What is the best thing about making music?

For me, the best thing about writing music is when a song you’ve created moves somebody, gives them hope. Second to that is the feeling of putting pen to paper and saying something in a way no one else has ever said it, I love that feeling.

What is the hardest thing about making music?

The hardest thing about making music is inconsistent income and knowing who you can trust in the industry.

How important are public performance royalties to you and in keeping the NZ music world ticking?

Public performance royalties and all royalties are very important. To know as an artist that APRA is keeping record of where your music is being played is a very reassuring thought, and right that the owner of the song should be paid for its use.

From strumming / humming / creating the first notes of a song through to a completed mastered recording, on average how long does it take you to write and record a song?

The length of the writing process always changes, sometimes writing a song takes a year, sometimes half an hour. I work with an engineer who gives generously out of his own free time, and often coordinating slots when all of us are free can stretch out the process. It doesn’t help that we are perfectionists in our own way, so recording an album has taken us just over a year. I think when you have time, use it, and don’t try to make an album in a week. Let it breathe and change and it will become something you couldn’t produce without that space. In saying that, if you are under time constraints, with the right people a beautiful recording could take a matter of days.

All costs considered, on average how much does it cost you to write and record a song?

I have been very fortunate to receive two scholarships which have contributed to both my EP and my LP. I am also fortunate to have an engineer who believes in what I am doing and chooses to give a lot of his time for free. Because of this, so far, the recording process has cost me significantly less than most artists would pay. But in the early thousands mark.

Over and above money you make from music (public performance royalties, live performance, licensing and CD / digital sales), do you have to supplement the cost of writing and recording music with money you make from other sources?

In the past I worked full time, and tried to do music as well. I found this very difficult. I was so tired after a week at work that the thought of going to play a gig on my day off was less than appealing. In 2013 I left my job to pursue music and have been doing so for nearly two years. Every now and again I pick up an odd job here or there which helps, but my primary source of income is performing my music.

Why do you do what you do – why do you make music?

Music is one of the most beautiful things in creation. It is complex and moving. Two different notes can make you feel despaired or overjoyed. Imagine, that I can piece together a sequence of them, write a poem that moves with it and change someone’s life, or at least a moment in their life. That’s why I make music.

What is the most helpful songwriting tip you’ve learnt?

If you feel frustrated and stuck, put it down and go do something else! Write when it’s flowing. Also, stay away from lyrical clichés.

What are three artists / bands you are excited about at the moment?

Josh Garrels - watch his doco ‘The Sea In-between’.

Asgier from Iceland, showing great talent can emerge from a tiny population.

Paulo Nutini - He’s back!

What are you working on at the moment / tell us about your latest release / project?

I am currently finishing my debut Album, which we have been working on over 2014. My EP was very stripped back, and this has a full band. Drums, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Double Bass. I have loved seeing the songs go to the next level with brilliant musicians contributing their skills.

It is reminiscent of the folk songstresses of the 60’s and 70’s, with a little bit of country and blues in there -I can’t wait to release it and see where it goes.

Where can we access your music?

www.hollyarrowsmith.com

www.facebook.com/hollyarrowsmith


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