We had the good fortune of connecting with Estella Dawn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Estella, is there something you believe many others might not?
That as a musician/artist there is a window of time in which you must become successful. I remember having a phone call with a somewhat high up music executive and she said something along the lines of “you need to do X, Y, Z, because you’re running out of time to make it.” Indicating that there was somehow a time limit on me being able to have a successful career in music. That if I didn’t act right now, I was going to end up ancient and singing to my friends, family and dogs. Like any career, whether it be graphic design, carpentry, or bar tending, you start out with the understanding that you will build your skills over time. People don’t come out of the womb with a complete and in depth understanding of astrophysics or algebra. Take a carpenter for example, if you’re 18 years old and you’re given the tools to build a house no one would expect you to be able to do it on your own without guidance. Therefore it’s unrealistic to expect someone to master their voice, an instrument or any type of craft without practice. And practice takes time. I genuinely believe in the 10,000 hours rule and it’s the mindset I’ve always had with music, learn, grow, repeat. Sure, it can be discouraging as a young creative to see someone my age, or younger, gain quick notoriety. It’s caused me to step back and question whether I’m good enough and I’ve definitely toyed with the idea of getting a “real job” or doing something different. But ultimately this is the career I’ve chosen to pursue so even though I might not get the meteoric rise of someone else, I am going to work constantly to become the best musician I can be. I also believe success in a lot of ways is subjective, a successful life to you isn’t always going to look successful to someone else, we all have different goals and aspirations. Of course I would like to be more financially stable (I think most people would!) but I truly believe that it will come with hard work and persistence. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction and enjoying the process so in my opinion it doesn’t matter how long it takes me, it’s going to be a fulfilling and fun journey.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I started out singing made up songs in the booster seat of my parents car. Piano lessons at 9, guitar a little later on. Songwriting has always been my way of expressing myself, I was a very shy kid but for some reason I felt quite comfortable getting up on a stage and sharing an original song. I started to record my music at the age of 15, first in a recording studio and then at home and it’s been chugging along from there. It’s hard to say what sets me apart from other pop artists, there are so many talented people out there creating beautiful and diverse music, however the one thing I often get compliments on are my lyrics and the topics that I choose to write about. I love to push myself to write songs that are not only from my own personal experiences but from different perspectives too. I often piece songs together using various sources, sometimes stories from other people or something that I’ve read/seen, that then sparks a concept and I run with it from there. I guess in a way I’m creating musical stories, wordy song’s aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you like that sort of thing I may be the artist for you! The journey to where I am today hasn’t always been an easy one but that’s life isn’t it?! I’d love to hear from someone that hasn’t struggled in some way paving their professional career. I’m not sure they exist! I’ve been discouraged, I’ve felt overwhelmed, I’ve had my feelings hurt and my dreams questioned, I’ve had people ask me when I’m going to go to school or get a real job. But then I’ve had people tell me I’ve written a song that’s so relatable to them, it’s as if it could have been written just for them, it’s things like that that encourage me to keep going. On top of all this I really love what I do. Sure, there have been some bumps but I’ve had some really awesome experiences/opportunities too. In my teens I was a semifinalist in New Zealand’s Got Talent. I’ve released 10 singles this year, my song ‘I Dare You’ charted on the media base Radio Top 40 chart, I’ve been interviewed by and had songs added to many radio stations, my songs have been included on some really big Spotify playlists and I’ve had some wonderful reviews by global music bloggers. These are all accomplishments that I feel very proud of today. I’ve learnt many lessons along this journey but the one that I wish I’d known when I was younger is that there is no road map to success. It’s easy to look at someone else and think that if you copy what they’re doing it will get you somewhere but the reality is you’re not them, you’ve got to find your special thing and go with it. Comparing yourself to someone else is a good way to wallow but it’s not a particularly productive way to spend your time. I’ve also learned that in an industry that is constantly evolving you have to be adaptable and creative with your business model. This is especially pertinent right now with the inability to play live shows, there are many different paths, if one door closes maybe you were at the wrong door and it’s time to knock on another.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s my belief that all successful people are not a one man band. There are so many moving parts to get a creative career off of the ground it would be pretty difficult to do it all on your own. I’m a partner in a music production company Purplestar productions, along with Dave and Queenie. We do everything from song writing, producing, arranging, mixing and mastering. As well as promotion, video, video editing and PR. We each have our different strengths and I’m incredibly thankful that they believed in me enough to lend their time, energy, skills and resources to push my music forward. I’m well aware that without them I would be in a much different place.
Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/00SIMc8XBD6NezPkMpkMcL https://soundcloud.com/estelladawn
All photos are shot by Purplestar productions. @purplestarproductions