Angel Snow took the stage at the 2016 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, TN on Sunday, September 25th, 2016. As a songwriter, she pulls each inspiration from personal experience and a need to decode the mysteries of the universe, crafting atmospherically haunting melodies. Luring listeners in with her unique vocal aesthetic. She was hand picked to write songs for Alison Krauss just an hour after the artist took one listen to her debut album, Fortune Tellers. The freedom of experimentation through songwriting and the support of her new independent label, Nettwerk, have given her the opportunity to discover herself musically. As she personally shifts into a place of true self acceptance, you can hear it come alive in her music.
Like her music, her performances are equal parts engaging and magnetic, drawing crowds in across festival grounds even up until her last song. Our contributor, Kristin McKinney, had a chance to sit down with Angel and get to the heart of what drives her to keep making music.
How would you describe yourself to others?
I’m not really into big crowds. I like to relate to people on a personal level and really engage with someone. I’m fascinated with all the mysteries of the world and unsolved, mysterious things that can’t be really explained. I’m intrigued with new ideas, very curious, I would think. I’m not a very on the surface person.
What is it about music that continues to keep you moving forward? What keeps inspiring you to be the artist that you are?
I’ve be pursuing this for ten years and basically the songs just continue to present themselves to me. And I feel like I can’t neglect that. Even in the darkest times I‘ve continued to just listen and try to pay attention to those things. As opposed to the everyday things that we don’t have any control over. I try to pay attention to what’s happening inside. I think listening to myself is what has really kept me going.
You moved to Nashville some time back and have had some major success with songwriting, penning songs for Alison Krauss. Did you always want to be an artist or has that path taken you by surprise?
I didn’t move here to become a songwriting. I moved here with a collection of songs and my guitar, with the intention of just doing the artist thing. I got really lucky. I met Alison Krauss through a friend and gave her my first record, Fortune Tellers. After I gave her the record I thought, “at least I got my CD to someone like Alison.” I didn’t expect that she was going to call me an hour later telling me she loved my songs and wanted to sing them. That’s when the whole songwriting thing took place. Victor Krauss and I wrote Lie Awake at our first meeting and that happen to be a song that Alison wanted. Then she picked up two more further down the line.
Now I’m doing the music that I’ve always wanted to do now. This new stuff is more of an electronic, experimental, ethereal thing that I’ve always loved. I’m moving into who I feel that I truly am as an artist. It’s been great to embrace that.
How do you balance that creative side of you with the business side?
It’s very difficult for me. I just got signed to a label but my first experience on the business side of things was when I was handling my songwriting administration through BMG. I wished then that I had at least a year of business under my belt. But I didn’t. It hasn’t been easy for me, but I’m getting used to it, accepting that this is what has to happen. You’ve got to learn to protect yourself. You always want to try your best to make the right decisions and stay on the right track. But know you’re going to make mistakes along the way and be okay with that.
I think many people come to Nashville thinking miracles are going to happen. What have been some of your biggest hurdles and how have you worked through that?
I’m not a networking person. I think very optimistically yet I’m idealistic realist. I’ve dealt with a lot of self doubt through the years. I didn’t move here thinking that I was going to make it, I just didn’t have another choice, I knew the songs had to be heard. It was never with the intention that I was going to be a big star. It’s almost that I’ve always intentionally or subconsciously taken the hard road. I’ve yet to get married, I’ve yet to have children, yet to just go with a corporate job. That’s just not who I am. I’ve learned so much about myself through my different experiences and it’s gotten me to a really good place. I’ve moved on from being really insecure and I’ve gained my own confidence. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m learning, and I think I’m okay with who I am. You have to be willing to admit, and own, that you’ve been through hell and you’ve worked through it and you’re still standing. I want other people to know that I’ve been there.
What has the transition from independent artist to record label artist taught you?
You can’t let it go to your head. Or think that it’s all just going to be peachy. It’s just not going to be and you have to be real about it. You’re still going to get criticism, and people praising you, but you have to keep that stuff balanced and don’t let it go to your head. Also just being kind, be nice to people. Don’t think that you’re better than anyone, because that’s ridiculous. That drives me crazy.
Did you have any fears signing with label about losing some control, specifically over the creative direction of you music?
I think it happened at the right time. It’s an independent label, so I still have some control over what I’m doing. They’re embracing exactly who I am as an artist, which is a blessing. I’m trusting the process and I know there are going to be hard times. But I knew that this was right for me and I felt really peaceful about making the decision. I’ve made some decisions in the past where I didn’t feel this way, and it didn’t turn out to be the right thing for me.
Terry McBride was the guy that found me from Nettwerk and made me feel very comfortable. Very much at home. And I’ve been doing this long enough to know this was the right choice. I finally found what I needed to find. You’ll find all the right things if you listen to the voice leading you.
Thinking about 2017, what can people be looking forward to from you?
I’ll be releasing the record early next year. I’m sure I’ll be touring, returning to Europe, which I always look forward to doing. I’m hoping to get some remixes out of these songs and work with people from all over the map. Really, just getting creative and having fun with it. It all feels like it’s the right time. This time last year I was in a difficult, dark space. It’s amazing if you just hang in there a little longer you’ll realize how it’s going to be okay. If I can inspire anyone out there who has been in that really dark space to just get back on track and stay with it, that’s what I want to do.
You go through a lot interviews and probably get a lot of the same questions. Are there any that you get that you wish people would stop asking you?
Huh… How would you describe your music? Or what genre? Because I have no idea. I’m just hoping that everyone will be able to relate to it and I can hit somebody where they need it. It’s meeting people where they are, that’s what it’s about. It took me a long time to get there, because I was allowing my ego to lead me, and that’s not what we’re supposed to do in order to have a fulfilling life. Our lives are meant to serve each other, I think. That’s what has brought me joy and brought me peace.
Photo Credit to Jason Myers