Watch out people, Gretta Ziller is on the road! Touring her debut album Queen of Boomtown around Aus, Gretta will show audiences why first impressions are not to be trusted. The Melbourne songstress has a background in jazz, blues, rock, pop and classical, an eclectic combination which is heard throughout her music. She also rustled up members of Saskwatch and Cat Empire for this album. Just a quick look on Gretta’s previous gigs list shows how hard this lady can work. Check that list here and listen to her title track Queen of Boomtown below, you’ll understand why she’s worth taking tips from.
Gigging powerhouse Gretta Ziller’s Savvy Seven right here…
1) Who was your first musical inspiration? Why? Who inspires you now?
I guess my first musical inspiration was my mother. She couldn’t clap in-time but was the person that made music a part of our lives as kids. She loved everything from Jazz to Rock, Classical to Pop, we listened to Rage every weekend, and she was the person that drove me an hour each way to violin lessons from the age of 3. Now my tastes vary. I am a big fan of Foy Vance, Rag n Bone Man, Steve Earle, Jim Lauderdale, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Ryan Bingham… the list could go on and on!! I guess they all kind of inspire my writing, but if I was to narrow it down, definitely Steve Earle & Jim Lauderdale are big influences on my writing style!
2) What advice do you have for someone who is about to set off on their first tour? Or first album?
Hmm, advice! Many folks are so happy to tell you what to do and how to do it and that their way is the best way, so I would hate to tell anyone how to ‘fry eggs’, but I guess I would recommend to someone to have an objective for it all… if you’re setting out on your first tour, have a plan, whether it’s to break even or to play supports for bugger all, but know you’ll build your fan base. I’d say a similar thing about recording – what is the reason for recording? If I was telling someone how to ‘fry eggs’ I would definitely recommend not to record because you feel you need to, wait till you’ve got a collection of songs you’re really happy with, wait till you’ve got the funds to pay for a decent producer or recording studio, and remember that after you’ve recorded the album there’ll be other expenses like replication, publicity, artwork, etc. Personally, I think it’s worth taking the time to get as good a product as you can.
3) What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
Signing with Social Family Records would have to be a huge one for me. It’s been a wonderful experience having folks on my team that believe in my music and want to put in as much energy and effort into it as I do.
4) How has your music practice changed over time?
Oh, I’ve always been a terrible “practicer”, so for me, it’s being time efficient (before I lose concentration!) That means playing the same damn song on repeat if I’m learning a cover song. If I’m trying to learn something new on the guitar I’ll actually watch TV and practice it over and over and over and over… and over! I figure if I can nail it at 60% concentration, I’ll crush it at 100%…that’s the theory anyway!!!
5) My top business tip for new artists is…
Remember that you as an artist have value. Exposure dollars are bullshit! (Unless you’re supporting a big named act…and even then they can afford to bloody pay you!)
6) My biggest career mistake has been…
Not realizing my worth and believing it.
7) In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…what do you think can change that?
I think there’s always going to be issues in any industry you’re in, but I do believe the gender imbalance problem in the music industry is a big one. I won’t get started on the “lack of female acts at festivals debate” because I actually think the problem starts at a lower level. I will start by saying, and I know this is a generalisation because not all men are like this, BUT over the years many have (knowingly or unknowingly) made women in the industry feel like they need to prove themselves musically before they’re taken seriously. I’ve chatted with my female musician friends about this… often if we’ve met a man (be he industry folks, bookers, the sound guy or other muso’s) and they haven’t heard us play, we’ll get treated noticeably different once they have, like we need to prove to them that we’re actually good musicians and songwriters. It’s something that doesn’t seem to exist when it comes to male musos. I think some (not all) need to remember that just ‘cause we have boobs, doesn’t mean we’re not badass at what we do!!!!
Find Gretta’s upcoming dates here.
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