- Kirsten Ludwig -
1. Did you grow up on the island? (If no, when did you make the island your home?
No and I never imagined I would be here - Toronto was always my #1. But the move from Calgary to Victoria made sense, I packed up my car with no return date in mind and moved by myself, and that was 3 years ago.
2. What influenced you to start writing and creating music?
I have been penning my thoughts as early as I can remember, poetry mostly, and I was also singing at a young age, but didn't marry the two until I was about 14. I can't remember a specific moment where I was like 'I'm going to write a SONG', but I do remember being inspired by Post Secret to record my first GarageBand demo that went something like "I put my head down so no one can see who I really am" with these terrible midi synths - talk about laying the groundwork to becoming the Queen of Moody. I have always been fascinated by the human condition (motives, loss, secrets, fears, love, etc.) and writing music was, and still is, a way to explore that - internally and externally. I think like the majority of other music creators and almost everyone for that matter, I am just trying to make sense of it all and trying to find happiness, music just happens to be my medium.
3. What is your favourite part about performing?
I would be lying if I said performing was my favourite part of the musical experience as it is the most stressful part of the job, for me that is. It is unnatural to command attention when you have lived your life as a wallflower - but that being said, I've found immense empowerment in becoming someone who is often the only person in a room saying what they actually feel and continuing to learn and teach that there is power in vulnerability.
4. What goals do you have for the immediate and distant future?
Currently I am in the midst of recording my third project, so I guess just focusing on creating an honest, interesting piece of work that I can hopefully share with many people. My goal is to be touring always, so also continuing to lay the foundation that will allow me to be on the road for long periods of 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 have been in the industry just shy over 3 years, so not that long, but there are crippling expectations and stereotypes of everyone in music, but it is the truth that women have to fight much harder to break those moulds and to receive feedback other than 'aw that was cute'. It's funny that you would never question a male musician if they wrote or produced or recorded their material, but I find people are so quick to assume that a woman had no hand in any part of the process. I even find that with booking tours - it's like 'wow, good for you, you did this all by yourself?', like everyone is always so surprised that women are so capable, creatively and business wise. I am a very open minded person and it has taken me a couple years to build up my bullshit detector - before I found it hard to detect if a man was asserting his dominance via "gear knowledge" or unwelcome "advice", or actually having a real conversation with me. Now I know and when I sense the former is happening, I don't engage. To say that this issue is all male-related would be fabrication, it is still engrained in women as well to question another woman's worth over a man's. I think we still have along way to go, but I can also say that I am proud how far we have come. With all this being said, I think this is a great opportunity to acknowledge that I am incredibly lucky to have been and continue to be surrounded by friends and family, men and women, who have never congratulated my successes or accepted my failures because of my gender. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I have been and I acknowledge that I have been so lucky that my father, my brother, my past boyfriends, and this amazing group of male friends I have fallen into in Victoria have not only demolished the stereotypes of female 'careers' and 'roles' around them, but have empowered me to unlock my creative potential, take myself seriously, and find independence in my career. So shout out to all the amazing men who have seen me as an equal, and of course all my lady-kweens.
6. Do you remember the first gig/show you've played? Where/when?
I had performed before this, but my first 'paid gig', and by paid I mean the person who played 4 songs with me requested to be paid all of that money... anyways, it was on January 9, 2014 at the Ironwood in Calgary opening up for my manager-at-the-time's band, The Rustic Brothers, and I didn't eat all day because I was so nervous. I remember that a table of 20 of my family friends sat front and centre and cheered after every song. It was pretty surreal. Oh and the best part was the sound guy asked me if I needed a 'DI' for my guitar and I starred blankly at him - instead of laughing in my face, he explained so kindly to me what it was and said I would do great - that made my night.
7. What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start out a music career?
Finding your creative voice is a scary, ongoing process and don't be too hard on yourself - as long as you are being honest with yourself, working hard, and listening to your gut, good things will come to you. My voice teacher would always tell me that my stage fright would go away if I could focus on how my love for music outweighed my fear of performing - a combination of that focus of energy and experience put my fear on hold. I still feel fear often, I just better understand how to digest it now - the answers will come to you. Also, always surround yourself with grounded, trustworthy, and positive people where there is a mutual sense of respect and care. And lastly, so cheese, but embrace your individuality, independence, and never be afraid to question everything and ask questions - how else will you learn?
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 project is a great way to promote community and equality - as long as we acknowledge this is just a percent of the talent Victoria holds!