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Friday, September 12, 2008 

GoGirls Elite Interview with Terry Winchell

by Annette Warner

What drives your music?

The need to express how I feel and to understand more clearly my thoughts, desires, and reactions. The whole process (writing lyrics and music, performing and recording) leads to helpful, and sometimes surprising, insight about myself and about life in general.

When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?

When I started playing live shows at around 17 years old. You could hear a pin drop in the audience. I knew I was connecting with people on a meaningful level. But , I’ve never thought about the bust part.

What kind of advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don’t give up?

Never forget why you started playing music in the first place: because you enjoy it. Remember to have fun.
Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself if you feel stuck creatively.
Surround yourself with supportive and positive people.
Circulate your music to the public either by playing live or making CD’s (submitting music for film and TV is a good way to get on the map these days).
Don’t be hard on yourself. Life’s too short.

Describe your ideal venue.

One that has a sound person who is passionate about his job and who works well with artists. A creative lighting person is important also. I prefer amphitheaters and festivals -- playing outdoors under a starry summer’s night sky, which provides fresh air to sing in. I like to be in nature whenever I can, even when I’m playing music.

Describe your music's evolvement since your first release, compared to your latest release?

My solo debut CD release “Under The Veil Of Wilderness” was recorded in 1998 in Nashville. It was co-produced with Clay Mills, a very talented songwriter in his own right. There was more production on this CD then my latest. Everything sounded killer on it, but my voice should not have been set so far in the mix on a lot of the songs.

On my latest CD, “Vice Versa,” I wanted a warm acoustic sound, with a laid-back feel. I made sure my vocals were up front in the mix this time. I wanted it to sound the way my band sounds live, and I feel we captured that. The basic tracks were recorded in the small home studio of guitar player Mark McCarron; he also plays on “Vice Versa.” I then mixed it analog and mastered it , at Dubway Studios in NYC. This enhanced the warm natural acoustic sound I was trying to achieve.

Tell us about the inspiration for its tracks. 

There are 15 songs on "Vice Versa." Each song has its own point of inspiration, but collectively they come from my thoughts and experiences. I felt these songs belonged together on an album.
They range from songs that are up beat to ballads , songs about love, happiness, heartbreak, spiritual , to environmental awareness.

What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before recording a CD - and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?

Get your budget together, and discuss your project with the people you will be working with in the studio. Work with an engineer or producer you feel comfortable with -- someone who’s on the same page with you, someone you can share your ideas with, someone who is supportive, creative, professional, and has a good track record in the business. It’s important that the engineer understands how much this means to you. Take your time picking out your best tunes before you go into the studio. Rehearse the songs with your band so everyone knows their parts. Make sure all your instruments are working and sounding great. Make notes about your songs, before and during your recording sessions. Having a good outline of what you want, before you start, helps tremendously.

What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion? 

Talent, confidence, passion.

Describe your toughest moment in your music career so far?

I recorded and released an album when I had some health problems, and then my mother passed away.

Are you planning a tour and if so…where do you plan to take your music outside of NY?

My latest CD “Vice Versa” got a considerable amount of radio play the last year and half, so I’m planning on setting up a tour to coincide with areas in which radio stations are playing me. In Europe I’ve been in the top ten most requested songs. Radio stations in Canada, USA and Australia have been playing my music enough to get me charted also.
I’ve decided to focus on a European tour first.

Along with making another album for a 2009 release, this tour is about keeping my music on the radio map and reaching people with my music with live performances.

Tell us something you want the independent music world to know about you.

The only thing I want people to now about me is my music.

What can your fans expect at a show?

Someone who sings and plays from the deepest part of her soul.
I’ll be enjoying the hell out of myself, and very conscious that sharing the music with others is a huge part of why I do what I do.

On GoGirlsMusic.com...

I have been a independent musician for many years, so I've learned a lot on my own. But I am always open to anything that can help my career. I'm constantly impressed by all the information that Madalyn/GoGirls sends me. From day one of becoming a member, I have felt it is a unique organization: on the pulse, and one that can guide and help musicians in many ways. Madalyn's upbeat enthusiasm, knowledge, professionalism, and most of all organizational skills, have impressed me the most. I 'm really glad to be a member of Go Girls Music. It's the real deal. It's hard enough doing it alone, and time is important . Being connected with other creative people is a huge plus, and any help is always appreciated -- especially coming from people who are on the level.

Learn more about Terry Winchell at

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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