Arrowtown-raised, Tui-winning singer-songwriter Holly Arrowsmith has just released her second album A Dawn I Remember. We find out what makes her tick.
1. Who is Holly Arrowsmith? Describe yourself in one sentence.
A lover of songwriting, nature and food, impatient with day-to-day tasks and some people, long-suffering with music career and other people.
2. A Dawn I Remember seems a highly personal album. Has making it been in any way a cathartic experience?
Certainly cathartic. I write to transform and process my experience, and I share my music in the hopes that other people will see their own process in it.
3. What does the name of the album refer to?
'A Dawn I Remember' is a line from a poem by Rumi. I bought a book of his works from a little bookstore in Flagstaff Arizona. I always name my albums after everything else is done, and I knew the name would jump out at me wherever I found it. I was reading this poem and it made me cry. That line encompasses the themes in this record of leaving a true 'home' and in turn leaving a time and self that can't be returned to. Like the vague memory of a beautiful dawn, a fleeting but impactful moment.
4. Tell us a little about the success of your Kickstarter campaign to fund the album.
Crowdfunding is such a great way to make music as an independent artist. Albums are very expensive things to pull off, and if there are people who want to listen to your music already, this is a chance for them to pay in advance for a new album, and be part of its creation. I have connected with amazing people all over the world through the crowdfunding process. It makes you realise that as a creative you don't have to shut yourself in a cave until you've made something perfect- You can ask for support.
5. What is your favourite song to perform live and why?
At the moment I've been enjoying 'Farewell.' It holds a lot of meaning to me and has a little bit of darkness. I get that transported feeling when I play it.
6. What does success as a musician mean to you?
This is something I think about a lot. It can be tough after quite a few years of hard work to not see many typical markers of success. I've been learning to look at it holistically. Am I enjoying this? Am I doing what I feel passionate about? Am I giving something to others? And there's paying the bills I suppose...!
7. What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?
Expect five to 10 years of hard work with little return - but if you have passion and people supporting you don't let that stop you. Don't do it for accolades or money, you might not get them! Do it because it's what you love the most. Connect with other people who have gone before you - the songwriting community in NZ is really supportive. And lastly, as hard as it can be - don't let your worth rest in your performance, you'll have great shows and bad shows but knowing you are more than that when you get home at the end of the night is essential.
8. Who or what excites you most about the New Zealand music scene?
There is so much great music coming out of NZ, the world is starting to take notice! I think being a songwriter from NZ is now an advantage.
9. You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?
Right now, Dark Bird Is Home by The Tallest Man On Earth
10. You're curating a music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?
Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, The Beatles, The War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Elvis, The Tallest Man On Earth, Nick Drake, Bedouine, Taking Heads, Sufjan Stevens, Snarky Puppy, Alabama Shakes, Feist....I could go on :)
• Holly Arrowsmith's album release show for A Dawn I Remember is tomorrow night, Saturday June 23, at Sherwood Queenstown as part of the Winter Festival.