Bil Musa Interview

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Photo Credit: Aimanness

We recently spoke with Malaysian singer-songwriter Bil Musa about how her music has impacted people, advice she has for people being cyberbullied, and her goals for 2018.

Think Before You Type: How would you describe your music style?

Bil Musa: It’s very chill. The melodies are very simple but behind it’s easy listening façade, the songs are quite deep because I usually only write when I’m emotional.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?

Bil: In terms of lyrics, I like straightforward, story-telling type songs and relatable
songs. So people like Sam Smith and Adele would be my influences for that. In
terms of song style, I like chill but meaningful types of songs, so I always look to
people like Lana Del Rey and Jhene Aiko. There are, however, times that I try to
be more abstract with my lyrics, and for this I look to people like Hozier or
Bahamas.

TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what
would you say to encourage them?

Bil: I would say the same thing that I would say to someone who is bullied physically
– that the people who bully you have got some deep-rooted problems they can’t
deal with so they take it out on you. You should never take what they say
seriously and what they say to or about you, doesn’t define you.. it just reflects on
their character. Also, REPORT AND BLOCK are words to live by.

TBYT: How has your time in the music industry been for you? Has anything surprised you?

Bil: It’s been a rollercoaster ride but really, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
and I’ve learned so much and met so many interesting people. I think the only
thing that really surprised me is how a lot of things are manufactured and
planted. I knew these things happened but I guess I just didn’t know the extent of
it.

TBYT: You recently released your album “Young Adults”. What has the response been like so far?

Bil: The response has been great so far. Like really, really great. For me, what’s
important is how the individuals listening to it feel about the songs and how they
affect them. I would love for my songs to be played more on radio or get more
media coverage but only because for me, personally, when I listen to a song and I
can really vibe to it, I don’t think, “Oh, I found this song”. Instead, I think to
myself, “this song found me”. Radio and media coverage are just catalysts for
these songs to find their ‘owners’ but even without much of that, so many people
have given me such touching feedback – some practically essays, reviewing the album. I get essays almost every day. It’s really nice that people take the time to
write them. I really appreciate it.

TBYT: As someone who started their career young, what would you say to other young people who want to get out there and leave their mark on the world?

Bil: I want to say don’t listen to what other people say and don’t let people tell you
what to do but sometimes, you should, if they have experience – that’s something
valuable that young people don’t have much of. That being said, you’re young and
you have your own destiny to fulfill. People will tell you different things and give
you differing opinions but don’t get confused. You take certain actions and make
decisions based on a goal YOU want to reach. No one else will understand that
goal but YOU. So, just stand your ground, have a little faith, be honest and work
hard. Also, have REALLY thick skin – but that’s something you’ll develop in time.

TBYT: We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

Bil: I think one of the really big misconceptions that arose from the existence of the
internet and social media is that everyone else’s business is yours OR maybe
people always thought that and the internet and social media justified that
thought. I’d like to stop seeing hate on the internet. There’s a very simple solution
to not liking what you see or hear on the internet, switch it off, unfollow, block,
report. Nobody forced you to watch it. In your own free will, you saw it. In your
own free will, you can turn it off. I’d also like to see people stop spreading useless
videos or videos that violate human rights. I just don’t see the point of spreading
those types of videos unless you have a solution to stop whatever is going on in
the video.

TBYT: People often forget it, but a little bit of kindness can go a long way. When was the last time that a stranger made you smile?

Bil: Like I said, every day, a complete stranger messages me about my songs. Nothing
about my appearance or anything. Just purely about how my song made them
feel. I just got a message, in fact, on my Instagram about how this person didn’t
know who I was but they were so lucky to have found my songs. It’s very
heartwarming.

TBYT: What song have you written that you are the proudest of?

Bil: At this point, I think “4AM”. It’s the only song I wrote through a totally different
process. First of all, it’s the first song that I wrote lyrics first and then I visualized
everything from how it would sound, to the harmonies. It’s also one of the only
songs that has a different structure from most of my other songs and the lyrics
are not so straightforward. I also know when a song is going to be great, haha, because in the middle of writing, every two seconds it’s hard for me to go on
because it’s so good it hurts and I know it’s going to be a good song and I just
have to bang the keys or throw my guitar (on the bed) and pace the floor saying
“omg” a billion times and then calm myself down and try to continue writing. I
did that with this song. It’s an incredible feeling when it comes.

TBYT: What do you think 2018 has in store for you?

Bil: At this point, I don’t have expectations anymore. I learned that it’s important to
have a defined set of goals so you can figure out what you need to do to reach
them, that’s the hard part. My biggest goal right now is to cross borders with my
music. It’s not easy but I think this is the year I’m going to do it.

Violetta Zironi Interview

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Photo Credit: Puria Safray

We recently caught up with Italian singer-songwriter Violetta Zironi to talk about her music and songwriting, as well as the internet and discovering yourself. We hope you enjoy reading about Violetta’s art and how she focuses on enjoying the simple things in the world around her!

Think Before You Type: How would you describe your sound?

Violetta Zironi: I would say it’s a mix between what I love and what I am. I am passionate about folk and Americana music, as well as country, blues and jazz, so my sound definitely has influences coming from those genres. But being Italian, I inevitably absorbed a lot from my homeland’s music. I am inspired by the Italian songwriters from the 1960’s, such as Luigi Tenco, Gino Paoli, Paolo Conte. Their romantic arrangements and honest lyrics are very inspirational for me.

TBYT: As someone who started their career young, what would you say to other young people who want to go out there and leave their mark on the world?

Violetta: I would tell them that what’s really important is making sure to never stop learning. Especially from people around us. It also helps us define who we are in the best way, which I think it’s the most important thing for an emerging artist: having a clear idea of who we are and the message we want to send to our listener. We don’t necessarily know in the early years, but learning about people will help us discover ourselves.

TBYT: How did you get into songwriting?

Violetta: I wrote my first song when I was 16. I was playing in a band with some schoolmates and in order to participate in a music contest we had to present an original song, so I just wrote one. And then I wrote more and more and more and started performing them live.

TBYT: You once opened for and performed with Ben E. King. That sounds like an amazing experience. What did you take away from the experience?

Violetta: It was incredible. I could not believe it when he invited me to perform Stand By Me with him. I felt so lucky, especially because he sadly passed away a few months later, and I realized that I had the chance to share the stage with one of the music legends. He could still sing fantastic, and the way he still enjoyed music like it was the first time was mind blowing.

TBYT: Do you have any dream collaborations?

Violetta: Well… my absolute dream would be Paul McCartney 😉 But apart from that, I really love George Ezra, his songs and his voice, and I’d love to sing a song with him.

TBYT: People often forget it, but a little bit of kindness can go a long way. When was the last time a stranger made you smile?

Violetta: I’ve noticed that a smile from a stranger happens very often here in Berlin. I wasn’t used to it. I am pleased to say that every time I get the subway I get a smile from a stranger. And when that happens it really lifts my day up 🙂

TBYT: Part of our work with Think Before You Type is encouraging young people to use the internet for good. How would you like to see the internet become a more positive place?

Violetta: You often hear of the Internet used for negative purpose… such as bullying or express the hate for someone. I have been a victim of haters on Facebook myself, and I have to say that sometimes I got really badly affected by it. It’s very easy to judge people by what they appear to be on the web, as everyone is extremely exposed… so not only should people be careful on how they expose themselves, but other people shouldn’t stop and be aggressive only to take out some hate.

TBYT: If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Violetta: I think I would just tell them to be strong. Just tell them to think of all the positive aspects in life, that are NOT behind our laptop screen. Real things are outside, and they might be harder to discover but once you do, there is no comparison.

TBYT: Tell us about your new single, “Toast”. What has the response been like so far?

Violetta: I’m happy about how people received Toast. It is a morning song, talking about how much you don’t want to be alone and how such a simple thing like someone making you breakfast can just make you feel loved and give a highlight in a dark period of your life. People have been perceptive about this concept and have enjoyed the song for exactly what it wanted to be, a little cuddle over the cold winter.

TBYT: Do you have anything exciting coming up in 2018?

Violetta: Yes! I’m excited I’ll be performing at SXSW in Austin Texas in March. It’ll be my first ever show in America.  My EP is coming out in three weeks, and I’ve got a few more festivals coming up that I look forward to play[ing].

Whitney Woerz Interview

Whitney Woerz

We recently had the opportunity to chat with singer-songwriter Whitney Woerz about her anti-bullying efforts, mental health advocacy, and her music.

Think Before You Type: What inspired you to start singing?
Whitney Woerz: I’ve been singing since before I was talking, my mom likes to say. I grew up doing musical theater, and ever since a very young age, I knew music was what I wanted to do with my life.

TBYT: How did you get into songwriting, and what is your songwriting process?Whitney: I wrote my first song for a friend who I only knew over social media. She told me that she wanted to kill herself. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t physically see her. So I sat down and wrote her a song called Ghost Story.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?
Whitney: A big musical influence for my is Lorde. Her lyrics/music are so intricate and unique, and I just love her sound. Another artist I am inspired by (lyrically) is Twenty One Pilots. Their lyrics are so inspirational and hold a message about mental health which I love.

TBYT: What was the inspiration for the video for Ghost Story? What was the process of making it like? What was it like to see the finished product?
Whitney: I worked with director Liz Garbus to put together a documentary/music video centering around six kids who are struggling with mental illness to share their story. The objective was to let people watching know that they aren’t alone in anything they are going through and to show that it’s ok to talk about these things. The process was really fun and inspiring. I am really close now with the people in it. Seeing the finished product for the first time made me cry. I was so so happy I would be able to share this message and so happy for the other kids that they would be able to help people 🙂

TBYT: Since releasing Ghost Story and coming out with a pro-mental health/anti-bullying message, what type of response have you seen?
Whitney: Some responses I get triggered by the music video are “this saved my life” or “this inspired me to keep going.” Comments like these make me want to continue doing what I do and keep making music to help people.

TBYT: How have you been able to use the internet in a positive way?
Whitney: I respond to almost 100% of comments on each of my social media platforms. By doing this, I form relationships with fans and can help them through anything they might be going through. I also always try to spread a positive message through anything I post.

TBYT: How do you deal with negativity online?
Whitney: I try to ignore hate comments. I tell myself they are jealous, and I focus on the positive.

TBYT: If you could speak to someone who is being cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?
Whitney: I always let them know that they aren’t alone. I also tell them (if it’s cyberbullying) that whoever is doing it is clearly not confident and would never say those things in person. The people who try to take others down over the internet are usually sad and have nothing better to do than to bully, which is uncool and shouldn’t be taken.

TBYT: Can you tell us about your work with Bring Change 2 Mind?
Whitney: I am a teen ambassador for Bring Change 2 mind, which is an organization run by Glenn Close to help end the stigma around mental illness. I got involved with them before I wrote Ghost Story, and they helped me through what to do with my friend who wanted to kill herself. They told me to call the suicide hotline for her, and after that, I wanted to be a part of their mission to save lives and end the stigma.

TBYT: Do you have anything exciting coming up in 2018?
Whitney: Yes! I am planning to release new music around February and also planning on touring over the summer.

Canyon City Interview

 

Lauren from TBYT hit the streets of New York to interview Paul from Canyon City ahead of his show at Rockwood Music Hall. Just in time for National Bullying Prevention Month, Paul touches on his experience with bullying and gives some advice for those who are currently being impacted by bullying and negativity. He also shares the story of how his new album, Constellation, came about and his plans for the upcoming months.

You can find out more about Canyon City Here: http://www.canyoncitymusic.com

Check out Canyon City’s new video for the song “Our Way” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFx5dlh0Zco&feature=youtu.be

Special thanks to Canyon City’s percussionist Vinay Shroff for his help with filming the interview.

Thanks for watching!

Royal Street Interview

Royal Street

We caught up with the members of Royal Street to discuss their newly released album “Flavors”, their love of music and touring, and their advice for people who are being cyberbullied.

How long have you been a band? What inspired you to become a group?

We have been a band for two years now. Alex and I (Viana) were in bands for a few years before, and Brian [Cauti] was always a friend of ours, our bands played together a lot in the Providence scene. One day we decided to reboot our music and start Royal Street, and we knew Cauti was the perfect man for the job.

Who are your musical influences?

We have all kinds of musical influences! They range from The 1975 and Prince to Paramore and Bad Suns.

You have a new album coming out. What was your favorite part of making the album?

Well, the whole process has been pretty fun and inspiring. The best part is definitely either writing the songs together or being in the studio and watching them come to life. Then the build up of waiting to show them to people is so exciting! That’s the stage we’re in now. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning.

What was your inspiration for the album?

Our inspiration comes from all around us. Things that happen to us, to friends, to the world. A lot of this album was inspired by our friends and also the experiences we’ve had together as a band!

You guys have played a lot of shows over the past couple of years. What’s your favorite part of touring? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Oh man. Touring is such a hilarious experience. Living together like bums really makes you become a family.  Usually, before our show, we just love hanging out with anyone who came to see us, and the other bands. We usually eat something horrible, that while we’re eating it we say, “ Well, we probably shouldn’t have this before we jump around on stage… “ but it never stops us. Also, whiskey is usually involved.

Music means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you?

Music means something different every day to me. But usually, it’s something comforting. Something there for whatever emotion I find myself feeling in that moment. That’s what I love about music, it’s versatile. There for you in whatever state you’re in!

At Think Before You Type, we’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

I would love to see less putting other people down on the Internet. If you don’t have something nice to say, then just don’t say it! I think people need to worry more about themselves and less about having an opinion on what everyone else is doing.

Who are you role models?

First off, our parents. We all come from strong support systems, and it’s an amazing thing. Musically, we look up to anyone out there doing the darn thing. We know what we do isn’t easy, and to see someone pursuing something they love is magical.

If you had the chance to speak to someone who has been cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?

Man. I would tell them to keep their head up and remember that whoever is on the other end of that computer has their own issues that they’re too scared to deal with, so they push negativity towards others. Don’t be like them, rise above them. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and the important thing is to be the bigger person.

Some edits were made for content and clarity.

Wanderer Interview

Wanderer

We recently had the chance to catch up with indie/pop artist Wanderer. Check out what he had to say about music, the internet, and what the future looks like for Wanderer.

You recently released a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. What made you decide to cover the song, and what helped you make it your own?

It’s one of my favorite songs of all time, and I’ve played a version of it at shows before. I liked the idea of taking the melody and lyrics but making the song more ethereal and cinematic sounding. Stripping it down and adding my own musical style turned it into something so different, that I wanted people to hear.

Who are your musical influences?

I’m influenced every day by so many artists and creators. But some of my main influences for Wanderer would be John Mayer, The 1975, Fleetwood Mac, The Weeknd, and Arctic Monkeys.

How large of an impact has the internet had on your career?

It’s everything. The way I communicate with fans, release music, deliver content, and present myself is all based up on the internet and how we all consume every day. Things like Spotify and Instagram have been so huge in helping me deliver my message to lots of people.

How do you deal with negativity online?

I think just remembering to take a step back and not let one comment or post get you upset is important. There will always be people who don’t like what you’re doing or are jealous. Not worth your time.

What is something people tend to misjudge or underestimate about you?

I think sometimes people just see what’s on the outside, and aren’t aware of the amount of work that goes into this project behind the scenes. Making the music is only a small part. Promoting, marketing, releasing, and running a business all come with it too. Every day I’m working towards a goal and doing my best to respond to everything and create an experience for fans.

When you’re down, what song helps to pick up your mood?

I like to listen to a lot of older music. So some Frank Sinatra or my favorite Beatles songs always do the trick.

If you could only use one social media site, which one would it be and why?

Personally, I’d say Instagram. It’s very straightforward and clean to use. I like having lots of visuals to accompany the music.

What is your advice for young people who are being cyberbullied?

Try to spend more time off the computer and connecting with people in real life. It’s easy to get caught up in what someone is saying behind a keyboard or anonymously, but you’ll realize that in the long run, none of that matters. It’s really all about being happy with yourself. Don’t get dragged down by someone’s negative words or comments. Most likely, they themselves are hurting or insecure if they are spending time doing that.

What has been the best experience you’ve had since becoming Wanderer?

I’ve had some really incredible shows and did an awesome tour at the beginning of the year. So I’d say that, along with writing some music I’m really proud of. Hearing my songs on the radio is pretty wild too.

What new things do you have coming up in the next few months?

I’ve got new music and tour in the works, so stay tuned!

 

 

TBYT Interviews The Weekend Riot

V and L from Think Before You Type sat down with The Weekend Riot to talk about music, cyberbullying, and what’s up next for the duo.

Thanks for watching 🙂

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VISTA Interview

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Photo courtesy of Holly Turner Photography

TBYT recently caught up with Hope, Wolf, and Brian from the band VISTA. We discussed a variety of topics including their new EP, musical influences, and personal experiences with negativity online. 

Think Before You Type: VISTA is a recently formed band, can you tell us how you guys all met and what made you decide to start the band together?

VISTA: Hope had been a solo artist for about a decade, and Wolf was her touring drummer. Their musical brains just completely meshed right off the bat, and they made the decision to form a new band. Brian and Wolf had been in bands together previously, and they’ve been friends for years. Brian was actually supposed to be one of Hope’s new touring guitarists, so he came along on a weekend of shows to kind of get a feel for things and pick up on some of her songs. It was just a clear fit to ask Brian to be a part of VISTA!

TBYT: Sometimes the internet can be a really tough place. How do you deal with negative comments on social media?

Hope: The internet can be a really dangerous space. You can connect with people easily, which is super helpful as a musician, but I think it’s really important to remember that any negative comment you read is just a set of words on a screen. It’s digital, it’s not the real world. That’s always what I try to keep in mind. I know words on a social media site can be extremely, extremely hurtful. But lately I’ve been saying that I would much rather live my life off a screen than behind one, you know? Make sure to maintain good personal relationships.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?

VISTA: All of our influences run on a pretty wide range. We’re all huge fans of bands like PVRIS and Set It Off. Brian loves Periphery, and he’s actually a big Bieber fan, too. Hope’s got three main musical sets of influences: pop punk and alt. rock, 90’s pop, and classic rock. Wolf’s got some pop punk vibes too, and he also loves the Biebs.

TBYT: What’s one thing that people tend to misjudge or underestimate about each of you?

Hope: In the past, some people have gotten super confused or surprised when they see how I dress compared to my personality. I wear black almost exclusively, you can never wear enough black! I’ve always gravitated more towards darker colors, with pretty much everything, but my personality is really bubble and upbeat…. which kind of contrasts the stigma behind wearing dark clothes. I guess it’s just an interesting contrast!

Brian: Probably that most of the time, people think I’m off doing dumb things but at heart I’m a very down to earth and real person.

Wolf: People tend to underestimate how hard I’ll work to get to where I want to be.

TBYT: When you’re down, what song helps to pick up your mood?

Hope: Any Backstreet Boys song!!!

Brian: For some reason I really enjoy metal when I’m down. So one of the songs I listen to is “The Bad Thing” by Periphery.

Hope: You have such a broad taste in music, I can dig it. I’ve never heard of Periphery, now I have something new to check out.

Wolf: Anything by Set It Off!

TBYT: We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

VISTA: Twitter shouldn’t be as negative. It’s a cool idea, a cool space that should be used to connect with your favorite musicians, actors, athletes, your friends. That space seems to be pretty abused nowadays. The bullying online, tweet wars, and subtweeting is just ridiculous. It could be such an awesome place online, but we’d really like to see people use it the right way, the positive way.

TBYT: Who are your role models?

Hope: My dad was my top role model. But I think that right now, and especially most recently, my role model has been my brother. He’s 7 years younger than me, but that kid is one of the most kind-hearted, care-free, talented teenagers I know. The way he carries himself at just 16 is super inspiring to me and I’m always more than proud to be his sister.

Brian: My role model would probably be my mom. She taught me how to fight for the things I want and to never give up when things get hard.

Wolf: My boss at my job.

TBYT: What advice or encouragement do you guys have for young people who are being cyberbullied?

VISTA: Get off the computer or phone for a bit. Go outside, get some fresh air, real air. Live more of your life offscreen instead of behind one. It really does wonders. Words on a screen are just words.

TBYT: What do you guys have coming up in 2016?

VISTA: Our EP! We’re gonna try and push out as much content as possible besides just music. Videos, photos, just a bunch of different things. And we will definitely be on the road. It will happen!

TBYT: How do you define ‘beauty’?

Brian: Beauty is who you are on the inside. And who you are on the inside could change the world and make it a more beautiful place.

Hope: Brian honestly always has the most sentimental answers, it’s awesome.

 

 

Before You Exit: ‘Model’ Interview

Before You Exit is back with a new music video for their song, Model. We’re really loving the message behind the song and the video, which features all types of girls and focuses on appreciating natural beauty. We spoke with Riley McDonough from the band about the video and the band’s goal to empower girls around the world.  Check out the video and the interview below!

TBYT:  The music video for your song Model was recently released. What was the inspiration for the song?

Riley McDonough: Model is an empowering and intimate song and we wanted to capture the feeling of the song for the music video. The inspiration is actually from a personal experience but we want every listener to hear the song from a different perspective.

TBYT: The video itself has a great message related to positive self-esteem. How did you come up with the treatment and what is the biggest takeaway you want viewers to have?

Riley: Thank you. We wanted viewers to know that beauty isn’t always found in the glamour.. but sometimes in the little things. There are many different forms of beauty and this video portrays some of those.

TBYT: How do you define beauty?

Riley: We believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder and beauty can be defined through anyone’s eyes. We find beauty all throughout our everyday lives. Beauty in the people around us, beauty in the moments, or even the places we’ve been.

TBYT: What can fans expect from Before You Exit in the near future?

Riley: We’ve been working on so many things that we’re very excited about. There’s always something going on behind the scenes and we cannot wait to share it with all of you. More music, more tours, more everything. We can’t wait for this next chapter.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back soon for more content 🙂