Share your life story with us.
We met in San Francisco at an open mic at a cool art space called The Canvas Gallery Cafe. It’s not there anymore, but we loved that place. We moved to Los Angeles in 2008 and started making music together. After playing and writing together for a long time, we released our first album in 2014, called “What A Difference A Melody Makes.” Since then we’ve been writing and recording, released 2 more EPs and we’re touring nationally.
Share your press release.
The Singer and The Songwriter Share New Music Video for single, “Wild Heart” featuring urban dance team, The Company.
The song and video are a testament to female empowerment, celebrating diversity and courage.
San Francisco, CA – January 26, 2018 — California modern-folk duo, The Singer and The Songwriter (Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran), released the new music video for their single “Wild Heart” choreographed and performed by urban dance team and current VIBE Hip-Hop Dance Competition Champions, The Company, with videography by LA media team, Vibrvncy.
“Wild Heart” (from The Singer and The Songwriter’s EP DIRECTIONS, released in October 2017) is an anthem the duo wrote to celebrate the stories of women. Garcia wrote the lyrics about her grandmother, an immigrant from Mexico, who, as a young girl, used to sneak onto a train with her friends to steal the sugar cane that was drying on top of the cars. In both the song and video, the duo wanted to create an anthem that would capture and honor her wild, adventurous spirit.
The “Wild Heart” video features original choreography and dance performance by The Company, an ensemble from Daly City, CA, best known for their viral performance video from the VIBE Hip Hop Dance Competition in 2014. Garcia and Tran have been long-time fans of The Company and are thrilled to be collaborating with them on this project, and specifically to be working with an all-female group of choreographers and dancers. The choreography is by Janelle Gleason, Melissa Batesting, and Aggie Loyola (who also appear in the video as dancers). Garcia explains: “This group of women from The Company embody ‘Wild Heart’ perfectly. Their cultural diversity, passion, and talent are so beautiful and inspiring to watch.”
“Wild Heart” aims to send a hopeful, inspiring message; a reminder of just how powerful it can be for women to share their stories, make their voices heard, and “make waves.” Choreographer Janelle Gleason summarizes one of the main themes she kept in mind while choreographing the piece: “One woman achieving success is all women achieving success.”
List the names of those that have assisted you so far in your music career and use this opportunity to thank them.
We definitely are grateful for the guidance and support of our collaborators and friends on this album: Scott McDowell, Aaron Kierbel, Darren Johnston, Joe Lewis, Scott Griffin Padden, Gerry Grosz, Mia Nardi-Huffman, JJ Golden, Nancy Garcia, Nick Garcia, Connie Garcia, Cathy Heller, Sonnet Simmons, Leo Jarvis, Jeff Berman, Annie Bacon, Stephanie and Jim Bennett, Megan Korthals, Bill and Cindy Ade, Kristen O. Bobst, Helen Kim, Danielle Krysa and all our friends and family.
Narrate your experience while recording in the studio or while touring.
We recorded “Wild Heart” in a very different way than our usual process. We were in San Francisco in between tours and we got in the studio for a few days to record 2 songs that we had just written (this being one of them). This was already very different for us, as we usually get into the studio after having finished a song and played it for months (sometimes years) before we record it. So getting into the studio having not “road-tested” the song was a totally new experience for us. As we were recording we were making tweaks to the melody and lyrics too. We think this process made for a recording that feels fresh, exciting, and urgent.
Go into detail about your songwriting process.
We write songs in many different ways. Our band name comes from the fact that, when we began playing together, Thu would write a complete song. There was a clear delineation of tasks there. But as we kept writing, things naturally became more collaborative. Rachel is a poet, so we sometimes start with a poem (often without any fixed rhyme or meter), and then Thu composes to those words. Sometimes Thu has only a melody and Rachel fleshes out the structure and lyrics. Our process keeps evolving, which is making every new song we write different than the last.
Brief us on what you have on the way for your fans out there.
We will be touring a lot this year all over the US, so fans can definitely expect to come to see us in a city near them!
Tell us what you are doing to increase your fan base.
We love partnering with artists from other media – we think this is an amazing way to share art and creativity and fans too. The album cover of our new EP, Directions, uses the amazing mixed media collage art of Danielle Krysa (creator of the blog “The Jealous Curator”). And for this music video for “Wild Heart,” we collaborated with the urban dance team, The Company, who choreographed the piece and brought our song to life in an amazing way. We think it’s amazing because fans of The Company may never have otherwise heard of our music and our fans may not have heard of The Company. But through this collaboration, there’s a sort of amazing symbiosis that’s happening.
Tell us that point in time that you just feel like giving up on your music career.
We once had a show in Salt Lake City, UT where we were on a bill with a couple of local bands. Each of the bands brought some people to the show, but when our set came, the other bands and their fans had all left, the bartender and sound guy went outside for a smoke break, and we were just on the stage playing to an empty club. It was so lonely to be onstage, disco ball spinning over the empty dance floor – we felt really low that night. The good news is we did not give up. We drove away from that venue that night and went on to play many other (awesome) shows.
Go into detail on how you make your instrumentation or melody.
Melodies usually start with guitar and voice. On this record, we introduced drums early in the creative process to make rhythm a centerpiece for the sounds that we are making. The way we approach melody is always specific to the lyric. There is a story being told and each of those choices has to inform the other. So for “Wild Heart” we wanted to find a melody that would lift the words and story, to feel expansive; like running in an open field.
Tell us your complete understanding of music licensing.
Our understanding of music licensing is a growing one. We’re always trying to learn more about licensing as it’s a great way for independent artists like us to make a living. We’re definitely no longer in the days when getting music licensed is considered “selling out.” We were lucky enough to have a song of ours licensed on a TV show last year, and it was a fantastic opportunity that garnered us some new fans.
Tell us the best way to get in touch with you on social media.
Give us the links to your various stores.
Tell us your favorite genre of music.
We don’t have a favorite genre, per se. We love everything from Top 40 to Jazz from the 1940s. We’ve recently been listening to the amazing Ethiopian pianist Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou.
Tell us the subject matter of most of your songs.
Most of our songs ask questions because we rarely ever feel like we have the answers to anything that we write about – love, art, societal expectations – so we find the most fascinating space to be in is to ask questions about these things. What do they mean? Why are they important to us? Why do we feel the way we feel? The questions are kind of rhetorical, and the songs tell stories that reflect these questions. Our favorite songs talk about these universal questions through detailed, specific stories, so we try to build that into all of our songs.
Tell us all we need to know about this song.
The song was inspired by Rachel’s grandmother who, as a young girl in Mexico, used to sneak onto trains with her friends to steal the sugar cane that was drying on top of the cars. That image of her as a young girl has always stuck with us – just how vibrant and fearless she was. This song is a testament to that courageous, rebellious spirit. We hope this song resonates with you and empowers young women to be strong, brave, wild, and free.
Tell us what you think about digital distribution and streaming.
As music lovers, it’s an amazing technology that has revolutionized music. As artists and songwriters, we think there’s a long way to go to making digital distribution and streaming a viable business resource. It’s evolving and changing, and I think there’s a way for music and technology to work for artists and creators on a business level.
Tell us various ways that artists can boost their revenue.
We’ll let you know when we figure that out. Haha. We have discovered that increasing our direct connection to fans has increased our revenue. Instead of casting our net wide and trying to gain a massive following, we have been investing more in the fans that we do have – touring more, playing house concerts – and we have definitely seen our revenue increase. That’s just what has worked for our style of music – personal connection seems to work better for us.
Tell us your thought on self-training or going to an educational institution to study music.
Well, neither of us have formal music education, so we’re not very qualified to comment on that side of things. We will say that both of us being generally self-taught has made us very scrappy, and given us the freedom to explore mixing genres and taking risks out of sheer necessity. We don’t know how things are “supposed to be done,” so we have to make it up.
Go on at length on what it takes to write a hit song.
We will let you know when we write an actual hit! 😀
Go on at length on what it takes to gain the attention of the audience while playing live.
We find that showing up in the most authentic way possible is the best way to get an audience’s attention. This can mean different things in different situations because sometimes a performance at a loud bar is going to demand showing up in a different way than a house concert. But in either situation, we try to acknowledge the realities of the show and present our best musicianship and most vulnerable selves. This doesn’t always mean that we are going to get everyone’s attention, but the people who do pay attention end up forming a real connection with us, bar noise or not.
List your five favourite songwriters.
Fiona Apple, Sufjan Stevens, John Hartford – these writers express honesty and universal truth through evocative, poetic lyricism. We definitely aspire to their writing.
List your five favourite music producers.
Blake Mills and Jon Brion have amazingly melodic approaches to their production. They blend traditional production techniques with new innovations and their results feel iconic, bringing out the best in the artists that work with them. We also have been inspired by the 3 producers we’ve worked with: Charlie Stavish, Griffin Rodriguez, and Scott McDowell.
Describe your best mood to write a song.
There’s actually never a perfect mood to write a song. Songs tend to actually happen because we continuously tell ourselves to sit down and write, day after day, regardless if we are in the mood to write or not. “The mood” is actually just relentless practice.