r.vega - 10 Questions Music Interview
r.vega is a 28 year-old classically trained musician, and full-time music educator from California. When she isn’t teaching or gigging, she enjoys exploring a wide variety of genres through her songwriting, as evident in her latest releases. Her influences include Coldplay, Zedd, Keane, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Miike Snow, and Troye Sivan (just to name a few). She frequently collaborates with other musicians, creative writers, and visual artists for each release.
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 can't say there was a catalyst necessarily, but seven years of teaching music to my students really inspired me to try something new, specifically outside of the "classical music" realm. Seeing what they were capable of once they were introduced to the basics of songwriting motivated me to be a better songwriting myself. I find that the more I practice lyric writing, guitar playing, and using music production software, the better I am able to teach it to my students.
I also find playing gigs and creating music is just a super fun outlet that feels really different from my "day job." I used to play at open mic-nights in high school and college, and I even tried my hand at some songwriting then. After I graduated college, it had always been on my mind to go back to doing those things more regularly. Funny enough, it was my students that inspired me to do those things again!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? Craziest? I mean, I have a LOT of stories from my music teaching career and my classical performance career (playing for musicals can be quite interesting...in a good way!), but singer-songwriter career? Sorry to disappoint, but so far nothing crazy. My gigs are pretty tame and family friendly. You'll be the first to know if something crazy does happen. ;)
What has been the high point of your music path? My high point has been finally releasing an original song! It sounds simple, but I never imagined I would several years ago. I had always been super focused on my teaching that I didn't think I would ever have the time to go back to songwriting. It wasn't until I started teaching songwriting basics that I began to make more time for it in my personal life.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? My process is different every time--sometimes it starts with a chord progression, other times it starts with lyrics. For me, the easiest way to create a melody is just from improvising over an instrumental track or chord progression, plugging in some words that fit the "sound" of the melody, and then going from there. I just honestly love experimenting with different sounds and melodies. I'll just latch on to something if it sounds catchy and expand on it.
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 finding mentors when you are outside of the big music industry cities is pretty challenging. Getting feedback on your work from experienced professionals and collaborating with other artists seems to be so helpful in developing your craft. I think there are a lot of hidden talents that just aren't in the "right" location, but could definitely take-off if they were able to make long-distant connections with some people within the industry.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Ohh, this is a hard question! I have always been a big fan of Keane. I was finally able to see them live in Oakland at the Fox Theater RIGHT before COVID-19 shutdown everything. I was blown away with how well they performed! I don't think I heard a single mistake, and Tom's voice was so impressive live. They just seem to be genuinely talented musicians that would be fun to make music with.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? Lots and lots of practice! When I am preparing for a gig, I like to figure out my set list based on who I am playing for. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I try to practice for a live show as soon as possible, chipping away at the set list a little bit each day. I am definitely a firm believer of "consistency is key!"
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! I honestly have a backlog of songs that I am constantly tweaking or adding to, so I believe the answer to this would have to be "all the songs I am currently working on"-- hah! Seriously though, I find it hard to see a song as finally "finished," so I think that in itself is a challenge-- just finishing a song!
What's coming up in the future? More music and more collaborations!
Tell us where fans can access your music? You can stream my music on Spotify.
Listen on SoundCloud.