THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with LT (Leanne Tennant).
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I’ve always loved music ever since I can remember, but I think the moment that I decided I wanted to be a songwriter was about age 13 and devouring Nirvana records. I kind of felt like I never really fit in anywhere so when I listened to their music, it made me feel a sense of belonging. I started surrounding myself with music, and other musical minds and realised that these were my people and it was where I needed to be.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? You know that feeling you get when you hear a certain song and your hair stands on end, and you feel almost euphoric? I love that feeling. This is what drives me – to experiment with music is to chase that feeling. Sometimes it’ll make you sad, other times happy, but without all of that I don’t really know what to do with myself. I am also forever inspired by other independent artists who are forging a career with little to no team around them, and still killing it. This inspires me to no end.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish? My biggest goal is to continue creating and releasing music, however learn how to do it in such a way that you don’t burn the wick at both ends. Achieving some balance in this process is my biggest and most difficult goal. Oh – and to write songs with the Middle Kids and / or Jack River.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? There will be more music, more writing, and hopefully some more shows!
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? Hold Ya is in the Indie-Pop / Dream-Pop world and is written about the strain any relationship goes through when placed under pressure, such as the recent pandemic. It’s a song about 2 x people drifting apart, however not wanting to give up. It’s a song of hope.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? I don’t have a particular process, but I find that those times that I just walk past the guitar and pick it up even just for a moment without thinking too much, are the times that my brain allows songs to come out in their rawest simplest forms without overthinking it. I also get really inspired just hearing other music. It makes me want to muck around with ideas I have floating around in my head.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? Hmmmm, not so much. I guess I could say that whilst some of my songs may sound or appear to be about a personal experience, they’re often not related to me or my story at all.
Success, what is the secret to it? Everyone’s definition of success differs. What is success really? I guess for me, it is being in a place where you are content, and I think the secret to that is being mindful and grateful for what you have. This is something I am working hard on getting better at and disconnecting from those who don’t have your best interests at heart.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Hold Ya being featured as Rolling Stone Magazines ‘Song You Need To Know’ was pretty up there! Also getting to support Bernard Fanning last month. That was something else.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? I find inspiration in other artists that are killing it in the music industry as independent acts. It’s such a tough slog being an Indie artist so when I see others really succeeding it provides me with hope that it is possible to sustain a career in music as an Indie artist.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? I am always open to new musical projects so I guess time will tell.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years? That’s a hard question to answer and one I ask myself constantly! I would love to get over to the UK or the US and Canada to meet some of the people who have been incredibly supportive to my music these past couple of years. I would love to still be writing and releasing music however unsure in the current climate how our industry will survive. It’s taken a hard hit with Covid preventing artists from touring which is the only way an artist makes money as streaming services don’t pay artists properly. Ultimately one day, I’d like to see myself living in a cabin on a hillside, next to a fire and a running creak, just writing songs.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? I think my least favourite part is the lack of understanding how much money it costs to create music, and how little artists get back in their pocket. It often feels as though the songwriter is the only person not making any money. Also, the lack of understanding how much time, and sacrifice it takes to sustain a career in the arts. It’s a real job, and we work bloody hard at it.
My favourite things about this line of work is getting to immerse myself in music. Writing and recording music is my favourite thing to do in the world and I am so very grateful any time I get an opportunity to be able to re-enter the studio and spend time doing what I love. Being in this industry often forces you to do things outside of your comfort zone, and whilst it’s scary, if it weren’t for music I would probably hide away and not see anybody. Hahah. It’s a steep learning curve.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. Jack River, The Middle Kids, and my friend’s groups Moreton and Meres. The latter 2 are doing great things as Indie artists and writing music that sits outside of the box. I love that they have solidly stuck to this and are starting to see big things.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? Hmmmmmm, there’s only so much I really want to say here, but let’s just say it’s tough. I feel we could be doing a much better job on radio at supporting Australian Artists, and artists need to be paid better by streaming services. On a positive note though, I love that you can do almost anything online now. It’s so easy to meet other artists and like-minded people that are interested in helping you create and release music. It’s very easy to release music online now and most of it you can do DIY which is exciting for an artist. It’s a great promotional tool and I certainly don’t miss running around town, dripping with sweat, pinning posters up about your gig only to find someone has ripped them down! I do hope however that someday Australia will become less focused on Triple J and Spotify determining a musician’s value, and get more focused on getting out there and seeing the plethora of incredible acts we have in this country that don’t necessarily fit those boxes. And buy their music!
How will you continue appealing to the international market? I had plans to be in the UK last year until Covid hit us all. I seem to have a bit of a following in Canada and I have forever dreamed of visiting Canada so I hope I get the opportunity to head over there too when restrictions ease one day. This is the other great thing about music being online – is that you get to reach so many different people! I guess I’ll keep connecting with people as I have and hopefully get to meet some friendly faces down the track.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I have collaborated with a couple of different folk over the years. I think my wish list would be Jack River. I love her sound and the way she crafts her songs. Her and the Middle Kids are just damn fine songwriters. That would be a dream. If anybody reading this knows how to make that happen, I give you my permission!
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? Believe in yourself. It’s a hard slog, but if you feel it in your bones and it’s something that is every part of your being – then you should probably pursue it. Work smart, work hard, and take every opportunity that you can, and don’t be discouraged by people saying no. You’ll get a lot of ‘not interested’ responses, but over time that will change. Be open to learning as much as you can and don’t wait until ‘you’re ready’. Just do it.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans? I love connecting with my followers and I predominantly use Facebook and Instagram to do this.
Any last words? If you’re a female musician reading this, and wondering how you can do music and have a family one day – well you CAN do both. It is possible, and it is achievable.