Posted on April 12, 2018 by Kristin Kelly
[All photos by Chattman Photography]
Artist, activist, and adamanent coffee connoisseur, Heather Maloney is the kind of woman you want at your table. Listening to her songs makes you feel like you have a close friend in the room. Through music, she tells stories of love and loss, heartbreak and heart-mending. We were lucky enought to get to hang with Heather and play dress up for a day, and she couldn't have been more gracious and humble...characteristics sometimes rare in a person with so much talent and prowess. Join us in welcoming Heather and her songs to Ode on Friday, April 13th, from 6-8PM.
What inspires you to write a song?
Most of my songs are silver linings; the brightest and shiniest things I could drudge up from my darkest and gnarliest experiences. That sounds dramatic, but it's true for me. When I'm struggling with something I write it into a song and I usually write my way into the bright side of it. My mom is a psychotherapist (sometimes that's more obvious than I'd like), and growing up in a household where talking about feelings was as normal as talking about what to eat for dinner ("I'm sorry for unconsciously projecting my need for validation onto you yesterday at the recital. Do you want pizza or pasta?"). The parallels between therapy and songwriting have shaped me fully, and many of the same reasons someone might go to therapy are the same reasons that prompt me to write songs.
What's your most rockstar outfit?
I don't own it yet, but I've been on a quest for leather pants for some time. They don't have to be real leather they just have to fit perfectly. Where are they, dammit??
What's your favorite place to perform?
On a single tour I'll perform in a grand theater one night and a living room the next. I can say honestly that some of the most memorable, electric moments have happened in the smaller listening rooms. There is something that just can't be replaced when the room gets bigger; a connectivity and a feedback loop between performer and audience that is just so contained, undiluted and pure magic.
You just released a song, "How Many More". Can you tell us about the impetus for writing and recording it?
My February tour took me through Florida, right after the Parkland school shooting. I heard the news when I was staying in Orlando, right down the street from the Pulse nightclub, where over the past 2 winters I've watched the walls around the building become an ever-changing shrine of rainbows, candles, flowers and notes. About 10 minutes across Route 4, La Plaza Live was where I'd played my first show in Orlando, only a few months before singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed standing at the same merch table I stood at. Listening to the horrifying live reports from Parkland, I was hit with a nauseating feeling of total immersion... of being totally immersed in a culture of gun violence that has run so rampant and so wildly out-of-control that it's evidence could be seen in every direction. It was everywhere. I went back to my cottage and picked up my guitar, thinking that if I could write out the feeling maybe I'd be able to shake the feeling of helplessness. I tried to write but nothing worth keeping came out, just some sloppy emotions with zero clarity. A few days of consuming news later, there she was. Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez gave a speech that moved me to my core and lit my heart on fire. I picked up my guitar again, and this time a song came pouring out, fully formed. The song title was clear too: How Many More.
I had a show in St. Augustine Florida that night, and for the first time in my 8 years of touring, I wrote and performed a song in the same day. I played How Many More again the following night in Sarasota. After each show I promised a number of people that I'd take an iphone video and post it in a few days. I never did. It dawned on me that the song could be utilized in a more powerful way than just a facebook post.
So I got on the phone and asked for a whole bunch of favors from a whole bunch of people, and amazingly every single person said YES. Within a couple of weeks we'd recorded, mixed, mastered, filmed and released 'How Many More' without spending a cent so that literally 100% of the proceeds generated have gone (and are still going!) directly to gun control advocacy groups (Everytown & Mom's Demand Action). I was blown away by the generosity of the entire group of volunteers and I've been blown away by how much support has poured in from downloads, donations & streams. (Here are all of the generous people who volunteered their time, skills & resources: Signature Sounds Recording Co, Ryan Hommel, Andrew Oedel at Ghost Hit Records, Melissa McClung, Kevin Butler at Test Tube Audio, Susa Talan and, what do you know, Ode Boutique!!)
If you could bring back the Lilith Fair, who would perform?
Oh yesssss I love this question. So many songwriters-who-happen-to-be-female are killing it right now. Aimee Mann's last record is still on repeat so hopefully she'd come and play the whole damn thing. I'm With Her is a super-group that has blessed us all. Laura Marling I will love forever and ever amen. Courtney Barnett, The Staves, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Lori McKenna, Emmylou Harris, Jesca Hoop, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, First Aid Kit, Anais Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, The Weather Station, Julien Baker, Neko Case, Valerie June, Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin, there are so many more!! But seriously I'd die from happiness if all of these women played a single festival. I would just cease to exist.
PS - NOWHERE in the festival write-ups would be read the words "Female Singer-Songwriter". At THIS festival we'd know that that's not a fucking genre. All of these women are in different genres and NONE of them have to do with their gender! (sorry I just had to vent)
What are your daily rituals on the road?
1 - finding the snobbiest most delicious pour-over coffee in whatever city I wake up in. 2 - Podcasts podcasts podcasts. So much van-time. 3 - Find two minutes to breath/meditate before the show. 4 - Lavender diffuser and classy-AF-single-serve Sutter Home = hotel room of my dreams.
You spent years studying at a meditation center. What is your relationship with meditation now?
On a silent retreat, meditation can be very structured. Each day there is a rhythm and pattern, a certain amount of hours spent doing sitting meditation, walking meditation, attending a Dharma talk... you eat at the same times, sleep at the same times, watch the same breath, bow to the same Buddhas, wash the same dishes, walk down the same path through the same woods. It's quiet. The silence is everywhere, and eventually it grows inside of you too. It's a container, with just the right conditions to support this inner-stillness.
When I stepped outside of that container to start my life as a touring musician, I stepped into a world that was the complete opposite in so many ways. Very little to no structure at all. No rhythms or patterns, eating and sleeping at different times in different time-zones on different pillows each and every night. It's not quiet. It's hand-shaking and restaurants and thin hotel walls and traffic and sound-check. It's constant sound and motion and stimulation. It's the opposite of a container, it's chaos.
But when I left the meditation center I knew this. It's been my goal, since that day, to integrate that stillness into the unlikeliest of situations- to find and cultivate an inner stillness of the portable variety so I could take it with me wherever I go. I can't say it's been easy. I lose my way over and over. But I am relentlessly committed to returning to center. Sometimes it looks like stopping for just a few breaths. A trip to the bathroom just to breath 3 conscious breaths, a mantra when I'm behind the wheel, a pause before the show, chewing my damn food all the way. I look at the stage as my meditation cushion- the place I return to each night for 45 minutes to an hour of being fully present and connected. Often, it's the place and time I'm most aware and relaxed. My practice is a lot less structured and a lot more fluid than it used to be, but I'm getting better at surfing through it all each year with a bit more grace and equanimity. At least I like to think I am
Funniest on-the-road story?
I know there are better ones than this, but the first one that comes to mind is the time my bandmate Brennan was woken up at 4am by a huge, angry, fully-naked man knocking on his hotel room door at 4am in a Marriott in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brennan tried to explain that it wasn't the right room but the guy was drunk enough that it a decent amount of negotiation before the guy ran away. You just never know what you're gonna see out there.
Posted on March 14, 2018 by Kristin Kelly
Desha Peacock is as interesting, colorful, and creative as her name. She has the look-you-straight-in-the-eye confidence and clarity of a successful entrepreneur (which she is), complimented by that certain glow that comes from an inner peace with one's self. Basically, if you're looking for someone to guide you to realize the life you wish for, she's your gal. Author, Life-Stylist, and Working Creative, Desha Peacock posesses the perfect mix of wisdom and werewithal to lead one down that maybe-not-so-unatainable path. We can't be more excited to spend two guided hours at Ode with Desha for a Vision-boarding workshop this coming Thursday, March 22nd, from 6-8pm. Call or stop by Ode to sign up!
You are a practicer and proponent of oil therapy. What scents inspire or heal you?
I love to use citrus essential oils to lift and brighten my mood, especially during the long cold winter. I love lemon, wild orange and grapefruit. I also diffuse oils to help me stay focused while I'm doing my creative work. Lemon is also great for that. I use frankincense when meditating because it's earthy ancient scent has been used for thousands of years to help open the heart and spirit. At night, I'll often diffuse cedar wood, ylang ylang and Balance (a doTERRA blend) to help my mind and body relax before bed. And I can't forget Jasmine. It's luscious scent is pure LOVE.
What is a good starting point or step for realizing the life you want to live.
The first step is you have to be open and brave enough to dream. Admitting the dream to yourself can be a very hard thing to do. Then it's all about taking inspiration actions and being persistent.
You've been leading retreats to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the past 4 yrs. What about that place speaks to you?
When I was in college I met a beautiful woman who told me I would love San Miguel de Allende. I remembered that. Twenty years later I quit my job, pulled my daughter out school for a month, and we went to check it out. The minute I arrived I felt it. I've been back every year since. It's my soul place.
What is your signature style?
Eclectic with a bit of cowgirl.
What makes you dance?
My husband. He's so fun on the dance floor.
Whose art/life/philosophy inspires you?
I'm inspired by anyone who goes for their big dream, especially when it's a creative endeavor. I think the starving artist myth is on its way out now that we have a global platform with the internet. I am so grateful for those first women I saw online building a virtual business. It's really hard to create something that you can't envision. When I saw role models like Marie Forleo (founder of B-School) Holly Becker (Decor.8) and Justina Blakeney (social media master + designer) I knew I could do it too.
Describe the work you do in 3 or fewer sentences.
I'm a multi-passionate entrepreneur and the founder of Sweet Spot Style. I work with clients 1-1 to help creative lady bosses think bigger and grow their online presence. I do this through 1-1 lifeSTYLE design coaching and via my annual retreats to San Miguel de Allende. I also write home decor books and love Instagram!
Freebie: Want to learn how Desha uses Instagram to grow her biz? Get her 10 FREE tips to Grow Your Brand on Instagram here.
Best thing anyone has said to you?
I'm usually a pretty confident person but when I started doing lux boho retreats (and charging more), I had a moment of fear, "what if it's not good enough?" My mother said the best thing to me. She said, "Desha, just be yourself."
Last good book you've read?
Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur. It's a brilliant novel set in New England, by a supremely talented Vermont native.
What do you look forward to?
I am driven by endless possibilities. I look forward to personal growth and insight. I look forward to complete financial freedom. I look forward to inspiring women and spreading the message that yes you can do creative work you love and get paid well for it. I look forward to my annual retreats in Mexico. I look forward to watching my daughter grow into a strong, confident, healthy, creative and amazing young lady. I look forward to dipping my feet in the ocean, face to the sun.
All Photos by: Tara Whitney
Posted on March 01, 2018 by Kristin Kelly
What better way to begin International Women’s Month than to feature Jen Lorang, human rights activist and designer/owner of Alchemilla Jewelry. Her collection is handmade in Oakland, CA, where she employs a small team of proudly queer women to create the beauty that is Alchemilla.
Not only is the line a crowd favorite at Ode, but it's a brand that uses its platform to help reshape the social perspective. Her models gracefully traverse all spectrums of gender, color, and age. She donates to those who ask, and 10% of online sales goes to local Black Lives Matter organizers.
Lorang’s mission is to “create a strong femme aesthetic that celebrates community and collaboration rather than one that tells you to compete or compare yourself to other women or that you have to be skinny, rich, white, binary, etc, in order to thrive in this world.”
Meet this powerfully beautiful woman and shop her equally-as-stunning collection this Friday, March 2nd, 6-8PM, at Ode. Hope to see you there! If you can't make it for the reception, the collection will be around all weekend and into next week.
Posted on February 01, 2018 by Kristin Kelly
Remember the vibrant rainbow in Ode's window at last year's Auction for Action? Victoria painted that. Or the multi-colored triangle lemon cookies on display? Victoria made those. Oh, and that blooming hand-painted garden hanging on our wall last fall? That, too, was Victoria. Whether she's painting, cooking, dancing bachata, dressing a window, or donning her signature striped pants, Victoria Accardi brings a distinct joie de vivre and play to her creativity. But there is also undeniable intensity and intentionality to all she does. On life as a professional painter, she says, "I don't always love it. It's hard work. But I have to do it. I can't not paint." And the world gets to thank her for that. Currently, Victoria's work is represented by The Gallery at Somes Sound. She will be teaching Ode's first art workshop, Flowers in February, an ink watercolor exploration, this Thursday, from 6-8pm. Please call or stop by to sign up, as there are limited spaces.
What inspires you to make art?
I am inspired by contrast and contradiction; things that are not initially perceived as or considered beautiful. I want to point out the serenity in a chaotic urban landscape, the romance of a neon-lit laundromat, the isolation of a crowded street. I am interested in eliciting common and relatable emotions in unlikely and overlooked settings.
What do you do/wear/listen to when you paint?
I favor very old, broken-in denim, soft t-shirts, and a blue and white pinstripe Brooks Brothers button-down that I stole from my Dad as a teenager.
Bushwick" 26x36" Oil on canvas 2016 (Victoria Accardi)
What’s the best mistake you’ve made artistically?
I am a big proponent of the “learn by doing” method; my approach to learning any new medium (or anything at all) is very hands-on. The ignorance of any “rules” allows me to make mistakes that teach me so much about that particular medium. A perfect example is this technique of ink watercolors. I stumbled upon this because I did not bother to read the ink label and learn that ink is not water soluble, and the reactive properties turned out to yield really beautiful results when mixed with water. Just to be clear, this is not a technique I pioneered – I just came upon it by accident.
Describe the perfect day in your New York.
There is a very specific scent that the breeze carries in New York City in the late Spring. Growing up I referred to it as “the almost-Summer smell". I think it may be indescribable and possibly undetectable to anyone who didn’t grow up in the city. But there is nothing better than being in New York city as the pear and gingko trees are blooming and getting hit with a warm breeze filled with the smell of almost-Summer. It is only present for a few days usually in May. On these days I like to walk across one of the bridges and people-watch, ideally ending up in Brooklyn drinking rosé with some friends.
What makes you dance?
-When a car driving by is bumping the song of the summer.
-When I am in Trader Joe’s with my best friend and Jessie’s Girl starts playing.
-When I need to embarrass my brothers.
-When something good happens and there isn’t even any music playing.
-Literally anytime there is Salsa or Bachata music playing.
What’s your favorite food?
If your style was an animal, what would it be, and what kind of sound would it make?
If my style were an animal it would be a bird of paradise, and it would laugh.
Favorite color of paint? Least favorite color?
My favorite color to paint is and has always been red. Usually a bright red with shades of Alizarine and Quinacridone glazed over it. My least favorite color to paint with is yellow, the pigments are weak and frustrating to modulate.
Last time you belly-laughed:
Last night, facetiming my best friend who can always make me laugh until I cry.
What 3 women have inspired you this past year?
My mom, who got her undergraduate degree from Smith this year at age 46 and is already onto her masters. She is a nerd-Goddess.
My 16-year-old cousin Magdala, who is attending catholic school in rural Pennsylvania among very close-minded peers. She does not let anyone dissuade her from standing up for what she believes in and advocating for human rights with eloquence, bravery, and grace. She is a social justice warrior.
The owner of Ode Boutique Kristin, whose leadership style is one of encouragement and mutual respect. She has shown me what can be achieved when women support women. Working with the incredible group of women here at Ode is unbelievably inspiring.