Vicki Blankenship is not only an Indie Singer/Songwriter, but she’s also president of IndieGrrl.com, a celebration of women in the independent arts. As a member of IndieGrrl, I’m glad to have Vicki here to talk with us about her music and her organization.
I’m also happy to announce that the lyrics of I’ve Waited For You, from her newest album, will be the music epilogue for Off The Moon, my fourth novel due out this month.
LK: Hi Vicki! First, a public “thank you” for allowing use of your lyrics in my novel. It’s amazing when I was searching for indie songs that would fit with the story, just how well I’ve Waited For You fits. It’s nice to have you here chatting with us.
VB: Thanks for using my song and promoting my music and lyrics.
LK: First things first, how long have you been in the music business? When did you first pick up a guitar?
VB: I first started playing guitar and drums when I was 5 years old thanks to a grandfather and great grandfather who were both musicians. I’ve been in the music business off and on since college (1976 – 1981) but went full time in the music industry in 2003 with my first solo release “Don’t Forget To Breathe”.
LK: It’s wonderful when young children get into the arts! Your music career echoes my writing career a bit – my first release was also in 2003. ;-)
So tell us a bit about your newest release, Blue Flame Trance.
VB: My latest release Blue Flame Trance was originally slated to be called “Elements” because the songs selected for this project were different elements of my life and the songs were songs I had written from 19 years old to present. Many of my friends suggested that I consider using the name “Blue Flame Trance” as the title of the CD because they considered the song “Blue Flame Trance” an unforgettable song and the name would stand out more. The song itself is about Moonshine which is very prevalent in Franklin County Virginia the area where I grew up.
LK: Your music is reminiscent of 60s/70s folk rock, mixed with a touch of a country flair. At least that’s what I think of when I listen to it. Phoebe Snow comes to mind, but also Martina McBride; it’s both soulful and soothing. Who are your musical influences?
VB: I grew up in the 60s/70s folk rock era so that is the music I know and love and the style in which I write. I loved bands like Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Steve Miller, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Crosby Still Nash & Young, and Fleetwood Mac. I am a HUGE Lindsey Buckingham fan. Three other songwriters that I love are Mary Chapin Carpenter, James Taylor and Carol King.
LK: Ah, some of my favorite artists there, also. I have to tell you I grinned when I went through your website and read about Kiva, your rescued Dalmation. I have a rescued lab mix who is also such a joy, and Off The Moon features a rescued dog. Would you like to share a bit about your Dalmation rescue mission?
VB: Dalmatians were over bred when the 101 Dalmatians movie came out. And Dalmatians tend to be very active dogs that need a lot of attention. So a lot of them got abandoned when they grew older. I have helped place many Dalmatians in good homes that will work with them and show them the attention they need. Kiva is one that I kept myself. She is deaf and is one of the smartest dogs I have ever owned. She understands a doggie sign language that I made up and is very obedient. She knows no strangers and is friendly to everyone so she makes a good travel companion on the road.
LK: Just for fun and since I ask everyone, what is your favorite color? Do you have a favorite artist or art style?
VB: My favorite color(s) is a toss between royal blue and purple. I love Vincent Van Gogh and my favorite painting is The Starry Night. I also like Georgia O’Keeffe and Klimt. I also paint; mostly oils and acrylic, and most of my paintings would be classified in the contemporary abstract style.
LK: How did you come up with the idea of founding IndieGrrl? Will you tell us about it?
VB: Actually Holly Figueroa founded Indiegrrl as a networking forum for female singer songwriters in 1998. I joined the network in 2003. Later I founded Indie Music For Life in 2004, a non profit to raise money for cancer research and other programs. I took over Indiegrrl in October 2005 and brought it in under the umbrella of Indie Music For Life. Now the non profit has completed revamped as of this year and in February we officially changed the name to Indiegrrl Women in the Arts, Inc so that we could include all aspects of the arts into the non profit and build on other things among networking. Indiegrrl Women in the Arts, Inc. works to create networking, educational, and showcasing opportunities for women of all ages involved in the arts. We also produce several festival events to help raise funds for various charities and are working to raise funds to build an Indiegrrl Music and Arts Camp for children between the ages of 7 and 17. Indiegrrl also produces an annual conference as an educational and showcasing opportunity and we are working on other educational forums, workshops, and seminars to help with entrepreneurial development in music and other aspects of the arts. If you believe in what Indiegrrl is trying to develop please go to our website and make a contribution. http://www.indiegrrl.com
LK: I better wind this up so I don’t take too much of your time, but before I let you go, I’d love to hear what you’re working on now.
VB: I am working on developing many Indiegrrl Women in the Arts programs and opportunities. Personally I am starting to promote my new CD “Blue Flame Trance” which you can find at http://www.spottedkivaproductions.com
LK: Vicki, thank you again! Please leave any links you’d like us to know about.
VB: http://www.indiegrrl.com and http://www.spottedkivaproductions.com are the main links. There are also Myspace links http://www.myspace.com/indiegrrlrecords and http://www.myspace.com/vickiblankenship and the facebook link http://www.facebook.com/vicki.blankenship
A note to readers: A signed copy of Vicki’s CD, Blue Flame Trance, will be included as part of the release party give-away for Off The Moon. Stay tuned here or sign up for my newsletter for more info.
My BLOG TOUR for Off The Moon, featuring Vicki’s lyrics, “I’ve Been Waiting For You” kicks off TODAY!
Here’s the first link: http://judahraine.com/romancewriteup/?p=673
To follow the tour, find the schedule either at CRR Promotions:
Today is my Author Introduction. Leave a comment for a chance to win a so-far-unpublished prequel short story, signed and mailed! On Tuesday, I’ll be talking about Artistic Vision And Creative Doubt, hosted by Jane Richardson, author of “A Different Kind of Honesty.”