Every once in a while (especially when the weather is nice), I like to daydream. So last week I lay down on the grass in the Duke flower garden, trying out a bunch of different songs. Then, I came across Ira. Her soft yet muse-like voice immediately put my soul to rest.
Ira Wolf is an independent new-folk singer/songwriter from Montana, but currently based in Nashville. She is not afraid to sing from her soul. This often means that she seeks to connect to her audience at the most intimate and vulnerable level possible. She just released her debut album, Fickle Heart, last September.
VP: Ira, you have an amazing voice--slightly airy, but also dreamy. When did you first discover that you had a talent for music and decide that you wanted to become a musician?
IW: I knew I wanted to be a singer after the first time I sang the national anthem at a high school basketball game. I was probably 14 and had only performed classical pieces at recitals and competitions. That was the first time I got to see a genuine crowd respond to my natural voice. I fell in love with that feeling. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first really personal song at 21. I'd written before, but nothing that captured the truth about my emotions. That song changed the way I interpreted my feelings and how I dealt with big issues. I wanted to be able to connect with people on that level from then on.
VP: So where do you get your inspirations? Could you share some songs on your playlist?
IW: I've gotten really into Gregory Alan Isakov this month, especially his song “If I Go I'm Goin'”, so that would definitely be at the top. I've also always been obsessed with Death Cab for Cutie, and “Your Heart is an Empty Room” never misses a playlist. Others that I'm listening to a lot this month are Sea Wolf – “Whirlpool”, Penny and Sparrow – “Serial Doubter”, and Nickel Creek – “Love of Mine.”
VP: It’s no secret that there are many ups and downs as a musician. What were your highs and lows?
IW: One of my proudest moments was the release of my record “Fickle Heart.” It was an absolutely overwhelming project, and I put my entire soul into it. When it was released I was so ecstatic to share it with the world and so proud of the work I'd put into it. I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in regrets, because I think I've learned huge things from each letdown, but my biggest disappointments in myself have always been opportunities that I didn't bother saying yes to. I try not to turn anything down nowadays.
VP: What is the best part of being a musician and do you have a routine when you are on a tour?
IW: The best part of being a musician is connecting with other people I think it’s incredible to hear how someone interpreted a song that I wrote, and how it personally affected them. I am also insanely grateful that I get to travel non-stop. On tour, I camp a lot so there’s usually a lot of packing, eating a breakfast of canned beans, and dowsing myself in Febreeze so I don’t smell like campfire and dirt when I get to the venue. There are so many incredible places to see in the world and it’s kind of a miracle that I get to see some of them because of music.
VP: That’s awesome Ira. It seems like you were born to be a musician. But if you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
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