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Letting the inspiration flow, Gayle Skidmore's creativity won't be forced

Gayle Skidmore is a prolific independent performer in southern California.

She performs her gentle, intimate blend of folk and classical at least every other night at restaurants, bars and coffeehouses all over the region.

Her lyrics hold a certain level of character that comes from being refined by true tragedy.

Recently, Skidmore sat down for an interview with the Village News.

Village News: You mentioned that after you get off from work you either perform, write songs or run the business and booking aspect of your music.

You’re also working on your master’s degree and your learning Hebrew.

From where does your drive come?

Gayle Skidmore: The drive comes from being constantly bombarded with songs in my head. I will be walking and realize I’ve been humming something usable for the last half hour.

I want to be able to be good at what I do and have a career in what I love. I would just be doing music anyway after I got off work.

You just have to make it happen yourself. For me, making it is just being able to live off my music.

It’s a hard career to have. You have to fight to get there.

I love to create songs and share them with people. I like to write parts for my string players and that’s consuming.

I’m not a very good business person, so I read books. I haven’t tanked yet, so that’s good.

VN: So how do you turn that drive off when it’s time to relax?

GS: As far as relaxing goes, I’m relaxing when I’m creating music. I’m kind of in a time warp.

When I’m not working on stuff I am pretty laid back. I’ll get a massage. I don’t know. My friend just got a sail boat; there are other good things in life.

VN: What about your parents? Were they the hard-driving, dominating type?

GS: I don’t know. I don’t think they were overly strict. I just think that they taught me to be respectful and if they told me to do something, I did it.

I definitely think my desire to finish what I start comes from them. They always encouraged me to do the best I could in school or music or whatever I did.

VN: Did they make you take piano lessons?

GS: I was playing piano before my parents made me take lessons.

I was a sensitive kid; I didn’t like taking lessons because I didn’t like it when my teachers corrected me, but I always enjoyed playing on my own.

VN: When your music is also your work – and work isn’t always fun – describe how you take control of your mind to get into that creative place where ideas come.

GS: I would say I don’t force it. If I’m not feeling creative, I don’t try to write. When I do, I make really crappy songs that I would never play for anyone.

Then there are days where I write 10 new songs. I just wait until I’m inspired.

I usually carry a journal to write down my ideas when they come to me, but I don’t let it consume me.

I just try to live my life because that’s when true inspiration comes, not when you’re trying to be inspired. That way, I don’t force it. It just comes natural.

Of course, it’s different when you collaborate with other artists.

VN: Do you ever get jealous of other musicians?

GS: I used to a lot more than I do now because I learned that being jealous of people when they have good things going on it’s a sign that you don’t think God has good things for you, and it’s just important to rejoice with people and be happy with them.

Just because they have something good doesn’t mean there is something less for me or you. Just because the timing is different, good things are still to come.

I think it’s really important for musicians to support each other and build a community where we can help one another.

I have several friends who I have that community with, and they’re not all in the same genre of music as I am but they have that same ideal.

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