- danielle sweeney - Lovecoast -
1. Did you grow up on the island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?
No I didn't! I was born and raised in Squamish, BC actually. I moved to Nanaimo in 2009 to get my Jazz diploma at VIU, after I finished up my classes I left for Vancouver, spent a couple years there, then moved back to Victoria when the boy I love wouldn't leave the rock. Thank goodness he wouldn't, couldn't imagine us calling anywhere else home
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
Not to be too cliche, but a really really bad breakup did it for me. I've been musical my whole life, but didn't write a single song until I was 20. I dated the same guy throughout my music school experience and was always holding myself back so I never challenged him, because I was just a singer and what do I know right? After we (finally) broke up, my confidence and attitude really changed, like it was finally mine again. This time I knew I was more than a singer, I was a musician goddamnit! I had one semester left of my diploma, and instead of hanging out at his place with all our friends, I was sitting alone at mine. One day I sat down at the piano and started putting my education to work for myself, and I've never stopped writing songs. I still have my first songbook, I filled that baby up in less than 3 weeks.
3. What is your favourite part about performing?
There's this feeling you get when performing in front of people that I can't even explain with words, but the ones that come to mind are powerful, present and enough. I never feel more myself than when I'm performing, it's like all the bullshit of life fades away and you're just left with the moment. Pure bliss.
4. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
My main goal right now is getting Lovecoast's new record out into the world! There's a ton of work that goes into an indie release, and I'm proud of our little record! Distantly I want to tour more, I hope music shows me the world and at the end of my life I can look back and feel like I saw it all.
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?
All the damn time. I'm incredibly fortunate to work with 4 boys who listen to me and back me up when needed, but it's unfortunate how often I need them to draw the line for another man who just won't hear me. I'm almost always the only girl in the lineup, which in itself is disappointing. Not long ago we played the Commodore Ballroom and I was the only girl on stage all night, I had so many women come up to me after the show just to thank me for representing women up there and it almost brought me to tears. People, especially women, notice the gap in music and they want to see it closed. But ya, I've had sound guys only talk through my bandmates, grabby show goers, and industry members claiming I need to be sexier if we want to make it...to name only a few situations broadly. There's no excuse for these actions, and I honestly find myself brushing them off less and less these days, this is my body, therefore, my rules. The plus side is that thanks to the conversation around this topic going on right now, women are really coming together as a big communal "FUCK OFF".
6. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
The first gig Lovecoast played was at the Shady Tree Pub in Squamish! The crowd was made up entirely of our friends family and we played 2 originals and a bunch of Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and Ella Fitzgerald, ahh the glory days! Our first real gig (like one where we only played original music!) was with Five Alarm Funk at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
Don't ever stop. Don't stop playing and absolutely don't stop practising. Music wasn't made for men, it was made for people, so challenge yourself and continue to grow! When in doubt find peers in your community and get inspired.
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?
I think this is phenomenal! I'm always proud to be a part of any initiative that supports women in music, especially locally and within my own community!