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BWW Interview: Margo Seibert Talks New EP INFLUENCE | SEARCHER

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We chat with Margo Seibert about her thrilling new EP.

BWW Interview: Margo Seibert Talks New EP INFLUENCE | SEARCHER

Today, Margo Seibert and collaborator Alan Steven Hewitt have released their stunning new EP INFLUENCE | SEARCHER. The EP features two new songs, both recorded and mastered remotely during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and showcases impressive and sincere artistry coupled with timely and poignant messages. To get the inside scoop on the EP, we chatted with Seibert about the thrilling EP and how she'll be donating all its proceeds to The Actor's Fund for Covid Relief and The Loveland Foundation.

The new songs have a kind of different sound than your debut album 77TH STREET. What was your progression to reach this new sound?

My first album 77TH STREET was very much composed and created with our full band in mind. In pre-Covid times we could all get together to jam and work out the arrangements. Since all of our 2020 live performances were canceled, some reimagining needed to happen if the songs were to arrive in the world, which I very much needed them to. So, using my collaborator's, Alan Steven Hewitt's, home studio in Haverstraw and the instrumentation available to him, as well as my remote vocals from a cabin in West Virginia, we decided to "Postal Service" it. Every week, we'd Zoom chat and share ideas on the music, on computerized elements, on layering vocals. It was actually very empowering to realize we could produce and mix from afar. There are absolutely more digitally created sounds on this EP, especially on 'Influence' as that really enhanced the tone and message of the lyrics.

With the COVID-19 lockdowns upending your plans for live shows in 2020, how important was it for you to find an alternative way to be creative and perform?

It felt imperative to continue our momentum and see where this sonic pen-paling took us. I think it's a necessity of the times as an artist, to adapt and reinvent.

What was it like finding inspiration to be creative and make new art during the lockdown period?

Honestly, finding new inspiration has not come easily to me during this time. Luckily, both 'Influence' and 'Searcher' were already set lyrically as well as melodically, so they just needed a transformation into fully arranged tunes. And, a brand new thrilling creative facet of this journey was creating my very first music video for 'Influence.' Finding and collaborating with Daiqi Cui, a digital illustrator at the School Of Visual Arts in NYC, felt like a truly inventive collaboration and takes this EP to a whole new level. Now that these tunes are being released into the world, I feel a great deal of satisfaction: the accomplishment of making them in quarantine, the satisfaction of donating their proceeds to initiatives that we care about, and the satisfaction of not letting this period of time stifle our art.

What are the stories, experiences, or other forces that influenced 'Influence'?

'Influence' was inspired by my work on Dave Malloy's OCTET as well as a pattern of conversation I had often concerning the future of my music. I was told time and time again that I needed a larger social following in order to gain momentum and book gigs to play my music. And, at the same time, I was only growing a fanbase when I booked live gigs on my own and played live. It was and continues to be a most frustrating circular conundrum. Coupled with the technological reckoning we were performing nightly in OCTET at Signature theater, 'Influence' was born. It feels even more essential to examine our relationship to social media and attention during this period of isolation, which you will see in the music video.

What about 'Searcher'?

'Searcher' was a song that I wrote up in Vermont last summer while playing Patsy Cline in ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE in Weston. However, she didn't start out with these lyrics. The placeholder lyrics on 'Searcher's' refrain was, "I'm eating no grain, I'm eating no sugar." I was in a Keto phase! The lyrics came a bit later as I thought about my time in my 20s, fixated on self-improvement, always searching, always needing to fix me. Lyrically, the song finds its way to a place of letting go and just experiencing being.

Admirably, you'll be donating all proceeds from the two singles to The Actor's Fund for Covid Relief and The Loveland Foundation. Can you speak to this generous decision?

I think, collectively, we are undergoing a period of great transformation and reckoning. And this transformation only succeeds if we choose to participate. Paying these proceeds forward is one small way of supporting our fellow humans deserving of mental health and deserving of help during these Covid times.

What advice would you offer to any artists looking for creative outlets in this current situation?

My advice would be to be fierce and gentle. You must be able to check in with yourself and take a break from anything and everything, reboot, allow yourself to surrender to this collective grieving, and, then, when you are ready, create your art, support your communities, and be fierce in your commitment to engage and foster empathy. You are an essential worker of the soul.

Margot Seibert's new EP with collaborator Alan Steven Hewitt INFLUENCE | SEARCHER is available now. You can purchase it and stream it on your preferred platform by clicking HERE.

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