10 Questions with ... Rebecca Moreland
July 13, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
When she was young, Rebecca Moreland would practice for hours and hours in her bedroom singing along to her favorite artists. She began writing songs at the age of 15 because she was intrigued by the idea that she could give others a voice and communicate straight to the heart through song.
Rebecca was not one of those girls that made the lead roles in the musicals and she didn't get lot of solos in choir. She didn't even make it into a couple of university programs for vocal performance. She experienced more rejections (especially in the beginning) than she could even really count, but she kept working hard and believing in what she wanted to do.
Rebecca started playing gigs in the student union in college, trying out songs she wrote and she continued booking from there. Over the last few years, she has played tons of shows, built up a song catalogue, and she has figured out who she is and what type of music she wanted to create. Rebecca is now touring colleges across the country and she is excited to share her new EP. To learn more about Rebecca Moreland and the inspiration for her new song "Freak Soul", watch...
1) What got you interested in music? What inspired you to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Like a lot of artists, music isn't something I just do, its part of who I am. I grew up in a musical family, so music was just part of our lives. Sunday dinner prayers were sung and our family gatherings most often included sitting in the living room playing music together. My two older brothers and dad play guitar, and I really have my dad to thank for my sense of melody.
My mom is a classical composer, conductor, and the founder of Benissimo Music Productions, a non-profit music organization in Texas. I grew up listening to her teach voice students and would sing along in my room to the arias they were practicing. At a young age, I was inspired by the fact that music really is the universal language of the soul. It can connect and speak into the lives of people in ways that words alone can't.
2) Who are some of your influences?
James Taylor is a big influence. One of my earliest memories is being five years-old, riding in the back of the car, looking out the window and listening to "Copperline". It was the first time it clicked with me that you could tell meaningful stories with songs. I was hooked!
3) What was the inspiration for your new single, "Freak Soul"?
Growing up, I never felt that I fit with the "in crowd." I have always had my own style, and I was made fun of quite a bit. At some point, I got fed up with trying to blend in with what everyone else expected and started to just be me. Of course, as I've gotten older I realize that everyone shares those same feelings of separation at times. That's the concept of the song, and a message I think we can all relate to. No matter who you are, it's a beautiful thing to find your unique voice and the gifts you have to share.
4) Tell us about the concept for the "Human Experience"project?
It all started a couple of years ago at Johnny Cash's cabin when I was collaborating on a concept Americana album with John Carter Cash and a group of amazing writers. I realized how much I loved writing with a theme in mind. So when I was choosing songs for my EP, I wrote them out on note cards and laid them out on my apartment floor.
I realized that a lot of my songs are not just typical pop songs about love and heartbreak, but about life themes like disappointment, friendship, ambition, loss, anger, empowerment, change, etc ... I put my acting and journalism background to use and created a vision called "The Human Experience," series of concept albums about the themes in all of our lives that tie us together as a human race. No matter what ethnicity, culture, or environment you grow up in, these are emotional themes we all experience.
5) How have social networks enhanced your ability to interact with your fans? Are there any new social media sites or strategies that you've found to be effective?
Social media has allowed me to annoy my fans with cute photos of my dog! On a serious note, it's really cool to be able to instantly share a new song, receive a note from a fan about how a song touched them, or have the honor of having my music shared through social networks. Friends from my past have been able to catch up with me and have become very supportive fans, all thanks to YouTube Facebook and Twitter. I'm really trying with Twitter. :/
I'm actively trying to get better at interacting on social media. I love people so much but I'm much more of a face-to-face communicator, so it doesn't come naturally. I did think up a special campaign for "Freak Soul" that encourages fans to share and interact throughout the week of the release. Also, I've found that fans like to feel that they are part of the journey and that is really important to me.
6) What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes, and how do you tailor your music to fit in with contemporary artists that are now getting played at radio?
My approach is honesty in the moment. As an actor it was always important to be in character, be authentic and in the moment. I feel like it's the same in the writing room.
You can't just walk in and write some line of bullshit that sounds like a hit. I mean, I guess you can, and a lot of people do it. But in the end, that's not what's going to ring true to people. And people are attracted to truth in the music.
So no matter what's going on that day, whether it's just me or with a co-writer I try to write from a real "this is actually what's going on in our lives and what we are currently thinking about" sort of way. That way you don't get too bogged down by how things should sound, what they should be. You just let the song come out and live and breathe and be what it wants to be. If it sucks, just write another song the next day! Not everything has to be epic, but to me, everything has to be honest.
7) How are you using new music technologies to record music in your personal life?
I leave that to the professionals. I mean, I can Garage Band here and there like the next songwriter. But please don't make me try to make it sound awesome. Not my forte.
8) What are your thoughts on satellite radio and streaming radio services like Pandora, IRadio, and Slacker, or on demand services like Spotify, Deezer, Beats, and others? Will these services become a replacement or compliment radio and the consumer's personal music collection?
I feel very strongly that these streaming services should be here to stay, but I also feel strongly that the price and exclusivity of the services should collectively increase through some type of music artist to seller's union.
Think about it, we are willing to pay $7.00 for one meal at McDonalds but we can't pay more than a few bucks a month for the privilege of unlimited streaming of all the music we want? Every other industry of commerce has protections for the designer/seller/consumer relationship to make sure that prices stay reasonable and make sense for the cost of services and goods rendered.
I don't see why online music shouldn't have those same laws and protections. Of course, make the music accessible, but this is art. It is art that costs a lot of money and time to produce. It's important to remember that it's not just the artist who is getting paid for the music. Music provides jobs for a lot of people from studios, to writers, label staff, musicians, promoters, producers, etc.
Every record you hear has a team behind it and all of those people deserve to get paid for their hard work. It just makes sense to have a higher monthly membership rate that's more in line with what people are actually getting.
9) How do you capture your idea for a new song when the inspiration hits you?
I have my iPhone to thank for that. iPhone recordings are so clear and it's really easy to capture the piece of the song or idea right at the moment of inspiration. I've even recorded new song ideas while driving!
10) What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music and radio industries?
I think there have been enough changes recently. I would like to see is a bit of stability and settling into this new era of music and the industry as a whole. I do feel strongly about some more laws, protections, and artist/seller's unions being put into place to regulate cyber-music commerce.
What do you do in your spare time?
Since I live in Nashville, I like to take advantage of the amazing live music around me as much as possible. I also have a little brother through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, so we like to go on outings whenever I can. I also really like ordering in Thai Food and binge watching Netflix in my PJs. :/
How do you balance your family life?
Music does take up a lot of time and mental energy, so it's hard to find a balance. I moved to Nashville from Texas and all of my family still lives in Texas. Making a new home and finding time to keep up meaningful relationships with friends can be challenging.
My parents are very involved in the day-to-day business of my music, and we have a close relationship, so it's nice to feel connected to them even long distance. I'm blessed with a few amazing friends who are like family to me, and we try to spend as much quality time together as possible.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
I would have to say "Summer's June". It's an acoustic song I co-wrote with a talented songwriter friend of mine named Dav Mikals. The lyrics are powerful, the song is simple, so I can really connect the audience to the emotion of the song.
Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians?
Make sure this is really what you want to do before you commit to it. Being committed to your music is like being in a committed relationship. It's so much more than the hour you're on stage. There are lots of ups and downs, disappointments and struggles, early flights, and tight budgets in the beginning. It's lots of fun too :) ... Just make sure you really know what you're signing up for.
What is the one truth that has always remained constant throughout your career?
That God is with me daily and that He has a plan. I have a very deep faith, and I believe without a doubt that He has called me to share my gifts with others to help, inspire and connect people together.
What are some of the artists we might find on your playlist?
Beyonce, Grace Potter, Katy Perry, Death Cab for Cutie, Civil Wars, Pink Martini, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Ed Sheeran - it's a very eclectic list.
Is there any question that we didn't cover here? Feel free to ask it and answer it here and we'll add it to the list.
I have a puppy named Emma Fuzzybottom. She is a Shih-Tzu poodle and I love her. That is all.