Artist Spotlight - Phebe Starr
(Photo Credit - She is Aphrodite / @sheisaphrodite)
We had the opportunity to interview Phebe Starr for an Artist Spotlight! Her fantastic EP Ice Tea Liberace drops next week! Check out our interview!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I've always written and played music ever since I could remember. I think I needed it because I'm very sensitive and it offered me a world where I could express and feel safe. I started cold calling restaurants and pubs in my local area when I was 14 because I saw there were old men playing music and getting paid and I thought to myself, "I can do that." Within the year I had a regular gig at a holiday resort where I played the grand piano and sung on Friday and Saturday nights. That money help pay my school fees, bought me countless instruments, a car and set me up to move to the city straight after school. So ever since then!"
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"When I write for myself it's very spiritual. It's almost like meditation. I've done it since I can remember. I pick up an instrument and play it for hours and babble out nonsense. There is usually a moment or a lyric that specifically talks to me and then for weeks i do the same thing until the song is fully complete. It's an addictive process and nothing feels as good. When I write for others, I use more of a practical tool kit and try and create space for them to express themselves and I just help."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Dolly Parton, Sufjan Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Modest Mouse, Fiest, Madonna Bob Dylan, Kanye, Rosalia, Frank Ocean, Johnny Cash, Carol King... there are so many. I listen to a lot of music from different genres and I've found that listening to other peoples songs is so humbling. You can learn so much from life from other people's experiences." 4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"Music gear is very similar to my love of clothing. I love vintage gear with a story. There has been a lot of gear that has passed through my hands already. They all have their own personality and I definitely use this relationship to inspire me. At the moment, all I have been playing is a nylon string guitar I got off Craigslist. I started learning on nylon when I was a kid and I woke up one morning with the desire to sing jazz on a nylon. I searched on Craiglist for 2 months before finding a guitar just outside of New Orleans that was owned by a lady's grandfather who just passed away. He played it since a young boy. It has incredible markings of how he altered it. It has such personality and it brings me a lot of joy to think of all the songs he played over the years." 5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? What do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"At the moment I really desire everything to be raw, acoustic and intimate. There is a lot of strings and mash up of sounds still but I want feel every breath in the room. That's what I'm focused on building at the moment." 6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"This EP was made after watching my favourite TV shows and movies. I watched Rick and Morty, E.T, Thelma and Louise and country and western films. I also sampled those movies...well copied phrases of my favourite moments. For example in "Break the Law" there is a sample of me yelling 'get schwifty'."
7. Can you tell us about the writing, recording, and promotion process of your Ice Tea Liberace EP?
"I used to suffer with so much perfectionism and I was never 100% comfortable with music being my job. Because it's so personal, I found it really hard to take the creative process and give it away to strangers. I've been through a lot over the last couple of years. A lot of my opinions have come out of understanding my place in the world and the privilege to be heard in expressing my truth, so it will help other women feel safe to express theirs. I believe art should be owned by the outcasts, the discouraged and the marginalized. It's important to make art no matter what value others place on it. It's important to tell our stories. This new understanding has made me a lot more confident in my opinions and has made releasing a lot more enjoyable. I'm excited for more of my babies to get born!"