Hoping to empower others through her music as well as herself, Yvonne McDonnell is a folk talent on the rise that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to interview.
Find out what she had to say about career, struggles and more below:
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
I would describe it as alternative/dark folk.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
The biggest struggle of being an independent musician is having to manage everything yourself, from the website, events, gigs, recording, CDs etc. There is all this admin you could never even think to expect and it never ends! This is why, in order to pursue music, it has to be your number one priority/passion as it really becomes your whole life. If you love it enough you learn to love that side of things. It actually starts to become very rewarding once you start seeing people respond positively.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
I think it depends on the goals you set for yourself and what you want to achieve. When I was younger I focused a lot more on getting to where I thought I should be as a musician - on the top radios, magazines etc. I following certain trends whilst simultaneously trying to remain distinctive. It gets tiring and, even if you start progressing, I personally found I [was] going places I didn't really want to be and I certainly didn't fit in to. That was difficult for a while, so I changed my focus.
For example, with this EP I started writing about issues relevant to me and my friends, such as feminism and how destructive the shallow portrayal of women in the media can be. I also started blogging about the ups and downs of pursuing music and, instead of trying to look like I was on top of everything, I started being really honest about the struggle of the journey. The response was amazing and wholly positive. It taught me that people really do respect honesty and you can find your audience once you start being true to yourself. I felt a lot more relatable, which is a way more fun, and since I changed my attitude it's become so much easier.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
It's the most important thing to me. I wouldn't release anything I didn't have creative control over under my name.
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
It comes at complete random. For a time it was solely relationships, love, heartbreak, as that was relevant to me at the time of writing. Then it started coming from other places. For example, I was reading a lot of Edgar Allen Poe's poetry, (he is known as the king of horror) and I came up with The Savages, which is the darkest and most eerie track I have written. I wasn't expecting that at all, It just came from the inspiration I was surrounding myself with. But anything that pulls at my heartstrings has always got my creative juices flowing.
For example when I studied war poetry in school we had to create a poem of our own. I remember being so emotionally involved in the project, as the subject of war hit me so hard, that the words just poured out of me and I felt a great sense of relief. It's been the same process ever since really. I suppose writing is just how I deal with strong emotions.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
I would choose Win Butler from my favourite band Arcade Fire. There is something about his voice that grabbed me since the first time I heard it and it hasn't let go since! I adore Arcade Fire's music; it's so atmospheric and captivatingly beautiful.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I once did a gig with Russell Brand on top of a fire engine next to the Thames.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
My goal for the time being is to improve, learn and develop my sound. I'm happy with my two EPs but I think it's time to explore new heights. I'm just going to dedicate time to that and see where it takes me.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
I hope to be creating better music and playing bigger gigs. I feel I have reached the goals I set for myself this year already, so it would be nice to be able to say the same next year!
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
I'm releasing my EP 'Not Her Own' and I'm having a launch party for it on June 17. I'll also be blogging more. I have some new exciting collaboration projects, which I'll be posting about in the coming weeks.