Sunday, November 17, 2013

Special Interview: Juliette Commagere

theaussieword.com meets Juliette Commagere for a special blog interview!

What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
I suppose it began in Los Angeles when I was born. My family is very musical and very creative and a bit kooky. My father has his own classical record company and plays classical piano. He would blast-- and I mean BLAST on huge speakers-- classical music all day. In high school I wanted to be a Broadway actress, which I think is why I still like to dress up a little crazy. I was always more than happy to dress up in a tie-dye unitard and sing and dance around in Godspell. I always played the piano and was very good at it. In the second grade I wrote my first pop song and it was called "Honestly". My sister and my cousins didn't believe I wrote it. I knew I was onto something.

What had you first interested in music?
I played classical piano as a child and I was really drawn to Chopin, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Later, I was drawn to all the cute boys, the late nights, life on the road, the craziness--it's all very seductive. I thought-- this is the life for me!

Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music?
Myself! And a fear of letting myself down. I'm good at pushing myself and with everything I do I make it a challenge. I never take the easy route.

Do you have any planned tours coming up?
Yes but I don't know the details yet. I'll let you know when I find out!

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I ask myself this question all the time. Why am I doing this? What's the point? This is such a hard and uncertain life. But I think if I stop I would go crazy and just be shopping and crying all the time. But art gives my life meaning. One goal would definitely be to make money, but never at the expense of my integrity. I've been offered deals with the devil before and turned them down. So for now I focus on creating a body of work I can be proud of and hopefully earning the respect of my peers. I never dreamed I would have a solo project. I just thought I would have a band with a bunch of guys forever. So I'm excited for the future to unfold. It always surprises me.


What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
I'm going to put out an EP of some new songs I've been working on, and hopefully a tour in the beginning of the year. And hopefully a new hairstyle cause I'm getting bored.

Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
You will never regret expressing your truest self, and you will never regret dedicating your life to your art. But since I have zero dollars you may want to get advice from someone else. The biggest reward for me in music is all the places it's taken me and all the delicious food I've gotten to eat. Those are moments I will never forget-- at a beautiful restaurant in some out of the way place in Milan with a fire burning, and the most unbelievable spaghetti with black pepper and cheese, and table full of beautiful Italian boys who came over and said hi and later came to the show. Or the night we got to Tokyo and the air was crisp and clean and we huddled into a tiny restaurant and ate sushi and tempura that tasted like cake it was so delicious! Or the night in Amsterdam after playing at the gorgeous Carre theater when we rode our bikes back to the hotel and it started to drizzle…the wind was in my face and the city was so beautiful and for once in my life I felt like I was actually alive.



Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
I know Patti Smith is all the rage right now but I love everything she stands for. She could have written Kids to show everyone what a crazy bad ass she was but she kind of did the opposite. I get so tired of people trying to create these personas and this notion that rock stars can't be kind and sensitive and even at times insecure. She has managed to be a mom, a musician, a writer and a a trail blazer and I wish I could be all those things too.

How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
My friends say I am not nice, but that I am very kind. But I think I am the nicest person in the world. I am prone to depression, but also a bit of a jokester. I like to surround myself with friends who make me laugh. My music reflects my keyboard chops and the side of me that most people don't get to see.

What can you tell us about your latest album?
I would wake up everyday, watch Cat People, get drunk, and then get to work. That's why all the songs are so slow.

Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
Perhaps, but I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it yet!

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Oh dear…I've stopped making plans because they never happen the way you think they will! I want to continue making records forever but I also want to explore other artistic expressions--I just directed my first video so I'd like to do more of that and do it for other people as well, and I'm writing a TV pilot that I'd like to create…I have book ideas and I'd love to start a clothing line. And my husband Joachim and I produced the artist Carly Ritter's debut album which came out on Vanguard Records earlier this year so we'll probably do some more of that. But of course I'm always fantasizing about dropping everything, moving to the desert and becoming a sculptor. So much to do and so little time!

Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
ACDC, Men at Work, and of course Kylie!

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I had a revelation the other day that what drives music careers today is "content". People access and listen to songs now on you tube instead of buying the song, so if you want someone to hear your song you'd better have a video for it. And if you don't update your facebook/twitter/instagram constantly people want to know "where you've been". Obviously I hate this. I am addicted to other things but definitely not social media. I don't want to know what people are doing 24 hours a day. I don't care. But--I do believe in moving into the future so I'm trying to figure out how to make peace with all of these things. What's happening to the music industry is what's happening to our class system. The middle class seems to be dying out. We have these huge mega artists and label heads making millions of dollars, and then you have so so many little artists and little labels barely scraping by. I think it will just continue this way and as people's attention spans grow shorter so will people's careers. Trends are moving faster. No longer is there some underground movement happening that takes years to catch on because now someone just puts it on Facebook and then that movement is everywhere! I think people will eventually stop putting out albums and just release singles. Maybe songs will get shorter too. I've had people tell me no one will listen to a song of mine because if it's not catchy in the first five seconds people will turn it off. They don't have time to listen to some beautiful intro I've constructed. But I don't say this bitterly because I keep my intros and I love them! On the bright side, everyone can record and make music in their homes and put it out there for the world to see, so it's actually a very creative time. You just have to decide--okay, I'm gonna be a musician. How can I make this work?

Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today? 
I love your country! I've even been to Perth and had the best Laksa of my life!!!

You can join Juliette on Facebook here!

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