This is a special BS Fridays edition People Profiles! BS Fridays is a musical networking community where musical souls in the industry from artists, performers, businesses peeps and more get together to pool their resources and expand their support. On Friday August 12th you can come out to The Cameron House in Toronto and meet us and see some of us performing– including me and Alissa Vox Raw!
So who is Alissa Vox Raw? Alissa Vox Raw is like an doo-wop band in a box. Old meets new as Alissa finds new and creative ways to express old a cappella styles with just a loop station and voice. An entire choir seems to emerge as music beds are built live in a number of harmonic parts, bringing a new twist to old soul. And it’s not just a cool trick. The music is phenomenal on its own. The fact that it’s made predominantly by one lovely voice makes it all the more uniquely mind-blowing!
Here’s a sample, and one of my fave AVR tunes!
In Alissa’s words…
Passion: Music—so that works out! 😀
What are its greatest challenges? The greatest challenges are that it’s still unfortunately a very exploitative industry. In this city, it’s still hard to find bars that will pay you fairly if at all. People understand that music like all of the arts is a labor of love and something you just HAVE to do and it’s easy to exploit that fact. But being passionate about what you do doesn’t mean that it’s not still a lot of really hard work, expense, stress and physical exertion. It is not just all good times. Lots of people love their jobs and they get paid to do them. Exposure won’t pay the bills. So I’d love to see the exploitative nature of the industry change and see musicians get paid fairly for what they do.
What are its greatest rewards? The greatest reward is when you see people singing or dancing to your music or otherwise appreciating it. It’s always really nice to see people enjoying what you do. Getting offered great gigs, interviews etc., is also really validating and shows that your hard work is paying off!
Any advice to others embarking on this type of career? My advice to anyone trying to embark on this career is that you need to be patient and you need to stick to your instincts and persevere. This industry is a rough one. There are a lot of great moments, but being a performer also means a lot of putting yourself out there. It won’t come easy, and there will always be some pain and heartache along the way. You just have to keep going and know that so many brilliant artists played for a decade or more before making progress… and so many more brilliant artists are still out there pursuing it.
What does it mean to be an artist? I think it can mean so many different things. It can be a personal means of self-expression through a variety of mediums… I think when it comes to being a professional artist, there are other things that come into play, because it’s no longer just for you. Then, there might be a lot more pressure involved to please others, to bend to what the public might want, but I’d say never contrive your art for the acceptance of others, because then it loses its sincerity. You need to stick to your vision.
Where did you expect to be 5 years ago and where do you expect to be 5 years from now? Hmm, I’m not sure. I’d say being a musician isn’t necessarily a straight path. There are a lot of ups and downs. You can feel like you’re doing really well and then all of a sudden you can feel like you’ve hit a bit of a wall. Sometimes, it’s really just in your head. But I feel like you need to always keep pushing and being productive in this field or else things can start to go pretty quiet. I feel like I’m kind of moving in new directions and trying to get to a place where I’m doing more of what I want to be doing and realizing that fully. It’s hard to think about where I might be 5 years from now with it. I have so many things I’d like to get finished… albums and definitely more videos…I have so much material, but it can be a struggle to lay some of it down due to a number of variables, but this is one of my main aspirations for the next few years.
What would you tell your 8-year-old self? “Are you sure you want to go into music?”
What would you tell your 80-year-old self? “You’re still doing this music stuff, you silly ass?” 😀
How lucky are you and why? Well, there are some who get lucky in this field…but it’s extremely rare…luck plays a hand, but it generally still needs to be paired with a ton of hard work. I’ve had friends who have gone on to become very successful and others that are still struggling and the ones who are successful aren’t necessarily more talented or hardworking, but often just at the right place right time on top of those things. You just have to keep going and never depend on luck for anything.
What would people be surprised to know about you? Well, I don’t know, but they are always welcome to get in touch and ask questions…
What makes you laugh and what is fun for you? Friends like you! [Meeeee? Aw!!! I find you fun too!!!] Music, dancing, swimming, summer time! Backyard parties, traveling….
What makes you question humanity? Racism and prejudice (how many years of history do we need to look back on to stop repeating it?!), ridiculous gun laws in the States, Trump (Really? REALLY???) and other stuff…but let’s not get too existential here. 😀
What is your favourite quote? Well, I’ve always really liked this one: “Lo barato sale caro.” [Which translates loosely from Spanish to: buying
cheap things turns out expensive in the end.]
What does being involved with BS Fridays mean to you? I think we all need some support sometimes. Especially in a tough field like this, it’s great that we have some allies that we can turn to, bounce ideas and songs off of, get advice from and just see that others are going through the same struggles. We really have a lot to learn from each other. Plus groups like BS Fridays are a great way to form mutually beneficial relationships. Musicians, publicists, PR people, sound engineers, producers, label reps… we all are looking for each other and these are great places to find each other. It’s a great place to find the people you may not know where to look for…
I’ve been involved in BS Fridays probably for about 2 or so years now and I’ve met a lot of great people in the industry and have been to some very helpful meetups with guest speakers who shared a lot of invaluable info. I definitely look forward to more meetups and meeting more fellow members in the future!
Come see us play at The Cameron House Friday August 12th 9:00pm!
Sunday April 6 at The Revival Bar we’re having workshops and networking and concerts, oh my!
See artists like: Madette, Brendan Albert, Alissa Vox RAW, Ashley Martinez, Rosita Stone, Candice Sand, Dan Curtis Tompson, Vanessa McGowan, Sarah Jean Villa, Emily Nowicki, Dorothy Knight, Niki Andre, Ernie Vicente, Emilia Heather Hill, Meghan Morrison, and of course Arlene Paculan and Kat Leonard!
Hope to see YOU there too!
WonderFest Day 2 brought us the creative freeform session of open mic and jam collaboration at The Central! It was great to see the work of empowerment in action. There were a few individuals who came to the session to break out of their shell, get some practice and gather impetus to write that song, finish that CD, get up on that stage again and empower themselves to follow their dreams. Yay! It worked!
Some highlights of Day 2’s collaboration/open mic night here:
What a wonderful kickoff!
WonderFest Day 1 was a huge ball of fun and success! It started out with Arlene and I interviewing and performing on Rogers Daytime Peel! Arlene and I both wore turquoise– and we didn’t even plan it! Sonia our host wore boots to match us– again not even planned! We were meant to be on Daytime on this day to spread empowerment through art as well as hues of blue! 🙂
Even my socks and the rim on Arlene’s boots matched the Daytime set! I mean, come on! What a wonder! 😀 You can watch our video segment here: Kat & Arlene on DayTime!
In the evening we headed to The Central for the first free workshop of the week: Business Planning for Artists with Heather Hill! We had an intimate group of lovely attendees! Heather Hill is an easygoing and compelling workshop leader with engaging personal anecdotes and effective tangible knowledge to share. The tools and advice shared by Heather is applicable to all business types, and the information was soaked up by the mix of musicians, filmmakers, massage therapists and producers alike!
I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a great evening and start to a wonderful week of wonderment at WonderFest! We still have 3 more free workshops and 2 concerts to celebrate during WonderFest!
Tonight we meet at The Central again for a night of collaboration and open mic performances! Sign up is at 7pm. Hope to see you there!
Happy WonderFesting, everyone! May you always feel empowered to make all your dreams come true!
For full details on WonderFest’s events, visit: www.WonderWomenWorld.tumblr.com