HER SONGS

by Lorna May


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Music November 6, 2018

From July 31st to August 6th LA was the base for a collaboration between 5 strong female musicians from around the world. Creating an EP titled ‘Her songs’ the diverse group aimed to produce a series of songs that highlighted a combination of diverse backgrounds and supported female musicians from around the globe creating a connection with women across the world.

Taking part in the project, the group included Marie Dahlstrøm from Denmark, Emily Browning from New Zealand, UK based artist The Naked Eye, Canadas own Maddie Jay and USA based Dani Murcia.

Showcasing their various strengths within the music industry each artist taking part, added their own distinct mark to each song, variating between roles during the production process. With a variation of characteristics and personality within each of the artists work, the process of working as a unit combined the talents of production, vocals, lyrics and instrumentals, each song within the album was infused with influence from each musician.

The Naked Eye: “we all shared and complimented each other’s roles as well. Maddie and Marie were mainly hands on deck for producing. Maddie wrote and performed all the bass parts. Dani would shadow and help with production as well. Synths and piano were shared between Marie and Maddie. Emily and I would write on guitar, contribute to lyrics and melodies to each song”.

Emily C. Browing: We all had our different strengths but in the end it was a massively shared effort. We all took turns with lyrics, melody and instrumentation.

Incorporating a relaxed melodic tone into the tracks, the natural movement of the music is evident throughout the EP illuminating the raw talent, emotions and feelings behind each track. The delicate mixture of vocals from the group and the nature of the production process emphasises an aspect of flow and free thinking to the lyrics highlighting the fresh thoughts of each member of the group.

Maddie Jay: One of us would be up in the morning, maybe listening to some music while making breakfast, and something would come on that we all jammed to, and that would be the inspiration for that days song. One time, it was a conversation about saying goodbye and loss that spurred the song. It was different every time, but the process would usually end with some of us focusing on the track while the others wrote lyrics and then went and recorded vocals.

Emily C. Browning: It was different every day but we would usually start with a reference track in the morning, something to make a beat from. Then we’d add some sonic layers and write a chord progression. Then we’d start to riff on some hooks and bounce around ideas. There was usually a smaller team of 2 or 3 who would go away and polish up some lyrics and bring it back. We would throw down some guitar/keys/bass and then someone would take the lead on production. 

Marie Dahlstrøm: We didn’t pre plan anything from day to day, each day was different and just happened in the moment, inspired by the mood, music and topics of conversation.

Over the span of six days the group produced a total of four songs including ‘Goodbye’, ‘Just a phase’, ‘Alright’ and ‘Holding My Own’. Filled with inspiring lyrics, strong emotion and powerful energy, each track contains a prevailing message of female empowerment.

Dani Murcia: ‘Alright’ is my favourite because it was the last song and might have taken the longest to flesh out lyrics for. I think we were all tired by then, but we made it work and I remember hearing it back at 10pm and thinking, ‘This is such a great song!’ It just made me want to dance and be free. The meaning behind it is so empowering. 

Maddie Jay: My personal favourite is ‘Goodbye’. In the context of each of our personal experiences, the lyrics are heart breaking and make me feel something every time I listen. 

The Naked Eye: They all have a different meaning and a feeling of nostalgia to the day and journey. I loved the feeling of empowerment and magic from being in LA whilst writing ‘Holding My Own.’ I found ‘Goodbye’ to be very therapeutic and healing whilst writing and performing. They are the two that felt most special to me in this moment of my life, however, I really enjoy dancing, singing and getting ready in my room to ‘Alright.’ 

Emily C. Browning: They all have their strong points in different ways! I really like all of them because of their differences. I do, however, particularly love the rhythmic verses of “Alright”. 

Marie Dahlstrøm: I think the songs capture such different energies, it’s almost hard to compare them.

Producing none stop throughout their time in LA the group played with the balance between acoustics and minimalism, producing a series of tracks with strong melodic qualities, without overpowering the key underlying message. Late night recordings and the intricate detail contributed to the harmony and lyrics showed tireless effort from the group with the end product showcasing specific elements of the group dynamic.

Dani Murcia: I think ‘Goodbye’ might have been the most difficult to produce because we wanted it to be more acoustic and minimal. I think we also had overused a lot of creative energy in the first two songs and by that day we were all a bit slower. It came together though and I think it is such a beautiful song and the production works well for it. 

The Naked Eye: ‘Goodbye’ was strangely more difficult than the others as it was the most stripped back in production. It was the 3rd song of the week and we were all feeling a bit somber and exhausted from the previous late nights of recording. Dani and I were talking over breakfast about a mutual experience of heartbreak, loss and acceptance at the time. Which then started the concept of the song. It was the most emotionally reflective song and I guess it took the longest to record to get the sentiment right. 

Recording their journey through the six day period in the form of short video clips, the groups experience of LA was documented, with each day holding feelings of nostalgia for each individual and each member having a particular day of the experience that was a favourite.

Dani Murcia: The third day when we made ‘Goodbye’ might have been my favourite because we had a way slower start to the day and I feel like it translated into the song, which I thought was cool. That day, I was on lyrics and production and at the very end of the night, we started this joke called “Team Late Night”. After dinner, we made coffee at like 10pm and continued working through the night and obviously things got kind of loopy. Marie and I got into the studio after a long day and turned some candles and worked on harmonies for ‘Goodbye’. We had one mic and we started dancing around it and recording ideas and feeding off of each other’s energy. Being that we were tired and loopy allowed us to get into a very raw and honest flow state, sort of thing. It was such a beautiful moment to work with an artist I admired on the thing that I most loved about her music. I had to open up a lot and it taught me so much. It was a very special moment for me. 

The Naked Eye: Day five we started the day filming our discussion of the synopsis of the week and then listened to the mixes of the 4 songs. I felt so proud and overwhelmed with what we had achieved in the week and a genuine feeling of sadness that it was our last day before leaving. We then filmed a music video, which felt like a celebration to the week, to each other, our connection and to LA. 

Working as a group of five confident and influential female musicians, the group bounced ideas around, moulding their own traits and characteristics into each track providing a perfect representation of each artist participating in the project. The overall product showcases an EP filled with a powerful feminine edge, representing not only the artists but women in general.

Maddie Jay: I think that most of us are used to working with mostly, if not all, men. In writing sessions it is great to get different perspectives on subjects and it is great to write with whomever you can, but when it was five women, some very cool things were able to be talked about. We were each able to share are experiences as women and reflect on and compare them. We each had such respect for each other’s work and what each of us had achieved as women in the industry, and it made it very easy to trust each other musically and beyond. 

The Naked Eye: It felt very natural and organic to be working as a five women project. It felt like a celebration and a genuine musical connection. All our ideas complemented and inspired each other to make something special to the best of our abilities. The whole project wasn’t directed or organised by a label, writing camp or brief, which happens a lot these days. It was from ourselves, who admired each other’s work and wanted to create an EP in a new and inspiring place. 

Emily C. Browning: I think we were all really proud to be independently managing this project and doing everything ourselves, especially when fronted with statistics of how poorly women are represented in this industry. I think those themes are really present in all aspects of the songs. 

Each track filled with female influence, the message of female empowerment is clear, highlighting aspects of positivity, confidence, femininity and reflection. With each track built by a group of inspired female musicians, the message behind each song shows the power that makes up the idea of female empowerment.

Emily C. Browning: Honestly, I personally didn’t have a message in mind when we started this project, but in some ways it speaks volumes as to what can happen when strong, talented women get together and collaborate. We definitely could draw inspiration on challenges that we all face as women from all over the world and I think people can see that in the nature of the project. 

Marie Dahlstrøm: I personally only have one message: Self-initiative. Create opportunities for yourself and things will happen. This project came from a Skype conversation one morning. You can do as much if you put your mind to it and find like-minded people to execute your ideas with. 

One of the most powerful lines from the EP “tell me what it means to be feminine” represented a powerful voice for women with the group displaying their own personal thoughts on what femininity is, each members ideas differing relating to the idea of what femininity means to them.

Maddie Jay: For me, being feminine has always been what sets me apart from the people I’m surrounded by. I had a bass performance class in college with 120 people in it, and I was the only girl. I always wanted to embrace what makes me different and own it. In the context of being surrounded by other women, I find that my perspective on femininity can shift. It can become a link and a bond, a way to connect with the people I am working with. For me, femininity is finding the way I relate to the people around me. 

The Naked Eye: I think we are in the process of redefining what it means to be a woman and feminine in today’s world. I think it means to be authentic and true to your own idea of self and to be accepting. Femininity for me means to be kind, intelligent, strong, soft, graceful, nurturing, fearless and independent. I would really love the songs to encourage young women and men, to be who they want to be without defining masculinity and femininity and judging people by their gender or their appearance. 

Marie Dahlstrøm: To me, it just means to be yourself, appreciate who you are, how you look and work with what you have. Invest in yourself. 

With similar music taste and passionate ideas from the group, the influence for each of the tracks variated. Predominantly drawing from personal experience, emotions and feelings, the group was also inspired by each other, the atmosphere of LA, the experience of creating the EP and conversations about favourite songs and chords.

Dani Murcia: The first song is about growth, self-awareness, and being able to fend for yourself. It was inspired by us being LA, being in that home all together after all the hard work that each of us individually put in to making this project happen. I think it was inspired by gratitude and being independent artists in today’s world. The second song is about getting stronger through the difficult times. Being able to recognize that you will get through it and become stronger for it, so push through. The third song is about finding beauty in loss. For me, it was inspired by the memories and thoughts that linger after someone you love has left your life. The last song is about the many different ways in which one can be female and getting rid of the stereotype that society has created for us about what it means to be feminine. It was inspired by the whole trip and our own different ideas of femininity. 

The finished EP ‘Her Songs’ will be releasing over the coming weeks with women around the world eager to hear the content, lyrics and message displayed from such an influential group of female musicians.

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