Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
I have a Subaru outback. It’s relatively new to me – I’ve had it for about a year. My previous Outback was rear-ended and totaled on my way home from a gig last July. Needless to say, finding myself without a touring vehicle suddenly was a big problem! I wrote to Subaru and asked them if they’d like to sponsor a folk singer whose car got totaled. I sent them a photo of myself, the car and my dog (who tours with me). I was hoping maybe they’d send me a new car! They wrote back and said no… but that they thought my dog was cute. I ended up buying a used Outback to replace the totaled one.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
It’s really hard sometimes to find a good time to eat on tour! Since it usually isn’t ideal to eat right before a show, my mom and I usually have one big meal a day when we’re on the road together. On a typical touring day we’ll wake up, drive to the next town, find a diner with all day breakfast, have some eggs and then head to the soundcheck! Usually we’ll have some popcorn after the show 🙂
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I have only ever broken one string while on tour. It was in Australia in 2008 and I was performing at a festival with my dad, Loudon Wainwright iii. I had been sick for a few days and I had a fever and I broke a string in the middle of a song. My dad came to the rescue and handed me his guitar while he took mine to replace the broken string.
Where do you rehearse?
I mostly rehearse and write on my couch or my bed!
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
Well, my very first song was a co-write with a family member around age 7. It was called “On The Farm” and since I grew up in NYC and had next to no experience with farms, the lyrics were very basic…there were cows and chickens involved.
Describe your first gig.
My first solo gig was in NYC at the Rockwood Music Hall. It was a pretty terrible show and I was horribly nervous but I had a lot of supportive friends and family who showed up and pretended it wasn’t so bad.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I used to teach elementary school. I really loved that job. I taught 2nd and 3rd grade and it was always incredibly interesting and different from day to day.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I would say that my income has slowly grown and stabilized in the last 5-10 years. The one exception to that would be that the income from digital music sales has gone way down since Apple Music changed its approach and since the rise of Spotify. Had you asked me this question 7 months ago I might’ve guessed that my income would remain around the same or hopefully grow slowly into the future. Now that we’re 6 months into the pandemic I would have to honestly say that the future of my income through music is very, very uncertain. It’s really a frightening time to be someone who has been surviving off of live music performances.