At youbloomLA 2014, hundreds of artists and fans turned out to share in a common passion, music. Because of this, an amazing opportunity to meet people and to network was created. One of the attendees we met was Simone Snaith, musician and author. We had an opportunity to sit with Simone after the event and learn more about her music and writing careers.
Are you from LA or did you move here to be near the music scene?
I grew up in SoCal and have lived in several areas here, but I’m originally from Louisiana. I moved to CA with my family in 1988 because my mom wanted to be near the beach and mountains, and to have broader job opportunities. We moved to Norwalk first and then we moved to Culver City and later Redondo Beach. I moved into the Hollywood area from Redondo Beach around 2005 to work at a small indie label.
Can you tell us a little more about your music history?
In school, I was always in whatever choirs or choruses were available, but I never learned an instrument and I didn’t really try to write songs until college. Both of my parents are musicians who played in bands in Louisiana when I was a kid, so I was always around music. Now, I play guitar. I started learning after college – about 2002 – but I’ve only played seriously for about a year.
I joined my first band around 2001. In this band, we didn’t get along, so there was a lot of fighting and misery. In my later bands I struggled with keeping members that were committed to practicing or who weren’t too busy because they were in ten other bands. The first band was post-hardcore and I sang and wrote the vocals, and the later bands were actually the same folk/rock project with different line-ups because of the aforementioned losing of musicians. In those, I sang and wrote the songs. The first band went on two independent tours where we booked shows around the country and drove in a crappy van that broke down repeatedly. We mostly fought the whole time, but we did have some fun adventures.
What are some of the struggles you have had along the way?
It’s difficult to find a group of people that are reliable, that you get along with, and that play the right kind of music. That is more or less why I’m playing solo now. I was previously always the singer and songwriter, so I had to teach myself guitar to play alone, which is difficult for me because I have a work injury that caused me tendinitis. Playing solo also revived some stage fright that I shook off way back in my first band! But I get by and I’m proud of myself for carrying on solo.
What are your thoughts on breaking into the music scene in LA?
Obviously, the LA music scene is very crowded so it’s hard to get anyone to pay attention to your music. Also, it’s gotten better lately, but there are still a lot of venues that demand that you bring a ton of people. I think that making friends with other bands and booking shows is a big help, both in getting a bigger crowd at shows and also in making connections for finding things like band managers and photographers, etc.
What are some of the musical projects you are working on currently?
Turning Violet is my solo project and I play at venues such as La Cuevita, La Cita, Timewarp Records, and The Viper Room downstairs. This project is the result of no longer wanting to try to keep a band together, but just playing my songs by myself! I really enjoy the freedom of booking shows without worrying about schedule conflicts, and being the sole decision-maker. Right now, I’m focusing on playing gigs, but I will probably try to record down the road. I’d like to record a Turning Violet EP, but I’ll need help with that on the technical end and probably on guitar too!
I’m also a writer and am currently finishing up a new novel. I’ve been writing stories ever since I could use a pencil, and so I majored in Creative Writing in college, and mostly focused on writing short stories at first. Right after college, I wrote several screenplays but decided that screenwriting wasn’t my thing, so then I began to write novels.
Around 2007, I completed a young adult book and began submitting it to agents; I signed with Dystel & Goderich and have written 4 other novels since then, but none of them have been published, so I have started self-publishing and now have 3 of them available as ebooks: ‘From The Ashes’, ‘Through The Eyes’ (a young adult vampire series), and ‘The Indigo Stone’ (a fantasy novel). The first two are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes, and the last is on Amazon. A physical paperback version of The Indigo Stone will be available in about a week on Amazon, and in a month or so in stores! I would love to be able to make my living as a writer and continue playing music as much as possible. That has been my lifelong dream.
What was your experience attending youbloomLA?
I went to two sessions at the conference, one about licensing music and one about marketing. I knew some of the information already but it was interesting to hear it from the perspective of people working with major artists, etc. The speakers seemed very knowledgeable and the other attendees had good questions. I think the host bands concept is a great idea to help the out-of-town acts make the most of their time while they attend the festival.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists that are trying to make it in the music industry?
As far as advice, I can reiterate that networking with other bands and booking shows together is helpful for getting decent size crowds and future show opportunities. I would also suggest making the most of social media, including buying the occasional Facebook ad, etc., to get your page more visibility, as well as just being active online. I think focusing on building a following is the best way to break through the hundreds of bands out there, to establish name recognition and have people hearing about you, looking you up, coming to shows.
We are looking forward to getting to know some other youbloom artists and music lovers at youbloomDublin Festival and Conference. Join us on June 12th/13th/14th so that you can create your own connections and we can get to know YOU! Read more about the Festival and Conference HERE (www.youbloom.com/dublin-2015/). Additional details and tickets available soon.