- allie bowman - stinging belle -
1. Did you grow up on the island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?
Sure did - and couldn't be happier about it!
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
Music has always been a part of my family. Some of my earliest memories involve singing and dancing around the piano with my sister and cousins as my grandma played Patsy Cline or Fats Domino at family gatherings, or performing Carly Simon in the kitchen for my mom's friends at dinner parties. Luckily, with that influence and encouragement, I was able to try and experiment with different instruments throughout childhood. It was when I picked up guitar in my early teens, and paired it with voice lessons, that I really took an interest in creating my own music. I had already been writing avidly in journals from a young age, so lyrically I just started pulling from different poems/ideas and exploring how to piece those together into "songs" (an ongoing journey, haha!). I was also exposed to all different kinds of music growing up; from blues and rock'n roll to country, folk and celtic -- my parents were pretty eclectic, which I really appreciate! Ultimately, while there were obviously a tonne of artists/performers who inspired me at different points of my life -- my family would have to be my biggest and earliest influence.
3. What is your favourite part about performing?
Losing my self completely and living in the moment! It's in that state that our energy is most pure and our connection to one another the strongest -- which is why live music can have such a powerful and lasting impact on people. If my band mates and I can have that impact on even one person in the crowd...that's what it's all about! That, and flailing around like crazy/sketchily jumping on and off things, worrying the shit out of everyone...apparently I'm also into that, haha!
4. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
Right now, we've (Stinging Belle) just finished up a 3-song demo, which we hope will be the first audio-resume that will help us take the next steps; more show/touring opportunities (off the Island, for a start!), grants and all of that good stuff! As for the distant future? I mean, headlining Reading Festival would be nice, I guess =). One step (or sketchy monitor jump!) at a time
5. Have you ever found being a female artist can be challenging? Have there been times that you weren't taken seriously because of your gender?
I'll start by saying that I wish this question didn't have to be asked -- it's disheartening and I feel for all of those who have faced these challenges. For myself, so far in my (still quite limited) experience, I can't say that I've encountered any discrimination when it comes to my gender and my performing/music. In fact, even though there have been times a shows/festivals where I am the only female in the lineup, I've still felt supported and respected by everyone involved; not only by my amazing band mates, but other artists, promoters, sound techs, etc. I definitely like to think that this is an indication of being in a more progressive community (Victoria/Vancouver Island), and can only hope that it continues to expand in a positive direction. That being said, I know this isn't the same experience for many women in the industry right now -- so I am proud to represent on stage and support fellow female artists as we continue to break down any barriers!
6. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
I don't know if I would call it a "gig", but the first time I played my guitar and sang in front of people other than my family and close friends was in high school. It was part of a series where students would play, open mic style, in the student lounge at lunch -- aptly named "Live in the Lounge". People were mostly eating/chatting and paying no attention to me -- which was equally nerve-wracking and comforting at the same time.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
If you love it, do it. And don't stop unless you stop loving it, no matter who/what tries to get in your way. Listen to as much music as possible and surround yourself with other artists/musicians of all kinds so you can collaborate and learn from each other. Oh, and wear comfy shoes on stage...all the better to jump off sketchy stuff with =) (but seriously. comfy. shoes.)
8. As a photographer involved in the music scene, I love the idea of shining light on the other female artists in the Victoria music scene. What are your thoughts about the idea of this project?
When people work together and encourage one another, amazing things happen! I think it's fabulous and important to use your creative gifts to support others with their own projects, and I'm humbled to be asked and involved. Thanks, Dani!