Hollywood Weekly Magazine 2 page spread
By Philip Cosores for the Hollywood Weekly magazine
Today’s contemporary artist are walking on unmapped land, where their craft has been devalued, their specialties oversaturated with talent, and their audience seemingly vanishing. For a woman like Michele Vreeland, whose life goal was to be a working artist, the future can seem daunting. “There will never be another rockstar,” Michele Vreeland notes near the end of our conversation, which dealt primarily with the struggles of being an independent artist and the courage it takes to attempt a career in the arts. “There isn’t any mystery anymore…and that’s the taste of the younger audience, they don’t want mystery.”
Indeed it is the information age and unfortunately for Vreeland and many struggling artists, music is treated like information; something that people have a right to rather than a commodity that that holds monetary value. But what is remarkable is not that she continues plugging along it is that she stays positive and optimistic throughout her artistic struggles. She notes that she would “have to deliberately try to stop making music” in order to get away, that her creativity is so natural (in fact, she also is a noted inventor in addition to a musician) and inherent to herself that stopping is never really an option. Her album is called Never Not Myself, after all.
In her ten years as a recording musician, Vreeland has attracted fans of all ages, from little girls to seniors. She notes that” people in their seventies or eighties have come up to me and said ‘I haven’t heard music like that in a long time,” a complement that must be attributed to her ability to vary her style and genre. She sees the benefits and detriments this, especially when her peers are being tied to an “indie” sound that is booming commercially.
“The E.P. that is out right now is really poppy compared to what else is out the for independent music. But people appreciate it because it is in the pop music genre, but it is different than the pop songs on the radio, sort of a middle-ground between indie and pop.”
And while her sound and songwriting are attributes, it takes more than just being good to make it, especially in the unforgiving town of Los Angeles, where everyone is out to make it for themselves. “It’s really all about the circles that you create,” she states in regard the ease in which free music is obtained these days, but is quick to share the blame between artists and fans. “Artists need to train people in what they are going to require of them, if they want to be a fan. It’s being proven by these websites like Facebook that people long for community and they love connection. And it’s always been this way, but now it’s in front of our eyes.”
This keen observation may be the factor that makes art as marketable today as ever, as she continues, “if as an artist or as a band, you can create a sense of community, then you will find success and be able to make a living…That’s the thing about music, you just cannot do it by yourself.”
And though she is a solo artist and produces much of her own work, she did work with a co-producer in Sean Gordon who she says “brought a lot to the table,” and is open to the possibility of working with other producers and artists. However, she qualifies this by adding, “It comes down to finding the right people, and finding the right time.”
And right now, the time is for Never Not Myself, an independent album that marches to the beat of its own drum, connecting with a variety of people along its rout. Vreeland already has another album’s worth of songs that echo the style of Never Not Myself, as well as material for a prospective album that would lean towards a younger and trendier crowd. And if she finds herself in the same place as she is now when those albums run their course, Vreeland will continue writing the music she feels, in whatever style she is drawn to. Because even though the audience is seeking connection by buying a record or seeing a concert, the artist is just as desperate for something real to happen when they play their own handcrafted songs on stage.
And these connections, which Vreeland agrees can come from any date, at any time, are why she will continually play shows in the L.A. area, why she is confident that success can come with these people behind her and why she wakes up everyday and pursues the living of her dream. No one told her it would be so hard, but no one told her it would be so rewarding, either.
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