Today I took a little relaxation time and had a chat with a very talented young lady from across the water and was lucky enough to have a listen to her brand new album. The Black Flag caches up with The Glass Child and finds out how drive and passion has turned into musical success.
It isn’t all Heavy Metal and Punk round these parts, we like to turn our ears to the more mellow stuff every now and again, alternative music that is so not because they use big riffs and short words, but alternative because it sticks two fingers up at mainstream music and says I can do better.
Take talented songwriter, composer and author The Glass Child, a 22 year old artist in the truest sense of the word who has produced an album with a creativity and depth we rarely see from musicians until well after the mid-life crisis, rehab and 3 broken marriages. Teaming with intelligent lyrics and well thought-out music, I’d like to remain a mystery, is an album many writers wait their whole lives to put together. Filled with comic observation and melancholic realism we delve into the mind of an intelligent and articulate woman who, desperate not to let her music be compromised by industry suits with pound signs for eyes, elected to create her own record label to release her music. In a world where it seems anyone with internet access and basic recording software can start a record label, the desire to have your creations not tampered with is a notion that dates back to the earliest Punk ideals. I caught up with the lady herself to see how she got started and where she’s going now;
TBF: Start with the obvious, where/when were you born?
TGC: I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, exactly 22 years ago.
TBF: What was life like growing up?
TGC: Confusing and a longing to be somewhere else, haha. I never really figured out the whole thing about just going up and doing the same tasks just to fit into a system that people have built for themselves. Study, get a job, a home, be kind… I’ve always wanted more, I want adrenaline and challenges and fear. That’s why I left to London as soon as I was finished with school.
TBF: What music did you listen to when you were younger?
TGC: Honestly I didn’t really listen to music until quite late. I was around 16 when I discovered music, but when I did I was hypnotized. I consumed myself in the music and lyrics of Ben Harper, Counting Crows, Brand New, Ani Difranco and discovered so many people who had the ability to turn struggle and sadness into something beautiful. I knew right away I wanted to be a songwriter.
TBF: When did you start making Music?
TGC: I think I was around 17 when I wrote my first song, and it was called The Glass Child. The song wasn’t very good, but the second song I wrote was called I’m Hidden So Well and is actually on my first EP.
TBF: What/Who influenced you?
TGC: So many different people and pieces of art. I don’t really see myself as a musician or a singer but as an artist. I’m very into literature and poetry and some of my biggest heroes are writers like Charles Bukowski, Rumi and Virginia Woolf. I used to be a dancer so I get a lot of inspiration when it comes to the rhythmical flow in my lyrics from the way dancers move. But I find inspiration in a lot of things, like just taking a train to a new city and wander new streets for a day. Architecture, museums and nature always makes me wanna create or write. As a vocalist I’ve always looked up to Ani Difranco and also the way she’s built her career.
TBF: What made you come to the UK?
TGC: Because I needed and wanted to leave Sweden, and London is like the capital of music in Europe. There are venues and open mic’s everywhere and you will meet and connect with people, musicians and songwriters from all over the world, because everyone comes here. It’s really hard to live in London though, but I’m glad I went there because the city made me who I am today.
TBF: Can you describe the feeling when you came over, what were your expectations?
TGC: I was so scared and so incredibly lonely. I didn’t know anyone and I had no idea how to get my music out. All I knew was that I had found something I loved so much that I completely forgot about reality while I did it. I’d been lucky enough to find something that made me wanna get up every morning, so I saw it as my only option to go pursue this. There wasn’t anything else I could imagine myself doing.
TBF: What did you do when you got here?
TGC: The first months I spent in solitude, trying to learn and figure out how to live alone with myself. After some time I started to go to open mic’s, just to get out and connect with people and other songwriters. The first year I just tried to learn as much as possible about being a songwriter and about the business-side.
TBF: Any really fond memories?
TGC: I met so many beautiful and amazing people through music in London. You meet people from all over the world, with so different backgrounds and cultures, but through music you speak the same language and by living as an artist, with the struggles and the passion, you just connect on a different level. I’ve met people who I never wanna let go of, but I also learned so much about standing on my own feet and being independent.
TBF: How did you go about creating your own record label?
TGC: After learning the business-side of things I realized quite fast that I will never be prepared to compromise my art just to please the industry. As a new band you have two choices; you spend your time trying to convince the industry to like you and hopefully you will get signed. Or you spend that time connecting with real people in a real way. I wasn’t interested in changing just so another label could like my music, I wanted to find a way to be me and be okay with that. That was the whole point. So I thought, there have to be more people out there who feel like I do, and these are the people I want to play for. So I sat up my record label and released my music just the way I wanted to it to be – real and raw and honest.
TBF: How did it feel to see your first EP on sale?
TGC: Scary. I was so scared about what people would say, and especially all those people I’d left back home in Sweden. They kept telling me to go back home and get a real job because I would never “make it”. To release my first EP all on my own was kind of my first “I told you so” to those who never believed in me.
TBF: Tell me about ‘I will lead you home’
TGC: I released this as a charity-single for a cancer-organization in Sweden, to support young victims of the disease. The single reached #2 on the Swedish Itunes-chart in just a few days and I was just speechless.
TBF: How was it knowing that your music had been received so well?
TGC: Crazy. Just completely insane. I don’t know, I still can’t believe I had a single on the Itunes-chart….
TBF: When you write what is the process?
TGC: My songs are always born from some sort of unbearable explosion of emotions and thoughts that takes me to this place where my words and the music are the only existing things. When I’m in that place nothing can stop me and I’m far, far away from reality. I’m not religious but it’s kind of a spiritual feeling, like you can create your reality in a better and more beautiful way. You can write down the thought or the experience you’re writing about in the way that you want to remember it.
TBF: Do you have moments of inspiration or do you have to take yourself away and concentrate?
TGC: Inspiration has no rules. When it hits you, you’re its slave!
TBF: Did you find writing ‘I’d to remain a mystery’ hard?
TGC: No actually not. These lyrics are words that I’d been writing in my journal, and one night I was just playing on the piano and suddenly went to that creative place where nothing else exists, and I just started to sing, and then the song was born.
TBF: Do you have a favourite song on the album?
TGC: All these songs are about real things that I’ve been through or thought about, so they all represent a certain time in my life. But I think “Stay” will always be special to me. It’s a bit different from my other songs, very straight forward, and the time and place that this song represents kind of changed who I am.
TBF: How about your book, how did that start?
TGC: I’ve always been writing a lot and literature is one of my biggest passions. It’s just another way for me to figure my own head out. After living like a wanderer the last years I had so many stories and lessons and experiences that I wanted to share and so I just kind of started to write one day and the idea of writing a book slowly shaped itself somewhere along the way.
TBF: Is it scary sharing your life with the world?
TGC: Yes, definitely. There are days when I just wanna delete all my accounts on the internet and never open the door to the world again. But then there are these moments when I get messages, tweets or letters from people telling me that my music and writings have changed them and saved their lives, and then it all just makes sense. My goal with this was to find a way to live a life where I could be me and be okay with that, and being completely honest and open is the only way for me to live with myself.
TBF: What are your feelings about todays music scene and the X Factor culture?
TGC: It’s entertaining but I don’t see myself as a part of that culture. It’s just two different worlds. There is entertainment, and then there is art. Nothing is better or worse, right or wrong, it’s just different.
TBF: What advice would you give an aspiring musician?
TGC: Know the world you’re entering. Learn everything there is to know about the business, the industry, your craft and what it involves. Before you do anything you need to know exactly what you want to get out of this, otherwise you won’t get anywhere and you will become one of these millions who let their lives pass by while working a day-job just to afford rent until they one day magically will “make it” in the music-industry. No, have clear goals and work towards them every single day. But most of all you have to love what you do. You have to love it so much that the struggles, the rejections, the lack of money and the long hours of practicing or recording doesn’t matter because there’s nothing else you ever want to do. If you do feel this, that there’s nothing else that can make your heart beat, then you have to just go for it. Recklessly without any hesitation. Just start, make a decision and stick to it no matter what.
TBF: What does the future hold for The Glass Child?
TGC: I see the release of my album as the start of a long and beautiful journey and there are so many things I want to do, achieve, learn, be and see and I can’t wait to see where all this will take me. I’m releasing the album Feb 26th and after that I will self-publish my first book. After that I have tons of ideas but let’s focus on the album first!
Well there you go, that rare find in today’s world, intelligence and integrity. The album will be a must buy for any fan of acoustic music, and I’d recommend a listen if you’re a fan of Amy Lee, NIghtwish or or Within Temptation. I enjoyed listening and I’ll be certain to get my hands on all future recordings.
I just want to thank The Glass Child for taking the time out to have a chat with me.
Wanna know more? Of course you do why wouldn’t you! head on over to the The Glass Child’s website for info and to pre-order the album or visit any one of these social networking sites.