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Wednesday, September 01, 2010 

GoGirls Interview with Patricia Bahia

by Madalyn Sklar

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

I am on a mission to spread love, healing, joy and peace through the power of words and music--and to inspire others to follow their dreams and live artistically.

I have been a singer since I was a girl, but it wasn’t until I was facing a life-threatening illness almost seven years ago that I decided I had to do music for my life.

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

My style is pop singer-songwriter, electro-acoustic and my sound has been compared with Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and Dido.

I’ve been inspired by so many great artists, so its difficult to list only three, but here goes:

Sheryl Crow: She is a role model for me in many ways. She is from Missouri as am I. She is a multi-instrumentalist, a great songwriter and singer, a fellow cancer survivor, and a humanitarian.

India.Arie: She is not afraid to write songs with positive, empowering messages like Video and I Am Not My Hair.

Terrance Kelly: Terrance is the director of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, a group I consider to be my musical family. I learned a lot of what I know about singing and performance from Terrance. He believed in me and gave me many opportunities to sing, including giving me a solo when we opened for Bonnie Rait at New Orleans by the Bay.

What's your ideal venue atmosphere?

My ideal venue is one that is known for music and where people come to listen to and discover new music, as opposed to places where the music is an afterthought. A good P.A. and a good sound-person who knows how to run it make it that much more enjoyable.

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

I started out as a jazz and gospel singer in the San Francisco bay area, and was a founding member and soloist with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. With the choir, I was privileged to be able to record with Linda Ronstadt, perform with Joan Baez, open for Bonnie Rait, and tour in the U.S. as well as Canada, Australia, and Israel. During that time, I also performed regularly as the singer and bandleader of my jazz trio.

But it wasn’t until I was in the middle of treatment for ovarian cancer almost seven years ago, that I started to write songs. It was something I’d always wanted to do, but never had. A good friend encouraged me to start right then and there, and I did. That’s the biggest difference in my music career. In the early part of my career, I was a singer of other people’s songs. Since then, I’ve become a songwriter and musician who sings. I’ve learned to play the piano, some guitar, and I’m writing and co-writing my material. I love it.

How would you describe the music scene in your area?

Los Angeles is a great place for songwriters. There are so many of us here and the caliber of writing is very high. I do a lot of co-writing and find the level of writers I work with here is astounding. I have gotten so much better as a writer in the three years I’ve been here, through working with folks who are more experienced and stronger writers than I am. Los Angeles is also a great place for music lovers and fans. We have an insane number of venues and choices for people. You can go out every night of the week and hear great music.

What was the inspiration for your latest release?

My EP, Long Road Home, was inspired by my journey through cancer to survivorship. I went through a lot when I was sick and lost a lot in the process. But I gained so much more than I lost. Coming out the other side of it and being one of the lucky few who is cured, I have an appreciation for life I didn’t have before, and most importantly, feel that I found my life’s calling and purpose in music. As I say in the lyric of the title track of Long Road Home: “I wouldn’t change a thing. These are the lessons I have learned. Every detour, every turn, every scar I had to earn. I wouldn’t change a single stone, on the long road home.”

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?

When I first started writing songs, I was writing in many genres and primarily for other artists. It took awhile to figure out what I felt was my own style. I like CD’s that have a unifying theme or sound, and I would recommend that you think about that when you put together your list of songs for your CD.

One tip for tracking as well as for mixing is to bring in “reference tracks” of recorded music that has sonic elements similar to what you want to achieve in the track for your song. For example, you may like the drum groove, or bell sound, or string sound from a reference track and want something similar for your song. Bringing in reference tracks for your engineer is a faster and more accurate way to communicate the sounds you’re looking for than trying to describe those sounds with words.

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

Attitude. No matter what the field, everyone prefers working with people they enjoy being around. That doesn’t mean being a doormat or saying yes to things that will harm you. What it does mean is being professional, appreciative, on-time, and having a can-do attitude. These can take anyone a long way.

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

Do music because you love it, because you have to do it, because you have no other choice. For me, every time I tried to turn away from music, I got sick. I have to do it. It’s what keeps me alive and healthy.

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

I am planning a CD release party for a Sunday evening in October at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. I will have an exact date soon, so stay tuned on my website/facebook at http://www.patriciabahia.com/. I will have a full band with me and it will be an awesome celebration. October is my seventh anniversary of being cancer-free, and I am giving thanks by partnering with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition for my CD release party. We will have bracelets, pins, and information about the signs and symptoms, and a fundraising raffle to help raise money for research and awareness. A portion of every CD sold will be donated to the Coalition to help increase awareness as well.

In addition to being a singer, songwriter, and recording artist, I wear a few other musical hats, including working as a music coach and educator. I love sharing what I have learned and inspiring others to achieve their musical dreams. I have private clients that I work with both in-person in the Los Angeles area, and via Skype and iChat all over the country/world. I work with singers on performance and technique, as well as teach songwriting, music theory and music business. I have also guest-lectured at Santa Monica College and The Songwriting School of Los Angeles. More about my coaching and teaching can be found at http://patriciabahia.musicteachershelper.com/.

I volunteer leading a circle-singing workshop for The Wellness Community (TWC) in Santa Monica. TWC is a cancer support center providing free support groups, classes, and activities for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. I really believe in the Wellness Community and what they are doing. I encourage anyone affected by cancer, whether directly or through caring for a family member or friend to check it out. http://www.twc-wla.org/

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

I’ve met some amazing women artists and have been inspired by all the things GoGirls are doing all over the country. I also get the GoGirls group discussion emails and have learned a lot just by reading them. And, last but not least, Madalyn, our fearless leader, has been welcoming, warm and generous with her time. She has such a wealth of knowledge of all things indie, especially social networking, and I am so glad to know her.

Links to Patricia Bahia:


Copyright © 2010 Madalyn Sklar/GoGirlsMusic.com

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


By Eric Gichira

She’s a star in the making
She’s the missing link;
She’s yours for the taking
Or what do you think?

She knows she’s beautiful
Don’t mess with her catch;
Understands that she’s powerful
Golden egg about to hatch…

No she’s not a radical
She’s just a lightening bolt;
Trying hard to be surgical
And managing without a jolt

Still as sweet as wine
She needs no introduction;
Yet she’s doing just fine
With every new production

Her hope seeking to obtain
What’s not easily located;
Her love seeking to sustain
A heart that’s dedicated!


Written by
aka The Poet of Nairobi
Email: hitpoet@yahoo.com


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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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