for sure.
Stoli: I got to stream & enjoy your album, ‘Everything In Between.’ How long did that album take to write/record and how has the response been?
Thank You! Everything in Between took us (my husband, Craig Benelli produced it) about three years or so to record. I was doing a lot of touring and Craig had projects of his own so it took quite a while to release it. The response has been just wonderful and I’m grateful. I love that it has a mix of upbeat and acoustic songs … gives my fans a variety of vibes to enjoy.
Stoli: I love your song “Lift Off.” Please speak on that song and what is the special meaning behind it?
Thank You! I think “Lift Off” was an ode to my artist self, like “hey girl, I know you’re going through all this crap, and I’m feeling stuck, and why do I even bother with this music career but … if I just ask to be opened up, the good juju will come in and I will be off, flying on my way, becoming new”. Lyrics and music to motivate myself – I often feel very cozy with the way things are, not pushing myself to learn and grow, and stretch. It’s good to acknowledge where you’ve been, and know you’ve got to soar. Something in you is ready, and you can trust that the wind carry you. There’s freedom in the trusting.
Stoli: Do you get to play live much and what can we expect from your live show?
I plan to stay close to Portland for a spell, so doing gigs here for sure. I often play solo, at the piano and acoustic guitar, but will do band shows depending on the venue. Many indies are doing StageIt and Periscope shows and that’s giving me a lot of new ideas for sure. I’ll always keep my website and Facebook updated with shows as they’re booked. I’m really excited to get out there
once this new batch of tunes is written. New beginnings feel great!
Stoli: When you are not doing music what other passions do you enjoy?
I love to hike in the wilderness, cook and have a good time with my honey and our friends. I enjoy supporting my friends who are artists, and those who create products and services. I love creative, smart people and support them with spreading the word about the great stuff they do. I actually have a Tea blend for Women I’ve been working on for a few years and I’m plan on getting it out in the world in 2016. Lifting off in a different way! I’m grateful to have the support system I have. We’re all doing lots of great stuff, and there’s nothing like it.
Stoli: What is coming up for Laura Berman and where you @ online?
I plan to start demo-ing my new songs as I write them, and also do a video or two from Everything in Between. Yes! You find me online at all these places:
I post live recordings and new song demos here: http://www.soundcloud.com/laurabermanmusic