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Interview with Totten Bridge
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I kept hearing music in my head that I didn’t recognize until I finally realized that I was creating these songs so I had to figure out how to get them out of my head and into something tangible so I taught myself how to play guitar to do that. And of course, the idea of reaching people through your songs like all of the great rock stars was addictive.
I actually wanted to be an English Literature professor and impress young minds that I could pontificate about Dickens, Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the rest of the classics…in some ways I guess the classroom was like a stage with a captive audience…kind of similar to how Sting got started!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not writing and producing music, I like to stay fit by exercising but I also love to read…I read everything from fiction to non-fiction; history to spirituality; newspapers to magazines…I also like doing deep dives on YouTube and listening to podcasts…all of which help keep my creativity informed.
How long have you been making music?
I started hearing music in my head when I was about 15 or 16 which is when I wrote my first completed song called tritely enough “I Love You (1-4-3)”.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I am a New Yorker born and bred. The city is alive with so many diverse people, cultures, sports, arts and entertainment that it just keeps you inspired and engaged.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I have been fortunate to have seen so many great artists but last summer on a whim I went to see Tears For Fears and I was struck by how amazing all of those great classic songs sounded live as well as how good their new material was…really impressive to see and hear.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The ultimate place to play in the world is definitely Madison Square Garden in NYC but I’ve also always been intrigued by Wembley.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Currently, some of my favorite songs are by artists such as Sam Fender, Inhaler, Don Broco, Dead Poets Society, Fatherson, George O’Hanlon, Bartees Strange and The Dangerous Summer so sharing a bill with any of them would be cool.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music?
Write and produce music that you believe in and like because that is how you create your own identity…the worst thing you could do is try to be what you’re not…and do your best to filter out the noise of negativity.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Stay true to yourself and always keep learning and growing…try to find the people that believe in you and are willing to help you out…yet be wary of people and situations that are too good to be true.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s a tough question to answer because I have some unreleased music that I’d have to consider in order to truly answer this question but of the 5 songs that I released in 2022 I would say that “Life Goes On” stands out presently. I think it sums up my philosophy on how best to enjoy the journey of life in a fun yet meaningful way without being too heavy or preachy.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I find myself playing the songs that are unreleased or that I’m still working on because they tend to keep revealing themselves to me over time. Once I finish a song and record it and put it out I tend to move on from it and I try to enjoy it just as a stranger would.
What is your creative process like, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is driven mostly by the mystery of inspiration. I typically do not sit down to “try” and write a song but sometimes just the way I strum a few chords can be what triggers my inspiration. Usually though, my ideas come at weird times like when I’m walking the streets of NYC or when I’m laying in bed in the early morning and then I have to get those thoughts out of my head and into my iPhone or pick up a guitar and give them so kind of form. I use GarageBand to demo my songs because it is easy and I know that these are just demos for me to sketch out my ideas so I don’t want to get bogged down in technical stuff. And once the creative juices get going I can get into a zone that can last awhile. :)
Ultimately, I’m inspired to write songs because I think I have something to say to people that they can relate to and that will resonate with them on a personal level.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think my music has a realist point of view and I try to convey emotions in a universal way that is relatable to all. The main themes of my songs are basically life and love and how all of the complexities of both define our personal journeys. Some words that come to mind about my songs are empowering, positive, upbeat and heartfelt.
I also think that my lyrics are more like pop/rock haiku because they tend to be sparse and open for interpretation and I try to make each word count. My lyrics are definitely not wordy or descriptive like Dylan or Springsteen or even Sam Fender. To me they are all really good storytellers with strong imagery and prose.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
July 29, 2022 was the official launch of Totten Bridge and by the end of the year I had released 5 songs all of which made some noise and helped grow my audience and confidence.
2023 kicks off on January 27th with the release of a song called “Brave New World”. Although the title of the song was inspired by the famous book, the subject matter doesn’t really have anything to do with the book itself. It is a song about embracing the power of change and the positivity that comes with that change and to be brave whilst doing so. Definitely a personal journey song.
I plan on releasing about 7 more songs throughout the year which will probably turn into an album. All of the tracks for these songs have been recorded and they are all in different stages of mixing and post-production. I want this to be an impactful year for Totten Bridge and I want to plant the flag and establish TB as an exciting new voice in music with something to say.
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