Vienna's contribution to NPR Music article

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Kalenabear
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Vienna's contribution to NPR Music article

Postby Kalenabear » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:03 pm

The majority of you already know from Vienna's Twitter and Facebook that she's contributed to this NPR Music article, Hey Ladies: Being A Woman Musician Today. It's an honest and insightful compilation of thoughts on the industry from different artists, including AmbeR Rubarth. :) I like how it explores the various corners of musicianship, asking about life on/offstage, how each artist started out, etc.

I highly recommend that you take your time and read through all contributors' answers. Out of convenience, here are Vienna's:

Edit: Link to Vienna's responses.

Discuss. :)
Last edited by Kalenabear on Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Michele » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:52 pm

I spent some time last night going through other responses. Re-reading Vienna's I note the lack of mention of guys treating her as if she doesn't know what she's doing, or that she can't play, just because of her gender. Hopefully that means she's been lucky, and has experienced that so minimally that it hasn't factored in for her.

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Postby Reileen » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:46 pm

Thanks for the compilation, Kalenabear! I admit I was going CTRL+F through the pages trying to find Vienna's responses after reading the first couple. Might go back and re-read everything at some point, though.
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Postby aaparallel » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:07 pm

Michele wrote:I spent some time last night going through other responses. Re-reading Vienna's I note the lack of mention of guys treating her as if she doesn't know what she's doing, or that she can't play, just because of her gender. Hopefully that means she's been lucky, and has experienced that so minimally that it hasn't factored in for her.


From an observer's perspective, I agree with Vienna: it looks like the singer-songwriter sector, or at least the NY singer-songwriter sector, has everyone on an even playing field. They're all very talented, and they respect and support each other so much. Vienna has many singer-songwriter friends who know she can play darn well, and who actually seem to look up to her. I guess she can't complain about any gender-based injustice. :)
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby Michele » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:28 pm

Reileen wrote:Thanks for the compilation, Kalenabear! I admit I was going CTRL+F through the pages trying to find Vienna's responses after reading the first couple. Might go back and re-read everything at some point, though.


You can just see the whole thing all at once here.

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Postby Kalenabear » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:58 pm

Michele wrote:
Reileen wrote:Thanks for the compilation, Kalenabear! I admit I was going CTRL+F through the pages trying to find Vienna's responses after reading the first couple. Might go back and re-read everything at some point, though.


You can just see the whole thing all at once here.


Ah, yes. The ever efficient and resourceful Michele, everybody! Thanks for the link! Looks like I missed a few answers. I'm so going to refer to Vienna's music as "Lilith Fair-y" now, hee! :D

Reileen - I CTRL+F'd through the pages yesterday, too, heh! (CTRL+C and V also came in handy. ;)) Went back to read everything today. Very interesting responses, made all the better/funnier in its unedited form.

I concur with Vienna that gender shouldn't be the only label for artists. It's like saying, "I'm Asian Jane," or "Hey there, Six-foot Sally or something like that. (Hmm, Six-foot Sally sounds like it'd be a cool band name. But, um, anyway...) Yes, ideally, definitions and categories are for nominal purposes and not as qualifiers, as Vienna states. That said, things can go both ways. Some things are getting very PC to the point that they get whitewashed out (pun not intended). That is, sometimes people step on eggshells so that the merits and wonderful parts of a culture or custom are underexposed or ignored. The same goes with gender.

Also, I remember somebody remarking that Vienna and Alex probably brought Ward Williams in to balance out the Asian-ness of their trio act. I was taken aback that she said that. It's about the skills and compatibility, lady! I mean, V&A's duo act did very well on its own, thanksverymuch.

People mean well, though, so I think we've all just been conditioned to go, "wow, a girl drummer!" when we wouldn't necessarily stand in awe of "whoa, a dude drummer!" It's not meant to be offensive or sterotypical. The industry just needs a few years for people to catch up with the times, be reconditioned and readjusted especially outside of the singer/songwriter genre.

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Postby Fred » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:21 am

I recall Vienna mentioning that they placed an ad for a cellist/electric guitarist for the IT tour and were shocked by how hard it was to find someone with talent on both instruments. Thus, it's pretty clear Ward was brought in because he was the best out there, not for ethnic balance. I can't imagine Vienna worrying about that anyway. (BTW, have y'all read Ward's blog? Nice coverage with photos of the 2009 Europe tour, mostly. I'll link to it somewhere later. Interesting funny bit about sharing a magic muffin in Holland, where such is legal, including an "after" sample of his utterly incoherent writing.)

That segues nicely into music economics. One of the apparent consequences of the pinched economics of the industry -- paltry CD sales, necessitating making a living on gigs -- is smaller touring bands. (Hence, a search for a guitarist-cum-cellist.) Only the major stars seem to tour with a band approximately the size of the backing on their studio recordings. That's too bad; it really puts the smaller artists at even more of a disadvantage. I'm trying to figure out how Carrie Rodriguez has been doing the release tour for her current album with 4 backing musicians, playing basically the same venues Vienna plays around the country. The total door at her release show at Joe's Pub, which I attended, must have been about $1500 (~100 folks @ $15). Can she be making anything on this? BTW her band is tight and hot, and really show her off both as a singer and as a fiddler--a perfect example of why smaller artists need this kind of level playing field. With them, she's every bit a match for Alison Krauss and Union Station, IMHO. Without, maybe not so much.

Which returns me to Vienna's lament about the economics of being a singer-songwriter. Many of you would have a hard time comprehending how expensive it is to live even reasonably well in NYC and environs. (Not those of you in Boston or SF--the rest of you.) If you want to live a reasonable middle class life here on one income, especially if you intend to bring up kids, you'd better be an investment banker or a surgical subspecialist. If you're a singer-songwriter, you'd better be Billy Joel (who is a lot more than middle class, of course). If you are Dar Williams or Suzanne Vega--or Vienna Teng--you are like the rest of us professors, pediatricians, accountants, and the like; you need a spouse or partner with a second income to share the economic burden. (That's how Dar and Suzanne live, not to mention myself and almost everybody I know.) Was there a time when anybody with a record deal was automatically rich? I kind of doubt it, based on all the stories of artists ripped off by their labels and ending up in poverty. But if there was such a time, it ain't now. Welcome to the 21st Century. Maybe in grad school Vienna will have time for that stable relationship and eventually end up settled, with kids, etc. Sure would make Grandmother happy ;), but (in all seriousness) the richness of the experience could feed her art. I've certainly seen that happen with other, older artists (consider the two I mentioned above). Alternatively, once she has an MBA from an elite school, she'll have abundant opportunities to sell her soul for big bucks, but she seems more idealistic that that to me.

One last impression: the passage about how you have to stick with your art despite it all, if it is your sole passion, is a bit poignant under the circumstances. Was Vienna remembering a time that was true for her? I don't know.
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And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

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Postby aaparallel » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:06 am

Fred wrote: (BTW, have y'all read Ward's blog? Nice coverage with photos of the 2009 Europe tour, mostly. I'll link to it somewhere later. Interesting funny bit about sharing a magic muffin in Holland, where such is legal, including an "after" sample of his utterly incoherent writing.)


I spent a good evening reading Ward's blog about Austria and elsewhere. I love that guy. Not only is he an amazing musician, one that I miss seeing on tour with VTAW, he's also one hilarious dude. So envious of all of you who will be seeing the trio in August. With Joey Ryan. *sigh*

Fred wrote:One last impression: the passage about how you have to stick with your art despite it all, if it is your sole passion, is a bit poignant under the circumstances. Was Vienna remembering a time that was true for her? I don't know.


VT really follows her heart. It happens to be in school right now, so that's where she's going. I really like the advice she gives in the article, all genuinely coming from experience.
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby Ang Mo » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:04 am

Maybe in grad school Vienna will have time for that stable relationship and eventually end up settled, with kids, etc. Sure would make Grandmother happy


I had already prophesied this in an earlier thread and then was mocked by either you or cmooreNC or Rahau asking if I had names for the children............Well I thought about it and I have some.

If she is blessed with a boy, then I was thinking Holden from The Catcher in the Rye, or Ash from the movie "Army of Darkness", or John from the Paul Newman character in the film "Hombre" The middle name could be catchy like Diet Coke

If she is blessed with a girl I was thinking Cassandra, or Vienna since it is really not Vienna's name, or Arijana

These are the thoughts I am thinking while eating Captain Crunch and once again accidentally cutting the roof of my mouth on the damn stuff. Geez, the Captain oughta put a warning on that box indicating that this cereal can cut the roof of your mouth.
--the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved once and for all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?

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Postby Fred » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:44 pm

LOL. I think it was me.
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

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Postby cmooreNC » Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:38 am

Ang Mo wrote:These are the thoughts I am thinking while eating Captain Crunch and once again accidentally cutting the roof of my mouth on the damn stuff. Geez, the Captain oughta put a warning on that box indicating that this cereal can cut the roof of your mouth.


Hmmm, that's never happened to me. But of course I've always had a problem with trying to keep the dang stuff from going soggy on me. I guess I just eat too slowly.... :lol:

Oh, wait.... do you eat it without milk?! I suppose that would keep the Capn' Crunchy! :D
Chris

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Postby Ang Mo » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:23 am

Hmmm, that's never happened to me. But of course I've always had a problem with trying to keep the dang stuff from going soggy on me. I guess I just eat too slowly....

Oh, wait.... do you eat it without milk?! I suppose that would keep the Capn' Crunchy!


I eat mine at warp speed in milk, making a tremendous slurping/crunching sound that even puts the community pit bull in a snarling foul mood. If I were to do this at a Vienna Teng concert I would be ejected. Needless to say, I would never eat Captain Crunch at a Vienna Teng concert, it would be impolite. I also like other healthy cereals like Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms. I am not to fond of Frankenberry. I think it's a fraud. I use to eat Quake and Qwisp but that would make me feel immature now.........
--the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved once and for all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?


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