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October 2019

Wingman Wednesday

Natalie Malaika

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Photo By: Rashelle Campbell

In an industry where so much is out of your control, you can easily be let down when things don’t go according to plan. Thankfully for actress Natalie Malaika, who can be seen appearing in the new Netflix thriller “Fractured,” planning has never been a part of her plan, which keeps her future flexible.

I find extreme bliss in doing what I love as a career because it doesn’t feel like work,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “And as time goes by, if that continues to be true, I would absolutely continue on this journey.”

We recently sat down with Malaika to discuss working on a Netflix project, learning on set, and what kind of on-screen badass she wants to play.

TrunkSpace: Your journey in the arts began as a dancer and musician. What made you transition from those first loves into acting, and ultimately, was it a leap that you were hesitant to make because of how difficult it can be to break in?
Malaika: When my interest in the performing arts as a whole first began, my mom enrolled me in all sorts of classes, including acting. She wanted me to find what I loved most, and somewhere along the way dance and music became the forefront of my focus and acting got placed on the back burner. I think that happened for a few different reasons. The precarity of the industry definitely created some hesitation, but more than that, my lack of knowledge on what to look for when navigating through the sea of contacts and representatives. It wasn’t until I attended an arts high school, as a dance major, that I started to dabble in acting again — we were encouraged to explore art forms outside of our major. I now had access to the guidance I needed earlier on to navigate the acting industry. So with that, I found an amazing talent agent by my senior year and began to take acting seriously.

TrunkSpace: When you decided to pursue acting professionally, did you put a plan in place – short or long term? What kind of path were you hoping to pave for yourself and do you feel like you’re on it now?
Malaika: Not right at the onset. I more so started to plan while I was in my final year of university. To be honest, I’m not much of a planner, though I do understand the importance of setting some semblance of a layout in order to establish direction. My path is still a work in progress – I’m still a work in progress – but when I took a leap of faith and moved to Vancouver from Toronto that was the first part of the plan. Now I’m slowly seeing the pieces fall into place.

TrunkSpace: Netflix is the pinnacle of original programming these days. What is it like being a part of a project for a platform that seems to literally be in every home and on every device? Is it exciting beyond the work itself given the size and scope of where “Fractured” will live?
Malaika: It’s so crazy. There are other productions I’ve been in that are also on Netflix and I’ll randomly have people who I haven’t spoken to in years messaging me on Instagram with a screenshot of me! It’s so weird but awesome all at once. I can’t tell you one person I know who doesn’t have Netflix, so the exposure is great for sure.

TrunkSpace: Did you view your time on “Fractured” as just as much of an education as you did a job, because there are some heavy hitters involved in the project both on screen and behind the camera that we would imagine you could absorb a great amount of knowledge from?
Malaika: Totally! Any set that I step on I consider it an educational experience. I’m always striving to be better at my craft everyday; whether I’m reading scripts, attending classes, watching films and television shows with a critical eye, it’s important to me. I learned so much from observing Sam Worthington and his work ethic and his engagement on set. Brad Anderson, the director, was also such a joy to work with, and was a great source of knowledge. His vision and the way he invites you into his vision is wonderful.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Fractured” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Malaika: How important it is that everyone has the same vision in order to successfully execute the mission, which is to create great content. Brad and the producers did exactly that.

TrunkSpace: We started our chat talking about your earliest entertainment industry roots. Is dance and music still a part of your life, and if so, how much creative energy do you put into them these days?
Malaika: I consider myself an actor who also dances and plays piano. A few years ago I would’ve said the opposite. Although dance and music are still very big passions of mine, my focus is primarily on acting right now and working on that craft. So, for now, I’ve placed dance and music on the back burner this time.

TrunkSpace: If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Natalie, here is a blank check, go greenlight whatever you want for yourself to star in.” What kind of project would you put into development?
Malaika: If you know the movie “Colombiana” with Zoe Saldana, it would be that! That was a great movie! I want to play a badass assassin role. Use my dance background and perform my own stunts.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Malaika: That feeling of being a working actor. Does that count? I think every actor can relate to going through a lull in their career, especially in the beginning stages. Since graduating from university, I’ve been able to zero my focus in on acting and developing my craft. As a result I notice a positive response to that. You really do get out what you put in.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Malaika: That’s a tough question! As I mentioned before I’m not really much of a long term planner. What I know right now is that I love acting and the performing arts. I find extreme bliss in doing what I love as a career because it doesn’t feel like work. And as time goes by, if that continues to be true, I would absolutely continue on this journey.

Fractured” is available now on Netflix.

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Opening Act

Billie Gale

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Artist: Billie Gale

Latest Album: Imprint

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Members: Beth Garber, Adam Wayne, Eric Shawn, Justin Wayne

TrunkSpace: You released your debut album, “Imprint,” on September 20. What was it like to see that work – your art – spread its wings and fly off into the universe, where ultimately, you no longer had any control over it?
Garber: Putting the music out was a huge relief. The release of “Imprint” has been a long time coming and we went through many iterations of each song. By the time we finished mixing, we’d spent so much time editing and revamping, we were ready to start in on the next round.

It was harder for me to let go of the visual aspects. I collaborated with my friend Laura Elayne Miller on the artwork, and it took me a long time to feel done, with the art, with the title or with any part of the release that would influence people’s first impressions. The album is sad and serious, and pretty, and I had some insecurity about listeners dismissing the record before they had a chance to sit with it long enough to love it like I do. I like things and people that you have to spend some time with to love, and I wasn’t sure what I would need to do to make sure people would give this record that kind of time. That’s where I fear losing control. I feel inundated with the idea that all people want in this age is to be entertained, and it can seem as though the artists with the most success are those that push out content at an inhuman pace that does just that. So, I guess sending this super personal and sincere, raw collection out in to that world did feel like an exercise in faith. I think my greatest fear wasn’t rejection, but just indifference, getting lost in the noise. But the beauty of making something so authentic and personal is that you take so much joy in the work itself, you can lose sight of those kinds of fears. I’m working on that, getting sustenance from the work and not from the response. And people really do surprise you, and I’m really happy so far that so many people really love the record.

TrunkSpace: The album is so personal to you on so many different levels. At any point in the process did you feel like you were putting too much of yourself – and in the process, too much of yourself out into the world – in giving “Imprint” life?
Garber: Yeah, all my writing is deeply personal. I envy great songwriters who can take on another character, or create characters in their writing. For this album, I played with the idea of never even telling people a lot of the backstory; that so much of it is about the loss of my mom. I didn’t want sympathy to be the motivation for listening to the record. And people don’t often talk about how loss and grief can be so embarrassing. It’s inherently alienating. Everyone who knows you before and after a loss witnesses the readjustment, and it’s easier just not to address it most of the time. So, the nature of the writing being so personal was familiar for me, but talking about the writing was more of a challenge.

TrunkSpace: What could someone learn about you in sitting down to listen to “Imprint” front to back? What does it say about who you are, both as an artist and as a person, in 2019?
Garber: As a person, people might get a sense that I take everything a little too seriously. I do! I feel everything so keenly. It’s why I write. I have to dislodge all of that emotion, or else it kind of rots; gets heavy. It’s not comfortable for me to let feelings go uncharted. So there’s a therapeutic element to the way we write as a band. We’ve gravitated to each other because we all feel deeply, and I think that’s evident on the record.

TrunkSpace: “Imprint” pays tribute to your mother, who the band is also named after. Has this project and the songwriting associated with it helped you throughout the grieving process in ways that you may have not been able to tackle had you not had this creative outlet to fall back on?
Garber: Absolutely. Grief has a way of robbing you of your memory. Memory is shared, and someone like a parent holds memories on your behalf, remembers things about you that you’ll never be able to remember for yourself. Death is a division from that person, and the part of yourself they carry. The day after we had finished recording, it was like I’d woken up from a coma. I felt a surge of reconnection that was really in line with the concept of “Imprint,” the way connection continues in spite of that great death divide. I didn’t really set out to write a record about my grief, it just happened to be what I was thinking about most during the time that we were writing.

TrunkSpace: As the band now goes out into the clubs and supports the album, does it feel like you’re able to pass on your mother’s memory and legacy through these songs, and personally, does that give you comfort or can it be difficult to revisit them in a live setting?
Garber: Yes! The amount of work I have to do in order to book shows and to get people out, get all the gear loaded and make sure everyone is in good spirits, get the sound right, just all the details that go into getting this record in front of people can be so soul crushingly stressful, that once we get up to play I have to draw from something deep to make the performance real, worth all the work. Live music is so powerful because it’s never the same twice, you’re recalling something that you can’t really hold onto, and getting to know it in new ways all the time. So there’s new depth to these songs every time we play them, and I do feel really close to my mom’s memory because of that.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Garber: I love the extremes in this album, the interplay between the sort of beautiful, nurturing melodic elements and the errant, gritty, overpowering qualities. There are a couple songs like “Where Are You Now” that start with a whisper and get so big and gritty and scary, and raw. I feel really lucky that we were able to produce it in exactly the way we wanted, because in the moments of self-doubt, where I questioned a part being too long, or too sad, or too much, I could just look to the band and be like “it feels right, right?” We had nothing to lose in making this record, so we could really trust our gut, and I’m so glad about it.

TrunkSpace: Are you someone who is always creating, or can you turn off that part of your brain and step away from your songwriting self?
Garber: I have a harder time turning off the mathematical, logical part of my brain, so I usually write in two phases. First is a stream of consciousness, reckless, nonsensical time to get everything out. I don’t think in terms of chords, or rules, I search my guitar for what feels right. I have to give myself permission to let everything be sort of a mess. Then I sift through the voice memos and journal pages and edit. I love the refining as much as the expression. And it’s seasonal, I’ll have weeks or even months when I’m just writing, and then months when I’m just sorting through and putting the pieces together.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Garber: Self-promotion is really difficult for me, and so much of being an artist is about commercializing what you do enough to get people in the door. I never wanted to sell anything, it’s not natural for me to sell what I make, but I recognize that it’s part of the deal. That being said, I’m waiting for the day when I can post up in the woods, write some more great records, and forget social media exists.

TrunkSpace: Can you pinpoint the moment where you sort of found your songwriter’s voice and understood what kind of artist you wanted to be?
Garber: Writing this record was that experience for me. I had been primarily a solo artist before starting this band, and over the course of writing the songs for this record and solidifying the band, I had the opportunity to write with a lot of great players and thinkers. I think collaboration, in whatever capacity is the only way to really find your voice. You have to get feedback, and you have people who will tell you to kill your most precious ideas. You don’t do that kind of self-sacrifice on your own. You get stuck in patterns of creating that aren’t even necessarily you, even if you’re used to them. I’ve found myself as a writer through conversation. I think it’s pretty cool that the content of the album is really about this too, the way we imprint on one another in some deep mystical ways.

TrunkSpace: Which would you prefer… writing one album that the world adores, or writer a career’s
worth that a select group of people connect with?
Garber: A long career, no question, there’s no way of knowing what you’re capable of creating otherwise, and over time, hopefully, that select group diversifies as you evolve. Besides, I think the only real safeguard against the delusion of self-grandeur is to continue producing work and putting it out. Success to me is access to the critical eye of artists I admire. I just want to know if what we’re making is good, and, if not, how to make it better. But then, there’s a part of me that knows I’ll keep writing and putting out music whether it’s good or not. I can’t help it.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Garber: Absolutely. I’m so curious what we’ll sound like in 10 years!

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Wingman Wednesday

Geno Segers

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Photo By: The Riker Brothers

Geno Segers is the kind of actor who, when faced with an opportunity, realizes he has a choice to make.

There are three things you can do with it,” he says in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “Walk past, pick it up and drop it, or pick it up and run with it.”

With his new series “Perfect Harmony,” airing Thursdays on NBC, Segers is heeding his own advice and embracing his latest career achievement while learning from talented castmates like Bradley Whitford and Anna Camp.

We recently sat down with Segers to discuss “finding zero,” on-set chemistry, and why training as an actor is different than training as an athlete.

TrunkSpace: We’re just a few weeks removed from the premiere of your new series “Perfect Harmony” on NBC. In an industry where so much is out of your control once you’re away from set, how do you emotionally handle premieres, because if a series hits, it could change everything over night, correct?
Segers: Absolutely, but that being said, change can be good. As long as it’s taken with a grain of salt. I have a southern mother who wouldn’t have a problem walking to LA and putting her sour feet up my backside if she heard my head had gotten too big for my shoulders. As for handling the emotional ups and downs, it’s just part of being in an industry that is ever changing. I call it, “finding zero” – when good things happen, and you’re on a high, find zero. When bad things happen that bring you down, find zero. For me it’s all about balance.

TrunkSpace: With that in mind, what is it about “Perfect Harmony” that you think gives it a chance to not only find an audience, but to retain it week-after-week in a world now dominated by streaming? What is the secret sauce that the show has?
Segers: I feel like “Perfect Harmony” is all about the characters and the fact that you wouldn’t see this group of people together outside of a Church choir. The show is a comedy with a lot of heart. You will laugh really hard, but you will be challenged at times to hold back your tears.

TrunkSpace: Comedy is sometimes difficult to pull off because setting a tone and feel for the series is everything. How soon into the process of shooting “Perfect Harmony” did it feel like that tone came into focus for you so that you fully understood what kind of show it was going to be?
Segers: I agree. But as soon as I saw the chemistry between all the cast members on day one, I felt like the tone would jump off the screen. The fact that these characters really do care for each other will be evident to viewers after the first episode.

TrunkSpace: In the series you play Dwayne. What was it about Dwayne that you first latched onto when you read for him, and as time went on, did you come to love different things about him that perhaps weren’t present in the early days of development?
Segers: I loved the idea of playing a role that doesn’t have to die a brutal death. (Laughter) But really, Dwayne and I have a lot in common and I do enjoy that aspect. What’s more fun is playing against my natural self. He’s a really shy and unsure big guy that has no idea how powerful he really is.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Perfect Harmony” thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Segers: I’ve learned so much about comedy from all the other cast members and I’ll take that with me for sure.

TrunkSpace: You have rich history in sports, including wrestling, football and rugby. Are there correlations between pursuing sports and pursuing acting, particularly when it comes to training and improving your skill sets?
Segers: No. Not even close. Sports is more about the more effort, the better the results. Acting is about working hard to be natural. It means doing less to achieve the best result.

© 2019 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

TrunkSpace: You decided to pursue the entertainment industry after a friend suggested you audition for some voice over work. Do you think you would be in a much different place in your life today had you not taken your friend’s advice and walked into that audition all those years ago?
Segers: Indeed I do. Life would be very different for me. I’d very likely still be living in New Zealand.

TrunkSpace: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in your career thus far that you find yourself applying to your day to day now?
Segers: Around every corner is an opportunity. There are three things you can do with it. Walk past, pick it up and drop it, or pick it up and run with it.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Segers: Being in my first network series on NBC.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Segers: No, because I really like surprises.

Perfect Harmony” airs Thursdays on NBC.

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Opening Act

Driftwood Soldier

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Artist: Driftwood Soldier

Latest Album: Stay Ahead of the Wolf

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Members: Owen Lyman-Schmidt, Bobby Szafranski

TrunkSpace: Your album Stay Ahead of the Wolf is due to drop on October 18. What kind of emotions do you guys juggle with as you gear up to release new material into the world? Is it difficult letting something go that you’ve spent so much time and energy on?
Lyman-Schmidt: Sure, there’s always a little anxiety, but at this point it would be a lot harder to NOT release it. It’s like we’ve been pulling an enormous rubber band back further and further. Letting it go is going to be such a relief!

TrunkSpace: As you prepare to share the entirety of the album with the world, you’ve recently released your latest single, “Marietta.” How do you guys approach what songs you’ll put out prior to an album’s release in order to best represent the album as a whole?
Lyman-Schmidt: We call this music gutterfolk. It lurks around the edges of a whole bunch of more reputable genres and gives the purists headaches. For the singles leading up to the release we tried to pull out a few songs that helped articulate that peculiar space we occupy between country, blues, punk, folk and good old rock ‘n’ roll.

TrunkSpace: What could someone learn about you guys in sitting down to listen to Stay Ahead of the Wolf front to back? What does it say about Driftwood Soldier today in 2019?
Lyman-Schmidt: Look around. Most everyone you see is just trying to get by, or if they’re lucky, crawl ahead a little in a game that’s stacked against them. A game rigged so that the color of your skin, the people you love, or your family’s assets determine which rules you get to play by. This predatory economy is all around us. We’re fighting it, and each other. We’re complicit in our own exploitation, while making huge sacrifices to help others out. This album is about the life that happens in that chaos. It’s about trying to be some kind of human while staying ahead of the wolf.

TrunkSpace: There’s some great storytelling on Stay Ahead of the Wolf. What is your approach to songwriting? Do you write from experience or as an observer of the world?
Lyman-Schmidt: Thank you! Storytelling is definitely the business we’re in. I write a song, lyrics, tune, chords, etc., then Bobby adds bass and we work on the arrangement together. I like to say that my job is to tell the stories and Bobby makes people give a damn.

As far as what stories get told, the only limitation I set is that it has to be true. By that I don’t mean that I personally crashed a Ford in Wyoming and fell in love with a woman named Marietta. What I mean is that I’ve experienced the intense ambivalence of a relationship that didn’t conform to the prefabricated version of love we’re all sold from a young age. I’ve known the dull pain of being unable to adjust my expectations, and losing something beautiful. “Marietta” is a song that uses a different set of circumstances to tell that underlying story, which I know to be true.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Lyman-Schmidt: I’m proud that it exists. We dragged a whole lot of disparate pieces together to make this happen in the very particular way it did. All the different people who were part of the creative process, the producer, guest musicians, recording engineers, mixing engineers, mastering engineer, etc., come from very different musical backgrounds and none of them had ever worked together, or even met each other. We spent nine months demoing the music before we even went into the studio, raised the money, put the whole team of people together, and ended up with the best music we’ve ever recorded, which feels like a well-earned reward.

TrunkSpace: Obviously Driftwood Soldier is a duo. Do you think the democratic approach to songwriting is easier in a unit of two as opposed to a band of five or six, or is it less about the numbers and more about the connections formed, both creative and personal?
Lyman-Schmidt: Well, as described above, our songwriting isn’t democratic exactly. Maybe more like syndicalist. But being a duo is still very much an intentional choice for us. We have our core sound that everything is built around, and a corresponding shared understanding of what music means to us, and beyond that, how we should be living in the world. In my experience, it’s hard to find all those things in one other person, and the odds continue to drop the more people you try to add. So we learned how to play drums with our feet, and we still tour in a cheap hatchback that gets 37 mpg.

That being said, one of the real pleasures of recording Stay Ahead of the Wolf was getting to hear other musicians we admire adding their creative touch to a few of these songs. The talented Katy Otto joined us for a few tracks on a real honest-to-God drum kit. Eric Sherman magically multiplied himself into a whole horn section on a couple of songs. Matt Heckler joined us remotely from whatever tour he was on with a little fiddle and banjo. Jacob Brunner brought his intense musicality to one track on piano. And Caitlin Quigley sang some gorgeous harmonies. Studio time always tempts us to buy a bigger touring vehicle.

TrunkSpace: We discussed your songwriting already, but we wanted to break it down further. We’re big fans of great, memorable lyrical snippets here, so we have to ask, what is your favorite piece of writing off of Stay Ahead of the Wolf and why?
Lyman-Schmidt: There are a lot of words on this album! It’s the first time we’ve included a lyric booklet with the CD. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever written my lyrics down at all, and I’m excited for people to be able to follow along more closely if they want to pick favorites for themselves.

That being said, I think Katy Otto agreed to play drums on the record because of a line from “Put Me Down”:

I’ve always been an easy mark,
for razor-tongued women with good tattoos.
They pick me up after dark,
they put me down whenever they choose.

So I’m grateful for that line bringing us Katy, and for Erin McKeown, who did pre-production on the album, convincing us to add “Put Me Down” in the first place. She rescued it from the cutting room floor and I think it turned out being one of the best tracks on the album.

TrunkSpace: Beyond the songs themselves, what is something about creating music that you enjoy? Is it choosing the album art? Planning a tour? Something else entirely?
Lyman-Schmidt: It is very certainly NOT planning a tour.

We’ve always been a DIY band, which means we do most aspects of this ourselves, down to spray-painting thrift store T-shirts with the stencils I draw to sell at the merch table. So many of the jobs I’ve had to learn and do for this project have nothing to do with why I play music. In fact, many of them are jobs I wouldn’t take a good salary to do professionally if it were offered to me. It’s performing for people that makes it worth it in the end. It’s seeing the music have an impact on another human in ways that I can’t anticipate, that has me out here sleeping on couches, sending logistical emails at 3 AM, and reading up on intellectual property law.

TrunkSpace: Which would you prefer… writing one album that the world adores, or writing a career’s worth that a select group of people connect with?
Lyman-Schmidt: I’d take the career. I’m impressed when I see an artist play live a few times and they manage to stick closely to their ‘greatest hits’ set list. That takes discipline I don’t have, and honestly don’t particularly aspire to. For that reason alone I imagine if I wrote one incredible album I would constantly be disappointing people by playing all sorts of new material I was more excited about. I’d rather have an audience trust me to keep making new art, whatever form that may take.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Lyman-Schmidt: No thank you. We’re all going to be underwater in just a few years. I won’t risk jumping ahead until I’ve grown out my gills.

Stay Ahead of the Wolf is available October 18.

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Musical Mondaze

Samantha Fish

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Photo By: Kaelan Barowsky

Artist: Samantha Fish

Latest Album: Kill Or Be Kind

Label: Rounder Records

TrunkSpace: “Kill Or Be Kind” dropped on September 20. As you gear up to release new music into the world – and ultimately relinquish control over it – how do you prepare? Is it easy to let the universe have the art you have created or can it be difficult to say goodbye to it?
Fish: Once I finish an album and it’s out, it’s not really mine anymore. I honestly welcome it. It’s something you work so hard on, it’s nice to let the world receive it. Once it’s out, I can start being creative, and the process begins again. The live show is a good way to adjust things and expand upon the music. If you ever feel restless about how a song turned out, the stage is the place to work it out.

TrunkSpace: This is your sixth solo album. As you look back, is each one a bit like a chapter of your life, and if so, what does “Kill Or Be Kind” say about your current chapter?
Fish: This album signifies change in my life. Saying goodbye but also new beginnings. I feel that even on some of the more melancholy songs, there is this sense of empowerment and change.

TrunkSpace: No one knows your music better than you do. With that said, where do you hear the biggest differences between the songs present on your debut and where you are today as a songwriter with “Kill Or Be Kind?”
Fish: I feel like I’m more confident today. I’m a little braver. I’m not scared to write about difficult topics, where I think early on, I played it somewhat safe. When you allow yourself to lose the filter, you can become a better artist.

TrunkSpace: If someone unfamiliar with your music sat down and listened to “Kill Or Be Kind” front to back, what would they learn about you as an artist and person?
Fish: What a loaded question! I’m not sure. Maybe that I have a terrible love life. (Laughter) That’s the cool thing about being a songwriter, you live in it, but you also get to be a story teller. I do sing from my heart, so all I care about is that they feel it. Back to the first question, once it’s out in the world, it ceases to be about me. It’s about the listener and what it means to them.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Fish: That I am the sole guitarist on the album! Believe it or not, that’s never happened. By design, I wanted the opportunity to showcase that. I’m proud of the production, I feel like there is a lot of nuance and subtle instrumentation that makes these songs stick in your head.

TrunkSpace: What would 12-year-old Samantha think of your musical journey thus far? Would she be surprised by the path you have taken?
Fish: Twelve-year-old Samantha was going to be a vet, movie star and an astronaut all before 30. Honestly, I’d probably be surprised. I was a really shy kid. The idea of performing in front of crowds would have scared the hell out of me. I found my sense of self in music. I found my personality and confidence.

TrunkSpace: We love great lyrics… the kind that stick with us well after the song comes to end. What’s a favorite lyric of yours that you have written and why?
Fish: I really like the lyrics in “Dream Girl” right now. I wrote this song with Jim McCormick. The hook is:

If I could give up, a happy ever after, I’d be gone. If you could live up, to the dreams that I’ve been having, I’d hold on.

It’s melancholy, but weirdly hopeful. I love juxtaposition in art, it’s so prevalent in all life and matters of the heart. We’re all constantly at some type of crossroads, and that lyric touches on that.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist, and, have you gotten less self-critical over your work as you have gotten deeper into your career?
Fish: I think the first time you hear your voice on tape, it’s jarring. I’ve worked really hard on my singing over the years. If you don’t like something, you can change it. I’ve become less frustrated because I can do more now, but I’m still pretty critical of my performances. I strive for the best, so if I feel like I could or should have done better, I work at it.

TrunkSpace: How long did it take you to discover your voice as a songwriter, and do you think that creative point of view is constantly evolving?
Fish: Absolutely. It’s always evolving and changing. Life changes you naturally, so your perspective will change and become more mature. I started writing at 19, and thank God I don’t still think the same way I did back then.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Fish: I’d love to say, hell yes, who wouldn’t? I really like knowing where I’m going. But what if you weren’t there in the future? That would really freak me out.

Kill Or Be Kind” is available now on Rounder Records.

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