• Jordan Millar

"Being unapologetically yourself can be a powerful act of resistance." - Linzi Clark Interview

I am so excited to share this week's interview with Renfrewshire based musician Linzi Clark! I have had the blessing of knowing Linzi for a couple of years and had the amazing opportunity to take part in her initiative 'SHE SINGS' back in 2019! We chat about all things songwriting, women in music and the local scene in Renfrewshire.

Let's jump right into it...

I am such a massive fan of both your solo music and DRIFT, can you tell me a bit about your songwriting process both on your own and collaboratively?

Thank you so much! My songwriting process definitely varies depending on what’s going on in my life at that time or depending on what kind of mood i’m in. I normally always write really late at night, I find when I’m in a sleepy state I tend to get into more of a creative flow. Playing with melody is probably my favourite part of songwriting so my songs are normally born out of a melody I’ve been humming while making dinner or doing the dishes or sitting with my guitar. I then see what words come out naturally and work on lyrics from there. Sometimes It’s a little more forced than others just depending on whether there’s something playing on my mind that I want to write about. With DRIFT, it’s more of a collaborative approach. Some of our songs have developed from an acoustic song I’ve been working on and others from Andrew’s instrumentation. We usually pick a theme and start to work on what we want the message of the song to be and play about from there. I feel lucky that I get to write on my own and also as part of a collaboration, both such different processes but that helps keep me on my toes and not get too caught up in my own feelings!

‘Lifeline’ was definitely one of my favourite songs to be released in 2020. It's such a great song and the music video is really cool! Were there any specific influences or inspirations that contributed to writing the song?

Lifeline plays with desire and attraction, chasing excitement but with the underlying fear of commitment incase that spark goes. I wanted to explore the secrecy and vulnerability in really letting go. That authentic moment we all get at times when you step outside of your own body and have a light bulb moment, letting go of ego and your own ideas of yourself and how you’re seen to others. It’s sensual but with an underlying edge of vulnerability. It’s about treading the line between lust and love and wanting to delve into the moment without facing anything that’s too real.

What inspired you to first get into music? Was a career within this field always something that appealed to you?

Music was always a big part of my life, it really shaped my teenage years when it came to discovering who I was. When it came to career choices in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I remember I went on a trip to Skye with my friends when I was 17 and was singing while doing the dishes and some of them pointed out my singing voice and kept asking me to sing again for the rest of the trip, I remember feeling embarrassed at the time but i’m so grateful for that moment now. I started to build up my confidence and bought a nylon string guitar and started to learn a few chords and really enjoyed learning how to write songs. I was still really new to it when I applied to do the Commercial Music course at UWS and that was where I really started to develop my songwriting and to work on carving my own sound.

I know that you have been involved within Renfrewshire’s music scene for a number of years and was wondering how the scene has changed over time in regards to the number of and treatment of women in the local community? Do you think that we are heading in a positive direction?

I think there have always been so many brilliant women involved in the local music scene in Renfrewshire but that the platform hasn’t always been there to highlight this in a powerful way. Our local scene has been male dominated when we look at the music venues, bookers, music organisations in the town and I think that the treatment of women in the local community will be a unique experience to each individual but ultimately we’ll all have experienced similarities when it comes to opportunities and bias as we’ve never started off in an even playing field to begin with so naturally we will have experienced some unfair treatment along the way. I think it has come to be expected that it would be men leading the projects or running the business and that we as women would be the participants of that rather than leading it ourselves however I have witnessed a positive change in this in recent years but there’s always work that can be done.

Is there a way that you think that as a society and a community that we can work towards creating a more equal and diverse environment within the Scottish music industries?

I think on a day to day basis all we can do is continue to support and shout about our favourite female and non-binary artists. If we’re in the position of hosting our own events or running our own projects, then actively using that platform to support as many diverse artists as possible. It can be draining to continually call out those in a position of power in the industry for not considering these issues but when the opportunity arises ensuring that we remain united and supportive in our stance. I know some people prefer to be active in their approach to equality so if you notice a gap or an opportunity then working towards your own project or event to promote equality in the industry can be a rewarding process. I try to surround myself with people that share similar values and are actively working towards a more equal industry. Easier said than done but even just being an artist in an industry that’s male dominated is enough or being unapologetically yourself can be a powerful act of resistance.

I understand that you set up SHE SINGS in 2019 which is such an incredible initiative! What was your inspiration for putting the project together?

Thank you! My inspiration came from a realisation that there weren’t any music groups specifically for young women in Renfrewshire and that while I had previously hosted one off events for International Women’s Day that it would be cool to have something more permanent in place. As I had been really lucky to have songwriting opportunities through Uni, I wanted to create a similar opportunity in Paisley. While songwriting can be such a rewarding and beautiful experience it can also be quite isolating at times especially if you’re not at the point of sharing your songs with people or you don’t have a support system in place. I wanted to create a collective that could empower each other and become a safe space to try out ideas and develop skills away from any pressure or criticism. Ultimately a place to express ourselves without the fear of embarrassment or rejection which is one of the most off putting aspects of the Industry especially when starting out.

Lastly, I was wondering what female or non-binary Scottish artists are you most excited about right now?

There’s so many to choose from but I’m loving music from Rachel Jack, Heir of the Cursed,Kathryn Joseph, Goodnight Louisa and Lizzie Reid at the moment!

A massive thank you to Linzi for answering all of my burning questions!

Make sure to go and check out Linzi over on her social media!

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