How much do we at FMC love musician/songwriter Erin McKeown? Let us count the ways.
1. She rocks. Don't believe us? Visit her website, where you can check out her music.
2. She cares about the issues. From helping her fellow musicians in New Orleans still struggling in the aftermath of Katrina, to keeping the internet open for all artists and entrepreneurs, Erin is committed to working for positive change.
3. She's totally down with doing last-minute interviews for our blog!
Here's a quick Q&A with Erin in advance of her appearance at the 2009 Future of Music Policy Summit, where she'll appear on a panel called "The New DIY: Creative Control in an Accelerated World." This discussion will look at ways today's artists are using technology to earn a living and maintain control of their careers, and the promise and pitfalls of going it your own way. Erin will also be rocking out at "Musicians Bringing Musicians Home" -- a benefit concert for Sweet Home New Orleans that takes place at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Monday, Oct. 5. (Head here to learn more!).
But enough of our blabbing -- here's a a short email interview with Erin.
FMC: You're speaking on a panel about "The New DIY." What does this mean to you?
Erin McKeown: The "new" DIY is the same old DIY -- just with different tools. It means educating myself on all facets of my career, reaching beyond the "stuff" of my art, to the means of production, access, and dissemination. The tools are new, but the course of action is the same: don't wait for someone to do it for you! You are the best vehicle to explain yourself!
FMC: We're pretty impressed about how you've used the internet to engage fans directly. Was this always part of your strategy, or something that sort of happened organically?
EM: My current excitement about using the internet is relatively new. The short version is, I was tired of being told to have t-shirt contests and to Twitter or MySpace a certain number of times a day, or else. Or else what? I wouldn't have a career? My attitude was a combination of luddite and distaste at obvious marketing strategies. And yet, this is the world we live in, and it's changing whether I like it or not. I literally can't afford not to participate. so I asked myself, what way could I engage in this new world and still feel like me. An old fashioned variety show streaming from my house was the answer!
FMC: How has the internet impacted your career as a musician?
EM: Like a lot of people, I don't think I have any idea the full extent of how the internet has affected my career. In some ways, it is my career. I started in 1997, when the internet was just becoming ubiquitous, and one of the early highs of my career was to be one of the first featured artists on Napster. I seem to be very into italics in this interview.
FMC: You're also playing the benefit show for New Orleans musicians. Can you tell us about what it's like to play with Bonerama and why Sweet Home New Orleans is worth supporting?
I was so incredibly honored to get to take part in the FMC/ATC New Orleans Artist Activism Camp this year. I've always had a relationship with the city of New Orleans, and after Katrina I wanted to get involved in supporting the recovery. New Orleans is an ecosystem unlike anyplace else on the planet. Would we let the everglades dry out? Would we let the Grand Canyon fill in?
Sweet Home is working hard to bring the principal players back into the ecosystem so it can start working again. Playing with Bonerama is like strapping yourself onto the hood of a semi and rolling down the highway at 80 miles per hour. It's a fantastic hunk of machine to have behind you!
Trust us, you won't want to miss Erin at Policy Summit and the "Musicians Bringing Musicians Home" show. Head here to reserve your spot at Summit and here to grab tix to the benefit concert with Bonerama, Erin McKeown, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, Hank Shocklee and more!