The Beat Converses

The Adroit Inspirational Artist of the Month: TROYE SIVAN (Jan. 2016) by Peter LaBerge

By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

In 2014, I founded a column on the blog of my publication The Adroit Journal. It was called "The Beat Converses," and it was an interview series. Through that wonderful column, I was fortunate enough to speak with Louisa Wendorff before she became Social Media Famous (TM) via Taylor Swift, and India Carney before she stunned us all on The Voice USA. Ultimately, however, the journal's blog underwent changes and the column was phased out. 

I'm here to bring it back—with a couple of adjustments, and a swanky new title. Through this column, I want to devote a space to sharing the startling, intimate, necessary work that web-based artists are doing. (As an online publication ourselves, Adroit might be biased here.) 

The first-ever Inspirational Artist of the Month title simply has to belong to Troye Sivan.


Twenty-year-old Troye is an Australian actor, singer and songwriter who rose to fame through his tremendously popular YouTube channel. He's been named one of Time's 25 Most Influential Teens of the Year, and for good reason—his most recent album Blue Neighbourhood is delicious and beyond inspirational; in conjunction with Lana Del Rey's immortal Born to Die, it's been #fuelingthepoems and #fuelingthefeels since I listened to it last month when it came out. (Five days before my birthday—totally not a coincidence at all.) 

Troye Sivan is proof that web-born artists and writers can—and should—be taken seriously. Heck, he was just on Ellen earlier this week (performing his *incredible* song "Youth"), and was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon earlier this winter. 

Watch the above recording if you haven't yet. 

No, seriously. 

I'll wait. 

Through this album and earlier work, Troye has also contributed to the visibility of the queer arts community. Particularly, his stunning music video trilogy from last year—which served as a sort of opening sequence for Blue Neighbourhood—embodies his identity as a queer musician and human, while inspecting the harmful presence of societal masculinity, and thank the powers that be for it: 

So, readers, when listening to Troye's new album, don't be afraid to write. Or feel. You'll be glad you did. 

The Beat Converses: Myylo by Amanda Silberling

By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief. 

Every month (or at least more months than not), founder & editor-in-chief Peter LaBerge interviews an emerging musician doing great things. This month, Los Angeles musician Myllo is up to bat! See below.


Peter LaBerge, Editor-in-Chief: First of all, for those who may be unfamiliar, tell our readers a little bit about you and your music!

Myylo (Michael Lewis): The EP that I released, called Hearts of Sand, is a predominantly autobiographical acoustic pop EP, in the same vein as Sara Bareilles or Jason Mraz. I wrote those songs between the ages of 16 and 19. Back then, I was really hell-bent on replicating this acoustic sound that I had listened to growing up, so the production is based a lot around guitar, piano, and laid back percussion. It’s a style I think many artists pursue when they first start out because their songwriting tools consist mostly of their voice and one instrument. I wanted to keep my sound “pure” and “organic.” These days I’m focusing more on pitching songs that I’ve written to other artists and collaborating with artists to create music for them. Right now, I’m really inspired by Sia as a songwriter, as well as Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver. So, my music is changing and the next time I release an EP, I expect the songs should reflect that!


How did you get into music—did you have any affairs with other art forms along the way? If so, which ones?

I haven’t really had any affairs with other art forms. I tried out personal essays and I might come back to that one day, but music has taken up 100% of my time. I got into music as a kindergarten student because my parents threw me into piano lessons. I gave that up after a few years and then in high school discovered singing. Things actually started heating up when I went to Berklee College of Music for the summer in 2010. One of my roommates was there on full-ride scholarship as a guitar player. He was this absolutely incredible metal head and he made me buy a guitar and taught me the basics. My songwriting really kicked off then.

I fully committed myself to music my freshmen year at Penn. During my first semester I figured that I would find my life passion in an economics classroom or studying the history of China (this is not a joke – I came into Penn as an East Asian Studies Major). But, when I was walking back to my dorm one day I sort of freaked out. I was like, “What am I doing here? I need to be making music.” It just hit me one day honestly, my passion had been staring me in the face.

As you may know, a fair portion of our readership is comprised of students interested in pursuing the arts in some capacity. How did you manage to balance attending an Ivy League university and pursuing your music career simultaneously?

I pretty much created my own avenues for artistic expression and demanded myself to create. There isn’t a lot of time between drinking, studying, drinking, participating in clubs, and drinking to get a lot of work done. So, as a means of studying guitar, I created a “Music Mondays” YouTube channel where I would cover a song every week. That lasted for a bit and really helped me improve on my guitar playing. Putting pressure on yourself to create something each week, as well as, making yourself accountable to a public audience (no matter how small) is actually a great way to get yourself to create. During my final semester at Penn I took a songwriting independent study with Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone Contributing Editor). Songwriting then became more than an extracurricular, it became a class. He would pitch me songwriting prompts and I was able to write 10 songs that semester. These days I write 10-15 songs per week, but back in college 10 songs during a semester sure felt like a lot. There isn’t a lot of time, but if you’re actually serious about pursuing a craft, you need to be creating constantly, even if its just 10 minutes a day. Force yourself to write!


You’ve lived in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York—three major U.S. cities. Which, from the standpoint of music, did you most enjoy living in, and why?

Los Angeles. The entire industry is here. I mean, I know of people who work for a music label that moved their entire team out to Los Angeles. That’s crazy! The whole entire team! In LA, more than NYC or Philly, it is easy to find really talented collaborators who are also willing to work toward honing their craft, as well as hustle to make sure their music is going to have commercial success. That is inspiring to me.


Finish this sentence: If I weren’t doing the music thing, I would _________. (And feel free to expand!)

I would be really unhappy. That’s as far as I’ve thought about that. I have refused to create any form of a plan B in my head. If you have something to fall back on, you will. I know its cliché, but I only have one path pursuing right now.

I noticed that you recently underwent a name change from your traditional “Michael Lewis” to the snappier “Myylo.” What led you to make this change? Do you think it’s affected your art in any specific way?

Yeah! That was a pretty dramatic change that I had been thinking about for a year and a half. Someone had asked me one day “Do you want to be known as Michael Lewis or something else?” I sat on that question for a very long time before coming to the conclusion that I needed a change. Michael Lewis is a generic name, one that is hard to search on the internet, and, honestly, isn’t that memorable. I needed a name that was unique and would make people remember me. I really loved the sound of Myylo and just went for it. I don’t think the name change has affected my art in any specific way to be honest. My art has changed more as a product of what I’m listening to and the other songwriters who I’ve had the privilege to be around. 


This has become somewhat of a Beat Converses classic, but three singers and a writer—risen from the dead, if necessary—just walked into the room, and you’re really happy about it. Who are they, and why are they so cool?

First of all I want this room to be covered in pink satin, have tacky porcelain tea-cups bought in a knick-knack shop from Carmel, California, and be loaded up with cupcakes. Now that we have the setting, one of these people is definitely Freddie Mercury. That dude is a bonafide god. I think that he is the best male vocalist ever and an incredible songwriter. He wrote the entirety of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by himself. I’d love to probe his mind and find out how he crafted a song with so many different changes. Sia is definitely the second one. That chick… Dayummmmm. She has a really good reputation in the industry for writing hit songs in under an hour. She has actually revealed some of her songwriting secrets in interviews, but I’m sure she has more to say then what’s on those pages. The final singer, and this is an obvious choice if you know me, is Beyoncé. She is hands down the greatest entertainer of our generation. In terms of the writer, it would have to be James Baldwin. Giovanni’s Room is my favorite novel of all time. I don’t think anyone crafts a sentence like James Baldwin. With Baldwin, no word is wasted. Also, he took major chances with his writing about racial frustrations and homosexuality, while simultaneously experimenting with different forms (plays, novels, essays, etc.). Oh man, yeah, James Baldwin.


And, finally, what’s next for you?

Right now, I’m really just working on songwriting for other people. You’ll be able to hear 3 co-written songs of mine on Bentley’s upcoming EP, which should be released at the end of the summer. Every musician in the band is absolutely nuts at their instrument and I’m infatuated with the lead singer’s voice. She gets me every time. I’ve been putting my own artist project on hold for a while and I’m not quite sure when I’ll be working towards it again. But, it will happen. I’m just waiting until the time is right.

Peter LaBerge is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015) and the co-editor (with Talin Tahajian) of Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). Recent poems are featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry JournalRedividerCopper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in Philadelphia, where he is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. Learn more at


Caroline Glaser.
Louisa Wendorff.
Drew Tabor.
Maddy Hudson.
India Carney.
Hannah Trigwell.
Hayley Solano.

The Beat Converses: Hayley Solano by Amanda Silberling

By Peter LaBerge, Editor-in-Chief

Songs can speak – especially when they're written by Hayley Solano, whose lyrics blur the lines between music and prose. But behind the conversation held within a song is a conversation with the writer herself – meet our Beat Converses for the month of May, Hayley Solano

Peter LaBerge, Editor-in-Chief: Thanks so much for chatting with me! First of all, before we really dive in, could you give our readers the brief low-down on what you and your music are about?

Hayley Solano: I’d love to! I really fell in love with music when I was a teenager. Teenage years can be so difficult to navigate, but during that time I would come across songs that described exactly how I felt. I thought that was so magical – that someone who had no idea I even existed could make me feel less alone. That’s when I realized I wanted to be able to give that gift to people: the gift of feeling understood. I’ve always absolutely loved singing and writing, so putting the two together to share my stories was really natural for me.

I personally adore your mantra, “in love with stories. i tell mine in songs.” seen on your YouTube page and your website. It seems to me that a lot of vocalists and musicians see narrative as not a central priority to the development of a song, if a factor at all. Has your link between storytelling and music always there? How did you develop it?

Absolutely! I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. The words “once upon a time” are so magical to me. When you’re little, they’re often a precursor to a fantasy world or fairytale, which is so much fun to imagine. It was really natural for me to incorporate storytelling in my songwriting, especially because of the music I’m drawn to. My favorite kinds of songs have always been the ones that tell detailed stories – that keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to hear the next line.


Do you have a favorite original song that you’ve written? What makes it your favorite? 

Oh gosh, that’s a difficult question! I think the most recent song I’ve written is always my favorite! However, I’m in the process of recording four original songs that are really special to me and each tell very personal stories. If I had to choose one I think I would choose a song called “Yes.” It’s about the one that got away suddenly reappearing in your life ­– the one person you thought you’d lost forever, coming back to you.



What is one thing about making YouTube videos that you prefer over performing live? What, in turn, do you prefer about performing live?

I really enjoy both! Making videos is great because you can have as much control as you’d like. If you think your performance could be better, you can do several takes, try different angles, and more. Performing live is totally different. You basically have one shot to look and sound exactly how you want to! Although that can feel like a lot of pressure, the wonderful thing about performing live is the energy. There’s no feeling quite like singing songs based on pages of your diary to a room of strangers.


On your website you write, “I knew it wouldn't hurt to pursue a degree while growing as an artist.” This is something, as an undergraduate student editor, I try to balance as well, but I know that at points it came be extremely challenging. Do you have advice for students like us out there who aim to pursue the arts in the context of other degrees and academic commitments?

It can be really difficult! Balancing music and studies was always a challenge for me when I was in school. Focusing on school work can be a strain on creativity while taking the time to be creative can affect studies. To be honest, I did focus a lot more on school than music when I was pursuing my degree. It always helps to keep the end goal in mind and know once you’ve accomplished your academic goals, you will have more time for other interests!


If you weren’t a singer/songwriter, what kind of artist would you want to be?

Definitely some kind of writer and/or storyteller. Writing has always been such a wonderful form of expression for me. I also think it would be so fun to come up with concepts for music videos.


I asked this question to Hannah Trigwell in the last installment, but I’m curious: who’s the coolest person you’ve been able to work with thus far, and what’s the coolest place you’ve been able to visit for music?

I’m absolutely loving working with my producer on my songs. He is so full of incredible ideas and has helped me to develop my sound in a way that I’ve always dreamed of. There are so many places I would love to visit for music. I’ve always dreamed of visiting England and hope to play there next year. Nashville is also at the top of my list!!


And, finally, what’s next for Hayley Solano? Where can we find you in the future?

I’m planning to release music this year! I’m in the process of recording right now which is so exciting. I’m falling in love with being in the studio, and it’s so exciting to bring these songs to life in a way I’m really proud of. I can’t wait to share these stories. Also, I’m always playing shows in the LA area!

Peter LaBerge is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His recent work is featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry JournalRedividerCopper Nickel,Best New Poets 2014DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. Learn more at


September 2014 - Caroline Glaser.
Octover 2014 - Louisa Wendorff.
January 2015 - Drew Tabor.
February 2015 - Maddy Hudson.
March 2015 - India Carney.
March 2015 - Hannah Trigwell.
May 2015 – Hayley Solano.

Raise Your Glass: March 2015 Beat India Carney Places Fifth on The Voice Season 8 by Peter LaBerge

By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

            Last night, Brooklyn-based talent India Carney placed fifth on the eighth season of The Voice, as a member of Christina Aguilera's "Team Xtina." Before that, however, she spoke with Founder & Editor-in-Chief Peter LaBerge as the March 2015 Beat Converses Feature.

            Carney auditioned for the acclaimed show earlier this year, as a senior Voice major at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a high school senior at the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City, Carney was recognized as a 2011 YoungArts Winner for Voice and Theatre, and was ultimately named a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

            We at Adroit are so sorry to see India go -- we tweeted and voted and re-tweeted until our fingers popped off! We'll be following her next moves vigilantly through social media, and suggest you do the same. For now, however, I've taken the liberty of assembling three truly jawdropping India performances; if you haven't found her music, better late than never!

            Let us know what you think in the comments below. We can't wait to hear!


#3: "Big White Room" by Jessie J (Knockouts)

No explanation necessary, because Jessie J tweeted about it.


#2: "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel (Audition)

Where it all began.


#1: "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson (Top 5)

Literally the definition of going out with a bang.


Congratulations, India! You're a star, and quite #adroit, if we do say so ourselves! (...okay, we'll keep our day jobs.)

The Beat Converses: Hannah Trigwell by Peter LaBerge

By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief.

SURPRISE! This month, and hopefully in the months going forward, we will have TWO Beat Converses -- because they're just so cool. Ending this month strong is UK-based songstress extraordinaire Hannah Trigwell. I'm so excited to share her words with you!

Born and raised in Leeds, Hannah Trigwell has garnered more than 300,000 subscribers and over 35 million views on YouTube. She has received international acclaim for her covers and original music, with numerous top ten singles under her belt, as well as a number 1 single in Vietnam with her original song ‘Headrush’.

Hannah has performed in several sold-out UK tours, playing alongside the likes of Josh Kumra, Boyce Avenue, Jake Bugg, Alex Goot, Wretch 32, and Lawson. Her music has gained praise from the likes of Ed Sheeran (we're fangirling), Johnny Rzeznik (Goo-Goo-Dolls) (fangirling so hard), The Script (the fangirling is literally infinite), and many more. 

Hannah is currently in the studio writing and recording for her next EP release. With that: Questions!

Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: Thanks so much for chatting with me! Since some of our readers may not be familiar with you and your music, could you give us a super-abridged autobiography to start out?

Hannah Trigwell, Musician: I am a 24 year-old singer-songwriter from the UK! I started out busking on the streets of my hometown (Leeds) before posting videos up on YouTube, which have now had a crazy 35 million views! I just recently returned home from my seventh UK tour, and I am spending early 2015 writing for my next EP.

PL: Any songs or artists you can’t stop listening to right now? What makes them so irresistible?

HT: I love Years & Years. I’m so obsessed with their latest single "King". The chorus is just so catchy, and the band’s energy on stage during live performances is infectious! I’ve also gone back to the first Ben Howard and Damien Rice albums again recently. I really appreciate thoseevery song is magic. I love harmonising acoustic guitars and emotive music, which is why those are two of my favourite albums!    

PL: I’m curious (and I feel like a lot of other people are, as well)how and why did you start recording covers and original music for YouTube? Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians whose followings are not as large as they’d like? What do you think it takes to become a well-regarded and well-known web-born musician?

HT: I started making videos to upload onto YouTube mainly because I saw other people do it, and thought, I could do that! Haha. I also couldn’t get many live gigs locally because I didn’t have a fanbase, so when the subscriber count and views started building up online, I was able to prove to promoters that I had people that could come to see me perform. It wasn’t overnightlike a lot of YouTubers, I have been uploading videos for years now. You have to persevere and be prepared to work hard if you want any kind of successthat includes music on YouTube! To be a well-regarded web-born musician, you just have to be real… it has to be about making great music; the rest should follow, but the aim should never be about numbers. People see through that.

PL: What’s the coolest place you’ve been able to visit because of music, and who’s the coolest person you’ve been able to work with?

HT: I played a small arena in Lisbon during a European tour and it absolutely blew my mind. I was really grateful for that opportunity!

The coolest person I’ve been able to work with... I’ve worked with some really successful producers and artists, but I feel really lucky to be able to work with my incredibly talented guitar player Will Dewsbury and keys player Ben Matravers everyday in the studio and on tour. So, those two!

PL: I’ve noticed that many prominent YouTube musicians work together in a variety of ways (for example, you and Boyce Avenue). How did this network arise, and what do you think you’ve gained from it?

HT: Boyce Avenue saw my videos on YouTube, and asked me to support them on tour, I toured with them three times and we worked on a few awesome cover collaborations! I learned a lot from them about touring and the music business, but mostly they helped me progress with my guitar and vocal technique. Working with others definitely helps you progress.


PL: Who’s the coolest person you haven’t (yet) worked with, but would love to work with? Why?

HT: I’d love to work with Passengerto do a duet with him would be amazing. Or David Gray! I also really like Kygohis remix of ‘I See Fire’ by Ed Sheeran is on repeat in my house.


PL: According to Facebook, you’ve just recently returned from a tour! Where, when, and how can we find you?  

HT: Yes! I just got back from touring the UK, and now I’m going to be posting regularly vlogs and behind the scenes studio footage up onto my YouTube channel. So until the next tour, that is where you’ll find me!


PL: And finallyDo you have a favorite cover of yours on YouTube?

HT: I really enjoyed recording my Sam Smith ‘Stay With Me’ cover. I just reworked the song as an acoustic finger-tapping/harmonics piece, and then jammed it out a few times in my bedroom before recording. It felt natural, and I love how the video turned out.


Peter LaBerge is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His recent work is featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. Learn more at


September 2014 - Caroline Glaser.
Octover 2014 - Louisa Wendorff.
January 2015 - Drew Tabor.
February 2015 - Maddy Hudson.
March 2015 - India Carney.
March 2015 - Hannah Trigwell.

The Beat Converses: India Carney of The Voice by Amanda Silberling

By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

   Photo via The Daily Bruin, Neil Bed

Photo via The Daily Bruin, Neil Bed

Another month, another stunning emerging musician... this month, meet India Carneythough you may already know her from the brand new season of The Voice, where she managed to turn all four chairs & land on Team Christina. Stay tuned today and tomorrow at 8 pm EST to see India battle it out, and win our hearts all over again!

Peter LaBerge, Editor-in-Chief: First off: congratulations on getting a standing ovation from all four coaches in your Blind Audition—proud to say I’ve known about your talent since before The Voice! Let’s start off simple: How does it feel to be named a “favorite” for this season; has it sunk in yet?

India Carney, The Voice Contestant: Thank you so much! Honestly, I didn't realize I was a favorite this season, but I appreciate it! I suppose hearing that I'm being named a "favorite" hasn't sunken in yet. I'm just focusing on preparing for finals, getting my graduation requirements in order, and getting all my thank yous out on Twitter and Facebook!


Tell our readers your story. (We really want to hear it.)

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. When I was younger, I would tinker on the keys of our piano, and my parents saw that as a sign that I might be interested in music. So, my mother took me to weekly Mommy & Me music classes starting at 6 months old, and I was studying at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music by the time I was 2. I had the experience of using different instruments and understanding rhythm. I not only learned about music, but I also was able to create music. Soon after, I began taking classical piano and flute lessons and joined a community choir. During my early education, my parents taught me at home. Homeschooling allowed me the flexibility to explore a variety of interests, including tennis, golf, music, theater, and lots of field trips!  Brooklyn was my classroom, and that early education gave me my foundation. When I was enrolled in elementary school a few years later, I joined the choir, drama club and the school band (playing flute). I performed in community theaters and also sang at my church. When I was 9 years old, I was cast as "Annie" in Annie Jr., a community theater production directed and founded by Tony Award winner Ben Harney. Through that experience, I discovered my voice and realized my passion for this art. In middle school, I began studying voice as a Voice Major (or, "Vocal Talent", as we used to call it). I then graduated and studied at LaGuardia Arts High School where I was enrolled as a Vocal Major. I participated in the school musicals, talent shows, and a few other events. My first musical there was A Chorus Line playing the role of "Diana Morales" and then Hairspray as a “Dynamite”.  As a high school student, I also attended Saturday school for four years at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College in Voice and for my final senior production I starred as “Aida” in the junior version of the musical, AIDA.  At LaGuardia, I also got my start with songwriting. I took a composition class and started to develop that skill as best I could. During summer breaks, I went to summer programs, one of which included the National High School Summer Institute (NHSI) @ Northwestern University where I studied Theater and Musical Theatre.  During my senior year of high school, I was also a National Foundation YoungArts Silver Winner in Pop Voice and won other Voice and Theatre awards through YoungArts. I was selected to be one of 20 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, the highest scholastic achievement for a graduating high school senior! The Scholars and I were flown out to Washington, D.C. to be honored by the White House and White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, and give a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. I was completely humbled by that experience and opportunity. After I graduated from LaGuardia, I immediately went on to study Music at UCLA, where I am finishing up my senior year.

Music has been my life. Sometimes, I look at it as a spiritual thing, to be honest. It wakes me up in the morning, walks with me during the day and tucks me in to bed at night. It's the one thing that I've always understood, and one part of my life that I am especially passionate about.


What made you decide this season of The Voice was for you?

I think the timing was just right this season. I am about to graduate from college, and I figured it would be neat if I were lucky enough to have this opportunity, something that could potentially set up my future and my life post-graduation. The Voice is an incredible show. I even auditioned a few times before finally getting a "Yes" for this season. I just knew it was worth it to keep auditioning, so I did. I was encouraged by all of my professors to pursue it. Thankfully, I was selected for this season and I couldn't be happier! #TeamChristina!


If you weren’t a singer, what type of artist would you most want to be? Why?

Music has been my life. Sometimes, I look at it as a spiritual thing, to be honest. It wakes me up in the morning, walks with me during the day and tucks me in to bed at night.
— India Carney

If I weren't a singer.. wow. It would very hard for me to think of not being a singer. I’ve been preparing as a singer my whole life and I love performing!  I guess I'd like to be a director, whether it be directing plays or directing a choir. The feeling of being able to develop and nurture something, and be somewhat in charge of that journey seems to be awesome and super gratifying. I currently direct an a cappella group at UCLA (ScatterTones), and vocal direct a student-run theater company called Act III Theater Ensemble at UCLA. I feel that sentiment all the time.

How have your educational experiences changed the person and singer that you’ve become? Any specific mentors? Which opportunities would you most highly suggest for teenagers or young adults that hope to be where you are now in a couple of years?

My educational experiences have greatly shaped the artist that I am today. Through music education, I've developed such a deep love and respect for music, and for the art of teaching and learning, whether it be in a classroom setting or a real life performing experience. For people who have been products of a musical education, it's always about the teacher's impact. That's why we have a Grammy award for the Best Teacher in the nation. Teachers have, and always will be very valuable to an artist's success, and I can say that I've been blessed with supportive teachers all throughout my journey. My parents were my first influential teachers, since I was home-schooled for a while. I went on to learn from and be encouraged by my teachers during private lessons, elementary school and middle school, but I think I met my most influential teachers in high school, which is where my passion in music really began to grow. All of my teachers were incredibly supportive and even tried to help me network and advance to the next step. My current teachers at UCLA are so generous, so giving, and so supportive of my endeavors. I admire them and couldn't be more grateful to have them in my life.

My suggestion to those looking to start your career in the performing arts would be to network. Oh my gosh, it's the one thing that is incredibly difficult for me, but it’s the only way that you'll get to where you'll eventually want to be. Not to mention, you meet new people and establish new, positive relationships. Networking is key. Auditioning and never giving up are also key. Success doesn't come on the first try. I've heard "No" several times, and in fact, I auditioned for The Voice a few times before getting selected for the Blind Auditions. Now, I'm part of an incredible process that has put me in a position I couldn't ever have dreamt of. If you're looking to be part of a competition like The Voice, I'd suggest you do some competitions in preparation for the experience. The other advantage of participating in competitions is that your talent can be recognized by industry professionals.

 Photo via  Facebook

Photo via Facebook

This next question is quite a conceptual one. Where does the art of voice lie for you? Is it collaborative, or is it between you and the song? How does this philosophy affect your methodology and style?

Ooh, this is a great question. I could write an essay on this, but I promise I won't. Last year, after my Junior Recital, my friend came up to me and said, "India, you know how to use your instrument so well." That was actually the first time I looked at the voice as an instrument. Of course, we're all used to people differentiating musicians form singers, when in reality, we're all musicians. The voice is an instrument, and it's a vehicle for emotion. Thinking of the voice as an instrument causes you to take a different perspective on how to treat it. Many times, singing is the only way I can truly emote something and my the message across to an audience. It has reassured me during tough times and the sound of someone's voice really has the power to speak to people, and emotionally touch someone's heart. Studying opera has taught me a lot respecting the voice, and looking at it as something that needs to be taken care of and cherished. So many people take singing, and singers for granted, but the voice has the power to change lives and send messages. I just find singing to be such a beautiful thing.

Auditioning and never giving up are also key. Success doesn’t come on the first try. I’ve heard “No” several times, and in fact, I auditioned for The Voice a few times before getting selected for the Blind Auditions.
— India Carney

To answer the second part of your question, I think that singing calls for an active combination of your personal connection with the song, and a collaborative element. Being part of YoungArts taught me that music, especially singing, is a collaborative experience, and that mentality has helped me a lot in the group singing and other collaborative activities that I'm a part of. The Battle Rounds of The Voice are all about collaboration, believe it or not. Some people may have the idea that Battles are about showing off and finding a winner, but it's really about creating a performance on the stage, where you get to work off of your partner, and make both of you shine, so that you both can come out winners. I'm always excited to work with new people, because it's a new learning experience for you. The only way to move forward is by working together, and I wholeheartedly believe that.

And finally, you mentioned during your blind audition that you chose “someone who was a big part of my childhood” as a coach—Christina Aguilera. What was it about Christina that had a particular influence on you? Any other artists that have had a similar influence?

Oh yes. Christina Aguilera was my iPod. I would travel with her songs wherever I went. I still belt out "I Turn To You", "Fighter", and I was just listening to "Reflections" while watching Milan (basically my favorite Disney movie besides Lion King) the other day. She has been an inspiration to so many singers, myself included. Her voice is so iconic and her career is so influential. Not to mention, she's an incredible person. I grew up listening to all sorts of music, and my iPod still consists of many different artists. I'd say some more musical inspirations include Michael Jackson, Jasmine Sullivan, Adele, Coldplay, John Mayer, Jessie J, and of course, Whitney Houston!

Peter LaBerge is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His recent work is featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He grew up in southwestern Connecticut, and now lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. Learn more at

September 2014 - Caroline Glaser.
Octover 2014 - Louisa Wendorff.
January 2015 - Drew Tabor.
February 2015 - Maddy Hudson.

The Beat Converses: Maddy Hudson by Peter LaBerge

            By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Happy February! Love is already in the air – love between America and blazing American Idol XIV contestant Maddy Hudson of Pleasanton, CA. Where did this girl come from, and how did she get to be so fantastically talented? We're about to find out, in this month's installment (the first of two!) of The Beat Converses. (Hannah Trigwell's stopping by our metaphorical studio in two weeks, but we couldn't resist reaching out to Maddy as soon as we saw this! Watch the below video, and you'll understand why.)

Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: So, first off: CONGRATULATIONS on slaying your audition, and quickly becoming a favorite for American Idol XIV! Casual brilliance. How does it feel to get three enthusiastic yes’s, and to hear J-Lo literally say, “I think she could win.” right after your audition? (Caps are encouraged, but – of course – not required.)

Maddy Hudson, AI XIV Contestant: Words can’t even begin to explain how it felt to hear Jennifer say that! I had never seen the audition prior to air, so the minute that everyone else heard her say that was the same time that I got to hear it! It blew my mind to hear those words actually come out of her mouth. I was extremely flattered in the first place to get three yes’s and to have such great feedback, but to hear that on top of all of the rest, I was absolutely speechless. I couldn’t have been happier in that moment. It filled me with such an incredible amount of love and happiness that I couldn’t even believe it. I was crying, but who wouldn’t cry after hearing something so special?!


PL: What is/are your favorite song(s) and/or artist(s) right now? Basically, who & what should we be listening to?

MH: I’m all over the spectrum when it comes to my playlist! I’ve been listening to some older stuff recently! I’ve been listening to “Sleep Forever” by Portugal. The Man, “Only One” by Kanye West, “Run” by Hozier (I love all of the music on Hozier’s album, but I’m especially crushing on “Run”), Arctic Monkeys, Yuna, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Thom Yorke, Cage the Elephant, etc. I honestly have tons of artists that I listen to and I could go on for days about artists I’m into, but with me it really depends on the day! Depending on the mood I’m in and the weather, my playlist could be completely different from any other day. I like to be really well rounded with my music selection, because I find that it makes me not only a better musician, but also a better person. Music changes lives. 


PL: Let’s shift back to you for a second: how did you discover your passion for music, and how did you develop it?

MH: My passion for music really started around age 6. I was in first grade and we were doing a play, “The Three Nanny Goats Gruff”, and I was cast as the troll (lead). I never really knew much about singing or whether or not I could do it, but right before the big show my mom came up to me and said, “Maddy, this is your one time to shine, so get up there and do it”, and after hearing her say that, I got up there and sang my part with a huge smile. When I finished, everyone looked stunned. They all clapped and made me feel special, but then all of a sudden people were coming up to me and asking where I learned to sing like that, and I was just sitting there thinking, “wait, I can sing now?” This was so funny for me; I realized that I was good at something and that it was something that I really liked doing! From that moment on, nobody could get me to stop singing.


PL: What has been the biggest challenge so far in your pursuit of music? Have you overcome it? 

MH: I think the biggest challenge for me has been being able to share what I do with my peers. While I can go and play in front of a bunch of strangers and do really well, if I were to play in front of a bunch of my peers, it probably wouldn’t go so well. I’m not sure what it is, but I just always felt as if my peers would judge me, and while everyone judges everybody, the thought of them judging me was a lot harder to deal with. This is definitely still something that I struggle with, I won’t lie, but with every day I try to work on myself to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect in everybody’s eyes, and that it’s all about me being proud of the work that I do.  


PL: Back to American Idol briefly: without divulging any ~super secret~ results, have you found anything about what goes on behind-the-scenes of the show (or, I suppose, in front of the camera) super surprising? What about being on the show itself?

MH: I think the part that I found most surprising about the Idol process was the “family” feel that we have. I can’t speak for everybody, but my personal experience with all the cameramen, sound guys, and contestant coordinators was really what made it so wonderful. With the fellow contestants there is that competitive energy, but with the behind the scenes workers there was truly this loving vibe. I can honestly say that I love each and every person that works for production and I personally did my best to learn all of their names. I love all the people; I think that with any career it is extremely important to respect and love the people that work with you, and I have loved working with each and every single one of them! I never in my wildest dreams would’ve imagined that I would get a family out of this whole process, but I did. While nobody gets to see this interaction, it has definitely been one of my favorite things about the process. As far as being on the show, everything is surprising! Everything is much harder and much less glamorous than it seems on TV, but it’s still such a beautiful process. I love everything about it.

  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. © 2014 FOX Broadcasting Co.

CR: Michael Becker / FOX. © 2014 FOX Broadcasting Co.

PL: Have you ventured at all into original territory, or mainly stuck to covering for now? Do you think it takes certain objectives or skills (besides songwriting, obviously) to pursue original tracks? 

MH: I actually have written many original songs! I think that every person has the ability to write, and that the only reason they may not write is that they haven’t learned how to channel all of their emotions into original words yet. I spent a lot of time covering, and I still do, but I think that writing is definitely something that every artist should do. I think that it just takes time and valuable experiences! Sure, you could write a song about anything, but most of my music is about a real thing that I’ve gone through or witnessed, so I usually recommend writing about things that the artist has actually lived through.

Every person is original every day! People are all different! Writing songs is just as easy as going through regular life. You just need to make sure to write it in your own words.  


PL: This next question has become a Beat Converses classic. If you could have coffee (or tea, etc.) with three vocalists – past or present – who would they be, and why? 

MH: Etta James, Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera. These are the artists that have truly shaped how I view music and how I went about singing. They are my biggest inspirations. The thought of getting to sit down with them is just incredible. I would love to thank them for creating their music, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today!


PL: And finally: it’s clear from your American Idol audition that you value the emotion of a song. What is your best advice to artists that want to open themselves up and feel more connected to the music they play or sing? 

MH: I think that when it comes to music, no matter who you are or what you’ve been through, you can find a way to properly emote a song. Whether or not you’ve had a particular experience, every person has experienced basic emotions such as sadness, happiness, etc. One can simply pick and choose when to use those emotions! You need to remember what it was like in the moment that you felt that deep emotion, and then you need to think about how much deeper that pain/happiness would’ve been had you been in the song’s particular situation.

Singing isn’t simply singing, it’s acting, it’s feeling, and it’s a state of being. Each song has a tone, an emotional tie, and a theme. I’d say just do your best to become the character in the song. Think about how you would feel if you were in that situation. You need to live the pain, feel the happiness, and experience the tears, because without doing this, it’s just another song. It’s probably very obvious by now that I’m a deeply emotional person, so it’s natural for me to feel the music I sing, but I truly feel that every person is capable of relating to a song in one way or another, so they just have to look for the parallels within their lives! 


I will resist the urge to ask more questions about AI XIV. [Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!] Perhaps that’s for another installment of The Beat Converses – after the season, of course! Thanks again to Maddy, and remember to stay tuned & cross your fingers for her. American Idol airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 8 pm on Fox! Here’s another brilliant cover for the road –



Peter LaBerge is author of the chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Recent work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, andIndiana Review, among others. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. For more information, visit him online at


September 2014 - Caroline Glaser.
Octover 2014 - Louisa Wendorff.
January 2015 - Drew Tabor.
February 2015 - Maddy Hudson.

The Beat Converses: Drew Tabor by Peter LaBerge

            By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

It’s back! After a few-month hiatus, I’m thrilled to resurrect the one, the only Beat Converses, where I sit down with incredible musicians far cooler than I am to talk art, writing, and all that awesome stuff.

On all levels, January 2015 Beat Drew Tabor is certainly no stranger to music. And -- with nearly 200,000 subscribers following her YouTube account, and more than 23,000,000 video views under her belt -- it’s safe to say that music is no stranger to her, either.

But, in case you haven’t heard of her, here is her Facebook page, here is her Twitter, and here is a lovely picture of her in a garden (which, you’ll see later on, is quite relevant):

Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! In October, I chatted with fellow YouTuber Louisa Wendorff, and I began by asking her to summarize the aim and content of her EP Arrow; now I’ll do the same to you! I’ve obviously listened to the EP a few times (#understatement), but can you give our audience -- and yours! -- a two or three-minute description of your EP In The Garden, its contents, and the ambition behind it?

Drew Tabor, Musician: In The Garden is the first project I've done that I feel really represents who I want to be as an artist. I wrote all of the songs based on personal experiences that I had during a very important time in my life. They not only tell the story of falling in and out of love but also of finding and losing yourself within love. I am so incredibly excited for people to hear the EP and see this new chapter of myself. 

PL: Let’s move back in time for a second. How did you get involved with YouTube in the first place? What’s ‘the story,’ as it were?

DT: I started posting YouTube videos pretty much out of boredom. I began uploading during high school at a time where I found myself spending a lot of Friday nights alone in my room. I honestly thought that creating videos might give me something to do with my time. When I first started, I never had any intentions of becoming a "YouTuber", or even a musician at all. It was simply a hobby and a creative outlet -- it wasn't until I had been making videos for about a year that I realized how much I really loved it. Any success I've been lucky enough to have on YouTube didn't happen overnight. I've been making videos for five and a half years, and I still feel like I'm learning and trying to get the hang of things. There have been a lot of ups and downs over my time on YouTube, but I'm excited nonetheless to see what the future holds.

PL: I can imagine initially it was very difficult to distinguish yourself from other artists on YouTube. At what point did it go from “recording covers and uploading them to the black hole that is YouTube” to “recording covers for viewers (in addition to, of course, for yourself)”? How do you think your music developed in the process, if at all?

DT: I feel like distinguishing and establishing yourself as a unique artist in an ongoing process. Of course, as a musician there are some specific things you can do if you want to get more views on YouTube: you can sing popular songs, use a good camera and post content regularly. That's a start... but I think if you really want to be successful and make an impression on people you need to be memorable.

My most viewed videos are acoustic covers of "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj and "Friday" by Rebecca Black. I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to sing Rebecca Black songs in order to be successful; I just mean that sometimes you need to do things that people don't expect. I don't believe in gimmicks or cheapening your work for people to like it, but I don't think you can expect people to just like you and care about your music right off the bat. Also, while singing covers can be a great way to build an audience on YouTube, I think it is so, SO important to have original music if you really want to be an artist. As much as you can be creative with your song choices and put your own spin on the covers you do, I think if you want to truly touch and connect with people you need to give them something that is purely you.

I don't know if the development of my music was necessarily a result of any one specific thing, but there has been a lot of trial and error as I try to gauge people's reactions to the different things I post. I was sixteen when I began making videos (and am now twenty-one) so I've been through a lot and certainly grown as a person over that period of time. I just consider myself lucky to have an audience so accepting, loving, and supportive of me no matter when I am.

PL: Wow, it sounds like you’ve undeniably collected quite a bit of insight throughout the whole process! Any other good advice, particularly for aspiring artists (of all sorts, for that matter) who haven’t yet hit that point where they feel the sense of obligation that comes with a following?

DT: This might sound cheesy, but I think the most important thing is to stay positive and stay motivated. Being an artist is very difficult as a career path. If you love what you're doing then it's worth it… but no matter what, you're bound to face some rejection and frustration. There have been so many times when I go to bed saying that I'm done being a singer and that it's too difficult, but then wake up the next morning ready to do it all again with a smile on my face.

I think it's especially easy to feel unmotivated if you don't necessarily have the obligation of a following but it's important to not get discouraged and to keep pushing through the tough times in order to get to where you want to be.

PL: You, of course, just came back from a tour of the West Coast a couple of months ago! How was that experience? Any funny experiences or anecdotes to share?

DT: Being on tour was such a great experience! I had never done anything like it before, so it was great to get a taste of what it's like to be a touring musician. I was so inspired by the many great musicians and just all-round cool people I met along the way, but my favorite part was definitely meeting some of my viewers and YouTube followers.

It was a pretty small-scale tour, as it basically consisted of my friend/tour manager Shab and I driving up the coast in my car. Spending so much time in the car meant that we had tons of time to listen to music. While we usually went for indie bands or folksy-singer-songwriters, we insisted on listening to “Jealous” by Nick Jonas every day, first thing in the morning.

Overall, none of us really knew what we were doing at the beginning of the tour, but by the end we had all learned so much.

PL: Here’s a rather zany question I love to ask: if you could have coffee (or tea, etc.) with three musical or vocal artists -- from past or present -- who would they be, and why?

DT: First, Lana Del Rey because I am borderline obsessed with her would just want to soak up some of her coolness. Also, Frank Sinatra because he is one of my all time favorite artists/vocalists, and I would love to just chat about music and life with him; I feel like he's got an old soul and would probably give really wise advice. And finally Adele because she's hilarious. I would also try to do some kind of sorcery to steal her voice. It would be great.

PL: On a similar note, how do you get inspired? It might just be me, but I feel like there’s a sort of universal artistic language spoken through emotion, memory, and feeling that all artists -- regardless of medium -- are able to interpret and speak.

DT: I'm very nostalgic. I rarely write about things that are happening in my life in the present moment, and instead take a more retrospective approach. I love looking at old photographs, reading old journals, and talking to childhood friends, as well as talking to older relatives. I'm inspired by a lot of music from past decades and even by the music, images and aesthetic in a lot of old movies. I have a fixation on the way things were. It's probably not the greatest mindset to be in for regular day-to-day life, but it's how I get a lot of my inspiration.

PL: Okay, and one last question! What’s next for Drew?

DT: I'm honestly still trying to figure that out. There are so many things that I want to accomplish and that I want to do with not only with my career, but also my life in general. I'd love to travel and tour different parts of the world. At some point this year, I'm really hoping to make trips to Nashville and the UK to write and perform. I'll probably spend the next couple months pushing and promoting my new EP In The Garden (shameless plug), and then get back to writing new material to put out into the world. I really just want to continue to create, share and be inspired.


Thanks so much again to Drew! Be sure to show your support by ordering her EP online here, and by checking out one of her newest stunning covers:


Peter LaBerge is author of the chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Recent work appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. For more information, visit his website here.

September 2014 - Caroline Glaser.
Octover 2014 - Louisa Wendorff.
January 2015 - Drew Tabor.

October 2014 Beat Louisa Wendorff Gets a Well-Deserved Shout-Out from Taylor Swift by Peter LaBerge

Yeah, Taylor, we're obsessed too! Read Louisa's interview with Founder & Editor-in-Chief Peter LaBerge here -- you can read about why she loves her iconic song mash-ups (which Taylor Swift also seems to dig), among a plethora of other things.

The Beat Converses: Louisa Wendorff by Peter LaBerge

            By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief.

As you may know if you're a loyal follower of our blog, we love music, and strive to make it with our words. Last month, we kicked off this spotlight feature with emerging songstress Caroline Glaser of The Voice. In keeping with a strong start, here's Louisa Wendorff.

Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: Thanks so much for chatting with me today! I know, of course, about your brilliant debut EP Arrow, but perhaps some of our viewers don’t (yet). Can you give us your best two-and-a-half-minute-description of the EP and its contents? What were your goals? Inspirations?

Louisa Wendorff, Musician: Arrow is a project that marks the first step of an actual career.  Each song is very different from the next, displaying the array of styles and passions I have.  The strings that tie them all together, however, bring a dream-like dance feel throughout the record.  “Arrow” is an alternative acoustic song that embodies the tension and anticipation of moving towards a destiny or passion that is pushing back.  Arrows are extremely significant to me for many reasons.  I was given a small arrow necklace from a friend who reminded me, “Always remember your true north.”  The biblical meaning of my name is “Famous Warrior,” and an arrow is a warriors’ weapon.  They are powerful yet delicate, and are an extension of the holder as they fly above battle, containing perspective, never stopping until they hit their target.  This is how I strive to live.

“Every Little Thing” is a love song with a waltz tempo, and is my personal favorite.  I wrote it after this boy tricked me into going on a double date with him, but apparently it worked because he’s now my boyfriend (haha). “Put My Foot Down” is my sunshine song about the uncanny visions and purposeful meaning of a dream.  It’s usually my opener when I play live, and I have this little stomp to it, one that’s always fun to do at shows.  “And Dance” is a fun dance song that mentions many different styles of dance from different cultures.  I grew up a competitive dancer and have always loved it, so incorporating dance into Arrow feels very authentic to who I am.



PL: I’ve noticed that a lot of your YouTube covers feature mash-ups of popular songs by other artists (for example, this one featuring songs by Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran, or this one featuring songs by Vance Joy, Bon Iver, and The Lumineers). What sparked your interest in this type of cover? How do you think mash-ups should be interpreted in relation to the original songs?

LW: I’ve never been very good at memorizing covers, which is an issue when people ask me to play something they all know.  So, I started having fun with learning covers by combining two songs I loved, by two completely different and talented artists.  They were received really well by my friends, so just for kicks, a friend/co-collaborator and I decided to make a video of one of them (Kiss Me//XO) and it happened to take off!  I see mash-ups as their own separate thing, a derivative work even.  I find that they allow me to be creative by arranging the songs together.  But don’t let the fluidity of them fool you: some mash-ups took me hours and days to get them to a point I was happy with.



PL: Three singers and a writer—risen from the dead, if necessary—just walked into the room, and you’re really happy about it. Who are they, and why are they so cool?!

LW: First, ELLA FITZGERALD ALL THE WAY! I may not be a jazz singer, but that woman has inspired me more than any other.  I fell in love with her as a third grader, and the more I learned about her, the more I wanted to be a singer.  Secondly, Ed Sheeran.  The ease and rawness to his voice is something I could listen to for hours, and his writing style is so creative and fun for me to study.  Lastly, Jessie J is such a baller. She knows how to kill it vocally, message wise, and in performance.  In regards to songwriters, If Max Martin were to walk in the room, I’d forget how to speak and function.  His consistency, desire to push boundaries, and the amount of hits he has under his belt is so completely inspiring.



PL: These days, I feel like a solid ongoing debate in the arts community (and, I’d say, the world) gets at whether the development of the worldwide web is in fact aiding emerging artists in creating and distributing their art. I see both sides of the debate in my own personal experience as a poet: there are definitely far more opportunities to share and learn about art (of all kinds), but it also seems more difficult to get recognized and ‘hit it big.’ So, I’m curious… what are your thoughts?

LW: I agree that there are much more opportunities and outlets for emerging artists and, because of that, the pool is so much larger.  However, my goal and focus has never been to “make it big.”  I’m pursuing music because I have a message I want to share, and I’m bringing it to the world with what I love most.  Yes, this industry is extremely hard to break into, and some say nearly impossible, but I feel called to go into music as an artist so I’m just going for it.  There’s no reason to compare and compete when every person’s story is so uniquely beautiful to who they are.



PL: Bam! Preach. I also asked this question last month to Caroline Glaser, but I’m wondering: How do you get inspired? I feel like my best poetic work responds to the emotion in music; I have to wonder if there’s some kind of emotional dialect of language that all artists are able to speak.

LW: I find inspiration almost anywhere: words, songs, conversations, movies, church, and mostly nature. I draw so many of my lyrics from places I’ve been and lived, whether it’s a sunset/sunrise, fire, mountain, ocean, forest, or just a little detail on the street. I love the little things like stopping to appreciate something as insignificant as a small yellow flower in a crack on the concrete.



PL: One last (obligatory) question: what in the world is next for Louisa?

LW: That is a question I would love to know the answer to! My life is full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises! But recently, my friend Blythe Thomas and I just put out a new video (which you can check out below!), and are headed to Hawaii next week! We’re going for a global missions conference where I am lucky enough to be singing.  We are also going to be filming my next music video for a song on my EP, “Put My Foot Down” in Honolulu. I’m completely ecstatic to say the least.


Peter LaBerge is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. His recent poetry is featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, PANK, Ninth Letter, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He recently co-edited Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015), and serves as the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. His debut chapbook, Hook, is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press.

The Beat Converses: Caroline Glaser by Peter LaBerge

            By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief.

We love music. Like, a lot. It inspires us, and we strive to make it with our words. Here, behind the scenes of the journal, we’ve decided it’s about time we start supporting emerging musicians we think are worthy of your ears. First up: Caroline Glaser. 

That name ring a bell? It should. Last year, Caroline turned chairs (literally) and stunned audiences from around the world on the fourth season of The Voice. She made it to the top 16, and she’s been up to some pretty magical stuff ever since. Most exciting of all, Caroline released her second EP on Tuesday—you should probably give it a listen and support her. If you, for some crazy reason, haven’t heard of Caroline, never fear! You can check out her audition below (and, because we’re nice people, we won’t even judge).

 Yeah. No words? Thought so. Thankfully, Caroline & I have some for you.


Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: First of all, thanks so much for chatting with me, and congratulations on the release! I was wondering if you could kick things off by telling us the (abridged) story of how this beautiful EP came to be.

Caroline Glaser, Musician: The pleasure is all mine, thanks so much! I recorded this EP at my friend, Donnie Reis’, Studio (Twelve3South) back in April. He accompanied me on the road for 3 months opening for Straight No Chaser in 2013. He was in the process of building a home studio during the tour, and by the time it had wrapped up I had written/co-written a bunch of songs that I was extremely eager to get recorded and released. It was right after the new year when we started discussing a game plan on how to go about working towards my next EP, so we blocked off the month of April and got to work on Better Days Vol. 2! 


PL: Is there a track that you feel particularly connected to on this EP? Why?

CG: That’s a tough question… I was going through a lot during the writing/recording of this EP, so a lot of the songs are pretty personal. I chose to name the EP after the track "Better Days" because I felt like it was a good summary of the rest of the tracks. Most of the songs have a vulnerable/sad element to them, but also pertain somewhat of a hopeful message. That was the main inspiration behind “Better Days.”


PL: How do you get inspired? It’s funny—I often feel like my best poems originate from listening to the emotion behind music; I have to wonder if there’s a universal artistic impetus, whether there’s some kind of universal dialect of emotion that all artists are able to speak.

CG: I get inspired by a lot of different things. Obviously personal experience is one of them, but I also find books and movies to be incredibly inspiring. Just hearing other stories can sometimes spark a song or lyric idea for me.


PL: Describe the EP using only three words (and as much punctuation as you’d like).

CG: Eclectic, Mellow, and [hopefully] Inspirational. 


PL: Here’s a conceptual one: how do you feel about the relationship between song and poetry? I’ve noticed over the years that some artists (Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, etc.) seem to approach songwriting poetically, while others (not naming names) seem to not.

CG: Ha! I love this. I have a feeling we are on the same page with this one… Every artist writes differently, but I tend to connect with the more poetic lyricists such as Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, etc. Those two are actually some of my personal favorites, and I idolize them a lot as female singer-songwriters. Although some song lyrics aren't as poetic and moving as others, I think all songs are poems in their raw form. Whether it’s a rap song or country song, music is a form of art and poetry. I personally just tend to gravitate more towards the Ingrid/Regina poets of the world.


PL: Of course, I have to ask one question about The Voice. How did participating in the show and working with Adam & Blake affect the way you produce and interpret art?

CG: My participation in season 4 of The Voice has undoubtedly changed my life in the best of ways. Before I auditioned I had always loved playing music, but I was very kept to myself about it. I did little open mic nights once a week at a local coffee shop, but other than that I wasn’t performing out or seriously pursuing it. I never looked at music as a realistic career path for me, but being a part of the show gave me the platform & fan base to full on pursue my art. I honestly couldn’t be more thankful for the show! I’m extremely blessed to have been a part of such an amazing/talented group of artists. 


And with that, go check out Caroline's brilliant release! Do it. Really, though.

Alright -- one for the road. But only because I'm really, really diggin' it.


Peter LaBerge is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. His poetry appears in PANKA-Minor MagazineBest New Poets 2014DIAGRAM, and Weave Magazine, among others. He currently co-edits Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015), and serves as the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. His debut chapbook, Hook, is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press.