@skopemag Q&A Featuring Randie O’Neil

So we are here mid week and the music & inspiring artists keep rolling in here @skopemag HQ. Today we have hooked up with the gracious & talented Randie O’Neil. Randie O’Neil is a singer-songwriter based in New Jersey. O’Neil’s roots-inspired sound is an organic blend drawing inspiration real life and delivered as a unique brand of upbeat coffee shop alternative pop while sending a message of strength and optimism to her listeners. She has released her new EP – ‘I’m Not That Girl.’ The ‘I’m Not That Girl’ EP contains a solid five song set about life, love, pain and hope. Join us today as Randie opens up about the new EP, being creative, what each song means, and so much more!

@skopemag: Where are we talking from today and how is spring 2019 so far for you, are you happy to see cold winter gone? Does the weather or time of year affect your songwriting?

Hello, and it’s a pleasure to speak with you! To start, I don’t like being cold!! I am such a summer person and honestly believe I was born on the wrong coast!! I really rally for warm weather, the beach, and surf. So, I actually use the seasons as part of my writing process. Winters I will hibernate and write, then some preproduction work. Summer is playtime, literally! I try to get out as much as possible. I log a lot of miles! Fall will be some production and recording. Then the cycle repeats.

@skopemag: What in your life brought you so close to your passion for music that you decided to go all in?

Early on music was a way for me to work through some tough issues. I just didn’t know where to go with everything I was feeling growing up in an alcoholic house. It was therapy, and I wrote from the heart about some tough topics. I really didn’t have the confidence to start with. I eventually found my voice and courage to let the music speak for me. Now I sing everywhere, even walking the dog if there’s a song in my head, I’ll sing. I try to use music to bring a message of hope that music gave me early on.

@skopemag: Do your family & friends support your music journey or do you focus on new and current fans most?

That’s a hard question and brings back memories. I started playing guitar early and really liked it. I would practice and work ahead on lessons. I lived for that guitar until one day I came home and it was gone. They were sold by my parents with no explanation. I was paralyzed as I sat outside the house on the curb. I thought to myself that I would sing. They can’t take my voice, I would sing, and that’s what I did. I couldn’t pick up the guitar for decades. I’d write songs and then sing them to a guitar player. Until 6 years ago, I found a teacher who helped me get past that block I had about playing. There are definitely better guitar players, but I’m proud I can play my songs.

@skopemag: What time of day and mood are you most creative to make music?

Early evening, I will sit with my cup of tea, a few pieces of chocolate and then I’m ready to write or play. I’m not a night owl but can’t write in the morning. Songwriting is a process, there are songs that I have written through inspiration. A melody comes to me or a phrase that I wrote down. Sometimes, I just have a thought or emotion that I want to write about. I try to be a disciplined writer. I try to write to prompts and challenges. It’s really empowering to know that you can just come up with things.

@skopemag: What is the plan for the ‘Not That Girl’ EP and how did choose these 5 songs?

I had been writing for a while and was thinking about a full album vs EP. I really wanted to take my best and really take time to bring them to life in the studio. So, I decided on 5 songs. Each song has its own story and vibe.

Keep me in Mind: I really just wanted to have something go my way but not being religious I wasn’t sure I was in a position to ask for a favor. So it was like, hey God, if you have a minute just keep me in mind.

I’m not that Girl: I actually was a finalist in a song contest with this song. (NJ Arts and Music) There’s something about a high school reunion that seems to resonate with people. It wasn’t a good time for me. I wasn’t sure people really knew who I was or what I was going through at home.

Sinners and Saints: was a song prompt from the songwriting group I belong to, Skylands Songwriting Guild. I wasn’t going to participate. Then I had an idea. I thought it was a good chance to take responsibility for decisions I’ve made since I haven’t always made the best decisions. Sometimes you’re a sinner and sometimes a saint. But, it’s never too late to stand up and turn things around especially in relationships.

Sister Sister: is really about women, including my sisters, not really supporting each other. I feel when I go home, they are waiting for me to get past my phase and just do what other people do. I tried that and was unhappy.

Little boy Blue: is a tough song, it’s real, and it was an intervention I was part of as an adolescent counselor. I was called to a school to assist with a recent death by suicide of a 5th-grade student. He went upstairs for recess and just went out a window. It was really tough, and it stayed with me. It took me 5 years until I was able to complete this song and it’s one I’m not sure I can play on stage.

@skopemag: I really enjoy the single, ‘Sinners & Saints.’ If you were to make a music video for that song how does it visualize?

Thank you, Sinners and Saints is really a lot of fun to play. It was me taking responsibility for decisions I’ve made but saying it’s never too late to turn things around. We get drawn in by sexy, and it doesn’t always go well. I think the video could reflect that story yet not get too literal. At the end of the day, this song is about standing up for yourself. It should be empowering.

@skopemag: What do you hope that music enthusiasts take away after listening to the 5 song EP?

I really hope they enjoy the songs for themselves because they are fun and upbeat. I take time to craft my songs and hope they resonate. Each has its own message that people can interpret and hopefully be inspired by. I hope they hear my songs and will follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I’d love to hear from them.

@skopemag: When not working on your own music what other bands/artists do you enjoy and on what platform?

I have a really strong community of local writers that I am very active with. We meet several times a month to support our writing, we also have concerts for local and touring talent. I have collaborated with artists such as Anthony Krizan of the Spin Doctors, and this kind of experiences have allowed me to grow as an artist.

I have been inspired by many female artists. I came from a generation when it was a real struggle to be a female artist. I have a great deal of respect for Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Blondie, Joan Jett. Back in the day, you didn’t hear 2 chick songs back to back on the radio. Now they rule the airways!! I think there is still work to do but so psyched at the progress.

As far as platforms, I have music on all the time from the time I step in my car, work and at home. I love Sirius radio, Amazon Prime Music and I listen to some local radio that streams online. (WNTI, radionowhere) Most nights out involve music. Working on it, supporting others who are playing live. I love live music.

@skopemag: What goals would you like to achieve with music and where you @ online?

I just love writing songs and hope people will hear my songs and sing along. I want people to relate to them and be inspired. For myself, it would be great to hear a song on the radio. (is that old school?) or download and listen. I’m a dreamer, and the sky’s the limit.