Friday, 19 July 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Shelley Segal

Adam Levy and Shelley Segal!

Friday interview fun-time! Alright, that doesn't have the best ring to it, but we were excited to have Shelley Segal answer our questions about heading out on tour, her track 'Stuck In The Memory of You,' dream collaborations and a whole lot more. Enjoy!

Interview by Matt Bond

Shelley Segal, thanks for taking the time to join us! What have you been up to this week?

Shelley: Hi guys, thanks very much for having me :)

It's been a busy week with my local residency, rehearsals and preparing for my upcoming tour! I also went to see Steve Vai on Saturday at the Palais which was pretty rad. Hope you've had a good week too :)

We loved hearing 'Stuck In The Memory of You', just one of many gorgeous numbers you concocted with jazz guitarist Adam Levy for the album Little March. Tell us about the story behind 'Stuck In The Memory of You' and what was it like collaborating with Levy for the album?

Shelley: Thanks for reviewing Stuck in the Memory, by the way :)

It's the single from the 'Little March' album and the story is about an ex of mine. We had a break up and I cut off all my dreadlocks!! I think it's a very common thing, people cutting off their hair after break ups. I think it was a bad idea though, coz I was heartbroken and then also without my locks, haha. It's about being heartbroken and wanting to move on but being unable to escape the memories and bonds which hold you to a person.

Working with Adam was an incredible experience. We spent a week in my hotel room writing the album, sharing ideas and thoughts. Adam is one of the nicest people I have ever met and he made the whole experience relaxed and friendly, a great atmosphere to write in. It was also very inspiring for me as a guitarist to hear and watch him play up close :)

You're gigging your way from Melbourne to Hobart to Sydney and then back to Melbourne again in late July/early August. What does the Shelley Segal live experience involve? What are your touring plans for the rest of the year?

Shelley: I like my live shows to feel very intimate, the same way I like my songs to feel. I like to feel as though I'm sharing my journal with people, which I am really. I like to tell stories and speak about the songs, or what they remind me of.

Touring is going to be full on for the rest of the year. After this tour with Adam I will be heading back to the US for another 3 month tour which I'm really looking forward to. I love being on the road. This trip even includes a show at Burning Man! :)

There seems to be many different sides to you as an artist. You've been part of a banging' drum and bass track with Carl Cox, then there's the 'poppier' debut 'An Atheist Album' and now you've released the jazzier Little March. And I've read you've got an indie-folk album on the way too! How do you slide so easily into these different vocal roles? Is there a particular genre of music you would call home?

Shelley: I was really lucky in that I learned to sing and perform by working in my father's wedding band, since I was 11. It really helped me to appreciate and to be able to sing across a broad range of genres. During the dancing brackets I'd sing dance, pop, rock, reggae and for background I'd sing jazz, folk and blues. I don't really feel more at home in one style rather than the other. I think I feel most at home when I'm singing and playing guitar on my own, a song that I love.

What can you tell us about the upcoming album 'Snow Pear' and your other future projects?

Shelley: 'Snow Pear' is a collaboration with my partner, guitarist and composer Andrew Robertson. It's kind of an upbeat indie folk sound.  We're going to be recording an EP and I'm really excited about it. It's a combination of our two styles that creates a very distinctive sound.

I will also be releasing a new solo folk-pop record next January (as yet untitled).

You don't shy away from collaborations. Who are some artists you'd love to work with throughout your career and why?

Shelley: I would really love to do a collaboration with someone like Jamie Cullum. I love his song writing and pop/jazz sensibility. I feel the same about Laura Marling and her folk/pop style. It's nice to work with artists that have a distinct sound and are exploring a genre while still making it accessible to most people. Jamie Cullum's version of 'Please Don't Stop The Music' is a great example of that.  I'd be rapt to do anything with some of my favourite Aussie artists such as Katie Noonan, Sia or Vanessa Amorosi. If I let myself get carried away, maybe Tom Waits or Ben Harper :)

Who are your songwriting heroes and what do you think are the essential elements of a well-written song?

Shelley: Some of my song writing heroes are Billy Joel, Ani Difranco, Alanis Morissette, Randy Newman and Kate Bush. I love story tellers. Songs that speak to me are songs that are believable in their delivery. A lot of people talk about relatability. I think you can relate to a story even if you don't relate to the situation that the protagonist is experiencing. For me it's the genuine experience and emotion that I am relating to. For that reason, I also really like a song that is distinctive, in a way that is representative of the artist. The more it is in their voice/style, the more believable and moving I find it to be.

If you hadn't been a musician, what other career would you have loved to pursue?

Shelley: I would have liked to be a scientist. I think that science is pretty cool :) Something with genetics. And then I'd be a teacher. A music and science teacher. I reckon I'd be one of those quirky teachers that was always trying to get kids into the material.

When they air the Shelley Segal 'Behind The Music' television special in thirty-five years time, what do you think they'll say about you?

Shelley: That I toured a lot. I love being on the road and hope it remains as busy as it is. And also that I love rats. Because I do! I used to have a pet rat, Tyrone. I would have more but traveling prevents me from doing so. Maybe one day I'll find a way around it and be able to bring a rat with me everywhere I go. And then on the TV special they can say I was that crazy rat lady that toured all the time and always had rats with her on stage, haha.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Hope you have a great time performing the gigs with Adam Levy and can't wait to hear more from you!

Shelley: Thanks so much for the support and giving me the opportunity to get my music out there. Much appreciated!

Shelley Segal has four shows scheduled for July/August before she heads overseas. You can catch her performing live with Adam Levy at...

July 26 @ Bennetts Lane, Melbourne
July 28 @ MONA, Hobart
August 1 @ Blue Beat, Sydney
August 6 @ Bennetts Lane, Melbourne (2nd Show)

You can find links to tickets (and a whole bunch of other fun things about Shelley Segal) at

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