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Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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Heather Nova on her new record
motherhood and creative freedom


how are you? what have you been up to?

very well thanks. a lot has happened since my last tour in the fall of 2003; i had a baby and i wrote and recorded my new album, redbird. i also played some festivals last summer in europe.

storm was a departure musically from all your previous albums. was this a reflection on your state of mind at the time or, after releasing south, which had so many different musical styles and emotions, did you want to create an album that had one continuous flow?

absolutely - after south, which in the end felt overproduced in places, and not focused enough stylistically, i really felt the need to simplify things - to make a record that flowed; one that felt natural and yet had a sense of mystery. it was important to do it all in one time and place too, with one band. i was very happy with storm. it felt like 100 per cent me; like there had been no gap between writing the songs and realising their arrangements; no production getting in the way.

Can you tell us about redbird as an album and some of the stories and ideas behind the songs?

well it was probably the most difficult album i have ever made because for the first time i had something else besides music (my baby) taking up my time and attention. so instead of having endless days with nothing to do but write, i had 2-3 hours on a good day. and that meant focusing in and working very intensely in a way i hadn't done before. it was a challenge. but at the same time i was incredibly inspired to write for this album. i had just had a life-altering experience! i felt like my heart had been blown wide open and i was the most vulnerable and yet the strongest i had ever been. that's what mesmerised and motherland are about.
with the song redbird i wanted to make a song that had the colour red running sort of subliminally throughout it. so when you hear it you are imagining red. red is such a symbollically powerful colour - the colour of love and passion, the colour of fire, and of course the colour of blood - of life and death.
someone recently told me about the theory that amelia earhart actually crash landed on a tiny deserted atoll rather than into the sea and that she and her navigator lived as castaways for years without of course ever being found. artifacts and debris have been found to back this up. i was so taken with this idea that i wrote i miss my sky imagining i was her. i tried to imagine her state of mind, her emotions, the details of her life in such a situation. it is probably my favourite song on the record.

when your son sebastian grows up do you think he will have your song motherland on his ipod playlist or will he think it's too embarassing?

oh god, i am sure he will be embarrassed by all my music! aren't children always embarrassed by their parents? he will probably find them too personal and get into death metal or something to rebel!

the song welcome was originally included on the us version of south. why did you decide to include it on redbird?

it was never released in europe - only in america - and i had quite a few requests from fans over here to put it on an album. i like the energy of the song and thought it fit well on this one.

now you are in total control over your career business wise owning your records and choosing who will release them. is this the only real future for artists who have their own minds (and want to keep them)?

i don't know why i didn't do it sooner. an artist needs to be able to follow their instincts in making an album, and with a record label breathing down your neck it's hard to do that. a label always has an agenda. and so you get pulled around and end up compromising artistically. there are always battles which are such a drain on your energy when you are just trying to make something you believe in, something true to your heart. i feel a real freedom creatively now that i make the records myself and license them out. i would recommend it to any artist who wants creative control. of course i am not doing it alone - i have a great team of people working with me, and that is essential too. people i can really trust and who truly believe in the music.

this must be the longest time you have been off the road. have you missed it and how will you manage touring as a mother?

i spent about 12 years pretty much non-stop on the road so it is strange not to be out there! i love playing live but to be honest after a while i felt like i had no life except for touring. now that i have a child i feel strongly that i need to put him first and make sure his life is stable and happy. i have also discovered the joys of being in one place for a while - like growing my own vegetables and watching the seasons change! so i will continue to play live, just not for such extended periods. this summer i will play a bunch of festivals in europe and then, starting at shepherd's bush empire in london on the 30th september, i will do a one month tour of europe. (see website for dates)

do you have any plans to release your albums again in north america, japan, australia?

contrary to what fans in america think, it is not that i don't care about them that i haven't released my last album over there! the truth is that there is a lot more to releasing an album than people realise. first you have to find a label that will invest the time and money into promoting it, then i would have to do months of travelling around the country on promotion, then months on the road doing a tour. when you add that to the european promotion/touring there isn't much of your year left. so i decided i would get on to making another album rather than releasing the last one all over the world. because i knew that thanks to technology anyone who wants to can now buy the records from itunes and similar sites. i am a big fan of the itunes store (i live in bermuda, so i have to be!!) and i hope that fans in north america will take advantage of it.

if you could make an album with tracks from all your releases what would be on it and why?

hmmm, difficult.... some of my personal favourites would be:

winterblue - this track always feels good to me. i love the way the arrangement feel like the lyrics - that is perfect production! it sounds oceanic, watery. and it¹s my favourite song to play live.

island - this is the song i took the biggest risk with lyrically. and i guess i am proud of that. it's a good example of how the truth can set you and others free - from letters i have received this one seems to have reached out to a lot of people, for which i am grateful

ear to the ground - what i like about this song is that i didn't really know what i was writing about. it kind of came out of me and revealed something to me. but there is still a mystery in it that even i don't understand

help me be good to you - there is a silkiness to this track, an ease that i like. but also a real ache, that feeling of wanting to be better than we are. and i like the understated arrangement in the music. i remember recording this - we were all sitting around in a tiny room with just a couple of mics because it was just meant to be a demo. that is probably why it sounds so relaxed!

just been born - i like the way it feels hypnotic and driving and almost sort of seasick. to me there is kind of compelling darkness to it.

aquamarine - a flash of colour, of light bouncing off the water, a deep longing, a moment in time. and then it's gone forever.

all i need - this song is very simple but it feels great to sing. it feels powerful.

i miss my sky - i enjoyed the challenge of getting into someone else's head. i think it's one of my best lyrics.

sugar - it rocks.


Copyright 2005 ­ Saltwater Ltd., heathernova.com. Thanks to Abbo and Heather.


( from the articles section of www.heathernova.com )

Posted on: 2005/6/19 14:34

Edited by gerd on 2005/6/19 15:13:37
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Posts: 12550
So Heather is the itunes geek. Oh well, I still think it's deceptive to call it a worldwide release with just itunes. Is the Itunes format even lossless? Even so, having a cd is so much better. But the trade-off between a new album and an American release is interesting, though she managed to do Storm just as fast and the album before it had an American release. Why not just release it in America, do a small tour, and be done with it? Oh well.

The only other new part here really is the comments about the songs, which are interesting.

my counter comments:

Winterblue: Well, I guess this explains why she plays it so much. Doesn't do much for me.

Island: She seems tenative here... " I guess I am proud of that". She even bases how much she likes it on fan response. It's still her classic song nonetheless.

Ear To the Ground: I had a feeling she might like this. And um, isn't it just about getting in touch with nature? Seemed pretty simple to me, part of its charm.

Help Me Be Good To You: Interesting that she picks two songs from an album she says she was disappointed with. This is definitely a good song though. This and Talk To Me are the songs that convinced me to buy South when I was wary of its commercialness

Just Been Born: seasick? darkness? Interesting. I guess it does kind of feel like giving into something kinda sinful, but there's a real conquering in it, especially with the "honey, honey, yeah I wany you" part. The seasick part... I always thought of that as part of being completely sucked in and lost in lust. A great song none the less. Good choice.

Aquamarine: wow, she just summed up the song even shoter than the song. It's one of her best ocean songs, certainly.

All I Need: I didn't expect this. Doesnt seem to be one of the more original or stand-out tracks on Storm. But singing a song is very different from hearing it. I wrote a song that had a similar sound to this and liked the feel of play it, at least until I realized it wasnt very good.

I Miss My Sky: This could be the future of Heather Nova's songwriting. She's chronicled her whole life and now is moving on to writing from other perspectives. Can't wait to hear this.

Sugar: Yes it does, Heather. Yes it does. I bet she'll play this on the tour.

From her comments on Welcome, it sounds like perhaps she didnt rerecord it? I dont know.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 15:18
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
South
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I already read that Winterblue was her fav song to play live... Ear to the Ground, yay

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:08
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
South
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I don't think that American fans believe that she doesn't care about us. I think we believe that she only cares about herself, and her answer to that question only solidified that belief.

"Let them eat itunes."

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:25
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Well, assuming she is being sincere, it seems like to her iTunes is very useful and nearly as good as a CD. So perhaps to her it seemed like a fine substitute.

And some American fans may be disappointed that she doesnt tour America, but we don't attribute it to "caring" or "not caring" at all. She owes us nothing and we owe her nothing. She releases an album and we can choose to buy it or not. She can choose to release it or not.

Just because we are devoted to her does not mean she is required to do something for us back. Some artists do, some artists don't. She'd rather stay in Bermuda and raise her son. That's her perogative.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:29
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
South
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You know as well as I do that she is only out to make a quick buck. Otherwise, she has zero contact with her fans, to the point where her official online contact with fans was allowed to harrass the community for years, completely unnoticed. And now that she knows, she doesn't care.

Defending the itunes comment is stupid. Do you want to pay full price for an album, but not get any packaging? And what happens a few years later when your hard drive crashes?

Defending the rest of that answer is stupid too. "It's not true that I don't like you. It's just too hard for me to release it, sorry. Just use itunes. I'll still get the money but I won't have to do anything."

Please.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:35
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Quote:

Kitty Treats wrote:
You know as well as I do that she is only out to make a quick buck. Otherwise, she has zero contact with her fans, to the point where her official online contact with fans was allowed to harrass the community for years, completely unnoticed. And now that she knows, she doesn't care.


If she was out to make a quick buck, I don't think she's doing a good job of it. She'd be making more commercial music and be releasing it in America.

And again, she owes us nothing. One of the questions we sent to her had a very rude question in it. I wouldnt be suprised if that was the reason she didn't answer. Besides, keeping up contact with more fan groups would make her more money.

As for Massimo, it's still mostly he said she said. Yes, he shot himself in the foot by admitting to breaking into her email, but who is she going to trust more, someone she's known for awhile and has been handling her site, or some fan she's never met? Try to see these things from her perspective.

Quote:

Defending the itunes comment is stupid. Do you want to pay full price for an album, but not get any packaging? And what happens a few years later when your hard drive crashes?

Defending the rest of that answer is stupid too. "It's not true that I don't like you. It's just too hard for me to release it, sorry. Just use itunes. I'll still get the money but I won't have to do anything."

Please.


Acting like she should be your personal slave and do your whims is stupid. I said that she probably sees it as similar, which based on her comments, seems to be the case. I do not. But I am not Heather.

She's not the only one using ITunes though. Final Fantasy music, never released in the US, was recently put on American ITunes. This is a trend.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:44
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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Cassander is right.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:47
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Btw, if you download something with iTunes, can you copy it to another disc or on CD or in your mp3 player?

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:49
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Quote:

bernd wrote:
Btw, if you download something with iTunes, can you copy it to another disc or on CD or in your mp3 player?


Yes. There are some limitations, but you can certainly burn it onto a cd and then rip it back onto your computer and do whatever the hell you want with it.

However, it's nothing like having the CD in that you dont get the album notes and art and physical item and I believe the Itunes format is still lossy, though I'm not 100% sure of that. Mp3s are not as good sound quality as a cd... I think the ITunes format is less lossy, but I assume it still is somewhat lossy.

I assume all her American fans who are still into her will just import the CD from Europe for 20 or 30 bucks. I will. It's annoying, but what can you do?

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:53
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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http://www.informit.com/articles/arti ... sp?p=372009&seqNum=2&rl=1

"The most popular lossy compressed format today is the MP3 format, although there are lots of other formats that work in the same fashion. Here's a list of available lossy formats:

* Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)—Also known as MPEG-4 AAC, this is the proprietary audio format used by Apple's iTunes and iPod. AAC offers slightly better sound quality than MP3 files along with strong digital rights management (DMA), to prevent unauthorized use. Unfortunately, most non-Apple music players won't play AAC-format songs—but if you're an iPod user, this is the format you'll be using.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 16:58
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Quote:

bernd wrote:
http://www.informit.com/articles/arti ... sp?p=372009&seqNum=2&rl=1

"The most popular lossy compressed format today is the MP3 format, although there are lots of other formats that work in the same fashion. Here's a list of available lossy formats:

* Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)—Also known as MPEG-4 AAC, this is the proprietary audio format used by Apple's iTunes and iPod. AAC offers slightly better sound quality than MP3 files along with strong digital rights management (DMA), to prevent unauthorized use. Unfortunately, most non-Apple music players won't play AAC-format songs—but if you're an iPod user, this is the format you'll be using.


There's DRM, but it's not that strong. You can burn the AAC files to a disc and then rerip them and do anything you want. But I don't think I want to pay for any lossy format.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 19:27
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Storm
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Guys (the American ones), why so aggressive ?

I mean, it's Heathers life. Why touring half a year in the US if only 100 people per show turn up ?

And I don't think she sells a lot over there too.

And I don't think she thinks about herself, it's mainly because of Sebastian I guess.


Sarah Mclachlan, who is one of my favourites has toured Belgium for the first time ever ,last year. The previous time she was in Europe, was like 10 years ago !
That embarrasses me as well, but it's her choice.

Same for Leah Andreone, last time she was in Europe must have been 1996.

Whenever Tori Amos comes to Belgium, she always plays at huge festivals or huge concertvenues with a bad sound.

I can understand your frustration.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 19:58
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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Something about cd's : off course a nice cover is better than downloaded stuff, but I think in 5 years' time there will be no cd's sold anymore as we know it now.


And no more classic record stores.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 19:59
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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Quote:

johandeman wrote:
Something about cd's : off course a nice cover is better than downloaded stuff, but I think in 5 years' time there will be no cd's sold anymore as we know it now.


nooooooooooo !!
I want to keep cds !! How can you have a mp3 file autographed ??

Posted on: 2005/6/19 21:17
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Siren
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Quote:

Julie wrote:
Ear to the Ground, yay


Yeeeaaah !!!
She should sing it on the next tour

Posted on: 2005/6/19 21:19
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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yeah, I hope she plays her top 9 ! And a varying setlist from concert to concert

Posted on: 2005/6/19 21:52
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Storm
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Quote:

gerd wrote:
yeah, I hope she plays her top 9 ! And a varying setlist from concert to concert


This is something I reacted on. I also believe that artists who plays the same songs (mostly singles sadly) in concerts lack some imagination. That's one of the reasons why I actually got bored of seeing Eskoabar live, since they played the same songs over and over, with only few variations.
But on the other hand, if there are two concerts near you and the playslists are different; following could happen:
* You go o both and get more for your money
* You only go to one and maybe miss your favorite tune and get really sad about that.
* You only go to one concert and maybe miss your favorites songs but consider yourself lucky anyway since you at least went to a gig which is more than most people have in a lifetime.

Posted on: 2005/6/19 22:39
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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every Heather concert is unique. I still would go to plenty of her concerts even when knowing it will be the same setlist.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 0:40
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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really? geez.
i was kinda fed up with the stuff @ the second eve in Amsterdam last year

Posted on: 2005/6/20 0:48
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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I agree with Anke, although I was not fed up. But I understand her.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 1:05
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Milky Way
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Quote:

Kitty Treats wrote:

"Let them eat itunes."







That's harsh.. but very clever.


Quote:

johandeman wrote:

Why touring half a year in the US if only 100 people per show turn up ? ...Sarah Mclachlan....I can understand your frustration.



You are right about the cost/benefit of touring the US. But one show in 7 years? It's not like we are talking about playing in Madagascar! Come to New York City!! She could sell out the Roseland easy, and half of the US fans on this message board are within 4 hours. We could all pay $75 a ticket! Please Heather!



Well, Sarah was almost bankrupt for nearly a decade, so it would have been financially impossible for her to do out of North America touring. Heather is not in that situation (or so we believe). But Sarah is wonderful live and I'm glad she finally made it over there.


It's just so frustrating. Like an unrequited love of an untouchable beauty. We sit here and read all our your, esp. yours Johan, great concert stories and want just one opportunity.*

*Upon reflection, with all the blessing I have in life, not seeing a second Heather concert isn't something to really be worried about.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 15:50
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Well, some of us are still hoping for a first concert rather than a second. And just cause I accept Heather has no plans for America doesnt mean I wont make a snarky comment here or there about it.

But blessings in life? I donno. Who is really blessed? We all will die and we all will be forgotten. Nothing we do will last... we are completely insignicant. Even offspring will die as will their offspring... all lines will eventually go dead. Either the universe collapses in on itself or it spreads into entropy, either way, nothing is forever, everything is but a meaningles speck.

But I digress.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 18:05
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Blow
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In the interview she said something like she started to feel she had no life other than touring, and it is obvious that she is now going to put her son first. Quite right too.

I know it's easy for me as a European to say this but the whole subject of not touring America has been ongoing for a very long time now, and its unlikely to change. I guess I would be frustrated too if I didn't get to see her play but for over 20 years I've been a Kate Bush fan who NEVER gigs, and I still love her.

As others have said. Heather owes us nothing. She creates brilliant music but her life is her own & I think she comes in for quite a lot of stick from people over where she chooses/is able to play. Give her a break guys, its supposed to be fun.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 18:36
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Milky Way
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Quote:

AndyG wrote:

I know it's easy for me as a European to say this but the whole subject of not touring America has been ongoing for a very long time now, and its unlikely to change. I guess I would be frustrated too if I didn't get to see her play but for over 20 years I've been a Kate Bush fan who NEVER gigs, and I still love her.



Heather plays shows frequently (over 1100 total right?). I think one of the frustrating things for us North American fans is not jus the lack touring, but the lack of album releases, videos releases, really anything. After each of the last 2 (3 if you count Wonderlust) albums her promo materials have had the phrase "US Tour" or "North America tour" in it. We feel teased. I think it's nice of her to come right out and say "economically it just can't be done", but after so many retractions (for lack of a better word) I feel let down.

I don't like iTunes due to it's proprietary nature. I guess I'll be stuck buying the import. Again.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 18:54
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
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Ryan has very good points, as do all the Americans here...

If Heather's brother Mishka can tour as supporting artiste in America, then any argument contra to that is rather dull.

iTunes is just an attempt to use a new technology.

And, actually, a musician generally makes their *livelihood* through the sale of their music AND gigging/touring. They choose to perform for whatever audience finds them. If there wasn't an audience, i.e. paying public, any musician would find it difficult if nigh on impossible to continue playing music.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 19:14
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
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Quote:

Darren wrote:
Ryan has very good points, as do all the Americans here...

If Heather's brother Mishka can tour as supporting artiste in America, then any argument contra to that is rather dull.

iTunes is just an attempt to use a new technology.

I agree.

Quote:

Darren wrote:
And, actually, a musician generally makes their *livelihood* through the sale of their music AND gigging/touring. They choose to perform for whatever audience finds them. If there wasn't an audience, i.e. paying public, any musician would find it difficult if nigh on impossible to continue playing music.

Well, that's why she tours Europe, especially Germany, Netherlands, UK so often.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 19:23
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"I'm sorry for the mess, you see my mind is somewhere else" (P.S. Eliot - Troubled Medium)
"Prettiest mess you've ever seen" (PJ Harvey - Angelene)
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Siren
Joined:
2005/1/3 5:36
Posts: 577
some of you might want to re-read her response on the u.s., japan, etc.--she was talking about storm and why it wasn't released here and why she didn't tour here. that's sort of understandable, because it was the first time that she was doing it on her own and she was pregnant.

what's the excuse now? as far as I can tell, it's either laziness or selfishness.
sorry if that sounds harsh, because I still intend to get this next album one way or the other, but she tours the shit out of the same countries, same festivals, same venues--over and over and over again.

I just don't buy whatever the reasoning is for not touring here at all. none of the explanations withstand scrutiny.

so she has a right not to care about us, and I have a right to think that she's being lame. I'm not into all the blind worship when I'm being dismissed or shat upon.

why can't she tour for a month or so around europe, take break, then tour some east coast cities in the u.s., then take another break before hitting the west coast and asia?

I can assure you, at this rate, that her worldwide fanbase will continue to shrink.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 23:20
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Siren
Joined:
2005/1/3 5:36
Posts: 577
and living in bermuda, she's closer to the u.s. now.

Posted on: 2005/6/20 23:26
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Storm
Joined:
2005/1/2 12:40
From close to Antwerp
Posts: 6478
You're right Michael, but most of her musicians are English and Europeans.

Tiff, I didn't know Sarah Mclachlan was nearly broke for 10 years. How come ?

Sarah Mclachlan took a 5 year break to raise her kid, something Heather hasn't really done.

I think she does quite a lot of gigs this summer, being a mom.

Something about import : most of my Tori, Lily Holbrook and Sarah Mclachlan cd's are import too, or stuff from eBay.

Posted on: 2005/6/21 0:14
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Siren
Joined:
2005/1/3 5:36
Posts: 577
with the same opening track as the american version of south, I really didn't expect to see it in stores over here. although she could have just as easily released a different version, as she's done with most of her other albums.

her living in bermuda isn't that big of a deal, there still isn't any good reason to completely write off the rest of the world like she has.
the only honest answer is that she just doesn't care that much, and she's content with the same audiences and same tours over and over again. I doubt she'll ever actually say that though.
personally, I'd get bored after doing the same tour for so many years.

Posted on: 2005/6/21 0:58
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
Joined:
2005/1/3 18:45
From usa
Posts: 12550
"shat upon"?

Posted on: 2005/6/21 1:24
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Storm
Joined:
2005/1/2 12:40
From close to Antwerp
Posts: 6478
I can understand her though. And it's her life and her choices. I guess her kid is the most important thing in her life right now, more important than music.

And don't forget all her musicians are European/English, all her contacts in the music business are here ....

If she had to tour and do promotion in the US, she would have to start all over again and would be in the situation she was here in 1994. It's a lot of work I guess.

Posted on: 2005/6/21 10:33
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Blow
Joined:
2005/5/11 18:48
From The Vermont transit bus
Posts: 68
I agree with Johan, and some of this thread sounds more suited to an 'I hate HN' forum than a fansite. It's a shame that what should have been a celebration time for Heather fans is turning out so dour.

Posted on: 2005/6/21 12:32
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
Siren
Joined:
2005/1/3 5:36
Posts: 577
I don't hate her at all, she can do whatever she wants.

Posted on: 2005/6/21 15:26
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Re: Heather Nova - The redbird has flown
The Jasmine Flower
Joined:
2005/1/2 0:28
Posts: 27051
Indeed, the "hate" didn't come from Michael...

Posted on: 2005/6/21 15:29
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"I don't even know why do you think I'm a mess" (The Muffs - Sad Tomorrow)
"I'm sorry for the mess, you see my mind is somewhere else" (P.S. Eliot - Troubled Medium)
"Prettiest mess you've ever seen" (PJ Harvey - Angelene)
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