“You don’t necessarily need a top-notch marketing team to do that. On the other hand people don’t buy music anymore and the streaming royalties are really minimal which is a shame as music plays such an important role in life. It seems that people find it hard to justify paying for something like entertainment where as if someone challenged their wage at work they would have a problem with it.” – @ZoeySutra

Listen to the interview
Episode #312 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax :

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW ZOEY SUTRA
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Music business…
I have mixed feelings about the music business. On one hand it’s a really positive thing that you can get your music out there to anywhere in the world now. You don’t necessarily need a top-notch marketing team to do that. On the other hand people don’t buy music anymore and the streaming royalties are really minimal which is a shame as music plays such an important role in life. It seems that people find it hard to justify paying for something like entertainment where as if someone challenged their wage at work they would have a problem with it.

The role of an artist is to be really brave and vulnerable which isn’t easy so it would be nice to be rewarded for that in a way that you can support your existence. It also still seems that you need a powerful brand as an artist and although its much easier to spread your music these days via the web there is also a problem of over saturation.

The artists that do really well are generally signed to a Major label and therefore have the marketing dollar and production team behind them. This is great for creating a polished product and getting exposure but then the question is how much creative control do you still really have? If I cared only about getting famous then I wouldn’t care about this but because the message behind the music is really important to me, I know I would struggle with that. I guess it’s a fine balance that you would have to weigh up at that crossroads.

I am really not that far along yet to have much of a strategy plan…
But I know I have been trying to network as much as I can online to overcome the over saturation. Aiming at communities that may be interested in my work. Performing live would be a next step for me to up the fan base. But doing radio shows where perhaps you can intrigue people with your story is also a plus. I think having a clear direction to where you want to go and who you are but being open to how you will get there is important, as you never know where you might pick up a potential fan.

Social media…
I love that you can be connected to anyone in the world at any moment. It’s great for traveling and keeping in touch with people anywhere in the world. I also love that you can get accurate news on current events. Not just news filtered through the eyes of one media source, but many perspectives are now on offer. This makes it easy to do your own research and form an informed opinion based on multiple sources. It’s great for creating an identity and connecting with a niche market anywhere in the world. We are no longer bound to our immediate external environment.

Challenges would be…
the constant bombardment of messages, over stimulation and the fact that you can be contacted 24 hrs a day. It’s harder now to switch off and you need to develop stronger boundaries to get breaks from the constant demands of replying to social media. It’s also very easy to get distracted by the endless information and current affairs on offer. It’s also hard to know how genuine people are online. I know there is an element of identity manipulation with everyone but there are alot of people who use social media in a negative way such as identify theft. Sometimes I struggle discerning between who is authentic and who is an imposter especially when accepting requests from potential fans.

Singles vs an album…
With a single you can get an immediate response from the public that comes in the form of instant gratification (depending on how long you take to make the single). In my case my single took a long time as I did most of it myself. With an Album (which I’m yet to make) it seems like it would be harder to keep all those tracks under wraps for a long period of time and also make sure they have a similar theme. (I get quite impatient!)

My next project will definitely be an EP…
To get a few solid tracks together that I can share with the public while the song themes and emotions are still fresh would be ideal. To then do some gigs to get an audience response and see how the songs translate live. Then to re-calibrate the content based on how your performances go and your public response. Ideally I will be looking for a collaborator for this.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Lady GaGa. Though if it was 5 minutes I would probably still be feeling intimidated and not past the point of breaking the ice! For me she embodies a strong female artist that is able to communicate true and very personal art to the world very clearly. This is really inspiring as I feel like her music has been really trailblazing for the weird and female artists in commercial Pop. She has more power and influence being an A list pop star but has maintained a sense of integrity and authenticity which I admire. She is a representation of a strong female who isn’t afraid to speak her mind but has the talent and substance to back it up. I really love this.

If you pay alot of attention to mainstream media…
and only use inspiration from the commercial market then you won’t have enough substance to create original interesting art. Also if you care too much about what other people think or spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others then you will never succeed. Because trends are fleeting and the market is fickle. By the time you try to “fit in” to a “scene” it will have transformed. So the best option is to carve out and develop your own uniqueness which sometimes means isolating yourself to avoid over saturation. Though it’s important to keep an eye on the current scene at times to incorporate some of its strengths so you are also able to give people a taste of what they are familiar with combined with something new.

I am most afraid of…
Singing in front of a live Audience.

My personal definition of success is..
Success is being able to be authentic and true to yourself, doing what makes you happy and knowing who you are. Name one success story that you are particularly proud of. Explain why you considered this a great success and how you achieved it. I have been on a long journey of self-discovery for the past 11 years. I am proud of taking the time to discover that I wanted to study music and take my own path despite the pressure to study something “normal” or “revered” and get a regular job. Its been challenging and I’m not there yet, but I’m particularly proud that I have made it this far and have authentically followed my truth and immersed myself in it. I have always wanted to make a music video and last December I created my own, that I shot and edited myself. This step for me was a huge achievement as I struggled through it but got there in the end. You generally can’t have success without some kind of struggle.

My over all goal for my life & career is…
To Make a positive difference in the world and inspire others to do the same. I would love to make incredible music with a strong message that gets people to think about things differently or propels them outside of their comfort zone. This in turn would hopefully aid in dissolving the segregation in society that causes hate out of lack of understanding of empathy for others. Whether its race or class or religion or gender or sexuality we are all humans living on the planet at this time with different backgrounds but with similar needs. I would like to aid in dissolving hate and be instrumental in creating more understanding. Ideally I would like to do this though music using my voice as the instrument. But I would be happy to aid in creating this though any modality necessary, but if I can also be creative and weird at the same time then this is ideal.

3 Ways that I challenge myself and how each one moves me forward towards my goal.

1) I challenge myself daily to a practice of authenticity, as staying true helps me keep in alignment my goals and blocks out the pull of conforming to the system or others ideals for me.

2) Practicing singing and getting voice lessons to push me further out of my comfort zone.

3) Performing and sharing my first music video was a huge step in breaking the live performance ice!

I grew up playing African Percussion in…
my hometown as my family organized workshops, community drumming events and performances. So performing playing percussion is pretty natural for me. I then started to become interested in electronic music as a teenager. When my mother and I moved to a new city at age 16 I was introduced to trance parties. It was then I decided I wanted to write and produce my own music. I would also sing and play guitar in my bedroom from age 15. But it wasn’t until I moved to New York when I was 23 that I began to pursue voice lessons and production school.

Power Hungry…
is an exploration of what it feels like to know who you are and assert your personal boundaries in the World, (Especially feminine power). It came at a time last year when I was forming a stronger sense of self, fighting for that and projecting that out into the world. Conversely the song also explores when power becomes greed and how we become blinded by power and success and will do anything to get it.

I wrote, produced and recorded the song in my bedroom at my dad’s place where I grew up. All of the parts including the deep male sounding voice in the beginning are me. I actually came across that sound by accident. I was experimenting and actually recorded that part straight into the computer mic. Then I was throwing effects onto the vocal until I found something really masculine that I was happy with. I thought it was a good contrast to the main vocal.

During the music video that I also made myself. As it was the first time I had done this it was a real learning curve. I was thinking that I would film it in the desert because it really spoke to the raw power of the song, but had no idea where. Then I was in Melbourne and made a new friend also called Zoe who asked me if I would go to Ayres Rock with her. I said “yes but only if you help me with my project”. So here we were 2 girls camping in the desert with a tripod making a music video. It was a pretty intense, challenging process that was hilarious at times but in the end I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

For me this track was…
a real landmark as it came through with a really powerful message. It was the first track I really completed all on my own (apart from the final mix and master) and that is a real personal achievement. I know I have a long way to go production and songwriting wise but I’ve received overall a really positive response. People have said that it’s really powerful and catchy. Which are real pluses. I have really just been marketing it on social media and looking for opportunities online that would be interested in featuring my song and video. It’s hard when your starting and your networks are limited but I am really exited to get back into content creation to see what will come out next.
Zoey_sutra indie music

I just moved to Melbourne…
6 weeks ago so I am not really in touch with a scene here. Before I was living in my hometown after coming back from the US and there is nothing much going on there music wise. I am hoping to move back to the United States as soon as possible as the music scene is really rich, diverse and that inspires me. 
Tell me about one fun thing you like to do that can be music or non-music related.

I love to travel and I am really into traditional religious chants from different cultures. I feel like there is some real power in the ancient wisdom of these words and melodies. Also the intention behind it is really pure and powerful. You can generally really feel the power of the music even if you don’t understand the words.


Zoey Sutra is a Producer, Singer and Songwriter raised in rural northern QLD, Australia. Born to an American father and Australian mother, after her mother passed away in 2010 Zoey Sutra spent several years living in New York and San Francisco. She has just returned to AUSTRALIA with a style that is more heavily laden in Pop, Hiphop and Dancehall. Growing up Zoey performed in African percussion Bands at local and state festivals. She describes her upbringing as very Global with many world influences from the likes of “Fela Kuti” “Nusrat Fati ali Khan” and “Ali Farka Toure”. Now she currently produces, writes and performs her own tracks. Video editing of her debut music video “Power Hungry” was also created by Zoey. Her previous track “What Do They Know” has a mostly pop Influence. Current Influences include: Major Lazer, Lady Gaga, Dj Snake & Azalea Banks.

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