Danielle Barbe is a great upcoming from Pittsburgh, PA and is our latest Sonicbids feature interview competition. At Song Revelation when we first some of her tracks we were really keen to interview her so that we could share everything with you too. Read on to find out about, amongst other things, where she would like to travel to given the chance, how she became interested in music and what she’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.
Q: What is your musical background?
It all really started with my family and their love of music. My grandmother was a fantastic singer, and I’d sit at the piano with her and we’d just sing songs for hours. I grew up singing in school plays, choir, and at church.
My parents really loved rock ‘n roll, and my father was always in bands. I learned a lot about songwriting from my dad. When I was in high school, my brother, who is a guitarist, started up a band and I was the lead singer. We would pass cassette tapes back and forth and keep coming up with new parts for songs. My mom was creative in many ways, and would help me make all of my stage costumes.
It just kept evolving from there!
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
It’s been pretty amazing! I won the Ernie Ball/Vans Warped Tour Battle of the Bands out of over 23,000 artists. I had entered on a whim and it was so surreal to actually win the entire thing. I’m now gearing up for Warped Tour!
Q: Who inspires you musically?
This changes a lot, but growing up I was definitely inspired by female singer/songwriters such as Sheryl Crow, Alanis, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, and Carole King.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
I love Lykke Li, Feist, Band of Skulls, The Civil Wars, the list goes on and on…
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
I’ve been listening to Alabama Shakes and the new Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros album a lot.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
This always varies! Sometimes I’ll have a melody stuck in my head, or I’ll have all of the lyrics basically written out and done. At times the music comes first, and it all starts with a guitar riff. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great songwriters over the past few years, such as my producer Luke Ebbin (Bon Jovi/All American Rejects/Plain White T’s), Rune Westberg, and Matt Mahaffey. They really shook up my creative process and made me think about songwriting in different ways.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
I think they’re both so important! I always strive to have really catchy melodies that will get stuck in your head all day. Of course, I want the lyrics to be relatable and meaningful as well.
Q: Where are you based?
Although I travel around a lot, my hometown is Pittsburgh, PA.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Growing up, it felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t even have a movie theater nearby or a mall. It definitely forced me to use my imagination and get creative.
Once I went to school in the city, I definitely grew to love Pittsburgh. I’m now Pittsburgh’s Iron City Ambassador, which includes drinking Iron City beer, eating Primantis, and being involved in a lot of great hometown events! Pittsburgh has a lot of good music going on right now. I think it’s fantastic that Iron City is supporting local talent.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m currently preparing to do some shows and go on tour! I’m also working on some songs for a new album.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
There have been a lot of highlights that I’m so proud of. From playing festivals like Sundance, SXSW, to having my songs featured on Ghost Whisperer, Vampires Suck, MTV, Fuse, and even on 46,000 Delta airline flights.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
I just hope to keep growing as an artist, and putting out music and videos that resonate with my fans.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
I’ll be playing the New Music Seminar in NYC on June 18th, doing a bunch of dates on Warped Tour, and also doing several events in Pittsburgh! You can also watch the video for my song “Ghost Town” on your TV right now! It’s currently On Demand through Fuse!
Q: What do you do to relax?
I’ve found that I like to constantly be busy. I’m usually creating something, be it through sewing, making jewelry, or baking. I post most of it on my blog: http://www.thevagabondqueen.com .
I don’t really have an “off” button!
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
I just came back from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which was a completely different trip for me. I saw bears, moose, elk, foxes… You name it. There was a lot of hiking, rafting, and non-existent cell and Internet service at times. It forced me to let go and enjoy myself. It was nice to be cut off from things for a little bit.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
As an independent artist, I’d say to utilize all the opportunities that the Internet and social media can provide. Try to really interact with every fan, whether you have 4 or 40,000 of them. There are a lot of opportunities out there, so don’t be afraid to take risks and enter contests you don’t think you have a chance of winning. Find other artists and look at the ways they’re marketing themselves. Pay attention to what they’re doing that’s really great, and make it work for you as well! But most importantly, just have fun with it.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Check out my songs, pass them along to your friends, and come see me on Warped Tour if I’m in your city this summer!
Editor’s Note: Danielle Barbe combines great vocals and accomplished songwriting to create tracks with an appealing commercial indie sound. Definitely one of Song Revelation’s “Ones to Watch” for the rest of 2012 and beyond.
If you’d like to contact Danielle Barbe or check out more of her incredible tracks just follow the links below:
Main site: http://www.daniellebarbe.com