California-based songwriter Deborah Crooks' music draws on folk, rock and the Blues. Deborah’s artistic path has been diverse and it is ever-evolving. She studied writing and poetics at The Naropa Institute and voice in India. She co-founded the band Bay Station and the 'Love the Bay Sailing and Music Video Series' along with Kwame Copeland. She has toured extensively throughout the Western US. Deborah has released several CDs and Eps of her own original music, including 2016's Beauty Everywhere.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I wrote songs as a child, but had all but gone creatively silent by the time I was in my teens. After going through a bad breakup I got rid of most my things and drove across the country back to California thinking 'I've nothing to lose, I'm just going to write and sing."
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I don't know if anything particularly crazy has happened. Being a musician who plays live kind of gets you in the mindset of adventure.
What has been the high point of your music path? I think right now. I know who I am, I'm in a place where I get to make music and follow my muse from an authentic place and I've worked through thinking it, or I, should be anything other than who I am.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? I write every day. I don't know it will be a song, but I have "minimum RDA" of practices, creative and spiritual, that I employ to get myself clear and see what comes. That is I write at least 10 minutes, play at least three songs, practice yoga for at least 20 minutes and do a Buddhist chant morning and evening. Things have to be really challenging for me NOT to do that minimum. When I'm really writing hard, I go on retreat for a week, either solo or with a collaborator, and get up every day, do my practices and take it from there.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I think there's so much content out there right now that it creates great opportunity to both be heard ...and completely ignored! So having people take the time to listen and consider what you're doing with open minds and ears can be a challenge. And valuing artists! People know they can listen to whatever they want whenever that I think they forget the people making the work need to make money for their basic needs. So perhaps the biggest challenge for artists and businesses is to truly value the art being made.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Hmm. I would have said Tom Petty but sadly that's no longer an option. Right now I'd say Jenny Lewis. She's a badass and seems to know how to have fun.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Run through my songs solo and then with the band and/or whoever is accompanying me at the show. Go over starts and stops especially.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Hah! The latest one! I think all songs are in process so that's a hard one. There's a new song I'm recording "Department of the West" with a story that took my life til now to understand. That will be available for ears later this year.
Check out Deborah's video of "Record of a Day"
What's coming up in the future?
I'm in the studio now working on a new 11-song record that I plan to release later this year. I'm also working on a sailing and music video series with my Bay Station bandmate Kwame Copeland. We're making two videos a month.
Tell us where fans can access your music?