Sunnyvale-based singer Shanna Gilfix, and her bandmate Richard Adoradio, posted on their Myspace page that ‘music is the remedy for the mundane.’ Working through, acknowledging and processing common emotions in fresh ways has become part of their style and purpose. They hope to create danceable, ‘listenable’ music so people will have fun – and also find strength through realizing they are not alone in whatever they might be going through at the moment. We at Synchronized Chaos discussed music and the creative process with Shanna recently and would like to share her thoughts.
Our words in bold:
Describe some of your musical influences. Does a musician set out to emulate someone else, or does it just happen?
I’ve listened to some musicians for so long that I can’t help but be influenced by them. When I start writing I never think, oh, it should sound like something or another.
I’ve taken all kinds of genres of today – Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, country, rock, beach music…gone all over the board, melded things together looking for listenability. Creating something that people will like and enjoy hearing, [which is more important to me than showing off technical ability or trying to sound ‘out there’ or experimental for the sake of it.]
What distinguishes you from other musicians…what do you feel makes your sound unique?
Richard and I feed off of each other while we are playing and composing, and when we’re performing we want people to feel something. I need to be feeling it also so people in the audience can relax into a song, deal with the emotions and know that it’s okay to feel the way they do.Each song is a chance to acknowledge and release something you’ve been holding on to.
“Questions Never Lie” is my favorite song to perform…it helped me through a time in my life when I wasn’t sure what I should do. The piece took over a year to write. Richard asked me to finish the piece, and for some reason I just couldn’t and it stayed unfinished for months. So he started writing something else and that naturally fed into the song. The lyrics reference a Zen center we visit … where they encourage you to just sit with yourself, take some time to figure things out. And it’s okay if that doesn’t happen for awhile.
Each song explores a different type of emotion, or sometimes just helps people to feel good. We like to leave our listeners with smiles on their faces.
You make many of your hit pieces and new compositions available online. How do you believe the Internet has affected your music?
Well, I’ve actually Googled a lyric from one of our songs to see if anyone else had said it just that way before!
It’s seriously amazing to see the response to music we’ve posted online, I feel totally validated by the Internet. It’s possible for us to reach half a million people there, and to have fans in Cairo, Japan, and Colombia. If we go on a world tour there will be people who remember us from YouTube! And it’s great to see others helped by our music, people who go through bad breakups or other issues who know they are not alone in what they feel.
What advice would you have for an aspiring musician?
Play, go to open mics, surround yourself with incredible artists, don’t be afraid to collaborate. Keep trying new things, have fun. If it’s not fun anymore, it’s not worth it anymore.
Also you have to prove you can handle the business aspect, pull off shows where people come, build up your own fan base. My brother is a business consultant and has advised us along the way, and we get exposure through iTunes and house parties.