I was interviewed by author Margaret Larsen. To read the interview click here. I talk about my new Christmas Album, “Joy To The World” among other things.
Margaret: Tell us what inspired you to write your songs? Who, What, When & Where.
Vanessa: The songs I have written each have a special story about them. When I wrote the songs on my Christmas Album, “Joy To The World” I had been working on coming up with a song list and while I was doing that one of the songs “came to me” (as silly as it sounds) quite suddenly and instantly. I had been listening to a lot of Christmas music and the song, “Noel Noel” was easily written and didn’t take much time to do. However, the other song called, “With Wondering Awe” The words are not mine but the tune was written by me. I saved this song to be the last one to record because I didn’t really know how I was going to finish it. I worked on it several times off and on with every spare minute I had and it wasn’t coming together until the last night when I had worked through it multiple times and figured it was as good as it was going to get and went to bed. The next morning I woke with multiple musical lines running through my mind not knowing if they would work together but as I sang through each line they all fit together within the song and I ended up recording 10 lines on top of my voice making sort of a “Vanessa Choir” of voices on the ending of the song. It was a lot of fun to record and even more exciting to have created something in that way. I believe there will be more Choral works in the future. I just need to find the time to write them all out.
Margaret: How do you write songs – Lyrics or melody first? and why.
Vanessa: Usually the melody comes before the words, although I have had some lyrics come to my mind first on occasion. When the lyric comes first it is a bit more difficult for me to work with. The lyric seems very important when it isn’t with the music, and I want to get the music just right to fit what the lyric is trying to express. Whereas when the music is first I can fit whatever I’d like to say within that pattern and somehow it flows much easier for me in that way.
Margaret: Have you written any more music? What, When & Why I love to create.
Vanessa: I’ve written several different styles of music. Some children’s songs, many love songs, deep messages and spiritual. Mainly the reason why I do it is because I’m feeling strong emotions. When I put music to the way I am feeling at a certain moment it makes my memory of that time that lasts forever. It is a keepsake of how I feel or how I have felt. I like to teach through song.
Margaret: What is your favorite performance venue?
Vanessa: Really I don’t have one. I enjoy any audience that is engaged in what I am doing at the time and that could be in my own living room.
Margaret: Do you have any specific routine you go through to prepare for a performance? What is it and when do you do it?
Vanessa: Routine? Well, I guess we are all creatures of habit. The thing I like to do is get plenty of rest but that doesn’t always happen. I go early to the venue and organize my clothing rack. I make sure the music is all in order. I double check on things like lighting and sound. I make sure I have plenty of water. (I drink a ton of water during a performance.) I also don’t eat any milk products beforehand and limit my sugar intake. I like to eat fresh fruit and a light meal a few hours before the show. I don’t like to eat right before I perform and I avoid eat salty foods or heavy meals beforehand. After the show I am starving! I have to eat a meal even though most places are closed after 10pm you can usually find me at the nearest Denny’s eating bacon and eggs at 11pm.
Margaret: Do you have any favorite authors you like to read?
Vanessa: I think my favorites are classics. But I love reading self help books too. I love Jane Austen, CS Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and others.
Margaret: What is your favorite reading method, book, tablet or audio and why.
Vanessa: I love reading from a book. I do read from other sources but it hurts my eyes after time. I have a huge library collection in my home. I love to see my progress visually and holding and smelling the paper in my hands is relaxing. Reading is one of my favorite past times and I like to read for pleasure and entertainment as well as to gain knowledge, learn and hopefully do better.
Margaret: What is your all-time favorite book?
Vanessa: It’s always hard for me to pick a favorite. One that sticks out to me today is a book that is out of print now. It is called, “The Snuggle Bunny” It was read to me as a child and I have wonderful memories because of that sweet story.