Violinist Laura Targett steps out of the shadows and into the limelight when she launches her brand new CD featuring songs she has written, played and sung. Seven spoke with Laura about her emergence from fiddle player to singer, revealing a unique and evocative voice.
Congratulations on getting three songs selected in the finals of Music Oz awards. When do you learn of the outcome?
It’s been really affirming that the songs got into the finals! I didn’t win an award this time. I entered them as a kind of dare to myself – if they got anywhere, I’d follow this thing through. Got my answer, with three songs in the finals!
I am a little confused about the difference between fiddle and violin. Which is it you play – and what is it about the essence of that instrument that is so evocative for you?
The instrument itself is the same; the difference is in how you play it. Classical musicians would call it a violin, whereas folk musicians call it a fiddle. There are grey areas of course! I’ve been playing for so many years, the violin feels like an extension of myself, another voice really to express all the things that can be hard to put into words. I remember this first when I was a kid and my mum had cancer – I struggled to communicate what I was going through with words, but found it much easier to let it all out with music. Finding my singing voice has followed on from finding my voice with the violin.
How has your classical training informed the musician who you are today?
My early classical training was something I sometimes struggled with at the time, but in retrospect it gave me a solid grounding, good technique and some invaluable skills in composing and understanding the structure of harmonies.
Have you always sung? How is it stepping up to the microphone as a singer?
It’s always been easy for me to play the violin in front of an audience (actually it’s a bit of a social prop that helps me deal with shyness!) and I’ve been performing as a violinist (or fiddler) for years, since I was a teenager. But to step up and sing to an audience is new for me, is somehow more revealing, and can feel quite exposed. But getting comfortable with that vulnerable feeling is part of the process. And is also a running theme in this debut album, Fragile. I’m sure all the years of playing and studying traditional fiddle styles from around the world has affected the way I sing – and having spent years using my violin to express myself, some of those musical inflections translate over into my voice for sure.
Tell me a little about the songs you have written that are on your new album.
I wrote my first ever song about four years ago coming through some stormy times after going through depression, relationship break-up and personal crisis. I began to use this new-found private therapy practice to process life in the early hours when the kids were asleep… as you do! I played my song sketches to a few friends and had such overwhelming encouragement to ‘do something’ with them – people seemed to relate quite empathically with the way I wrote about my experiences. So the idea of recording an album was born, with the co-producing skills of wonderful producer, Avishai Barnatan, helping shape it into something magical. It evolved into a far bigger, farther-reaching project than the personal milestone I’d initially envisioned with some truly amazing artists and engineers coming on board.
What is the song that you are proudest of?
Really depends what mood I’m in! They all represent different aspects of my experience of life, from love, to crisis, to hope, to shadows, to vulnerability. I try to write as directly as I can – one friend called the songs ‘intimate, direct and poetic’ and that sounds good to me!… They’re all very human really.
Who are the musicians that you most enjoy playing with – how do they change or influence the way you play?
I’ve played with so many incredible musicians from around the world over the years; all of them have shaped or influenced my playing. The best way to study music in my books is get out there and play! Playing with musicians better than myself is one of my favourite things to do – the chance to be inspired and see where I can develop as an artist is a neverending, always rewarding process. I’m really looking forward to playing with some of my favourite musicians in the area at the CD launch on Friday – Thierry Fossemalle on bass, Oles Krolikowsky and Alex Mcleod on guitars, Cye Wood and Dominic Rado on violins (love playing with other violinists!), Jamie Patugalan on drums, Parissa Bouas on harmony vocals and probably a special guest or two!
What should we expect for your debut launch?
A musically intimate, heartfelt, magical concert featuring world-class musicians, human honesty and quirky songwriting! A personal glimpse into one woman’s soul. A one-off special event!
Friday at the Byron Community Centre at 7pm. $25/ $20 concession or launch special $35 with limited-edition CD.
Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.