Recent CBC Searchlight Competition winners Lauren Mann and the Fairy Odd Folk are bringing their unique folk-pop melodies to Revelstoke when they perform at The Last Drop on Sunday, May 25. Times Review freelance writer Melissa Jameson recently had a chance to chat with Mann about winning the competition, the benefits of offering free downloads, and what she can’t possibly go on tour without.
Melissa Jameson: Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk are the 2014 CBC Searchlight Competition winners. What was that experience like?
Lauren Mann: It’s been pretty crazy. It was a two month long competition and was mostly based on votes until the last couple rounds. When we entered, we were hesitant because we knew it was long and we didn’t want people to get tired of voting. We entered and the first few rounds we kept advancing.
We thought, “Cool people are getting on board with us.” We started to be little more intentional with stuff we were posting. It was really cool to be part of contest with other Canadian bands who are not well known and still up and coming. It was a great way for me to hear what else is coming out in Canada and connect with those bands.
Also, the other cool thing was just realizing we have awesome fans. We did a little contest of our own to get the word out and encourage people to vote. By the last few rounds people were taking it on themselves to tell their friends and vote. Closer to the end, people were just running with it themselves.
MJ: Did you win anything?
LM: We won $20,000 of Yamaha gear. We are getting to pick out some instruments and equipment that will benefit us. We also have a chance to play at the CBC Music fest in Vancouver on June 14. We’re looking forward to opening for some amazing Canadian artists.
MJ: Your album Over Land and Sea Deluxe Edition is offered as a free download (with a tip option) via Noisetrade. Can you speak a bit about having your music heard versus being paid? Are the two interchangeable?
LM: When we put our music on Noisetrade, we just really wanted to make it accessible for people. We’re also selling albums at shows and on iTunes. I feel like there’s been such a movement towards free music lately and having music accessible. We decided we might not get paid from all these downloads, but it’s good exposure for us.
It’s been really cool because people who go to Noisetrade are music appreciators, we do get some tips for that. We’ve also found, especially in U.S., when we tour down there people are coming out because they found us on Noisetrade, and they might get an album or a T-shirt. It’s cool see that response.
MJ: There have been a number of ‘Fairly Odd Folk’ join you on your journeys. Who would you say has been most influential in creating your current sound?
LM: Over the past four or five years of me playing I’ve played with probably 20 different people. It’s cool because everyone contributes something unique, but there are six of us right now permanently in the band. In the past year we’ve been touring together and jamming and working on new material.
This is where we wanted to be, having a band that’s a little more permanent. We’re looking to record a new album in the next year.
MJ: Name three things you can’t possibly be without when you leave home and would turn your car around to go back for if you forgot?
LM: 1. My passport. It’s not the biggest deal because this year we’re touring mostly in Canada, but I would never go on tour without my passport. 2. My keys. Those are a very important element of touring when I have important keys we need on day to day basis. 3. If I didn’t have my notebook I would probably have to turn around. I’m an avid journaler so if I didn’t have that I’d make the whole band go back and get it.
TR: You’re about to go onstage and are informed you can only perform one song. Which song is it?
LM: We’d probably play a song from our album Over Land and Sea called I Lost Myself. I guess it’s the single of the album. A lot of people have been listing to it, so if people know our songs it’s one they can sing along to.