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Imagine Scholar

Posted on September 22, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This is one of the proudest moments I have had in a LONG time.

I am Imagine Scholar's new ambassador.


I'd love to tell you a little bit about Imagine Scholar; who they are and what they do.

Imagine Scholar came to life in 2009. It was a collaboration Corey Johnson (US) and five students from Nkomazi in South Africa. Together the group recognised that youth from rural, under-resourced areas were unfairly restricted from reaching their full potential. They wanted to create a pathway for motivated youth to excel at university, succeed professionally, and effect sustainable social change.

Today, young Imagine Scholar leaders are transforming their communities in unprecedented fashion. Academic excellence is at the core of what they do, but at the same time Imagine Scholar support and celebrate the individual and their journey in expressing themselves through their unique interests and skills.


I will serve as a mouthpiece for the organisation and also, and I am very excited about this; I will be mentoring a group of young scholars whose interests are connected to my creative career.


I am so thrilled about this partnership and I urge you to go to imaginescholar.org to read more about what they do and how you can support them!


Here is what they have to say about our new partnership



Liv x




More material for YOU - faster!

Posted on August 29, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Whenever I perform a new song at one of my gigs I love it when people come up to me and ask me when it's coming out. It's one of the greatest compliments as a songwriter when the audience instantly connects with my brand new music. It is also quite frustrating, because I want to be able to say "it'll be out very soon!" - but recording music is a time consuming (and money consuming) activity and depends on a lot of things; timing, labels, PR, I could go on.


However, I want to reward my fans. The ones that I don't need to convince that my song is good by creating a perfectly produced track that comes out at exactly the right time with the right artwork. Sometimes I just want to get a song out to you so you can jam to it, learn the lyrics if you so please and maybe even do your own cover version of it.


Many of you also pay close attention to everything I put out; covers on YouTube, new photoshoots, updates... And I feel bad about not being able to keep up! I want to give you new material every month, every week, every day if I could.


Well now there is a way. The amazing website Tradiio (a music website where I have discovered some incredible artists) lets you create a subscription for your fans. Basically, what it means is that you can subscribe to me at whatever level of exclusivity you want (there are a few different levels) and the subscription you choose decides what sort of material you get access to every month.


Some of the top level ones not only lets you suggest covers for me to do, but you will also be able to download recordings of songs I haven't released yet! What! There'll be tons of other cool stuff too, like never before seen photos and direct interaction with me.


Join now, choose your subscription, and let's have some fun!


tradiio.com/liv-austen/circle/join


Liv xx

What I learned in my first year of playing guitar

Posted on March 29, 2016 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

This month is an exciting anniversary for me; I have officially played guitar for 1 year. After debuting my amazing band at the Brooklyn Bowl at C2C and doing some great gigs around London shortly after, I had a lot of people ask me: Have you considered playing the guitar yourself? To be honest, I had thought about it, but the thought scared me. I had said to myself for years: "I'm a pianist!" and that was it. It was too late for me to start playing the guitar now, surely?

I have always been guilty of that. Thinking that it is too late to start things. When I was 17 I started taking dance lessons, but I was convinced it was too late to get any good at it. (Spoiler alert: nothing is too late when you're 17, because you're pretty much a baby.)

 

I had come across Daisy Rock Guitars previously, I saw that a few great artists were promoting them and I couldn't help but notice the insanely cool designs and colours of the guitars (hey, don't judge me - I knew nothing about guitars at the time, okay? That's what caught my attention!). I got in touch with them, and it turned out they had already noticed me too, and wanted to work with me - we were clearly meant for each other! I had to admit to the people at Daisy Rock that I was completely green when it came to playing the guitar. My dad had taught me a few chords when I was a teenager, I'd picked up a guitar briefly in a couple of music lessons in college and my bassist gave me a hand-me-down guitar to try out, and that was it. But my confidence needed a boost. That was where Daisy Rock were so great to me. They said "Perfect! What we do is encourage girls to play the guitar, why don't you try playing one of our acoustics and see how you get on?" They generously let me have a beautiful purple Wildwood electro acoustic, and the second I tried it I was in love. It was sassy and cool, and I named it Kimberly (I name all my instruments after my favourite artists, and this one got her name from the fabulous Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town).

 

So what did I learn in my first year of playing the guitar?

 

It’s not too late

Well, once again I was proven wrong; it wasn’t too late. Turns out you can learn things when you’re an adult too - who knew, eh? So if you are sat there wondering whether you can do it too, well - I’ll tell you right now, you can. One of the truest sayings I know is “practice makes perfect”, and it doesn’t matter when you start practicing; just do it. I started out with the goal that I would learn to play my own songs on the guitar, to a year on finding it the most natural thing in the world to pick up the guitar to write songs!

 

Don’t be too hard on yourself

…as my girl Jess Glynne would say. Listen, I didn’t become Lindsay Ell overnight. Or even over a year. I am not remotely close to being what I would confidently call a guitarist. But I have actually stood up in front of a bunch of people and played the guitar. That makes me insanely proud of myself. I decided very early on that I would adapt the same mentality to playing the guitar as I did when I decided to combat my stage fright: “You can be scared, you can mess up, you can even be really bad - but you can not back out.” That was my only no-no; backing out. If I had decided to play, I would play. Even if I got sweaty palms and started hyperventilating before going on stage. The first time I ever debuted my guitar playing was at country duo Dexeter’s album launch at the Barfly in Camden, a warm July evening in 2015. I definitely panicked before the performance, but there is a video of the song I played (my single Don’t Regret a Single One) on YouTube, and I didn’t die of shame when watching it back, so it can’t have been the worst debut ever. To be fair, I did have my fantastic guitarist Lee with me and he did the heavy lifting - I just strummed the chords while he made me sound good. But it awoke something in me that made me feel that I could do it. Solo artist Gary Quinn and country couple/duo Luke & Mel asked me to join their In The Round night at the Troubadour in London in August and I was determined to accompany myself on the guitar for at least a few songs. And I did! It wasn't perfect, but I didn't back out. (There are even some cool photos of Gary borrowing Kimberly as there were some technical issues with the DI he was using for his guitar. The two looked great together!) Since then I have travelled the country only bringing Kimberly, and performed with her at songwriters' rounds and festivals.

 

Everyone is different

When I tell people about Daisy Rock's mission to encourage girls to play guitar (and instruments in general), some tend to go "but tons of girls play guitar!" - and they start naming famous female guitarists. And I agree, there are some killer female guitarists out there. But the fact that we can start listing them by name shows that it is more of a guy's instrument still - I mean, where would you start if you were asked to name "male guitarists"?

 

What is so great about the Daisy Rock guitars is that they are slim. Slim body, slim neck - it is simply just easier to play it for someone with a small frame, like me - and like many girls and women. That is not saying a girl can't play a full size guitar, many do (even girls of small stature like Maren Morris). We are all different, and some may not see the problem with a big acoustic. I did. I felt like I was holding a big cardboard box and trying to make it sound nice. Being able to relax in to the playing with a smaller instrument gave me so much more confidence - so now I even find normal acoustics easier, I just feel like I know what I am doing. But hey - a guy might prefer a smaller guitar too, and I say go for it! And (do I even need to say this?) of course a girl doesn't need a guitar in a sparkly, flashy colour, but you know what? I wanted one. And if you are a dude and you do too, once again I say: go for it.

 

In the end, playing an instrument is so individual. We are all of different sizes, styles and confidence levels. But the greatest thing about learning a new instrument? It gives you confidence. And that is something we can all use; men, women, big, small, young or old.

 

 

A big thank you to Daisy Rock for believing in me and for their continuous support!


Liv xx

 

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