Artist: Autumn Sky Hall (she/her/they/them)
Hometown: Sacramento, California; now New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Latest Album: While We’re Here EP
Personal Nicknames: My nickname’s Otto 🙂
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
The year I wrote “I Woke Up,” a song inspired by getting into a lot of Heart that year, we played before them at BottleRock. We had no idea it was gonna happen until we got there that day to play, and their gear boxes were behind our gear. I was absolutely beside myself. I don’t remember that show, set or day AT ALL, I was OVERWHELMED with joy. My entire body just buzzin’ and beaming and shooting lightning bolts of glee. Crying. Zero regrets. If y’all are reading this, I love y’all!
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
I’m a person who’s annoyingly sensitive to being in new places, so I bring things to ground me. Everywhere I go, I have the same orange-smelling room spray I use. I bring my blanket from home. I have the same picks from my house, names of friends back home signed on my guitar case, a pin that says “Lord of the Strings” so I can remind myself of Lord of the Rings, my first happy place as a kid. I also like to be alone for at least a good half an hour so I can do some breathing before I feel like myself. It’s all really important to me so I approach the set in the right frame of mind and bring the right vibes. I’m always in the back taping flowers to things, humming, having a blast, feeling at home.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
I hate to see marginalized folks being pitted against each other. It makes my heart hurt. Folks struggling with discrimination already have to struggle more and have less access, I think they shouldn’t have to ask or be made to jump through hoops to be pulled to the front and given spotlights. Your art, like you, is already worth existing.
What has been the best advice you’ve received in your career so far?
It absolutely kills me that this is true, but as someone who’s just okay without practice and so much better with practice, you have to practice. Annoying, right? I’m so sorry.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I love to take unfinished songs out on a little song walk by the river, where no one can make fun of me vibing and singing it over and over a hundred times, trying to get into the feel and mood and think of something to add to the harmonies, or to sing along and add a bridge. It allows me to clear my brain and really listen to my narrative voice. I’m more honest, and also more kind, to myself there. It just puts me in the mood I want most to write songs from. Realistic but not bitter, truthful but not cruel. Carefree but not careless.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Crowther