Artist: Davina and the Vagabonds
Hometown: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Latest album: Sugar Drops
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Dottie Boots & The Hostiles
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
This question gives me anxiety. It’s so hard for me to pick one. I would say Led Zeppelin for my love of English Blues. Preservation Hall for collective improvisation, horns, and Trad Music. Siouxsie and the Banshees for Siouxsie Sue’s style. Louis Prima for letting me know it’s OK to have a sense of humor on stage and still kick ass at music. Nick Drake for singer-songwriter and Tom Waits for everything.
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
Nature, which I consider art, helps ground me to understand my emotions enough to write. Fashion to give me a certain strength and little “feel boost” when I wear certain things.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
I find either songs come strangely easily, like “Where the hell did that come?” to being just absolutely never-ending to finish. This new album took me three years to write and arrange. What a head wreck when you can’t write… let me tell you! It’s past frustrating for me; I still have mountains of songs I haven’t finished.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
Before a show: I sit with myself and put my face on. I hum and listen to music. Before the studio: I just freak out due to being nervous and anxious, drink loads of coffee, run around looking for all my material, making sure it’s prepared, and possible cry.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
My heart’s on my sleeve. If I’m gonna feel, I’m gonna let you know.
Photo credit: Christi Williams