Phoebe Hunt: Rising Up, Marching On
Teaching up-and-coming fiddlers, speaking and playing at Tedx and writing with war veterans are only a few of the ways Brooklyn-by-way-of Austin songwriter Phoebe Hunt is sparking change with her music. While her lauded 2017 release Shanti’s Shadow was inspired by her time spent in India sitting in meditation and studying Indian classical violin, her newest work sprung from planting her feet firmly on American soil. We talked as she prepared to release her new single and call to action “Marching On.”
Tell us about your new song “Marching On” — who or what inspired it? How does this relate to the other songs you’ll be releasing later this year?
Phoebe Hunt: “Marching On” was inspired by my connection with the Standing Rock protest in 2016, and my realization of the many injustices that so many people face each day. It was inspired by the times we live in and the rising up of many voices to take a stand for justice. I’ll be releasing a series of four singles this year, following the cycle of the seasons. “Marching On” is our spring release because, just like spring, it is a call to action, a rebirth and an awakening.
Musical activism and musical community are clearly a big part of your life—how did you arrive at this sense of inclusivity and service?
I never really think of myself as an activist. When my heart is pulled to do something that I believe will help others, I go for it. I do believe that using one’s life in service of the whole means thinking from a different perspective. Thinking of others first, of the bigger picture beyond the bubble it is so easy to escape into. I don’t always succeed at this, but it is my goal. From this perspective, doing what one can to help those less fortunate and using one’s strengths to make offerings goes hand in hand. For me, my offering is music. My dream is that my music can be of service to others in some way, shape or form. Much of this mindset was gifted to me by my parents, and the yogic philosophy of union they instilled within me.
You wrote most of Shanti’s Shadow in, or soon after, spending a lot of time in India. How does your study of Classical Indian violin influence your approach to songwriting ? To teaching?
The music study that the band and I participated in a few years back in Pune, India, shaped me the way that all deep explorations of music do. It now lives inside of me and will appear throughout my life. It will mix with all of the other influences I will continue to be exposed to, and the sound will continue to evolve. My hope is that I can continue the practices I learned while studying in India, and continue to use the many lessons learned to shape my music. I’m excited to share each of these four tracks as the year unfolds because I believe that, in some way, the music follows the natural rhythms of nature, calling in the elements of the seasons.
Tell us about the Gatherers. How can listeners get involved?
Some believe the Gatherers are the band members I play with. I think of the band as wizards. The way they play feels effortless to me, as they mystically elevate the music to levels beyond what I could have ever conceived in my mind. The Gatherers; however, are the audience. Any time people come together to listen to music, they are gathering. My favorite thing in the world is to be a part of a group who has gathered to listen to music as it shifts the vibration of the room. Some people laugh, some people cry, but we are all feeling something.
I’m inviting people who enjoy coming to our shows, listening to our recorded music and watching our videos to officially become ‘gatherers’ by becoming patrons of our art. As the landscape of the music industry continues to evolve, and the music itself is so easily accessible without monetary exchange [via streaming], I believe that it is important for artists to embrace the change and move along with the times. I don’t think the music has to be thought of as a product—it is an offering. The catch is, it still takes an investment to record it, mix it, master it, promote it, etc. So, essentially I am hoping that a thousand people will become patrons of my music so that a million people can listen to it for free.
To find out more about becoming a Gatherer go to: www.patreon.com/phoebehuntmusic
Listen to Phoebe Hunt’s “Marching On”: