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Monday, March 01, 2010 

GoGirls Interview with Kimbo

by Madalyn Sklar

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

I'm gonna geek out here: I love the way sound waves collide. I love feeling goose bumps on the back of my neck when I finish a new song or hear an artist create something awesome with sound.

Music or bust happened in 2006. I had done ten years of performing before that...but not ten years of business. I merged the two together nicely and now I run both Sunny Groves Music Company and Sunny Groves Publishing Company. It's exciting and satisfying knowing that I built all this myself.

Describe your music style and name three musicians you have been inspired by and why.

My musical style is a relaxed alternative rock groove. I want you to tap your foot and feel good when listening. But I hope my lyrics inspire you to look at the world, your world, my world, our world and think about what impact we all make, have made, and will make. I don't write Disney love songs.

My three:

Trey Anistasio (of Phish) because of the tone and quality he gives to his custom Paul Languedoc guitar. I have great respect for his ability and dedication to his craft.

Martin Sexton just blows me away. I have seen so, so many live shows all over the place and he's definitely in the top five. His live performance is absolutely electric. He's ALL IN and it shows. His voice, songwriting and guitar chops inspire me to work on my craft with sincerity.

Itzhak Pearlman/Joshua Bell: Okay, that's two...but have you heard the way these guys play the violin. I mean, holy crap! I've played the violin since I was three years old and I've never even gotten close to a note that they can play. Just astounding. Again, it's the sound waves thing. Goosebumps man, goosebumps.

What's your ideal venue atmosphere?

Medium sized clubs like Trees in Dallas (Old school Trees). I like venues where I can be noisy and the audience can too. I play singer-songwriter venues all the time but I prefer full band with freedom to move around. I rarely ever sit on stage.

Describe how your music career has evolved since you first started performing.

I've learned a tremendous amount about my niche. I definitely do not fit the singer-songwriter mold very well. Again, I really tend to lean toward the jam band, expressive groove. It took me a lot longer than I thought to figure this out but the journey along the way was tremendously insightful and revealing. I know when I'm most comfortable performing and writing now.

How would you describe the music scene in your area?

The music scene in my area (Austin, Texas) is experiencing some changes. There have been quite a few growing pains as we, the musicians, learn to have dialogue with the downtown loft community and the city who has some pretty stringent sound restrictions. There will always be the mainstays on sixth street, etc...but we are also going through some loss as it was just announced that the legendary Cactus Cafe is closing. But those active musicians that take part in this process really get a voice and I know that within a few years we'll really have a reason to say we're the live music capital. SXSW submissions (up to more than 11,000 this year) and ACL Fest continue to be a good gauge for this 'improvement'.

What was the inspiration for your latest release?

My son (who is now six) began singing my song "Fly With Me". Trains are used to represent the metaphorical longing. Well, my son loves trains and just loves that song so it really encouraged me to get my act together and record this song well.

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

Budget: This is absolutely key. If you don't know how much it is going to cost from start to finish then you shouldn't be recording...unless you have FREE access to a studio, engineer, producer, graphic artist, label or disc manufacturer. If you don't have a budget you're going to throw money away. If you don't have a bottomless budget you better know all of your songs that are going to appear on that cd. You better know them better than you know your own name. Surprises can happen when you're solid and prepared. That's where the magic happens.

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

Consistency, Hard Work Ethic, Tenacity, Creativity, Kindness, Respectfulness and Assuredness. Must haves for this business!! You won't get very far if you have a few of these and you're a jerk. And you won't get far if you have all of these but you don't step out of the box (creativity) to make your shows happen. They're all key and they all take work, work, work day in, day out. It's repetitive, but when you get in the groove it's a beautiful thing to watch what you've created.

Describe your toughest moments in your quest for a music career and tell us how you overcame them.

My toughest moments are when I am balancing my music 'hat' with my mother 'hat'. My son has special needs and sometimes this career is very overwhelming for him. I've had to give up big shows and have done so without hesitation for my son. We'll see if this changes as he gets older. Right now it's quite challenging and we work as a family every single day on this delicate balance. I do try to only play at venues or events where I feel comfortable with him being there.

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

Plan ahead. If anything set yourself a six month time line. If you bust your ass for six months and not much is happening...take a week off. You owe it to yourself to recharge. It's amazing how many songs have popped in my head when I pre-scheduled a vacation from my 'job'. You really need the break. I actually take two months off a year. This sounds like a lot but when I'm rehearsing, booking, traveling, playing, etc. etc. etc....I really need that time off to 'check in' with my family, friends, myself. If you do feel like you need to give up, then listen to your soul. Don't lie to yourself. If you're meant for music it doesn't matter how many times you 'think' you'll quit...it will come back to you or you will go back to it.

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

I put Cheetos inside my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I'm addicted to Funyuns...I think they have crack in them.
Oh, oh and that I have a bone to pick with Barbara Mandrell.
But you'll have to get back with me later about that. :-)

What have you gotten out of being a member of the GoGirls community?

A tattoo on my 30th Birthday! Good times Madalyn! Good times! Ouch.
Seriously though. Lifelong connections to amazing people making their lives work in this crazy world we call the music business. Community is really the important word here. The GoGirls Community runs the whole gamut: young women just starting out, seasoned artists making a solid living, women rocking every genre of music there is and that is a powerful thing. And the community has so much to share and experience with each other. When I organized the 8th GoGirls Music Fest here in Austin I learned so much that I am now able to offer assistance and advice to those who write me asking for help. And it was my drive and GoGirlsMusic coming together that made that happen. I will always be grateful to Madalyn for starting this wonderful community.

Find out more about Kimbo:

Copyright © 2010 Madalyn Sklar

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 14 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success in the biz. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

You can reach Madalyn at MadalynSklar.com or madalynsklar AT gmail.com

Kimbo is an awesome musician! And I admire her for being a great mom, too!

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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.

    Madalyn's Sites:
    * GoGirlsMusic.com
    * Social Networks for Musicians
    contact: madalynsklar(at)gmail.com


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