So, let's turn the tables and have the artists interview the presenter..
1. What drew you to Celtic music?
From an early age, I'd been introduced to Celtic sounds through my mom's own love of Celtic music. I would say that her interest in Celtic music stems from the fact that she had been in a pipeband in highschool playing the bagpipes and her highschool had that theme and her school had a pipeband class with highland bagpipes players and dancers with the proper dress and attire.
When I was growing up, sometimes she'd play cds that were either Celtic-influenced soundscapes or something with bagpipes.
At the time I hadn’t fully developed my love for Celtic music yet, though I had been slightly interested, especially a few of the highland games that her former highschool held a few times and we'd been fortunate enough to attend a few of them.
I would say that my further interest in Celtic music started with Scotland's Julie Fowlis. I remember in 2007 being away from home out of townand having my laptop with me going through different artists on myspace and listening to their music. I happened upon Julie Fowlis' myspace page and had a listen to a few of her songs, it was "Spinning Song" which caught my ears. It was something very different that I'd ever really heard before and I've always loved music that's different than what most people here listen to. I was very private in the kinds of music I listened to since most of my friends didn’t share any of the same interests. I remember that before Julie Fowlis, I had been into folk music and very much into Idlewild's album "Warnings/Promises" which features more of the folky side of Roddy Woomble's band Idlewild. I had also bought his folk solo album "My Secret Is My Silence" back in 2005 or 2006 and had really been into Scottish folk artists, especially Karine Polwart. Kate Rusby was another folk artist who I had loved back then as well, though of course she's English, I had been into the folk artists around that time. Though I really would say that Julie Fowlis was probably the first actual celtic/roots artist who I feel hooked me into that kind of music.
I remember other Celtic artists I had liked before 2005/2006 which included Enya and Celtic Woman, though for sure it was Julie Fowlis who cemented my love for that music. Since then I'd listened to different artists in that same genre which led to other artists up to present date. Now I'd say I've probably been exposed to over 100 different celtic/roots/trad artists and bands and I continue to love that music.
However, Celtic music is only one of the genres I love, I am a big fan of so many kinds of music and artists which I now feature on my radio show "From Texas And Beyond".
Celtic music is one of the big parts of my show, though a lot of the other music comes from other genres and artists of different levels, Celtic music is definitely a big part of my show.
Throughout the past years I'd been further into that kind of music through various other ways. Transatlantic Sessions 3 was definitely one of those eye-openers for me that there is all this music out there that I hadn't discovered yet and I eventually came to love more and more.
Throughout my childhood and teen years I'd been listening to oldies and a few modern day artists since it was mostly my parents music and my sisters' music, but I hadn't properly developed my own sense of musical identity till my late teen years all till now in my late 20s. In the nearly 29 years I've been alive, I've been grateful for all this music I've ever encountered. I feel sorry for all the people out there who haven't discovered all this music or only stick to one type of music rather than opening their minds and ears to other music on a regular basis rather than what's on mainstream radio.
2. You seem to play alot of female artists. What is it that draws you to their sound?
I think subconsciously and naturally I love female artists more, though I'm not sure if there is any one particular reason. Maybe it's the softer voice that naturally draws me to female artists more.
3. How do you decide what goes on the playlist?
It's a process that can be easy or difficult depending on which theme I choose to feature for each show.
My current 2014/2015 playlist has a total of 286 bands and artists from around the world including El Paso bands and artists.
These vary from genre to genre, though I concentrate mainly on Celtic, Celtic-Rock, Folk, Roots, Trad, Dance/Ceilidh, Country, Americana, Bluegrass, Indie, Alternative and a few other genres.
Each show is carefully planned ahead of time and each artist or song is chosen carefully to go well together with the list of artists I've chosen for each show.
There are some instances where new songs or artists come in on the fly and I choose to play them in a show with mixed artists rather than a themed show. The playlists for themed shows are carefully planned as would a playlist on a band's album. Usually a producer of an album or the band themselves choose each song carefully to flow with the next, for a full 12 to 14 songs on a typical album.
When I plan my themed shows, each artist's song is chosen in that way to flow with the next song and the next. Typically I put 26 to 30 songs into each show and focus more on getting these songs heard to anyone who may be listening and catch interest in any one of the songs. It's more about getting the artists heard. After a few weeks, I go through my whole list and choose from what hasn’t been played yet to artists who've been previously featured but still need to be played more. My intention is to keep pushing this music out there so that listeners from anywhere in the world can hear it and love it and hopefully contact the artists or buy the music from them directly. Mainstream radio stations are dominated by pop artists on a predetermined playlist given to the radio stations and pushed out there for people in their cars to listen to all day long.
Big companies have an agenda to push this music and have it played continuously so that people subconsciously will want to buy it and spend billions of dollars towards it. Being that listeners usually listen to the radio in their cars and at work all day, they're exposed to that kind of music and it's easy to just go along with. The unfortunate thing is that there is 10 times as much music out there that isn’t being heard on a regular basis.
This is the kind of music I am personally trying to push and introduce people to, while at the same time giving credit to all the radio stations and radio presenters who I've heard this music from as well. There are a lot of radio stations and radio presenters who have wonderful shows which aren’t on mainstream radio and they've exposed me to all this great music in the past few years and now that I have my own radio show, I want to continue to push that music out to listeners all over the world and do what my fellow radio presenters have been doing as well. It's about getting all these artists heard and their music. There are so many people in the world who have yet to hear this great music and many more younger generations of people who need to be exposed to it as well and know that there are many more musical opportunities out there. It's not about getting on the bandwagon with other people who audition for shows like American Idol or similar singing competitions, but knowing that life doesn’t and musical journeys don’t have to end with being rejected by a show like that. There are many more opportunities out there that anyone can follow. Shows like American Idol are carefully designed as well and aimed to push out even more mainstream artists the same way mainstream radio stations do. It's not necessarily a bad thing to like mainstream artists or listen to that music, but it's important to get more people aware of other music not heard on those stations.
My own radio show is basically a world musical convention which includes bands and artists from different music scenes in differenet countries along with their managers, promoters, promotion agencies, record labels and puts them all together into one show. The aim of that is to create even more friendships between each other and connect more people together from different parts of the world in hopes that they will each listen to each other's music and like it as well. It's one great big campfire and everyone is sitting around it playing songs for each other and sharing their thoughts, experiences, stories, and music. If these artists can benefit from each other whether it be mutual cd sales or trades, booking shows together, even getting signed by another band's record label....that would be great in creating a bit more peace in this world.
It's like creating the facebook of the music world and hoping to connect all these artists together from different parts of the world and different genres and opening their eyes, ears, and minds just a little wider to each other.
This isn't quite a radio show, but more of a mission to create an even bigger peace around the world through music.