The moment I first heard Heather Maloney, I knew she was special. Listening to lots and lots of music like I do and also pondering what makes music accessible and interesting to an audience can sometimes make me more critical than some music fans. When I hear that certain “something” I try to determine whether it makes sense to bring the artist to our venue. Sometimes the moon and suns and stars align and we can make it happen. We enjoyed Heather so much that we asked her back twice in a year which was unprecedented. Check out her music and you’ll see why she made such a big impression on us.
Her musical style is unique; her tunes have a way of burning their way into your psyche and won’t give up. That’s a good thing.
Visit Heather’s website to learn more about her.
Watch this video of “Flutter.” It’s top notch.
It’s been an exciting year for you. Being signed to Signature Sounds is no small feat. How does it feel to be on a record label with such an astounding roster?
I’ve been a fan of some Sig Sounds artists for years now… getting signed to that roster was a huge honor and releasing my new record with them has been great not only because they are a great label, they are also a great bunch of people. I can’t say how much that matters in this profession (or in any for that matter).
It has indeed been an exciting year for me, and I can’t say how grateful I am to everyone that has been a part of it.
Tell us about your band members. How long have you been playing with them?
My line-up changes according to the venue and the type of show I have in mind. This year I have been playing a lot with a rhythm section that has been really fun (JJ O’Connell on drums, who has played with me the longest and is also on the new record), and Marc Seedorf on bass. Recently I did a show with Jim Henry on guitar and mandolin, and Marc on bass… it was wonderful. For the fall I will be teaming up quite a bit with the amazing musicians in Darlingside. Our show together at Me & Thee will be kicking off a two and half week tour into the Mid West/South East with them.
The Huffington Post says that your lyrics “cut to the chase.” Have you always been a very forthcoming person and is there something about the songwriting that helps carry you to that place where emotions are often raw and perhaps more genuine?
With close friends and family, I’ve been pretty open. I wouldn’t say I’m more forthcoming than the average Joe. But if I need to talk something out, I won’t hesitate to talk to someone close about it. And I won’t hesitate to complain, cry, be petty… to be messy. It’s usually after digging through the mess that I come to some little nugget of gold… and insight worth basing a song on. So my songs generally created with the messy/confusing/emotional stuff, but there is always something in there to hold on to… something sturdy, something that feels true.
You call your style of folk music as “adventurous.” Why? What do you do that most other singer-songwriters shy away from?
Songwriting is adventurous in and of itself… especially when it’s coming from authenticity. I don’t think I’m anyone to judge where other songwriters are coming from when they write, so I wouldn’t feel right saying that that makes me different from anyone else. Authenticity… humility… these are qualities that we can sense (in things like music) but it can be hard to define. And the moment someone claims to have them, they are lost. It’s almost better not to even talk about them at all!
So for me, on the lyric/meaning side of things, I would say my songs are an adventure because I’m opening myself to whatever the heck comes up when I look inside. On the music side of things, I would say my songs are adventurous because I’m open to whatever the heck I hear when I’m writing (be it a moment of country, indie, jazz, classical Indian!). The adventure for me is: how honest can I be with myself about what I want to say and how I want to say it?
Do you carve time out of each day to write? Do you have any practices that you do that help inspire you to make the music flow?
Almost every day I knock on the muse’s door. I love what Anais Mitchell says in her American Songwriter article, about visiting the muses as often as you can, so that they recognize and trust you. And you don’t always have something to show for it, but it’s never a waste of time to show up, guitar in hand. The practice for me is mostly just showing up. It’s mostly just sitting down. It’s mostly just moving the pen across the paper and touching the strings. Most of the rest is effortless… or what some might say is the muse moving through someone.
I’ve never been a formulaic songwriter… someone who can write based on knowledge and skill. And I respect that kind of writing, but for me it’s been 1/4 skill/practice and 3/4 luck/inspiration/muse.
When you’re not involved with making music, what are your favorite activities?
Lately I have been into going to flea markets and yard sales with my boyfriend and finding old beat up, antique goodies to repurpose and make things for our home out of them… We recently picked up a whole bunch of chair backs to use for towel racks in our bathroom.
I also have been doing a tiny bit of modeling for some local jewelry and clothing artists. That’s been more fun than I would have thought!
What’s are your plans for 2014 and beyond?
Well, I can’t say exactly just yet 🙂
But I can say I will be expanding my touring radius, and staying very busy!!