Pip the Pansy

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

Erin Elizabeth Burchfield, Syracuse NY United States of America, 1/26/1992. I grew up on my daddy’s music… the Beatles, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, etc. I was a hyper child that always came home dirty… I liked to talk to clouds, catch lizards and hide them in my shirt… stuff like that. It was a good childhood. I think that probably I’ve always been strange but I grew up oblivious to that fact. I had a loving family so it didn’t matter what other kids thought.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.

 I decided to really jump into the music industry after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2014… my only experience at that point being a couple high school choir classes, beat boxing in the university a Capella group and some flute lessons. I went to school for photography, something I am very passionate about but I never actually imagined myself having a career in that field. I think I just picked that major because I knew I liked art and I didn’t want to fall behind the schedule that my peers were on. I don’t regret the hasty decision. My time in art school helped shape my friendships, my brand and many of the artistic decisions I continue to make… but yeah, the hunger for music came later. I started my music career in Athens, GA with the stage name “Wrenn”, my grandmother’s maiden name. I feel very connected to my Meme and had hoped to honor her name with my music but unfortunately I fell into a trademark lawsuit and had to make the difficult decision of selling the name and moving forward with the new stage name, “Pip the Pansy”. After going through these legal troubles I think I became jaded by all the chic, LA, trendy names out there. I decided that in order to really be myself I needed a name that would make fun of itself and represent the quirky, awkward girl behind it all. To me the name is fresh and I love it. Not to mention, I wanted to pick something that guaranteed no one else would ever want… I didn’t want to find myself in the same lawsuit situation ever again. The night I came to terms with changing the name we were in Nashville for some meetings and I was sitting in the kitchen of the AirBnB with my parents and then fiancee, Sam. I knew I liked the name Pip from Charles Dickens Great Expectations and we were trying to match it with different types of flowers… Pip the Rose, Pip the Lilly (My brand is extremely flowery… the first thing I did after buying a keyboard was make a giant bush of flowers to surround it and then that just became this recognizable thing for fans). So Sam threw Pip the Pansy out there as a joke. We all laughed but for the next three or four months it was the only name that was memorable. So that was the one. I liked that people either hated it or loved it… any reaction was better than no reaction. But anyways… I cut my teeth in Athens as Wrenn and had the honor of headlining the Georgia Theatre a couple times. At that point I decided it was best to move to Atlanta, GA, continue to push myself and be on the grind in a bigger city… but I owe a lot to Athens, it was the birthplace of my passion and helped me build a small but loyal fan base.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

I would call the genre indie-Pop since I am an independent artist that is trying to be relevant in pop-culture. “Breathing Fire” might be the most main-stream song I have at the moment. The song was originally a slow, emo piano ballad that I wrote right before going to the studio last October. At the time I was in the middle of the lawsuit mentioned above. It stirred up a lot of anxiety. Artists take a huge leap of faith when they pursue their dreams…there is no formula, no guarantee that they will be able to make a living or survive on their passions and yet they work relentlessly at it despite the risks. I felt like I took this leap of faith and put all my energy into this dream and I was watching it fall apart in front of me… my hard work was being reduced to emails sent back and forth between lawyers, my business was being completely drained and all I could do was watch. I wasn’t allowed to speak up. It felt like I was choking on my anxiousness and my frustrations. “Breathing Fire” was inspired by that situation but it’s more about anxiety and my own mental health than the lawsuit. I took the song to David Butler, who produced the upcoming EP with me. David is the engineer and producing genius behind the band MISSIO and works as a producer at Matchbox Studios in Austin, TX. We decided the song needed to be angry and energized and so we turned the piano ballad into the track you hear now. It was important for me to add this type of song and video to my discography… I wanted Pip the Pansy to come out the gates as more than just your typical pop artist. The name Pip the Pansy itself implies something cute and fun, which it is, but I wanted to make sure people know there can be a darker and angrier side to my art before I get boxed into one thing. The video is a visual representation of what an anxiety attack feels like. It is a lonely feeling, it’s uncontrollable, ugly and sometimes terrifying. Until I released this song and video, I never publicly talked about my fits of anxiety or how I feel crazy sometimes because I was ashamed of it and thought it was not justified. But I believe that almost everyone will at some point deal with feelings of depression and anxiety and I wanted to make something that people could see and say “oh, I am not the only one who feels this insane”.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

The thing I struggle with the most in the music business is my own confidence. I feel like I started a little late in the game and so I very often doubt myself, my decisions and my abilities as an artist and musician. I have had the honor of working with some incredibly talented people and I am always a little worried that I am too much of a newbie to be taken seriously by them or the industry. I took flute lessons when I was 10 so I have a little bit of musical training there but other than that I am self taught. I taught myself a little bit of piano, guitar and ukulele for the purpose of writing songs and now I am trying to be a better engineer and producer for myself. At the end of the day I have to tell myself that it doesn’t matter how others perceive me and that we all make our art in different ways and if I want to be better at something then all I have to do is work hard on it.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

“Breathing Fire” was recorded at Matchbox Studios with producer David Butler. It was just the two of us working on songs that week which was a huge relief for me. I am most vulnerable when I am trying to create and David was very sensitive to that. I decided not to hire a band for these songs so I could go into that time with confidence and privacy. I hire players for live performances but have never actually written with a band, although I am open to the idea. The “Breathing Fire” video is one of three music videos that my friend Rachel Lanquist and I shot over the course of one week. I styled, edited and directed the videos and Rachel was director of photography. We rented one camera from a local place here in Atlanta and just shot non stop for a week. For “Breathing Fire” we had Ben and Nathan Walters of Halounion Productions on the team to help with camera operating and editing. Our bodies definitely took a beating, we didn’t sleep, got eaten alive by bugs and did a lot of embarrassing things in public but it was all completely worth it… one of the best weeks of my life honestly. “Breathing Fire” was shot on various Atlanta parking decks, Arabia Mountain, my backyard, a random field and my office. I busted my chin on some rocks and put a lot of acrylic paint in my mouth for this one.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

I have been in the music industry for about three years now. The experience has been a whirlwind… I’ve had some incredible opportunities and even more humbling rejections. My goals are to connect with people and to make meaningful things.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

I can’t put my finger on what inspires me to do this other than it’s just what I have to do… creating is a gift that was given to me so I feel like I don’t have any other choice but to use that gift.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

A catchy hook, a relatable message and an honest performance

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

I’d like to tell my fans that are anxious or depressed to hang in there, don’t be discouraged. Life is a game and we have to play with the hand we are dealt. I know a girl who is an incredible songwriter, singer, piano player and she only has one arm. That hasn’t stopped her or slowed her down in the slightest… I am sure she has had to work hard and overcome her unique obstacles but she is kicking ass and taking names… you wouldn’t even know she has this handicap. I want to encourage people to view their mental health in the same way… it doesn’t have to be a debilitating thing that holds you back. It’s simply your unique obstacle that you have to work with. It’s a card in your hand! Use it to your advantage and play with it! Don’t let it stop you!

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Get a lawyer, trademark your name, be yourself, be honest and don’t give up.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

As far as touring goes, I’d like to think I am still earning my stripes. I’ve done some “in the trenches” touring… sleeping in the van in Walmart parking lots, playing to empty dive bars, carrying my gear several blocks in scuffed up glitter boots and eating taco bell way too many nights in a row… but there’s still a long road ahead and I am excited.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

My writing process usually starts with chords on a piano and a melody line. Melodies have always struck me more than lyrics. I think because I love melodies so much I sometimes forget to make the lyrics make sense. They tend to be more visual … like dream scapes. My song “Summer Girls” really doesn’t make a ton of sense but I liked the visuals of certain lyrics or the way two words sounded next to each other like “puddles on concrete” and “bioluminescence in your hair”. Lately I have been practicing with starting with a beat to train myself to write faster. I tend to gravitate towards ballads but I want to have high energy songs for live shows so I am working on that muscle. If I get writer’s block with the piano I will sometimes noodle around on the flute. It helps me bump into new melodies. One of the songs on the upcoming EP was written on flute…the demo had like ten different layers of just flutes and then a beat. The EP version only has one flute on it now. I love both versions. Every part of the creative process for me is pretty private… I feel very shy to create around other people. I don’t mind working with others, it’s just that I need to have the skeleton of an idea first and can only work with people who feel safe and trustworthy… I am like that with everything… music, photography, music videos…

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

Paul McCartney, Grimes, Lady Gaga, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

If I ever had the opportunity to collaborate with Grimes or Lady Gaga I would probably pass out from sheer happiness. I have so much respect for their art and process.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

www.pipthepansy.com

www.facebook.com/pipthepansy   

www.twitter.com/pipthepansy

www.instagram.com/pipthepansy

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7lHOhU2yPsHVb1DXh2YFgo    

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.

www.pipthepansy.com

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/pip-the-pansy/id1232074544

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

The happiest day of my life was Dec 12, 2016. My boyfriend and I were in NYC for a couple nights on a duo-tour. On our night off he took me to Rockefeller Center Plaza and asked me to marry him. I’d prefer not to share my saddest day, it makes me sad to think about it.

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