How has music inspired you? / Your musical inspirations

I was first inspired when I was six and heard a woman
play a flute solo for our church. I was so moved I went
home and wrote my first song “Twilight”. As a child, I
remember sitting at the foot of our huge speakers
entranced by a Judy Collins album that was filled with
whale sounds. Over the years, Indigo Girls, David
Wilcox, Keith Jarrett, George Winston, and Sting have
been my key inspirations. Right now I am listening to
Coldplay, Beth Orton, and of course regular doses of
Norah Jones (can’t wait for her next album). Songs
have always filled me with emotions that I try to recreate
in my own way.

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

Sometimes it seems like my life is a movie and music
carries me from scene to scene, either writing or
listening, it is always moving to me.

Once, when I was going through a mess in my life, I
remember driving with all my windows down, blasting
the Indigo Girls and singing at the top of my lungs with
tears streaming down my face. They had such a
wonderful, clear way of communicating what I was
feeling and going through. Relating to songs has
always been a reminder that I am not alone.

Any songs or CD’s that are meaningful to you?

If I had to narrow it down to the bare necessities -
The first Indigo Girls album“Under the Milky Way” by
The Church (Favorite song ever).

Discuss the creative or songwriting process
For me, composing always begins with the piano. I love
the piano all by itself. I could write poetry just about the
sound that comes from the hammer hitting the strings.
So when I am writing, I begin by listening. The music
creates pictures and I try to describe what I am seeing
or feeling.

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

I believe music comes from the heart of our Creator,
which is why it has such a powerful effect. I have been
changed and revitalized so many times by song that I
depend on it. Music is the common thread throughout
the world. It can cause us to laugh, cry, or just be

Vanessa Renée was born and raised in South Carolina. Stemming from an extremely musical family, she was regularly exposed to a broad variety of musical influence. With her mother a piano instructor, Vanessa became an early virtuoso on the keyboards. She began entertaining at a very young age and had written her first piece of music at age six which she used to win a school talent competition. She continued to study with some of South Carolina's premiere pianists and by age fifteen was performing and writing her own material. Since then, Vanessa has recorded her debut album, (Stones). She continues to perform throughout the Southeast including shows at notable venues such as The Handlebar and Whitman's Backroom. Her songs have been used in student movie and theater productions at Regent University. Her significant performances consist of shows with Little River Band, Maura O'Connell and Susan Werner. Her style has generated comparisons to musicians such as Loreena McKennitt, Norah Jones, and George Winston. She currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where she is working on a second album.


* How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations?--

- I began being inspired by music at a very young age. My father and mother
are both musicians and my father played in a Gospel saxaphone group called the
Royal Heirs for most of my childhood. My father loved to listen to Elvis and
Gospel Choirs and my mother always had the radio on so I heard alot of classic
songs growing up too. When I was dedicated as a baby (similar to a baby
baptisim) the preacher said I would be a singer. After my parents told me that
I always had this nagging little voice in my head reminding me, but I was very
very shy and I really could not imagine myself as a singer. When I was 19
though I knew I had to give it at least one shot, so I recorded a little demo
with one of my Dad's bandmates who had a studio in his basement. I heard my
voice for the first time recorded and I knew the course of my life was about to
change. About a year after that I joined The Rose Chronicles and the rest is
history, so to speak.

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

 Music has most definitely helped me through difficult and traumatic
times in my life. I most definitely found writing songs and lyrics to be very
cathartic and help me deal with stuff that seemd too painful to face in my day
to day life. I think music has saved me many times.

 * Any songs or CD’s that are meaningful to you?

- Some meaningful cd's for me are Jeff Buckley - Grace, Cocteau Twins -
Heaven or Las Vegas, Sarah McLachlan - Touch, Sinead O'Connor - I do not
want...., Swervedriver - Mezcal Head, Nirvana - Nevermind, Anne Murray -
Snowbird, Aretha Franklin and Sade - Lover's Rock. All of these cd's and
certain songs have different meanings for me. Songs can be like time capsules
where you can hold your memories, painful or happy. I think it is the same for
most people.

 * Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

- The songwriting process is always different for me. When I was in Rose
Chronicles I used to write a lot of poetry and lyrics and just try and fit them
in to the music that we wrote as a band. When I started writing songs on my
own on the guitar I started coming up with the music and melody first and then
finding words to fit. Lately I have been writing on piano and keyboard and
recording stuff onto my pro tools system that I have. It really depends on
what instrument I am using for me. I don't really have any particular method
and I like it that way.

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

- There are so many things that music can do for people's emotions. Music
can bring comfort to someone with a broken heart if they hear a song about what
they are going through because they feel that they are not alone. When a
listener hears a song and can feel a familiarity they feel connected to not
only the artist who wrote it, but millions of people who are listening around
the globe. Music brings cultures, races, classes of people together.

I am always so emotional when someone tells me that a song I wrote helped
them through something really hard, because I too have used other people's
music to comfort me. There is just so much to say about the powerful and life
changing effects that music can have on a person, ....I think it would be
better if I just wrote a songs about it...I'm sure alot of people would be able
to relate.

Other Projects:

Kristy Thirsk
Souvenir - released for sale on tour - selling 30+ per night in major cities
Souvenir - #1 selling artist for Maple Music Online

Beneath The Surface - released June 11, 2002 on RCA/BMG

Delerium (Nettwerk Records)- Performed and co-wrote on the following albums
Chimera - Just released
"Returning" - Kristy co-write on CD

Karma - Juno Award Winner - Best Electronic Dance Album
"Heaven's Earth" - Kristy's single #2 in Ireland - #4 in Australia
Sales at over 1,000,000 Worldwide

Semantic Spaces
Sales at 200,000 Worldwide

Rose Chronicles (Nettwerk Records) - founding member and co-writer on the following:
Shiver - Juno Award Winner - Best Alternative Album
#1 import and #22 on CMJ Radio top 150

Happily Ever After

Dead and Gone To Heaven
EP - reached #1 slot on CMJ Import Album Chart

October 15th 2003
- Souvenir for sale at #1 in top 10
September 2003 - Debut - Souvenir- for sale on tour - commercial release date TBA
September 2003 - Delerium's 1st International Tour- Featuring Kristy
June 2003 - Delerium's Chimera released - "Returning" - Kristy co-write
March 2002 - co-host on MTV Select Television in Canada
December 2001 - "Run Away" featured in Mysterious Ways Episode
March 2001 - "Over It" - produced and co-written by Eric Rosse - featured exclusively on HITS subscription only website
January 2001 - CBC broadcast with Exclusive premier of "Run Away"; co-written and produced by Eric Rosse (Tori Amos)
October 2000 - "Enchanted"(Delerium) - featured in "Get Carter" starring Sylvestor Stallone
August/September 2000 - "Heaven's Earth"(Delerium/Karma)- featured in Warner Brothers Movie trailer for "Bait"
April 2000 - Kristy on cover of national music magazine Songwriter's Monthly (USA)
March 2000 - Delerium/Karma Juno for best dance/electronic album
March 2000 - Nominated for Best Female Vocalist - Georgia Straight Reader's Choice Awards
February 2000 - CBC Radiosonic national broadcast - over 320,000 listeners
1999 - CBC radiosonic program - Kristy voted 2nd best female vocalist ever
October 1999 - Nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year - West Coast Music Awards
May 1999 - Voted Best Female Vocalist - Georgia Straight Reader's Choice Awards
- Genie nomination for the song "Bounds of Love" from the movie "Kissed"
- Rose Chronicles song "Dwelling" featured on "Foxfire" soundtrack
- Rose Chronicles and Delerium songs featured in television series - "La Femme Nikita" and "The Sentinel"
1995 - Juno Award - Best Alternative Album/Rose Chronicles/Shiver
Upcoming CD-Souvenir/release date-March 9, 2004


How has music inspired you? Who are your musical inspirations?

Music is a vehicle we ride together to transcend this world.

I began to be aware of that at fifteen the first time I heard Ann Wilson
singing “Mistral Wind”. The raw emotional power and pristine beauty shook
me awake on some level, and set me on a path to find and make music filled
with that kind of passion.

I continue to seek out artists that have that level of emotion in their
music. Sheila Chandra, Robert Plant, Grace Slick, and Nusrat Fateh Ali
Khan are some of my favorite vocalists. Songwriters that I think are
amazing include Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, and Paul Simon.

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

Much of my songwriting has been inspired vicariously through the lives of
others around me. It’s difficult to distill life lessons when you’re in
the muck up to your knees yourself. I usually have to wait until I come
out on the other side of a difficult time in order to capture what’s
really happened in a song. I recently wrote a song called “Upper
Northwest”, which is a very personal story about a D.C. cab ride that
crystallized my struggle at the time about not living up to my own ideals.
I’m not sure writing the song was therapeutic per se—-I still get very
emotional while singing it—-but, it definitely solidified the issue and
opened a door for further exploration.

I just finished writing a song called “October” that deals with breached
trust and how we choose to either move on or rearrange our expectations
when it happens to us. It really surprised me because the song had started
out as kind of an aloof commentary on compromise. Some kicking and
screaming must have risen to the surface during the creative process,
because the completed song is more of a raging anthem about protecting the
fire inside.

Any songs or CD’s which are meaningful to you?

Serpent’s Egg - Dead Can Dance
Oyster – Heather Nova
Roots and Wings – Sheila Chandra
The Prayer Cycle – Various Artists including amazing performances by
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Alanis Morissette

Discuss the creative or songwriting process

The songwriting process is not something I really plan. Some days I just
know to pick up a pen and sit down at the piano and play what I feel.
Usually I write late at night with candlelight flickering all around the
room. I get into a quiet space, playing music until a melody comes to the
surface. Once the lyrics start unfolding, things begin to come together
pretty quickly. Sometimes the words come first. I go through prolific
lyric writing phases, so there’s always something waiting to become part
of a song. When the time is right, it’s like an invitation you can’t
refuse--and if you don’t capture the music when you are called, it will
blow away on the wind.

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

Music is my retreat. I think it was Sting who said, “music is its own
reward,” and it’s really true. Getting into that zone where music becomes
transcendent is like entering the corridor of souls. Something is
exchanged there. You leave with a piece of me inside. I leave with a piece
of you.
Alive in this Dream/Amazon


* How has music inspired you? Your musical inspirations --

Since I was very little, my dad, has always had a great appreciation for all sorts of music. I would always get lost in the music. I would sit and stare at his record albums, at all the pictures and try to sing to them. Then, when I was a little older, I knew I wanted to do something musical, and tried many instruments, but never did it occur to me that I could actually pull off singing in front of people until I was much older, I never had the guts. I have been inspired by so many kinds of music, because everyone in my family had different musical interests. I was inspired by both men and women vocalists, and by the feel of the styles of music.

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

I think that music has a way of getting you through stressful times, and through hurt and pain. It helps you to express your emotions, and like everyone else, I have experienced some great losses of loved ones, and when you think you aren't going to make it, you too might die, you can kind of get pulled through with the help of special music that is meaningful and close to your heart. It's very therapeutic.

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

Whenever I try to think of any particular song or type of music that I really like, there is always something else that I can remember that was incredibly special to me. That's what's so great about recorded music, you can put on some music that you haven't listened to in a long time and it will totally bring back some feeling of a time and place and people you were around when you first listened to it. I mean, a for instance is, put on The Smith's 'How Soon is Now' and tell me that doesn't bring some kind of a 'time and place' back to you. That happens your entire life with countless songs.

* Discuss the creative or songwriting process --

Quite often in Purr Machine, I will be given a song to put vocals and lyrics to and I will listen to the music and see what it evokes emotionally for me. Then I try to be what it makes me feel. I will write something, a story, a melody based on this inspiration and build from there. Other times I might have a particular song I want to put out there as it is in my head, and so I do.

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

I think that has been the gist of everything I have said before, that it is a companion that is with you your entire life, there are so many aspects and so much depth and breadth to music, it's really limitless, and so much to listen to and to be inspired by, and to create, that it is part of you always.

Betsy Martin


* How has music inspired you?

Music has always been a huge part of my life. As a kid I used to put my head between the stereo  speakers and try to block out everything around me- lose myself in the story or character of a song. The solace I  found in listening to music developed into writing and playing music when I was 12 or so. We had a piano in the house and I got my first guitar about that time. I was also  very interested in writing poetry. It all worked together for me during that weird pubescent time. I felt that it helped me define who I was and that it set me apart from others. I still feel that I don't know entirely who I am if I'm not making music. I have just ended a self-imposed year long break from recording and performing music. It has been a very awkward experience that has left me reeling often  because for the first time in years I didn't have a  performance or studio schedule to plan around and talk about. It's been really good for me though because finally other parts of me and my life have received some much needed time and attention. I start recording again in February at the Pop Machine. I am so excited-it feels like making my first CD again.

*Your musical inspirations? 

My musical inspirations are changing all the time and I go through musical obsessions again and again. About 3  years ago a friend gave me "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" I think I've listened to it 8000 times. I know most people study Dylan early in their musical endeavors but I was always looking for more esoteric or experimental groups like Psychic TV or Sheila Chandra when was younger. Anyway-  I am  totally obsessed  with just voice and acoustic guitar music - it is like a tonic to my previous work and electronic production obsessions. It is also so incredible to hear an artist in that medium-completely bare. There are so many songs I wish I could hear in that format-lots of Bowie songs. My musical father figure for the last few years has been Johnny Cash and I have been in deep musical mourning. Otis Gibbs is my very favorite new singer/songwriter-he's new to me anyway. I saw him in a club doing his thing with all his raw Midwestern flava- I was hooked.

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

Music has helped me through every time in my life! As lame as it sounds - it has been that friend that is always around, always interesting, inspiring, challenging or just comforting.

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

The CD that affected me the most emotionally - that I connected to and lived vicariously in when it came out was Sinead O'Conner's "The Lion and the Cobra"  The lyrical imagery was so vidid - it was passionate and the stories were so haunting. It is probably my favorite CD of all time.

* Discuss the creative or  songwriting process--

Starts with.......sometimes an idea or guitar chords. I start more with music than lyrics these days. Sometimes I'll come up with a melody while I'm walking somewhere- come up with words- get home and figure out the guitar chords. It changes.

* Discuss your feelings about the powerful or life-changing effects that music can have on a person --
I guess in general, I think of it as a gift. There is always more to discover, whenever I hear a completely original vocalist/lyricist-  I feel lucky to have found them. Music has therapeutic effects I'm sure but I haven't  personally studied this. I like eastern  Indian music to relax and I like silly party pop if that's what I'm getting up to. It is such a compliment when someone tells me that one of my songs helped them through a death or a tough time. I have had that experience with other artist's music so it feels good to return a favor.

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