An Interview with The Multi-Talented Musician, Heather Reid
Posted On 10 Jul 2014
Tag: & Divorce, Au-pair-tunity, Blondie, Broken Hearted Season, Can't Be Stopped, Carole King, Casio Keyboard, Chrissie Hynde, Cross Words, Dear Bernard, Fleetwood Mac, Heather Reid, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, K.D. Lang, Larry Klein, Leisha Hailey, Lilith Fair, Luscious Jackson, Matthew Wilder, MCA Records, Pyramid, Redcar, Ryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Sia, Studio 54, The Dixie Chicks, The Matrix, The Murmurs, The Weepies
She has formed several bands, she co-wrote a song for Shakira, she performed at Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair in the late 90’s, she wrote a musical, she released a solo album and she is a mom to two four-year old boys. Heather Reid has certainly been one busy musician!
Here is she breaking it all down for me in our recent interview:
Can you offer us a brief journey of your musical career thus far from your perspective? Please tell us how you got you to this point in your career?
I was 12 years old when I begged my mom for the Casio Keyboard at the Service Merchandise for Christmas. My dream came true that holiday and I remember composing my very first song, “Divorce”. It’s fair to say that was the official start of my “career”.
I met Leisha Hailey in the early 90’s at acting school in NYC and we formed our acoustic duo-The Murmurs. When we started out, we played our first gigs at the local pubs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Soon after, we were nurtured by the Drag Queen Scene that was going on at clubs like the Pyramid and our following continued grow. We were eventually signed by MCA Records. Touring the US and Norway (yes, Norway), we became very focused on our live show. Some of our early albums were produced by Larry Klein, K.D. Lang and Matthew Wilder. We were blessed to be influenced and mentored by these incredible legends. When Leisha and I decided to branch out on our own, I focused on my new band, Redcar and wrote a musical, Dear Bernard.
It’s been an incredible journey thus far and now I’m a solo artist discovering who I am on my own with a trunk full of treasures and history to reflect on during this present musical venture.
You wrote a gold selling single for Shakira. How did that all come about?
Leisha and I had the opportunity to collaborate with a songwriting team called The Matrix and they pitched the song we wrote to Shakira. We were so thrilled that she used it!
And what was it like performing at Sarah McLachlan’s at Lilith Fair?
My band The Murmurs toured on the Lillith Fair for some of the West Coast dates in 1998. It was such a brilliant experience. I remember at the end of the night though- all of the artists would get on stage and sing a song together for the closing of the event. I’d look around at the amazing woman on stage with such admiration and awe. I remember Chrissie Hynde, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, The Dixie Chicks, and Luscious Jackson to name a few.
Tell me about Dear Bernard? What led you write a musical about love and the search for fame in 1970s New York?
I’ve always loved musicals. When I ventured out into writing this musical I was very inspired by my mother’s life story. She was a small town girl who came to the States from England in the late 60’s and started out as an Au-pair on Long Island, New York. She then moved to NYC and worked for a photographer where she was discovered as a hand model. The story tells how she became one the biggest body parts model in the country. She was never known for her whole self. The Studio 54 lifestyle of NYC is the background. There was a song in my musical called “Au-pair-tunity” with the lyrics “This land of Au-pair-tunity, is not what it’s cracked up to be”. The show was an omauge (with some embellishment) of my mother’s early journey here in America. The tag-line for the show was “In order to find herself she had to fall to pieces”.
“Cross Words” is your first completely solo album. Tell me what it’s like going solo after being a “band girl” all these years? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being solo now?
I’m ready to be a solo artist. I miss the dynamic of how a “band” collaborates but I also enjoy that every musical choice I make is all on me. Being solo is intimidating and it’s probably why I haven’t ventured out on my own until now.
Can you pick a favorite song from “Cross Words”?
My favorite song on this album is ever changing. At the moment I’d chose “Broken Hearted Season”.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the new artists who inspire you and who do you think are going to be the next big artists in the future?
I’m inspired by the old school artists like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac and Blondie to name a few. Now I’m listening to The Weepies, Sia, Adele, Lorde, Ryan Adams, Michael Kiwanuka and more.
How are you using social media networks and sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram to interact with your fans? How often do you post?
I am doing my best but I’m not the greatest at social media. When I was on the road I had plenty of time to post on Instagram and Twitter. Now that I’m home..I’ve dropped the ball a bit. It is important to keep up with fans though.
What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
My songwriting process is always changing. It depends on my mood. Sometimes it feels like a song (the music and lyrics) just channels through me. Other times I may hear a melody first. It’s rare that the lyrics come before the music though. I write about my life and sometimes I feel like I’m predicting my future through my words. I did recently have a revelation that it may just be my unconscious mind sending me a message, having me say out loud through my lyrics what I already know deep down.
How are you using new music technologies to record music and in your personal life?
I have two 4 year old boys and that keep me very busy. Having a home studio (I use pro-tools) is great. I can work from home.
If you had the opportunity to work with any artist/band from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?
I’d love to work with Fleetwood Mac. To watch their process in a recording studio would be brilliant.
Why is this lifestyle (recording, singing, traveling) one that you’re willing to follow?
I love recording, singing and performing live and it’s my artistic expression.
How is it being a mother and a musician? How do you balance it all?
It’s definitely a balance..but my family comes first.
What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
I love singing “Can’t Be Stopped” live because it can feel like my anthem at times.
What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music and radio industries?
I feel like the music business is constantly changing, it’s almost hard to keep up with. It seems like there are so many ways to be heard now. The arena can be over saturated. I like to follow programmers who still have control of their radio playlists.
Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians?
What’s been important to me is staying focused and true to myself as a musician. Using the fumbles as lessons to grow as an artist and being open minded to all the possibilities the journey can bring. Success for me is loving what I do.