UCR Interview- Little Moon

By: Kevin Rolfe

Little Moon will be the headliner at the closing night (February 26) of Les Femmes De Velour, and festival celebrating it’s eighth year of showcasing amazingly talented local female musicians held at Velour Live Music Lounge in Provo. I caught up with Little Moon leading up to this show. I had a great time chatting with her. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Utah Concert Review: So how did you get into music as far as performing and writing? Where does that all stem from?

Little Moon: Yeah, so music actually started out as a form of therapy for myself. Both my parents are musicians. And growing up as a kid I was, I was essentially just like very scared of people. My mom and my dad, they would use music to basically help me identify my emotions and how I was feeling. A very Mr. Rogers approach, I guess you can say. And from there I just kept associating music as just a way of sorting through the chaos that was me. And it’s, it’s been used ever since. I guess the songwriting just sort of develop more and more. I studied vocal performance and a bit of competition at BYU Idaho where I studied more classically. So, my dad, both my parents to do more like classical singing. So I only knew about like classical music for the longest time. That and like Zelda-Ocarina of Time soundtrack, (laughing) you know, the works!

Utah Concert Review: The essentials!

Little Moon: Yeah, the standards. And a bit of Beatles of course. So, yeah, it was kind of like a weird, I guess intro into music for myself. Then as I developed in life, I kind of branched out into other bands that weren’t classical music and, just started writing and then I realized this was something that I should probably just do, just try to do as best I can to share with people who might be wanting to sort through their own emotions, you know, I figured, why not?

Utah Concert Review: It’s a really interesting transition to go from Classical music into what I guess I’ll just classify as popular music. That’s a broad ranging term. But in comparison to classical music, they are very different and sometimes it’s really hard to make that transition.

Little Moon: Yeah. For whatever reason sometimes people will create these divisions with music, you know, it’s like, oh, you’re either a classical performer or your a pop former, or you’re either jazz or your rock. And, you know, I guess I kind of come from the standpoint, and I remember my dad actually even doing this to where when people would ask what kind of singer he is, whether it’s classical, whether it’s musical theater, he would just say, “I’m just a singer.” And I guess I respond similar to that or it’s just like, I just, I just do music. You know, I’ve never really been very specific in ‘I am a “this” performer, I am a “this” singer or I write songs that are exclusively this genre. I just like music.

Utah Concert Review: I think that’s so smart because I think with anybody that has written interesting music, I don’t think they go into it saying, well, I’m going to write this particular style. I think they go in and write the music they feel and it becomes that. Take The Avett Brothers for example. They’re a band that comes from punk. And if you really listen you can hear those elements, but they’re very true to Americana music. So I think that’s a good attitude that you have. And that’s a great answer that your dad gives, by the way.

Little Moon: Thank you. And that’s a really great point that you make with, yeah, the Avett Brothers are a perfect example of that. I think when it comes down to it, it’s just storytelling. Right?

Utah Concert Review: Totally.

Little Moon: So it’s like, you know, even if my voice doesn’t hit the right notes or if the melody was technically off or whatever, it’s like that, that doesn’t bug me as much as when I feel like I haven’t genuinely tried to tell my story to people. Because I think that’s at the root of music and art in general where it’s this sharing stories.

Utah Concert Review: That’s a good point. And I find it so interesting too, you know, you talk about as music starting out as a form of therapy and being afraid of people and now you’re standing in front of people you don’t know, and in the past you might’ve been scared of, but now it’s kind of become a strength for you to where you can share this gift and the ability that you have with people. And, and honestly I think that’s a cool transformation that you’ve gone through.

Little Moon: Well thank you. I think it was definitely like a rigorous one, right? I mean we’ve all been scared. And I think we’ve all had to, you know, just try to not be scared in moments. And I feel like that that’s actually a lot of what my music is about. Just basically kind of looking at fear and embarrassment and timidness and bashfulness in a new light. Seeing them as actually really cool and important aspects of our life. You know, the darkness as it were. That’s probably why I’m more like Little Moon, not like Little Sunshine cause I just, I really find a lot of meaning and beauty in I guess those fears because, I’ve had them and I still have them, but it’s like I think I’ve developed, an appreciation for that. Yeah. I guess the fear, you know, the nervousness. It took me a while to realize that you have to practice being brave, you know? And other things that we all admire and think that we all like. It’s like when you think about it, you really can’t practice being brave or practice being kind or practicing loving without being nervous, without being scared. Without having things that rub you the wrong way, it’s like you can’t practice those qualities without those fears. So in that sense, maybe we can start appreciating them and, growing from them more instead of just being paralyzed by them.

Utah Concert Review: Absolutely. You can’t be brave if you haven’t been scared.

Little Moon: Exactly! Totally.

Photo By: Jason Lucas Photography

Utah Concert Review: Those are some really great points that you bring up. So how did you get involved with Les Femmes De Velour?

Little Moon: Last year, Corey invited me to open the same night that Mindy Gledhill was playing.

Utah Concert Review: I was there! It was great.

Little Moon: Oh! So that was like my first like I guess kind of, I don’t know, moment, in that environment. I guess the simple answer is that Corey just simply invited me to play and for this year he asked me to headline for the closing out acoustics showcase show. I was just so, I dunno, starstruck and delighted and honored, to be playing with such women. I don’t know, I just get very easily starstruck by the women that perform. And I mean, as you probably saw last year, when I was playing with Mindy and she came on stage, she was so graceful and set such a good example to me as just like understanding the purpose of this show that it was just so refreshing to not have it be about competition or about trying to one up. Because I feel like that defeats the whole purpose of what music is about and what art is about. I feel like art is a very communal thing and should be about encouraging and reinforcing and empowering people. So when you have a group of women that all want to do that, it’s just like, ah, it gets me just so excited and ranty to you. (Laughing) You know, like I could just like rant to you all day about it.

Utah Concert Review: But that’s such a good point. At the root that’s what music’s about. But sometimes, because everybody is trying to get their stuff out there, or trying to “make it”, there’s a competitive aspect of it and you bring up a good point with this festival in particular, I noticed that last year and the people I’ve talked to leading up to this one, it’s the same thing. Everyone was just excited to play with one another on the same platform. So it really lends itself to just a really good environment and good night for everyone.

Little Moon: Absolutely! Yeah, it’s incredibly empowering and I feel like it reminds you of just again, what music should be about. It’s to empower people. It’s to help people process their complicated emotions, to help people, find appreciation in just simple things. So I feel like this festival really embraces that. Because in retrospect, humans, I don’t know, we’re complicated. But compared to the universe, we’re very small. And particularly when it’s kind of more about a specific gender, like women, it kind of makes it even smaller. And I appreciate that there’s a festival that simply celebrates that.

Utah Concert Review: And I think it’s done in the right way. I think a lot of times nowadays, it can be like “let’s see how loud we can get and in your face we can get” with whatever the topic is. And in this case, it’s, it’s so subtle, but to me that much more impactful and look, this is women getting together performing different styles of music. But all within a state of harmony and celebration of great local music. It’s an empowering event, but I think it’s done in such a great way.

Little Moon: Oh yeah! Oh, that’s a beautiful way of putting it. It is entirely about putting divisiveness aside, I feel. And how powerful that is. Yeah, we get very caught up in just trying to put forward our opinions. And I feel like this event is about just trying to put forward people.

Utah Concert Review: For all intents and purposes, Provo should not be a town where music thrives in this way. But for whatever reason, it really is an awesome place for local music. And of all genres! This festival is a perfect example of that. There are four different nights with four different I guess, styles of music. And everybody on the bill is really talented. What do you think it is about Provo that makes it such a hotbed for talented musicians?

Little Moon: Oh Gosh. I mean…

Utah Concert Review: And it can’t be just because it’s a college town. I’ve been to many college towns, and the music scene sucks. So that can’t be the only reason.

Little Moon: (Laughing) Yeah, this ain’t your first Rodeo, Kevin. I’d say it’s a combination of a lot of simple little and important things. I think one of them, a huge one, is honestly Corey Fox. Having a person that simply cares and facilitates this. I’d say another part just with the culture of Provo. There’s a lot of strong opinions, right?

Utah Concert Review: There really are! It seems like there’s not really a middle opinion.

Little Moon: Exactly! There’s a lot of strong opinions. And for what it’s worth, I feel that there’s a yearning I guess, in people to have an outlet, whether you have a strong opinion or whether you’re in the midst of feeling frustrated by all the strong opinions that go on. And I feel like since that desire is so prevalent, I feel that Provo kind of facilitates that need I guess, you know, through the music. It’s like, there’s a lot of ways, I mean, people will talk about with writing songs, you know, it’s like some of the best songs come from pain or heartbreak. And basically any type of strong emotion I think produces a lot of great sounds and music. Even the intense emotion of intense boredom, you know, this isn’t limited to like just extreme fiery emotions. So I feel with all these emotions that are around and with all these opinions that will be strong. It’s, you know, amongst all of that, amongst all the chaos, there needs to be, I think the arts or, you know, the way I view it is still just a therapy. Right? And so I feel like people, people need that in this environment. And I feel like there’s just incredibly talented people here. And I feel like there’s, for whatever reason, a strong community and wanting to simply nurture each other’s differences, at least that’s the story I told myself in my head.

Utah Concert Review: It’s a good outlook, that’s for sure. And I think you’re right. I think when people are passionate about anything, whether you agree or don’t agree, I think the best art comes from passion and strong feelings.

Little Moon: Yeah, music is kind of a neat way to house people’s personal outlooks and feelings on life in a way that isn’t like “You have to believe me!”, you know? “It’s my way or the highway!”. I feel like when it’s put to music, again, it just goes back to storytelling. It’s just simply a person telling their story. And I honestly feel like the more we allow people to tell each other’s stories, I feel like just the more healing there is to a community.

Utah Concert Review: I agree. It lends itself to understanding and common ground.

Little Moon: Exactly. Yeah. Because no one can tell me that I didn’t feel things that I felt or no one could tell me that my story didn’t happen. It simply has, and music kind of creates an interesting bridge towards understanding I feel, of these very personal stories that may include opinions, even outlooks, observations, really. But people are more willing to listen to them. And I think the hope is that that could kind of create a culture where people could just listened to each other’s stories with or without the melody.

Utah Concert Review: Absolutely. Well, let’s hope that that’s what happens, right?

Little Moon: Yeah. I think that’s always the hope. I’ll write songs about my hope of that.

Utah Concert Review: Perfect! Ok, I have some questions about your live music experience. Do you remember the first concert you attended?

Little Moon: Do operas count?

Utah Concert Review: Sure.

Little Moon: I went to a lot of concerts that my Dad actually did. I know it’s probably not that exciting, you know, as like Britney Spears or, *NSYNC.

Utah Concert Review: I actually think that’s cool. I don’t think many people get to watch their parents perform. So I think that is a unique experience.

Little Moon: The first concert I remember was watching my dad. Sometimes he would perform for like a crowd of hundreds and other times he’s performed for just a very small group of people at like a volunteer, or rehab center or something.

Utah Concert Review: So did you see him doing that and think “I’d really like to do that.”?

Little Moon: I honestly didn’t have like a pivotal moment watching him thinking, “Oh, that’s what I want to do.” I think I was just simply impressed by how much healing he did through his concerts. I was just a part of the audience so I allowed myself to be healed, you know? And then when I saw the benefits of that later in life, and I’m thinking about music, it was just like, well yeah, of course I want to heal people, you know?

Utah Concert Review: Do you remember the first time you performed?

Little Moon: I guess the main performances, I think that I branched out of myself as a Little Moon, was on the streets of New York. I did a lot of subway busking actually. And that actually helped me overcome a lot of my fears of performances.

Utah Concert Review: I’d think that’s about as tough a crowd as you’re ever going to get, right?

Little Moon: Yeah, totally! Oh Man, I love it! I mean, you have people that will cry with the songs you play. You have, you know, old women covering their ears as they pass you by. I love it. Like it is the coolest place to I think, explore with your music. And on the streets, they understand the etiquette. This isn’t an uncommon thing for them in New York. That’s where my mom was raised and my grandma still lives there. So, we try to go and visit her as much as we can. And it was during those trips where I would just try to perform as much as I can. And I think that’s kind of like the first perhaps lead into more Little Moon performances was to street perform.

Utah Concert Review: That’s great. Do you have a performance of your own, that you would say was the most memorable or your favorite or your best?

Little Moon: Oh Man. You know, honestly, like one of my, and this is going to be like super sappy, so I apologize for this in advance. A performance I always come back to was actually in New York. It was one of those moments, it was like the end of the day and I was just really exhausted and there was this one homeless man that was just sitting there and listening to me. I just remember in that moment, I’m like, okay, I got it. Just give it my all, you know, for what it’s worth. And so I did and he was like, “Play another one, just one more.” And so I just played one more song for him and, afterward, he comes up and this gives me a quarter, and really kind of defined what I believe, you know, music is about, and it’s just sharing it, whether it’s just a huge crowd or with this man who was touched by it and he gave, he’s homeless and he gave me some money. I mean, it’s just like, ‘what? this is insane’. And I refused it at first and I was like, ‘Please, I want to give you some of my money.’ And he’s like, “No. You just, you just keep playing little one.”. And then he went on his way.

Utah Concert Review: That’s so cool. That’s not sappy at all. That’s a great story. I really appreciate you talking with me. I really enjoyed it.

Follow Little Moon on Instagram (@little.moon.music) for updates on her forthcoming debut album and upcoming live dates. And be sure to catch her set at the closing night of Les Femmes De Velour on Tuesday February 26.

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