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Embarking on a Musical Odyssey: An Insightful Interview with Salli Edwards

Welcome to our exclusive interview series, where we uncover the stories and passions of extraordinary artists who have carved their path in the world of music. Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Salli Edwards, an enigmatic indie musician whose captivating melodies and heartfelt lyrics have sparked a genuine connection with audiences worldwide.

Hailing from San Francisco, Salli Edwards, discovered her love for music at a young age but took a more serious approach later in life. She began by performing covers of her favorite tunes, but it was the desire to express her own experiences and emotions that compelled her to embark on a songwriting journey. Once the floodgates of creativity opened, Salli, found herself pouring her soul into her music, creating a poignant and genre-spanning repertoire.

With a unique style that defies categorization, Salli Edwards, is a genre-spanning musician who effortlessly blends elements of indie, folk, rock, electronica, R&B, soul, and even jazz. Each song is a distinct reflection of her diverse influences, weaving together a tapestry of sound that is as captivating as it is difficult to describe.

Throughout the interview, we explore Salli’s creative process, from the spontaneous emergence of melodies during walks or drives to the heartfelt connections that form the foundation of their lyrical storytelling. Her ability to approach songwriting from various angles and perspectives allows her to breathe life into unique narratives that captivate the imagination. Salli’s music is deeply personal, often inspired by her own experiences or observations.

Her latest album, ‘City Life,’ showcases a more mature and confident sound, marked by edgier tones and an infusion of electric guitars. With themes that revolve around life in the city, such as the thought-provoking track ‘Apartments,’ Salli, channels her background in journalism to observe and write about life’s intricacies.

Can you tell us about your journey as an indie musician? What inspired you to pursue a career in music?

I’ve always loved music and started singing as a child. But it wasn’t until I was much older and living in San Francisco that I decided to pursue music seriously, although I wouldn’t say I just got up one day and decided that music would be my career! I was in a band, or more accurately a duo, and we started out doing covers of our favourite songs. Eventually, I felt the need to branch out and start writing my own songs to be able to fully express myself and write from my own personal experiences. Once I made that decision, it’s like the dam just broke and suddenly all these songs started to come out! I was also going through a lot in my personal life at the time, so writing songs provided a much-needed emotional release. But it took many years of introspection, travel, personal growth and moving around before I finally
recorded and released my first album in 2020.

How would you describe your unique style and sound as an artist? What sets you apart from other musicians?

I think what makes me unique is that I don’t stick to just one genre or musical style. I like all kinds of music – I listen to everything from indie, folk, rock, electronica, R&B, soul, lounge and even jazz. I think all of these influences come out in my music so each song sounds different but they also have a unique sound that ties them together which a lot of people tell me is really hard to describe! Beat Magazine described my first album ‘Revolving Doors’ as ‘genre-spanning.’ Same could be said about my latest album ‘City Life.’ It has tracks like ‘Stars and Snowflakes’ and ‘My First Morning Without You’ that delves into my alternative, shoegaze influences, ‘Golden Days’ which is a folky ballad and ‘Toronado’ has a jazzy, lounge feel to it.

Could you share some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an indie musician and how you overcame them.

I think one of the biggest challenges as an indie musician is how do you compete and stand out in a very saturated market. Especially nowadays with music being consumed mostly online and on digital platforms where there are literally millions of other artists releasing songs. I can’t say I have overcome this challenge at all – it’s a constant thing all artists go through – but to me, it’s not about having thousands of fans or millions of streams. I am happy when I get a message from a listener telling me how much they enjoyed my music, or how a song really resonated with them. I find these personal connections much more rewarding and it’s really the reason why I write songs. The challenge is changing your expectations about what you want to get out of making music and reminding yourself of what is really important to you.

What is your creative process like? How do you approach songwriting and composing music?

It’s not really a set process for me – I’m sure that’s how it is with all songwriters! Often it starts with a melody or a hook in my head. A lot of songs come to me when I am doing things like walking or driving or when I wake up in the morning. I then sing the melody into my phone to help me remember it because the idea can really disappear quickly sometimes. Then I pick up the guitar and play around with some chords to fit the melody. After that, I rifle through my piles of lyrics to see if there is anything that goes with the melody or the mood of the song. Sometimes, it’s the other way around and a song starts with the lyrics and I noodle around with the guitar to find a melody that goes with the message or feel the song is trying to convey.

I’ve also written songs starting with a chord progression and then writing the melody from there. Some songs I have written in less than 20 minutes, other songs have taken months, where I might start with an idea and come back to it much later when it’s more fleshed out. Overall, I think it’s important to not force the creative process. If somehow it’s just not working or coming together, you can’t force it or the song will just sound forced and uninspired. There is a flow that happens when it is all coming together and if it’s not there, it means the song is not quite ready to be born yet!

Are there any particular themes or messages that you aim to convey through your music? What inspires your lyrics?

All my songs are based on personal experience or things that I have observed directly. I find I can only write songs that way. Many of my songs have themes around the dynamics of relationships, but I like to write about them from different or unusual perspectives. Like a song about a breakup doesn’t have to be the usual “I’m so heartbroken” angle which has been written about millions of times. It’s like taking a snapshot of a situation and writing from there.
I am constantly writing lyrics – in my head, in my journal, on scraps of paper. I find inspiration in everything around me, from the mundane to the profound. My song ‘Apartments’ was inspired by walking around and noticing the rapid pace of new apartment buildings going up in my neighborhood, threatening to destroy the character and heritage of the city. ‘For All the People’ came to me one morning after I had been up almost the entire night watching the news about the invasion of Ukraine and other stories of people being subjugated or struggling to survive. My latest single ‘Stars and Snowflakes’ was inspired by a line from one of my favorite classic films ‘Moonstruck.’ I find there is a song just waiting to be written all around me and from
the things I see.

Tell us about your latest music project.

I am especially proud of having just released my second album ‘City Life.’ I feel like this album has a more mature and confident sound. It also has an edgier sound, with more electric guitars throughout. Many of the songs have common themes about life in the city, such as ‘Apartments.’ I think that song started the whole concept of writing about life in the city for the album. The songs ‘Toronado,’ ‘Euclid’ and ‘Hello Again’ all explore city life from different angles. I think that is where I channel my journalism background – I like to observe and write about things from
different perspectives.

What are your long-term goals as an indie musician? Where do you see yourself and your music in the next few years?

I would love to have a song placement in a movie, TV show or advertisement – I think that is every indie artist’s dream! It would also be great to do a collaboration with another musician who shares similar influences and interests. In the next few years, I would like to record a third album or EP.

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