Artist LOUIZA : Putting Music Production on a Pedestal
“I used to hate to look up,” LOUIZA confessed. “I was scared to take my eyes off my hands.” I thought back to her performance a few weeks ago. With her strong, charasmatic stage presence, it was hard to imagine the indie-pop artist experiencing any kind of nervousness. The Marin County native performed a lot as a kid, but growing the courage to perform her original songs felt like starting all over: instead of playing a character or reading a script, she was sharing a part of herself. Bearing a slice of your soul to a room full of strangers is just a little more daunting than a school play—but it can also be a lot more fun. You get to decide what parts of yourself you want to showcase to the audience, explained LOUIZA.
Like most people, LOUIZA has both lively and calm aspects to her personality.
“LOUIZA was a lot more energetic and bold than my previous solo work,” she said, comparing the latter to Joni Mitchell-like, introspective stuff. When beginning to craft her solo act, she asked herself: “What side wants to be put on stage? And how do I want that to look?” After answering all these questions about who she wanted LOUIZA to be, she had to take her new persona out for a test drive.
The best way for performers to improve is to replicate the conditions of performing while you practice. LOUIZA advises that performers rehearse with as much onstage stimuli as possible. Shine a makeshift spotlight in your eyes, practice your moves in your stage outfits, and test out your jokes on a few guinea pigs before taking the stage. To mimic the conditions of being watched while rehearsing at home, LOUIZA will go on Instagram live and perform songs that she wasn’t super confident with yet.
“I watched myself, and then watched how I interacted with people,” she explained, “and that was cool because I actually got to see whether I was maintaining the presence I was going for.”
In addition to being a confidence-building, introspective journey, LOUIZA explained that designing her solo set was important for her growth as a producer. She mentions that she’s always put music production on a pedestal, and describes her initial foray into the art as an opportunity to trust herself in a world that she initially didn’t feel a part of.
LOUIZA’s interest in the field began while working with a producer on her first album using analog instruments.
“I had ideas of what I wanted the sounds to be like, “ she explains, “but I didn’t voice them because I didn’t have the relevant knowledge.” Inspired by Kimbra, Sylvan Esso, and various GarageBand experimenters she’s come across, LOUIZA took her first steps as a producer. Over the COVID-19 pandemic, she learned all she could about synthesizers, taking a course on Ableton 9, and watching tutorials and explainer videos on channels like Reid Stephan’s. After gaining expertise with the instrument, LOUIZA customized her own synthesizer, and used her instrument to craft tracks that best connect with her own voice and the audience’s energy.
In addition to crafting a unique sound with the Ableton, LOUIZA explains that she planned the track to see how to best connect with her own voice and the energy of the audience. Though she was scared to look up when performing at first, meeting eyes in the crowd now gives her strength. A pivotal moment was realizing that nobody was there to watch her fail. It wasn’t really about her at all.
“Performing is about creating an experience, channeling something that you love” LOUIZA explains.“ It’s a lot easier to enjoy performing when you remember that everyone who’s come to see you is there to enjoy themselves.
“Now I like looking up because it reminds me that these people are here to have a good time,” LOUIZA explains. “And I am too—so why am I stressed?”
LOUIZA will return from a summer tour on June 18th. Her next show is her homecoming back to the Bay Area at Amados on June 23rd.