Interview - Tori Boltwood

Tori Boltwood is an American singer/songwriter from Texas, USA. Let's have a chat about her music.

Hi Tori and welcome to this interview. Tell us about your latest release Con Artist.
Con Artist is very much an art piece. Its message is more complex and layered then some of our other songs. Many people ask me “who is the terrible thief that stole your heart” when they listen to Con Artist. The truth is this song wasn’t really written about one single person or, how their actions hurt me. It was more of me taking fragments of many different experiences and turning them into different pieces of this puzzle. The heart of the song was my delight and love of stories about people rising up against those that try to manipulate and prey upon them. When someone rises above those that wish to look down upon them as weak and less then. I never gave anyone the power to steal my heart. To me what's worse than someone trying to take your love is when someone tries to play you... thinking you are too naive to see the deception in their eyes. To think I will be blind to the blaring signs that they are trying to intentionally wrong me. When someone thinks that they are so mighty and important that I would value them over the truth and over my own well-being. That they think I would let them steal from me simply because they have the delusion I need their love to feel valued. Con Artist is about me crafting a world through song where I have the ability to make my character do what I have dreamed of doing in many cases while being underestimated and manipulated. To use their own ego and underestimation of me to beat them at their own game. To see the delicious shift in their eyes as you transform from a victim of their charms to the one who did the con far better than they ever could. Those moments where you just wish to show them how they never had a chance to take your power away from you. To laugh in the faces of those that could never see your strength. To show that while they may be a piece of work, that you have always been a work of art .. a masterpiece if you will.
A Masterpiece they never even stood a chance to steal. That their twisted gallery they once use to fake a sense of self worth would lay empty at the hands of a someone they should have never thought less of, underestimated.

- How would you describe your sound?

My sound has always been different then what people expect.
Most of my youth was spent feeling like it was a negative to be true to that difference. With time I grew to understand that being perceived as such was simply a result of having an orginal sound. We are all meant to be originals, and we are intended to relish in that and not hide from the things that make up who we are.
For many years I have dealt with people having opinions on my sound and I have just gotten to the point where I don’t desire to be anything but whats feels right to me.
My sound to me is soulful and passionate.
And even though it took me many years to get here I am proud to finally be in a place of acceptance and gratitude for my different voice.

- What do you write about?
I have only been writing music for about 3 years now. Before that my love of writing was focused on poems and fictional short stories. Hence when I opened my mind and paired my enjoyment of the written word to my love of music and singing I found that poem writing and lyric writing were not very different at all. Many times my lyrics come from free form writing where I just let my mind wander through the process I wrote poems in. I usually then choose lines from that free form and then construct around them. With every song, I try to choose a plot or message that is important to me. Where before I loved fictional stories I now pour my heart in crafting lyrics that empower important messages and truths. Authenticity is the fuel for my creative process. If you look at any of my songs they all have messages and beliefs that they are expressing in their lyrics. I strive for my music to be something that anyone can listen and connect to in some way. Truthfully the best thing I can say to anyone looking to write music is to do so with no rules in mind. Good lyrics can come from anything.
I personally believe the future of music is shaped by those that blend and experiment with their creations. Artists of the past had the courage to forge what we now consider the pillars of music, if they simply stayed in the comfort zone of what had been created before … music would be a mere shell of what it is today. Music writing should never become restrictive to artists. Creativity is personal and unlimited and should be respected as such. My writing like life changes with every passing day.

- What do you listen to when you are home?
I love almost any type of music.
show tunes because of my history of doing musical theater in High School and studying it in college. Elvis Presley because he was introduced to me by my parents who listened to artists like Queen etc. Even modern day hits because I enjoy it and also think it is important to keep an ear on the new heartbeat of music. My pallet for music is vast.
But I do tend to be drawn recently to artists with different sounds and who have a more acoustic pop sound. having Swedish and Irish blood I also tend to enjoy Celtic music and other forms of music that come from or are inspired by that music era.

- Your favourite live performance so far?
Since I started making indie music in 2020 I haven’t had the ability to perform my original music live.
My favorite live performances would fall under any Jazz band performance I did in college. Performing with a live jazz band will always hold a special place in my heart.

- Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage

everytime I record vocals I tend to give my vocal cords little pep talks between takes. It helps stop myself from getting to absorbed into the technical part of singing and be able to loosen up enough to grasp the emotional concepts I’m trying to portray. Basically it helps me not take myself so seriously when I’m singing so that I don’t neglect the feelings I want to be in my voice. my mind tends to hyper focused on vocal technique. By being silly and joking around a bit I find myself being less nervous and tense.

- Your favourite albums? 
Anything Elvis related is my favorite but I really like his Second Album which is titled simply “Elvis” I believe. I prefer his earlier work because I find that his spirit and heart were more vivid in the songs he made in the beginning stages of his time as a performer.

- A musician you would like to meet for a beer?
I am not a huge fan of Beer or in many cases much of anything ethanol related.
But since Elvis Presley is one of my favorite singers I would like to go back in time and meet him in his youth . Artists that are still alive speaking I would very much enjoy to meet Adele or Cher because they are both strong female artists who have voices that helped give me strength and confidence in my own sound. Lots of people have said in my musical theater and jazz performances that I sound like a young Cher so maybe meeting her would be interesting for that reason.

- What would you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth?
I believe performers who make unrealistic request for “ backstage" are rather ridiculous. My go to concept is if you wouldn’t enjoy doing it don’t make someone else do it to prove you are important. If you like the purple skittles pick them out yourself like you would normally do. people who are working to help you feel comfortable backstage and the crew of any performer etc are people that deserve respect especially from said performer or band. All I ask is that the backstage is clean, there be cold water bottles and if possible some healthy snacks. Being the “most important Band On Earth “ doesn’t change the fact you are also just human beings like everyone else. When you need elaborate requests to feel valued I think it’s more ego than actual desire.

- What are your plans for the next future?
Continuing to write music and to better myself as an artist are always my main goals. In 2022 I want to start doing live performances and collaborating with other artists on future songs etc. I also desire to start planning for bigger projects and maybe start thinking about my first album. The big reach goal I have is to be able to be a performer at the Elvis Presley Concert they put on to honor him as an artist.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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