What do you do?
I'm an acoustic indie pop singer songwriter. I play piano, guitar, sing and write songs.
Where can we find your work?
My website: www.dunetran.com, Bandcamp, or iTunes
What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?Music inspires me. Emotions. Life experience. Hearing other life stories. Observations of human behavior. When things get tough and I need inspiration, I like to learn or relearn how to play favorite songs by other artists that I love. I enjoy playing classical music too. That usually gets me out of my element and in the zone. Discovering new music inspires me too, so listening to Pandora really helps with that. Going to open mics. Seeing and hearing other musicians and songwriters achieving goals and producing new work is also inspirational.
What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
Both! Technique and process bring your content to a finished product. ;)
Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?I like to focus on other female singer songwriters and the list has definitely changed over the years, but off the top of my head: Regina Spektor, Lykke Li, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Amy Winehouse, Santigold, Ingrid Michaelson, Sia. Lana Del Ray, Fiona Apple, Adele, Birdy, Holly Conlan, Joni Mitchell, Sarah Mclachlan
What is the most incredible art moment for you so far?
Having my songs being placed for use on TV
When do you get your best ideas?
When I'm alone playing my piano or guitar and singing. Sounds and melodies inspire a theme. In those melodies, there's an emotion and a story to uncover. It's kind of like a puzzle. A crafty poetic way of expressing thought and emotions in few words to connect and be relate-able to others. I like listening to songs that make me feel something or make me feel like "yeah I've been there too. I know how that feels."
What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Piano, guitar and voice
Are you self-taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
Partly self taught and partly through education and teachers. Teachers helped provide foundation and technique. Education helped me learn about how to use software for recording. Self taught writing has given me the freedom to be creative.
I've also done a lot of research online and I've been to several workshops. This past year I went on a camping rafting songwriting retreat in British Columbia which was led by a couple amazing teachers (Jason Blume and Mary Gauthier). They were both so different but so influential, moving, reassuring and supportive. Hearing stories from them and others was so inspirational. I didn't feel so alone about being a songwriter. Not very many people I know personally are songwriters and it was comforting and energizing to be surrounded by a passionate group of songwriters.
Who would you most like to meet living or dead and why?
I would love to meet Amy Winehouse. I find her lyrics so raw and truthful. I also love her voice and songs. I love her ability to express herself. I find as an artist that it is important yet is hard to bare your soul completely. It's a challenge, but it's what I admire most about artistic expression. It's therapeutic and healing to write.
When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I love to hike, do yoga, listen to music, and play volleyball
How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
Writing and listening, rewriting and re-listening, taking time away from it and then repeat until I think it's good enough. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of my producer Joshua Rumer.
What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Start small. Start simple. Don't be judgmental and hard on yourself.
Put together a concise, complete, coherent thought and purpose in your song.
Don't be so rigid in process. Some songs can start with just lyrics, just melody or just chord progression or just a drum beat. Try anything. Whatever brings out your inspiration to create. Whatever moves your soul and moves emotion.
Use the voice recorder on your phone. Save your work. Put it away and listen later. Make notes. Write down ideas for lyrics where ever and whenever inspiration hits you. Collaborate. Try playing a new instrument.
I've taken a whole bunch of classes around the Bay Area. The first songwriting class I took was through Carol McComb at Gryphon Guitars. Late on, I took a songwriting class at Foothill College because
I was stuck in a rut and it helped force me to write. I took a jazz piano class at De Anza. I also took plenty of music production classes at Foothill College. Try everything and anything. Craigslist is a great resource for meeting other musicians to play with, buy instruments, find teachers, etc.