- Elli hart - dirty mountain -
1. Did you grow up on Vancouver island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?
Yes! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one! I was lucky enough to grow up in Metchosin with the sheep and Jesse Roper. I think those are the only two things to have come out of Metchosin, right?
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
From the very first time I heard "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” I knew I wanted to be a musician. We don’t all get to be so lucky as to know our paths straight from our Mama’s teet, but I sure knew! I was always in school choirs, creating air guitar bands, and singing until people told me I was annoying them (which was a lot!) I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was twelve and haven’t stopped since.
3. What is your favorite part about performing?
I love it when men throw their underwear at me on stage. Nothing screams success more then the ring of Tightie-Whites hitting my guitar strings. Ok, kidding aside… the amount of straight up enjoyment and fun I get to have while performing is almost indescribable. Playing songs that I love, with people that I love, for people that hopefully love what I’m doing is an incredible feeling. But my favourite part is after the performance, when people come and tell me their own stories about how they relate to the stories I’ve told. It’s an incredibly genuine interaction that keeps me coming back to my guitar and continuing to write.
4. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
Well, I’m currently in Nashville for a month writing the next album. I’m starting to plan a couple of European tours and an album release for 2018. In the distant future, I’d love to open for Bonnie Raitt, win a grammy, and have a pet llama named Lolly.
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 honestly hate that I have to be asked a question like this, and I hate that we still live in a time when a question like this is totally valid, because the fact of the matter is, the answer is yes. All the time. I get sexually harassed at gigs, I don’t get taken seriously, and any successes I have are just because “I’m pretty”.
I think it’s important that woman work their butts off and not use sexism as an excuse or a crutch. Yes, when you look at a festival line up, there are 80% male artists and 20% female, but that just means that women need to do the unexpected, work harder, and rise above the noise with our artistry and integrity.
6. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
My first gig was at Metchosin Days, our small community fair, when I was about thirteen years old. I sat in with my dad’s rock band and sang a couple of Amanda Marshall songs. (Hey - she was cool! Have you seen her hair!?) I almost missed the gig too because I was at the My Chosen Cafe with my friends eating burgers.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
We live in a time now when parents are constantly praising their kids for absolutely everything they do. I’ve found that when I've been teaching guitar to young musicians, they already know that “they’re amazing” so they can be very challenging to teach. It’s going to be a much harder reality for them to face when they get out in the world and find out that almost everyone is trying to hold you back. So, my advice would be to stay humble, and make the kind of music that you love, because that passion that you have will create the drive you need to tune out the nay-sayers and go after what makes you happy. My other piece of advice would be to learn several instruments and learn at least one of them well. And while they're at it, grow a thick skin and develop a tenacious work ethic. And eat healthy and exercise. Ok, I'm done. There’s more but that should do for now.
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 idea is bad ass. I love collaborating and I think that empowering other people within your community is vital to a strong, creative environment. Thanks so much for including me in this!