The Harmonators Something More Interview
2009's TIARA Awards Best Duo, The Harmonators are Rae Moody, a 2007 CMAA Country Music College Graduate and Liz Kinninmont, a vocal and drama coach for the past 11 years. Liz and Rae met while pursuing studies as lead vocalists at the Australian Institute Of Music.
Both were born and raised in Sydney and would sing each others' backing vocals while at the institute. Rae is responsible for the musical moniker, The Harmonators and after a lecturer pointed out they had something special, they decided to give it a go. The girls have long-time producer Matt Fell to thank, for in essence, bullying them into keeping the name after threatening to buy it... if they didn't keep it!
The duo's career turning point was in 2004, when they took their first successful trip to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Competing in the Capital Country Music Associations 38th National Jamboree, they took out the title for Best Group plus Overall Winners - one of a few groups to do so in the history of the competition.
2006 saw the release of their self-titled debut EP, featuring the single "I Forget", which reached both the Top 20 of the Country Music Channel's countdown and the Top 100 Country Hits Charts. The second single, "Wish I Didn't" followed suit by securing spots on both charts yet again.
"Here And Now", their debut album was released in 2008 and generated four Country Tracks Top 30 and Top 100 Country Hits chart successes. Showcasing tracks written by Liz and Rae plus songs penned by Felicity Urquhart, Sam Hawksley and Grammy Award winning Randy Scruggs, it was produced by Matt Fell (Graeme Connors and Sara Storer) and Michael Carpenter (Jason Walker).
In late 2010, Liz and Rae returned to Matt Fell's Love Hz Studios to record their latest offering, EP "Something More". The first single, "Woohoohoo" was written by Sam Hawskley and Danielle Blakey but the decision to release this track as a single came as a surprise to the girls. Only after recording it did they realise how catchy it was and what a fun summer song it could be, perfect for this time of year.
Working with Matt again was an easy choice; both Liz and Rae have an immense respect for the award winning producer, they've learnt to trust him and leave him to it. "Matt's studio is a really creative space. You walk in and bare your soul but he doesn't hear the raw song. He hears where we can take the song, even after one listen! It's so comforting to have a producer who will collaborate with you but also has such a clear picture of the kind of sound you want to create", says Liz.
"Having a new product is always really exciting, as an artist you change and evolve and so does your music and new recordings reflect this. But it's also a nail biting time, wondering if the people who have liked your previous releases will enjoy your new material and also how the industry will react. Generally if you're really pleased with it, nine times out of ten, the reaction from your audience will reflect that, says Rae.
"Something More" is an independent release and is out now: www.theharmonators.com
Interview with Rae MoodyQuestion:
How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves? Rae Moody
: It's always exciting to hear yourself playing on the radio or see your clip on television, it makes it all feel very real and you start to think about all those other people who are also listening an whether they like what they hear.Question:
Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry? Rae Moody
: Other than it being a tough business to be in and hard to crack, not really. I think we knew that there would be (and is) a lot of hard work involved in being successful and reaching your goals, but when you first start out there is a huge learning curve, which we are still on, but it is lots of fun and worth the work.Question:
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Rae Moody
: We do write some of our own songs, 3 of the 4 on our new Ep "Something More", were co-written by one or both of us. Inspiration can come from anywhere, a story you hear or read, or even just a line you see. Sometimes something you are randomly thinking about will spring a hook line or chorus, and sometimes I dream about a song, in that half asleep state, and I will be singing it and it takes a little while to figure out it's not something I know, but something new.Question:
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Rae Moody
: I listen to a whole range of music, a lot of Country (of course) particularly Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks, but I also love Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Recently I have also been listening to Dan Sultan and some classic Bon Jovi.Question:
What's next? Tour/Album/Single? Rae Moody
: Well the first single Woohoohoo, off our new Ep "Something More" has just gone to radio and we are awaiting the release of Something More to stores on March 11th. We will continue to gig regularly and attend play at Country Music festivals for the first part of this year, then in August we are off the Nashville to record a new album planned for release at Tamworth 2012.Question:
Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel? Rae Moody
: There have been a few to be honest. Usually at moments where nothing seems to be going right and you start to doubt yourself. But normally when I feel this way and seriously start considering not pursuing a music career any more, something really positive happens, light a little spark of hope/ ray of light that makes you believe it is all worth it.Question:
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Rae Moody
: Both. They are very different, in the studio you hear and see a song come to life and how it develops, whereas live you get to see people's reaction to your music and interact with them. Both are a lot of fun.Question:
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry? Rae Moody
: There probably wasn't one person or artist that inspired me to enter the music industry. It's more of a case that I love to sing and perform and wanted to do that as a career. I would see performers I loved and wanted to be where they were, so I guess that is what inspired me.Question:
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Rae Moody
: I think the biggest challenge is learning that not everyone is going to like or appreciate what you do, no matter what you do and not letting that affect you (you can't please everyone). You do have to develop a thick skin and learn not to take things too personally and sometimes that can be hard. But I have found that as long as what you do makes you happy and you truly believe in what you are doing there are people who are also going to feel the same way.Question:
What's a typical day like? Rae Moody
: Well I have a day job as nurse in the operating theatre from Mon-Fri, so normally I go to work during the day. Then I might have a radio interview scheduled, head home after work and check/answer emails, update Facebook/Twitter/website, follow up calls to radio DJ's and then depending on whether we have gigs/recording coming up, practice songs, write charts, book band members and email charts and songs. Sometimes there's not a great deal of sleeping going on at my house! Question:
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Rae Moody
: I think the best part is writing and recording songs and playing them for an audience and getting a great reaction (or even better people buying your CDs). Playing live is a lot of fun and when the audience is really enjoying what you do, there's nothing like it.Question:
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Rae Moody
: Keith Urban or the Dixie Chicks (although I'm not quite sure they need another girl?)Question:
Are you single? What do you look for in a partner? Rae Moody
: Yes I am single. What I look for in a partner is someone who I can have fun with, is serious about what they do and has ambition and drive, but doesn't take themselves too seriously, and of course looking like Colin Firth wouldn't hurt either!Question:
Do you have a website fans can visit? Rae Moody
: We sure do, its www.theharmonators.com.auQuestion:
Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life? Rae Moody
: Having great family and friends in your life
Having a job you enjoy (something you don't consider "work")
Being able to laugh at yourself
Taking care of yourself - eat well, exercise, rest
Having lots of gorgeous shoes (well maybe that's just me!)Question:
What message would you like to say to your fans? Rae Moody
: We really appreciate all their support and would like to thank them for listening to The Harmonators and buying our music and requesting it at radio and on CMC.Question:
What is the story behind the bands name? Rae Moody
: It started out as a bit of a joke really. Liz and I were singing harmonies and backing vocals for each other at uni (we studied music together) and I used to introduce the backing vocalists as "The Harmonators" - killing you with their harmonies! Anyway we used the name for a while whilst we did a couple of competitions etc, but had decided to change it when we went into the studio in 2005 to do our first ever recording. When we told our producer we were trying to think of a better name, he said he loved "The Harmonators" and that if we didn't keep it would we sell the name to him. So we decided to keep it!
Interview with Liz KinninmontQuestion:
How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves? Liz Kinninmont
: Very exciting. Especially after such a long break since our last single hit radio. You can't help but feel lucky too because there are so many artists out there trying to do what we do so it's a good feeling to know your music is making the grade.Question:
Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry? Liz Kinninmont
: Only that it is really tough to break into and you need to work really hard at it to keep it going. I had been told though that the country fans are very loyal and if they like what you do they'll stick by you.Question:
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Liz Kinninmont
: I definitely tend to write from my own experience or from those of people around me. It might only start from something very small, a few words that are said, a funny story or a look and suddenly you have the beginnings of a song.Question:
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Liz Kinninmont
: I have really wide taste in music actually. As far as country acts go I enjoy listening to Trisha Yearwood, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw. Keith Urban, Elvis and heaps more. I'm also a huge fan of Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty, Aerosmith, P!nk, Adam Lambert, Michael Buble and Kelly ClarksonQuestion:
What's next? Tour/Album/Single? Liz Kinninmont
: We are really looking shooting the video clip for the new single "Woohoohoo" in April and getting out there to sing the song live for people. Then later this year we're heading over to Nashville to begin production on a brand new album. YAY!Question:
Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel? Liz Kinninmont
: Of course. You can't help but sometimes think it's all a bit too much, especially being an independent artist when you're trying to hold down a full time job as well as perform and promote your music. But then something will happen to remind you of why you're working so hard and what the prize can be in the end for it.Question:
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Liz Kinninmont
: I prefer performing live for sure. Recording has it's perks, you can take your shoes off, close your eyes and use as many spirit fingers as you like lol. But nothing beats standing in front of a crowd (big or small) and being able to connect with them and have a good time.Question:
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry? Liz Kinninmont
: Someone who had a real impact on me was Michael Jackson. I saw him live in Sydney when I was 15 and I thought, wow, imagine getting to sing and entertain for a living, that's something I could see myself doing for a living. It was US country artist Trisha Yearwood who really made me want to be a country artist though. Question:
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Liz Kinninmont
: I think the biggest challenge has been staying on the path and being confident that we're doing the right things and making the right choices. It gets really tough to keep the momentum going sometimes. But then something happens and you're suddenly on the other side of that and moving forward again.Question:
What's a typical day like? Liz Kinninmont
: A typical day is heading off to the store I run at about 7.30am. At the moment we're promoting a new single so I'll probably have to slip out the back to do a few radio interviews on the phone. Lunchbreaks are time to check the band emails and maybe run some errands. Same for after work, take the dogs for a walk and then hopefully time to squeeze some song writing. Then comes my favourite part of the day - sleeping! Question:
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Liz Kinninmont
: My favourite part has been the amazing people we've been able meet along the way and getting to see how our music has made an impact on them. That's why we do all of this. For them.Question:
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Liz Kinninmont
: Mmm so many to chose from. Performing a duet with Keith Urban would seriously rock and I know Rae will love me for saying that. I think The Harmonators (featuring Keith Urban) has a nice ring to it actually.Question:
Are you single? What do you look for in a partner? Liz Kinninmont
: Rae and I are currently single. My favourite thing to do is watching and going to the movies so he needs to like that as well. He needs to have a good work ethic with a healthy work/home-life balance. Someone who makes me laugh - a lot. And some who will just be a constant for me, give me advice and support when I need it and also be able to tell me when I might be out of line. Kind honestly. Nice, kissable lips would be good too.Question:
Do you have a website fans can visit? Liz Kinninmont
: We sure do, its www.theharmonators.com.auQuestion:
Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life? Liz Kinninmont
: Being surrounded by people you love and who love you.
Having a profession that you have some passion for. A sense of humour!
Dance, even if you don't know how, it's good exercise and feels fantastic.
Be yourself and be okay with that.Question:
What message would you like to say to your fans? Liz Kinninmont
: Thank you for all of your support and for all the good times we've shared. You really do make it all worth it.Question:
What is the story behind the bands name? Liz Kinninmont
: Rae and I studied music together at the Australian Institute of Music and we were the country music girls surrounded by a lot of jazz and pop singers. So we started to sing each other's backing vocals at performances and Rae called us The Harmonators one day and it stuck. Before our first EP was recorded we thought about changing our name but we couldn't think of anything better so we kept it.
Interview by Brooke HunterBuy Now from Fishpond