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We had the honor of highlighting T R U V O N N E as our Featured Artist for April. She is a composer, producer and performer based in Phoenix. Her music has been featured on shows like 'Good Trouble', 'NAOMI' and OWN's 'Queen Sugar'. She has also opened up for artists such as Daley, Jacob Banks, Talib Kweli, R.LUM.R, Joy Crookes and Xavier Omar. We got the chance to ask her about her background and experience as a woman in the music industry!

How did your journey with music begin? How did you get into music making? 

I began making music in high school, I played basketball throughout, and I  had an injury that left me bedridden, had to get surgery so I picked up a  guitar that my grandpa got me that was left in the corner of my room, and I  went from there. I was always in band too, I played the clarinet. But yeah that’s where it started and then continued into college. I was not very good at all but I just became obsessed with and wanted to really learn and  understand how to write songs and play. 

What’s your creative/ songwriting process? 

So I am fortunate enough that through the years I was able to build a studio in my apartment so my whole house is like a music making arena. So sometimes I will just pick up my guitar and have a physical reaction to a tone or to a progression and I will go from there. Other times I will pick out a random synth or a random sample from NI (Native Instruments) and  start playing and tweaking the sound to see what I come up with. Most of  the time I come up with an underlying atmospheric undertone that will be the backbone of the whole song. That is usually the sound that is created  or made first and then I will create different parts and start writing and  building around the central idea or theme. I always have the TV on and  movie/TV edits playing in the background so there is always some type of  scene that is around me. 

What is your approach to collaboration in music and songwriting? Do you have  any tips? 

With collaboration and songwriting, I feel like it is very similar to improv.  Keep on going and building off of the next idea, don’t say no, just keep it  going and if it’s clicking that’s great, if it’s not, redirect but don’t shoot down  Ideas off the bat. Hear everyone out and see where it goes. I am very go  with the flow so I just never want to fight against the current. 

Can you talk a little about your experience writing for TV and film? Do you have  any experience in sync licensing, pitching songs for sync, or working with a publisher?

Yes, so I do have a publisher and it’s been a great experience working with  them, and getting opportunities to write or produce for different briefs and seeing the journey the song has a chance to go on. I am extremely  experimental and have always been that way, I love just sitting down and  seeing what happens, feel things out and roll with it. I watch a lot of TV  and listen to what's being played, listen to structure and see what’s going  on. I think it’s important to be a student of the craft and study. Sometimes,  like in the recent writers strike, it can be a bit more difficult to get work, but  you have to just pay attention, put your head down and keep learning, and finding new ideas, new techniques, new collaborations and see what  comes of it. Sometimes when you just are doing the work, things will come out of nowhere because that’s the intention you are putting out. 

What do you wish you’d known when you were an emerging artist? 

The biggest thing I wish I knew or at least paid attention to was dropping off and disappearing out of nowhere. That’s one of the worst things that you can do, especially in this short attention span, social media world we are living in. Just starting out, you have to try to be everywhere as much as you can. Also making sure that your music is staying on genre with what you are making and just stay on that wave until you have enough leeway to venture out. Building a base of people that are willing to grow with you.

What’s exciting you right now in the Arizona music scene? 

The AZ music is absolutely booming right now. I feel like the amount of artists and the magnitude of how they are just blowing up is wild. You have shows everywhere, big touring artists coming through here which gives other artists an opportunity to perform and grow their reach as well. It’s a great time to be here, the city is growing and it’s exciting.  

You just released a new song called ‘Nicotine’! Congratulations! Can you tell us  a bit about this song and its meaning, and the process of making it? 

I was in a very very low place when I wrote this song. I was in my chair with my guitar and was playing two chords over and over again, and just started singing “Ricochet back in our faces...” and went from there. I have all of the notes and some of the original voice recordings and man I could already tell how rough that night was. I actually write songs on paper. So I am very traditional and old school when it comes to stuff like that. Pen and paper with a guitar sometimes is truly all you need. Side note the song is so different from the original acoustic version I originally had for it so, I just got done with a live session with the original version, so I am excited to see and hear how that comes out.

Thank you T R U V O N N E!

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