We got the chance to interview an incredible artist who goes by the name Luna Shadows this past week and learn more about her unique style and seemingly perfect aesthetic to match. We were thrilled by this opportunity and here we are sharing this with you. The following was our interview:
Hi, this is Hannah from Unheard Gems and we are really glad we finally get the chance to talk! I have a list of questions from other Luna Shadows fans and myself for this interview and I was hoping you could answer them and give us a bit more insight into the world of Luna Shadows.
UG: So to start out with a bit of background, when did you first know you wanted to pursue music or when did you start working on your music?
LS: I've wanted to do music for as long as I can remember. The specifics came with time. I studied classical piano growing up, then I went on to performing arts high school for singing in NYC. I wrote my first song on the piano around age 8 or 9, and I started writing little poems in second grade (basically as soon as I could write). It wasn't until I was a heartbroken teenager that I put those two skills together, writing my first real song with music & lyrics.
UG: Is there anything now, looking back, that you would tell your younger self about the journey to becoming a musician?
LS: When they say, "it won't be easy" they really mean it. I would tell myself to be patient. The amount of patience required to run a successful campaign is not something you'd know. I've had to sit on songs for 3 years before I could release them. I would tell myself to take the time to think through the big-picture plan and learn to sit comfortably in a state of patience. it is NOT easy to be idle when you're ambitious, but making moves impulsively is rarely the right choice in my experience.
UG:In terms of your songs, what is the writing and producing process like, where do you draw inspiration?
LS: Inspiration can really come from anywhere. If you can imagine one of those timelapses where you see a flower unfold, I think it's kind of like that. It starts with a single seed, an idea -- that could be a word, a little melody, a feeling -- and then I pull everything I can take from the middle out to the sides.
UG: Sub-question, what has been your favorite song you have written and why, what makes it so special?
LS: It's hard to pick favorites but I'm especially proud of "Youth" - I wrote that one alone in my room on the organ & harmonizer in an hour or so. The production took a while to figure out but the actual song (lyrics, melody, etc.) came pretty quickly. You don't always get moments of inspiration, so you really appreciate it when its there. This was a case of genuine, rare inspiration, where the words just fell out of my mouth. A lot of the lyrics that I improvised on the spot made the final cut. It really captured a moment in time for me.
UG: Speaking of, is there any new music on the way and, if so, what can your listeners expect?
LS: Yes! I am so excited to share new music. I joke that I'm already working on my second album (my first album isn't out yet) but also it's true - I make a point to be a few steps ahead of myself. I think listeners can expect a continuation of the same introverted alternative pop they have come to know me for, but with some new tricks. I'm hoping to put out my first album in 2018, so that's where I'm heading. In terms of what to expect for the album, I'm running with a concept so at this point in time all the songs are somewhat connected in theme & aesthetic, though there is a little bit of genre variation between tracks.
UG: One thing I love about you as an artist is how you have made a brand or aesthetic for yourself. When fans look at your Instagram or your music videos they see a consistent theme and aesthetic, which I personally, and I think many fans, really enjoy. How do you see that changing or shifting with your music and how do your visuals match with you as an artist?
LS: Good question! The answer is both. My aesthetic has both still & changing parts. I would say think about it like wearing an outfit or changing your makeup - it's always "you" but in different times you maybe emphasize different parts of yourself. It will definitely shift to match the music. It has to. It is my #1 priority to serve my art, and I will do whatever it takes to find visuals that match the sound and match my overall artistic journey.
In general, I am rarely the dead center of my visuals. Maybe I'm a little distant or out of focus or just amongst the action. In my head, I'm not always the center of my artistic vision. Sometimes I'm just a piece of it. I happen to be the piece delivering a message or sharing an experience, but the point is that experiences are often shared. My music lends an empathetic hand. It's my intention to create a shared experience, so that's why sometimes you'll find me as a shadow instead of a subject, because I'm only a part and not the whole.
UG: More on a personal note, what has been your high and low as a musician in the industry and how have those shaped you as an individual and as an artist?
LS: My high has been the past year of releasing music, finally seeing a pay off when I receive messages from fans or see how many people have heard my music. The low would be the opposite. Everyone says that the music industry is hard, but I don't think anyone offers up real specifics. For me, I had to throw entire albums (years of my life) away in the process of getting to my most true artistic self. This process was accompanied by a tremendous amount of self-doubt, feelings of depression/anxiety, financial distress, and extreme self-criticism.
Of course I am the sum of all of these experiences and while I wish I could've done without the hard ones, I know that those experiences made me much more resilient. It's counterintuitive to think that it takes time to become your most true self, but that has really been the case for me. I didn't just wake up one day as "me" - I had to work really, really hard to be tougher, to be disciplined, to have a plan for myself, to listen to myself, to not bend to fit everyone else's opinion of me, and to go with the flow. Not a doubt in my mind that getting knocked over and forced to get back up for years made a lasting impact. My survival in this industry so far has relied on the challenge of becoming my most true self.
UG: And finally if you were to recommend to us one growing or “unheard” musician that we need to listen to who would it be?
LS: I've got a whole list - check out my spotify playlist, luna lately: bit.ly/lunalately --- Elohim, Phoebe Bridgers, So Below, Chelsea Jade, Kaela Sinclair, Layne, & Trace, to name a few.
UG: Thank you so much for your time and we look forward to hearing new music from you soon!
LS: Thanks for sharing my work. Best to Unheard Gems!
Written and Edited by: Hannah Schneider