How has music inspired you?  Your musical inspirations?
I think music moves us all phsyically and emotionally.When I was a little kid, I had a terrible time getting up in the morning to go to school (even then I preferred to stay up late and sleep in). My mother would put music on and that would always get me out of bed.  She used to play that Carole King song "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart/people gonna treat you better, and you'll find yes you will/that you're beautiful as you feel".  I am sure that sounds really corny, especially if you do not know that song but it really helped me at the time. So music has inspired me to to wake up and to stay awake. 

I was walking down the street the other day by myself listening to the neighborhood.  The birds singing and a truck backing up, and the sound of my footsteps all sounded like music.  I started singing "music in every sound, I don't feel earthbound, I am awestruck and I can't believe, I can't believe my luck."  I hope that sort of shows how I am inspired by music just to enjoy a walk on a grey day, and how a walk on a grey day can inspire my music. 

* Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Many years ago I experienced the break up of a long term relationship (my first relationship) and being laid off from my first good job all in a matter of weeks. I also moved out on my own for the first time and no one knew that I had done this.  I, for some bizarre reason, pretended I still lived with my boyfriend for my first three months alone.  So I did not have any friends or family over to my new place.  I did not have a TV, stereo or radio but I did have a guitar I had borrowed from my dad.  This is when I taught myself to play guitar and wrote my first songs.  That guitar saved my life.
* Any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

So many that I could not begin to list them, but here is a partial list:
The Beatles - Abbey Road
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Brad Mehldau - Largo
Patti Griffin - 1000 kisses
Fiona Apple - When The Pawn
Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk
Joseph Arthur - Come To Where I Am From
PJ Harvey - Is This Desire
Dandy Warhol's - Welcome To The Monkey House
High School Soundtrack:  Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Depeche Mode and a little Madonna thrown in for good measure  

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

I usually start by walking around alone and having ideas pop into my head.  Then I take a line or two (or sometimes the melody and lyrics for a whole song) to the guitar and I figure out the chords and the feel of the song.  Occasionally I have words with no melody, or a melody with no words, and even sometimes a pattern of chords or a picking pattern first.  Usually for me though the lyrics and melody appear together in my head.
* Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person --

I love to see kids start moving and dancing to music almost involuntarily.  I think we all have that instinct.  Music moves us literally and figuratively as I said earlier.  Sometimes we shut down our instincts for one reason or another and it is great to see music break through and open people up.  I love to see people move in a certain way while listening to blues or another kind of head bob while listening to reggae.  You can just see people light up when certain songs come on that mean something to them.  Music can be such a powerful force and it has certainly changed my life completely.  I never felt like I as on the right path or doing the right things in my life until I picked up a guitar.  I finally allowed myself to learn to play with no expectation as to whether I would ever be good at it.  It did not matter.  I was not interested in the results at that time.  I was only interested in the moment, in the process, in the feeling and sound of the strings.  People always assume that if you are walking around singing or whistling
you must be happy.  I think it is true but I think I am happy because I am singing instead of singing because I am happy.
When Adrienne Pierce played at Lilith Fair in 1999 she had only been playing, singing and writing songs for two years. Three years later she released her first CD on her own label, Insectgirl Records. Produced in Vancouver by Sean Ashby (Jack Tripper, Sarah McLachlan) and mixed by Roger Swan (Swollen Members) Small Fires has already produced a plethora of rave reviews and has been nominated for Best Independent Album and Best Modern Rock Record for 2002 by The Georgia Straight and Just Plain Folks respectively. One track, Every Sprinkler was produced and mixed by David Kershaw (Chin, Wild Strawberries)

The video for Arizona which will also be released in the fall was produced and shot in Death Valley by award winning director Bill Morrison (Matthew Good Band). What You're Wishing For was seen on The Chris Issak Show and a video for Small will also be up on Adrienne’s site soon. Small was also featured on the Canadian Independent Boxed Set and Falling Asleep was on the Grrrls with Guitars Compilation as well as a recent episode of the television show Cold Squad. Sylvia was also used recently in the show Just Cause.

Small Fires features the talents of Darren Paris-bass (Bocephus King), Niko Friesen-drums (Motion Soundtrack, Lily Frost) Sean Ashby-guitar Craig Ducommon-keys (Springer DuCommon), Mary Ancheta keys, and Luke Doucet- lap steel. Adrienne Pierce has played at Lilith Fair, Canadian Music Week and NXNE as well as Seattle's ROCKGRRL Festival and will be hitting the road for Canadian dates in the spring.


"Small Fires certainly belongs among the most impressive releases of this year." Hallandsposten (Sweden)

"Small Fires is a collection of melodic smartly produced pop numbers." The Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

"One part Hope Sandoval, 1/3 cup Natalie Merchant with a pinch of rock ... a sweet and smooth singer/songwriter." Exclaim (Toronto - National)

"The perfect introduction to a fascinating new talent ... full of great songs and dynamic performances." North Shore News (Vancouver)

"Small Fires manages to hurdle a variety of labels. It's a remarkably ambitious collection of songs. That is, it pushes at being more than an example of her songwriting. Adrienne actually tries to sweep you up in a short journey. No wonder than that Small Fires is hard to categorize. It's nominated for a Just Plain Folks award in the modern rock genre, which doesn't do her justice. Adrienne is comfortable with the singer-songwriter tag but that doesn't quite describe her either." Tom Harrison, The Province Newspaper


* How has music inspired you?  Your musical inspirations?

To me music is the most transcendant of the arts.  It is ethereal and when it is really good it is profound. As Shakespeare said "Music soothes the savage breast." It speaks to everyone without prejudice.

* Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

It has helped me through all of the tough times, starting with adolescence, which is a time you can feel terribly lonely and alienated.
* Any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

Nick Drake, Pink Moon
Neil Young, After The Goldrush
Jeff Buckley, Grace
The White Stripes
Robert Wyatt, Rock Bottom
Arvo Part, Canticle For Benjamin Britten

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process--

You need to make yourself available to the muse. It's not a hobby, it's a way of life. You make a lot of sacrifices - money, security - for the freedom to


* How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations?

music inspires me in all sort of ways. sometimes when i'm feeling uncreative, and i listen to a certain cd that i love, or see someone live, and see the passion they share with their music, it brings back the inspiration for me. the feeling that listening to different types of music invokes, makes you want to express your own feelings in that way.

* Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

definitely! being able to write my own music has been the best (and cheapest) therapy ever. it has helped me deal with breakups, death and just life confusion in general.

* Any CD's or songs which are meaningful to you?

i think that "fumbling toward ecstacy" by sarah mclachlan is always one i fall back onto when i am down. several songs on that cd touch me deeply.

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

for me personally, it's not something i can force. i can't say "today i am going to sit down and write a song". they come to me when they are ready. when the mood strikes, it has to happen all at once, the music and the words come together. if they don't then the process is never completed. i find that if i can't get my emotions down in that very instance, i can't come back to it later. the feeling is lost and so is the song.

* Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person --

i think it would go back to the fact of how music can help us through difficult or traumatic times. knowing that you are not alone and can identify with someone else who has been able to put their thoughts down on paper and through music, makes you feel like in the end it will be ok. sometimes one phrase can grab you and stay in your head and become an anthem for how you pull yourself through things, or decide to live your life.
 With guitar in hand, Nicki Sutherland brings to the stage a fresh attitude and sound. Combining elements of folk, pop, and rock, her songs are pensive, direct and oblique, often about relationships, but not strictly romantic in nature.

Born and raised in South Africa (where her family still resides), Nicki came to America in 1993 on a tennis scholarship. She attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah for two years. Eager for a change, she transferred to Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia, where she completed her Computer Science degree.

Nicki was originally trained in classical piano. She began using her musical background to teach herself to play the guitar and together with that, she started writing songs. Exposed to the emotion of those first few songs, friends of Nicki's convinced her to perform at a local pub's open mic night. That performance opened the door for her to start playing on a regular basis at area bars, coffee shops and music festivals.

In little over a year Nicki was nominated for 'Best Female Vocalist' in a 1998 reader pole in Columbus's local arts and leisure newspaper, Playgrounds. She went into the studio in 1997 to record a two song tape which increasingly sold with each performance. April of the following year she was invited to play on the Folk Life Stage at Riverfest in Columbus, joining other regional and national known artists.

Early in 1999, she released her first full length CD, 'Precious Things', recorded with bassist Ray Blair and percussionist Dave Holland. With the addition of Blair and Holland, Nicki was able to add a new dimension to her sound. This venture proved to be so successful that Nicki asked Blair and Holland to perform with her on a regular basis. Now touring the southeast to promote her CD, she performs both with a band and individually.


How has music inspired you?

I was born into a very musical family. My mother is a singer, my father plays guitar, and both of my brothers play drums. All of my mother's brothers and sisters - all seven of them - sing and/or play an instrument. They're a regular Von Trapp phenomenon.

My mother and I spent many summers in Italy, visiting her family. After dinner, they would all gather around to sing folk songs, in perfect harmony, accompanied by acoustic guitar and accordion. Every night was a lively celebration. Of course, a fine Italian meal with a little home-distilled wine didn't hurt matters any.

So, needless to say, music is in my blood. I'm very grateful to have grown up surrounded by music. Those experiences fueled my passion and inspired me to nurture and develop my talent. And, ultimately, it is my affinity for music that turned a vocation into a career.

Has music helped you through a difficult or traumatic time in your life?

Absolutely. In fact, music continues to offer comfort and guidance through every difficult experience.

The most traumatic experience of my life was losing my father to Leukemia, when I was 19. I somehow managed to sing at his funeral. I remember it vividly. It was "Wind Beneath My Wings." I knew it was a song he loved, and I meant every word of it.

Singing that song helped me express what he meant to me, and how much I would miss him. And, it gave me the opportunity to speak to him through music.

Any artists who are meaningful to you?

There are countless musical artists who move me. Some of my favorites include Ani DiFranco, Coldplay, Five for Fighting, John Mayer, Live, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, and Train.

What is your creative or songwriting process?

My songwriting process has changed over the years. I used to wait patiently for inspiration. Then, I discovered that prolific, professional, songwriters don't have the luxury of arbitrary inspiration.

Songcraft is an art form, which requires not only creativity and talent, but also tremendous discipline and focus. Once I began to make songwriting part of my routine, devoting time every day (at the same time each day) to writing, I noticed that ideas would bubble to the surface when the time came to write. I had trained my mind to store ideas unconsciously, until it was time to use them.

Also, I began bringing a tape recorder or notebook everywhere I went. When I overheard a snippet of conversation, read a news story, observed an interesting character, or any one of a number of potentially inspiring ideas, I would record it or write it down. Now, I can write whenever I want and/or need to, instead of when inspiration chooses to strike.

I've also discovered the joy of collaboration. Though I often write alone, I write more frequently with collaborators. It makes the process more fun, and let's face it, sometimes two heads are better than one. You have someone to offer immediate feedback, help fill-in the blanks, and, they can offer you the one thing you'll never have alone: a different perspective.

With regard to the songs themselves, every song is written with a slightly different process. Sometimes, it begins with a title. Other times, it begins with a chorus melody or an interesting chord voicing or progression. I never know where it will begin, but once it does, it's an endorphin rush. And, it's an addiction I never want to kick.


Natalia Bortolotti is an acclaimed singer-songwriter, who has garnered awards from such industry giants as VH1, Billboard, John Lennon Song Contest, USA Song Contest and the Lilith Fair Talent Search.

Touring for over a decade, she has shared the stage with Barenaked Ladies, Matchbox Twenty, Sheryl Crow, Third Eye Blind and Train.

Her songs have been featured in a number of prime-time television shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Boston Public, Charmed, Dawson's Creek, Joan of Arcadia, One Tree Hill, Party of Five, and Smallville.

"Be Your Own Hero," written by Natalia and co-writer Scotty Smith, was recently licensed for the soundtrack of an upcoming major motion picture from Pixar. The movie is slated for release in June 2005.

Got music? Award-winning music at

Got voice? Woman of many voices at

Got art? Fresh and innovative fine art at


My musical inspiration began as a way of life. My mother was a classical pianist who practiced rigorously every day. One of my earliest memories is being a baby lying underneath her grand piano as she practiced. At that time she also taught many piano students, and when I was about 7 years old I finally asked to be one of her students. Although she never forced me to choose to play the piano, once I made the choice, I began an intense discipline of daily practice. The basis of this teaching not only gave me skill in music, but provided the example for all areas of my life which I continue to use. My mother was my greatest inspiration in music, so this leads to the next topic of how music helped me through a traumatic time in my life, her passing.

At 18 years old, I had already traded in the piano for singing and playing the guitar, an avenue which I felt I had more of my own creative outlet. Although my mother always claimed she wanted me to be a doctor, I think she was secretly pleased that I continued her lineage of music, however untraditional I was. At the time of her passing I had been hired to create my first professional recording for Music for Little People, "Lullaby Favorites." As timing would have it, I was scheduled to go directly from her funeral to begin recording. This seemed like a difficult prospect at the time, but singing lullabies as from a mother to a child for 4 days straight really helped me through the process of letting her go. After that time I wrote most of the songs from my record "Shores of Avalon", and dedicated the record to her.

I have always been attracted devotional music of all kinds. The CD's that are most meaningful to me are the ones that capture the spirit that we all search for, and deliver you there. Among my long-time favorites are "Whirling", by Omar Faruk Tekbilek, "Beggars and Saints" by Jai Uttal, anything by Loreena Mckennitt, and an endless list of artists dedicated to bringing heaven to earth through sound.

As far as my own creative process goes, this has changed throughout the years. Generally speaking, a situation will inspire a particular feeling in me, strong enough for me to want to capture it into words and sound. At times this has been sadness and the transformation of sadness, hope, awe, delight, reverance and a milliion other states that all stem from the same place in my heart. My words have always been inspired from the desire to pass on any knowledge that I have learned- or more commonly that I am learning myself! These days I find myself more interested in being silent and not having so many obvious problem for a songwriter. Fortunately, there are countless words and names created to honor the divine that have been passed on for thousands of years with no formal author or destination. This is my current new love as will be evident in the newest album I am recording which is mainly in Sanskrit. As for another album in english, tha is also on the way!

Born on February 16, 1978 and raised outside of Denver, Colorado, Tina began her musical training at a very young age as a classical pianist. Taught by her mother, a concert pianist and opera singer from Korea, she rigorously studied piano until the age of 12. At that time, her passion for music moved from piano to voice. At age 15, Tina began learning the guitar, and at 16, she graduated from high school and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder as a Voice Performance Major. After one year, driven by a strong inner quest, she moved to Hawaii where she began exploring and writing her own music.

In 1996, Tina worked as a recording artist and co-producer for Music for Little People and Earthbeat! Records in Redway, CA, where she performed on such albums as Circle of Women, All Spirits Sing w/ Joanne Shenendoah,
Lullaby Favorites, and many others. In 1997 she attended The Recording Workshop, a sound engineering school, in order to learn the technical aspects of studio recording.

In 1998, Tina moved to the San Francisco bay area and started working on her solo recording, Shores of Avalon. During that time she also began working as a studio vocalist, a sound engineer, and performing in various groups as a back-up singer. She performs and records with such artists as Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Ty Burhoe (Curandero), Bill Douglas (Hearts of Space), Steve Gorn, Lost at Last, Danny Heines and others.
Inspired by many musical and spiritual traditions from around the world, Tina's writing style is contemplative, devotional, and joyous in nature.

Tina Malia website

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