Editor’s Note: In this interview, indie-pop artist Defoe talks with Madness To Creation about defying the mainstream way of doing things and going completely DIY in her music. Based on this, we can tell that Defoe is truly an artist in every sense of the word. She is releasing “Too Soon To Cry” on July 1st and her video for “In Other Words” has about 35,000 hits on YouTube already. Defoe also gets serious with us in a mental health conversation. Fans can find Defoe at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: What was the turning point for you to go from country to your unique vibe in music?
Defoe: When I was younger I was taken under the wing of a talented group of people that wanted to create a new young pop/country crossover artist. Though I love all kinda of music I was not particularly favoring country music at that time but I was able to sing it. I worked with legendary musicians and amazing people in the industry. At that time I didn’t write any of the songs or gave any input creatively – I just didn’t have the confidence or self awareness yet. At the end of the day I felt like I had to fake a whole other identity to become an artist I wasn’t so I made the painful decision to walk away before releasing. It taught me that I was not into the side of the manufactured music business and taught me the process in which records where made and I also made life long valuable friendships. So I think that’s why I insist on working on every track myself, it maybe a bit extra work on my part but at the end of the day I’m happy with all my end products.
Madness To Creation: Take us into the video and song for “In Other Words”, what was your inspiration behind that song, also congrats to all the views it’s been getting.
Defoe: Thanks! I was super surprised at the view count I was getting for how quick we put it all together! My husband (Ronnie Winter) and I have a company called A + R PRODUCTIONS and we decided to shoot quick performance video for one of the songs on the album. We shot that video in 4 hours guerrilla style. I asked my buddy Justin Conant if he would be interested having fun shooting a video out of pure spontaneity and he basically yelled ‘heck yea!’ Following with a spice girl gif.. So from the start we knew it was gonna be low stress and all fun. The lyrics of the song was mainly comprised of gibberish. When I was young I always loved music, but it wasn’t until I was around 13 that I actually started listening to lyrics. I’ll never forget that feeling of being swept away with out knowing why. Im the kind of listener where I’m moved by the general mood and feel of a song, I really wanted the audience to have that experience for ‘In Other Words’. Since most of the song is mainly comprised in gibberish so you can’t help but let the songs vibe just wash over you with out the mind trying to pull it apart. I want the listener to feel beautiful, wonder and over all good vibes. It’s fun to be a mood creator.
Madness To Creation: You are releasing “Too Soon To Cry” on July 1st, for those that haven’t listened to Defoe, take us into the writing process and most challenging/rewarding aspect behind the making of “Too Soon To Cry”.
Defoe: For every song the writing process is a little different but songs usually start with being moved by a sound, a note or a chord. After that I add another element and it has a life of its own. It’s my job at that point to listen to the songs wants and needs and not force my own will upon it. For the challenges -I love taking ‘what the heck were you thinking’ risks in music and making it not just work, but sound almost addictive. The challenge was pulling back and seeing where the ‘too far ‘ point is. Sometimes when you are so close to a project you can be blinded the by forest you’ve created around you. That is the challenge for me. The rewarding part for me is having those moments where I am in a musical flow and I’m accurately transcribing the music I hear in my head. It’s so rewarding to playback what you hear in your mind’s eye. Feels like magic It’s Indescribably beyond satisfying.
Madness To Creation: Favorite thing about making music? Least favorite thing about making music?
Defoe: My favorite part is the adventures a song will take you as your creating it – if you just follow it and don’t try to lead. I’m a music engineer which allows me to work alone. I love when happy musical accidents happen and I make musical breakthroughs. It’s such a high. My least favorite is when I’m staring down the barrel of truck load of editing. It can be overwhelming. To me editing is a part of the creative process so I insist on doing it, but once I’m in a flow it turns out beautiful and it’s exactly how I want it to hit.
Madness To Creation: Madness To Creation is geared towards mental health awareness, what are some things you do for your mental health and wellness?
Defoe: That’s awesome that you guys are geared towards mental awareness. I’m so happy that in 2019 it is more safe to talk about. I am very open about my mental health challenges and am very passionate about creating awareness around it. I have severe anxiety followed by depression. I realize that it is my brain’s chemistry so instead of letting it controlling my day to day life, I changed my life so I could fit into it more comfortably. I stopped drinking so much – hangovers are bad for anxiety and depression. If I feel anxiety rising I call a friend and dive into their life for a bit. I find when I give the anxiety power by thinking about it and trying to find a way of pushing it down it gets worst and panic sets in. Power comes from where I decide to shed light on. If I light up the fact that I sense it coming it comes on strong and fast. I learned that we can only really think one thought at a time, if your thinking about how weird you feel I will feel even worse. I had to learn to assert myself against it. I’ll say in my head to the anxiety ‘I’ve got things to do today, how dare you try to take over’ then take the next indicates step and move to the next task. When I have low days (depression) I’ve learned to do a thing called ‘contrary action’. If I feel like hiding away and not picking up a phone I call a friend. If I feel like staying in bed and hiding from the world I go out to the store and say hi to a few people. It’s the hardest thing to do, but after I do that I always feel better. It’s a lot of work but I feel like I have more depth because of it and I can connect with more people. Another great medicine is create! Create anything! I feel like we all are blessed with the free will to create whether it be a song, poem, company, crochet, or even a new friendship it helps heal us.
Madness To Creation: One song that you want to share with us in your collection/playlist that got you through a very tough time in your life.
Defoe: That is a hard question because like everyone I’m obsessed with so many great songs out there. But from the top of my head “All is full of love” by Bjork comes to mind. The song is so epic and felt bigger than me. It was inspiring that she went there, she broke all the rules and re wrote new ones so gracefully. I felt like I could pull myself out of what ever was bothering me and I had a chance to create my own path. It’s like that song gave me permission to do it. I just had to get off my butt and get started.
Madness To Creation: A pre-show ritual that you do to get ready for a gig.
Defoe: I stay pretty silent for the most part. Try not to let worry thoughts intrude because they are nothing but harmful. I have pretty bad stage fright so I usually have to take extra measures ha ha.
Madness To Creation: What else do you want to add about Defoe?
Defoe: I’ll have a music video for the song ‘Something’s Happening’ directed by my friend Dylan Reynolds. He directed the movie 420 MASSACRE in which I scored. The song was originally a piece I scored during the epic chase scene and I wanted to challenge myself to turn it into a song. So I’m excited about it. Very excited to have my album coming out, It’s like a audio art sculpture to me and I’m proud of it!
And there you have it! Vibe with Defoe on July 1st by picking up “Too Close To Cry” at the following links: