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10 Questions for Vanessa Lively – Austin Post

AUSTIN POST  |  10 Questions for Vanessa Lively
By Gabino Iglesias, Austin, TX

Writing a song is no easy task. Writing a good one is even harder. Writing a good song that has purpose, is in touch with the life experiences of others and makes people cry tears of joy is absolutely beautiful and rare. The songs that Vanessa Lively writes are in that last category. Her travels, pains, concerns, truths and joys are all in the songs that she puts in her records. With “Uncovering Stones,” her latest effort, the singer is doing that one more time. We sat down to ask her ten questions so that you could get to know this bilingual chanteuse a little better.

1. When and why did you start your music career?
I started my music career in early 2007. I had just come back home to the US after having lived in South America from 2005-2007, and upon returning, wasn’t sure exactly what to do next. I had recorded my first album while living in Ecuador, so after I came back I decided to just go on tour right away and see how that went…and it was great! I have been going down this road ever since.

2. How would you describe your sound to those who have never heard it?
Eclectic folk music with pop and world music influences. My vocals have been likened to Edie Brickell and Stevie Nicks, but my delivery is softer than those artists. Most of my songs either have a strong rhythmic pulse or go the opposite way to be very light and airy.

3. Who are your influences and why?
I have been influenced by so many artists, it is hard to name them all. Early on, my musical influences were The Beatles and Michael Jackson. As I entered my teens, I began listening to Bob Marley, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, The Indigo Girls, Counting Crows and Ben Harper. Each of these artists really touched me in a profound way and made me want to write my own songs. Probably the two most influential songwriters in my life have been Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. They both had such a unique way of expressing themselves with music and voice and it really spoke to me.

4. How was the process of putting Uncovering Stones together at home? How does it compare to your two previous records?
Recording “Uncovering Stones” was such an amazing experience! We camped outside in the backyard while our house was turned into a studio for a couple of weeks. It was the best thing to just wake up, make a pot of coffee and get started on the recordings. We had everything so well organized ahead of time that by the time the actual recording was taking place, folks just popped in, recorded their parts and then made way for the next people to come over.

Working with Keith Gary as our engineer was so wonderful. He was incredibly fast, full of positive happy energy and a hoot to be around. We had a blast from start to finish. We would even eat all our meals together, take breaks together, hang out and laugh, and the whole album just unfolded before our eyes. It was beautiful. I actually cried during the recording of “The Lost Boys” because I was so moved by how the music came together exactly how I had envisioned it and it took me to the place I was when I wrote the song – my heart was crying for all of the Sudanese refugees who had to flee their homes during the long Sudanese Civil War.

My two previous records “Canto y Cantera” and “A Chain Unbroken” were also both recorded in a home studio environment. “Canto y Cantera” was done in our same house, but my husband Jason was the engineer and we recorded and mixed that one ourselves from start to finish. It was a fun project too. And “A Chain Unbroken” was recorded in England over the course of two months with our friends in the Manchester area. All of the session musicians were friends of theirs and so the textures were unique to the place we were recording and it was a very fun experience as well. Each album is very different and I feel that they are all acting as a snapshot into that time in our lives.

5. What made you decide to record “Canto y Cantera,” a record in Spanish with songs by some of the best voices in Latin America? Why did you put two songs in Spanish on the new record?
I was gearing up to do another full length album and starting to do the initial idea work for it, but then Mercedes Sosa of Argentina passed away. This was on October 4, 2009 (which is also the birthday of the late Violeta Parra). I remember it vividly. She had become such a special musical influence to me over the past few years. I was introduced to her music in 2005 before moving to Bolivia, and when I arrived in Bolivia, I soon realized that she was one of the most popular artists in the country. I checked out her CDs from the library and began listening to all of her recordings. I loved her energy and passion, especially for justice and human rights. So when she passed, I knew that I needed to put the full length album on hold and record a tribute to her life, her music and her passion. I sang a song called “Todo Cambia” throughout all of my changes that I went through in South America and felt it was a soundtrack to my time there. That is why I put that song on the album along with my other favorite songs.

With “Uncovering Stones,” I put two songs in Spanish on that album simply because I had written them and not yet recorded them. They are two of my favorite songs to sing and I feel that when I sing in Spanish, another side of me comes out. I lived in Laredo when I was very young and then grew up spending almost all of my summers with my grandparents in Brownsville, TX. My grandparents’ families both moved to the US from Mexico. My grandfather was Portuguese and my grandmother was Mestiza – a mix of Spanish and indigenous.

6. The songs on “Uncovering Stones” seem very personal but they ask to be shared; how was the writing process for this album?
My songs are always very personal, even when they are not about me! Sometimes I see friends and family struggling and I feel it so deeply, I end up writing songs about what they are going through, but in the first person. And the songs that are about me always have a big story behind them as well. That is how my writing process works – I journal every day and then when I am really moved, or seeing something clearly, I sit down and write a song about it. And I want nothing more than my songs to be shared. I feel like the highest calling for a song is to really speak to someone and touch them in a way that helps them through whatever they are going through. When I hear my songs have done that for someone, my heart jumps with joy! I love it!

7. What feedback from fans/critics regarding your work has touched you the most?
There has been so much said that has touched me. People say my music inspires them to live life fully, follow their dreams and be bold, honest and open. That to me is so awesome! I also have had people call me crying tears of joy and saying that my music moved them so deeply and they had to tell me…those moments are so precious to me and I feel grateful to be able to share my art in this world and have a positive effect on people.

8. Tell me a little bit about how we can save the world with your t-shirts and bag.
Haha! I had to go look up my website to see if that is where you got that idea from, and in fact it is there! Okay, so the reason that buying my handmade t-shirts and tote bags will save the world is as follows: I handpick barely worn, quality t-shirts from the thrift store, then I bring them home, screen print my own hand drawn design onto the shirt and bag, then turn around and sell my art. Barely any new material has been used in the making of these products and with the canvas shopping bags, you can save the earth one grocery trip at a time! I think it’s all pretty green and eco-friendly, don’t you?

9. What would you like for people to take from “Uncovering Stones”?
I would like people to feel joy, inspiration and compassion when listening to these songs. I think our world can use more of all this and so I hope that my songs have a ripple effect of love and goodness in the world to bring about more peace, understanding and beauty.

10. Could you describe the Austin music scene in one word?

Vanessa Lively’s music sounds like smart world music, which makes a lot of sense coming from Austin. It’s music that needs to be heard, shared and experienced. To get your hands on a copy of “Uncovering Stones,” or her two previous efforts, visit her website here, where you can also get one of her t-shirts. You can also connect with her on Facebook here to stay updated on upcoming gigs. In “Uncovering Stones,” Lively asks you to follow your heart; her music comes from her following that advice, go check it out.

To see the original article visit:

Continental Records in Europe will be releasing Uncovering Stones this summer!

I am very pleased to announce that we will be officially releasing the latest album Uncovering Stones in Europe this summer with Continental Records (formerly Rounder Europe)! Jason & I will go to Denmark, Germany & The Netherlands in August for the CD Release Tour. If you are in the Austin area and would like to join us in a celebration / send off show, mark your calendars for Thursday August 9th at The Cactus Cafe. Thanks to all of you who are listening to the album and continuing to support this lovely musical journey…
Vanessa Lively

May Happenings…

Jason and I recently came back from our Spring Tour throughout the Southwest. It was so wonderful. You can check out some of the photos I took here. Now I am working on finalizing our European tour calendar & an upcoming tour with Nicolette Good supporting her new CD Monarch. There is a lot of fun on the horizon!

All the amazing scenery that we saw along the way inspired me to come back and paint again. I am actually hoping to have an art show this summer, so stay tuned for more info on that! Here is a sneak peek at one of the pieces I am currently working on:

As for some upcoming shows & events, I have a show this week at a new Whole Foods Market opening up in Bee Cave. I’ll be performing a solo set starting at 5pm. Come join me in celebrating the new store! Then later this month, Jason & I will be performing as a duo at the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair held in Kerrville, TX on Sunday May 27th. Next month I’ll be joining Claude Butch Morgan at the NeWorlDeli in Austin, TX on Wednesday June 6th. All the details for these shows and more can be found at

Have a great week!!!



Acoustic Sampler CD / Tour with Nicolette Good

Jason and I spent a few days in January recording some intimate & raw acoustic tracks for a new 2012 Acoustic Sampler CD. Two of the songs are co-writes with female songwriters from Denmark that were written recently.

In just a couple of weeks, I will be playing some really fun shows between San Antonio, TX & Memphis, TN with the very talented Nicolette Good! Nicolette has been featured recently on the new TV series Troubadour, TX. If you haven’t heard of this series, you should check it out. It follows Texas singer-songwriters on their musical journey. (I made an appearance on one of the early episodes as well!)

Our Austin show is called “Songbirds in the Round” and is happening on Friday February 17th at Flipnotics. It features Laura Marie, Tara Craig, Nicolette Good and many other talented guest artists throughout the night (nine to be exact!) It is going to be a lot of fun…

I have shows in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, New Orleans & then many showcases at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN. I hope to see you somewhere along the way!! Visit my website at for all the dates & info.

Have a lovely February,


KUNC in Northern Colorado has Uncovering Stones as #5 on their Top 10 Albums of 2011 list!!

2012 is here!!

So we are officially into the new year of 2012! I hope that it is going well so far. Jason and I have had a few shows this past week and I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year full of music & fun…I am really looking forward to the year ahead. I have some exciting tours on the horizon starting next month, but until then, I’ll be playing shows around Austin, co-writing with a couple of artists from Denmark and preparing for the year ahead!

I want to express my Gratitude…
The positive feedback and support continues to flow in from all directions. I feel uplifted by my family, friends, community & fans in all that I do. I am grateful for so many things in my life. The fact that I am able to live a life as a musician, artist & designer continues to fill me with happiness.

In December, we heard that KUNC in Northern Colorado had put us on the Top 2011 Picks list! And all last year, positive reviews were coming out left and right about the new album. I am glad that Jason & I were able to put that record out the way we wanted to; and it would not have been possible if it weren’t for all the support & encouragement that everyone gave to us along the way! So in looking back over the past year, I feel overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the people in our life that continue to make this path possible.

As a thank you, we are sending everyone a 25% coupon to use for Vanessa Lively CDs & music products at Bandcamp. This will expire on January 31, 2012. Visit and enter this code for your discount: gratitude

I hope that this next year is filled with peace, love, new beginnings & inspiration!



HAAM Benefit Day 2011 & My 31st Birthday!

Lovely October is here!!
The weather has finally started to cool off for us in Texas. I was actually shivering outside the other day as I sat in my green sundress and ate my healthy breakfast of gelato and coffee at Whole Foods! This past Tuesday was HAAM Benefit Day here in Austin…it is a day where musical acts are happening around the clock, businesses participate in donating a portion of their proceeds to the organization for that day & lots of fun activities are happening. HAAM, which stands for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, is what provides many of us musical artists with health & dental care. It is a private organization and makes most of its money on this day for the year…you can read more about it at

On Saturday I celebrated my 31st Birthday!! I was at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference, so I had 200 voices in perfect harmony singing me the Happy Birthday song. It was a very special day and many people helped to make it that! I am looking forward to this next exciting year of life…

I have some shows around the Texas area this month, but there is one show that everyone can tune in to no matter where you are. We have a new online radio station here in Austin that has a “Live at Lunch” series which is a performance and interview. You can watch the video as it happens or just tune in to listen to the radio on your computer. This will happen on Wednesday October 26th at noon. I’ll be in the studio with fellow artists Gina Chavez and Cheryl Murdock and we will be talking about the Austin Women’s Conference that will be happening the following week. We’ll all be performing there as well.

Tune in to to watch & listen!

I also discovered a neat tidbit of information…every single track from my new record is getting airplay on radio stations both nationally & internationally! I love that so much!! I have been continuing to receive positive feedback via blogs, magazines, radio DJs and more for Uncovering Stones. Texas Music Magazine wrote about the album and will also be publishing a full review in the next issue.

Oh and one more thing…I just found out that a blog based out of Florida called El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso awarded me the AG Award for Texas Singer-Songwriter for the 21st Century! I am so grateful for all of the positive response and encouragement I am getting from all directions right now.

Have a great evening & a wonderful rest of your week!!

See you soon,


Uncovering Stones is now available to listen to for free on Spotify, so if you are signed up for that, go check it out if you haven’t heard it yet!

Uncovering Stones CD Release…

We are quickly approaching the release of my new CD ‘Uncovering Stones’ and already so many great things have been happening! The album is getting a lot of love from radio stations across the US and beyond…and I have been receiving many emails from DJs expressing their excitement and telling me how much they love it! I am so happy about all of this!

The release date is Tuesday June 21st, and we will be having our CD Release show that day at The Cactus Cafe in Austin, TX at 8pm. We will be performing with the full band featuring many surprise guests!! (You can purchase tickets online at Then we head out the next morning for our CD Release Tour which takes us through middle America, into the Midwest and back through the Southeast.

Sweet Reviews and my New Website!
We have been getting some sweet reviews for the album, one of which came out today in the Austin Chronicle! You can check it out here. Another came out just a few days ago in the Dallas Morning News…read the article here. We’ve also just launched the new Vanessa Lively website. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Head over to and check it out. Please let me know what you think!

We have a fun new store with lots of merchandise for you to enjoy, so please visit and buy some gifts for your friends! We have hand screen printed tote bags to save the earth that feature an original drawing by yours truly:)

All in all we are very excited with everything that is happening. I am truly grateful for all the support, love and encouragement you have all given to me!!

Lots of love,


The CDs have arrived!!

Yesterday evening, the delivery man brought us a very exciting delivery! The new CDs are here and they look and sound beautiful…we are so happy. Now we will start getting them ready to send out to to everyone who pre-ordered. If you still want to pre-order a signed copy for $20 (includes shipping), we will continue taking them for the next few weeks via PayPal or check. Thank you!! I can’t wait to share the new music with you!

Preorder with PayPal

If you send a check, please mail to P.O. Box 684774, Austin, TX 78768 and make sure to include your mailing address where you want the CD shipped.
May shows and more…

And this month, I have some really fun shows that you can come to! THIS WEEK I have three shows in Austin (whew!) and all are fun & unique. On Thursday, I’ll be playing at Saxon Pub at 10pm with the band. On Friday, I will open for a fantastic Canadian singer-songwriter named Jon Brooks at Open Ears Concerts in North Austin. Then on Saturday, I will be at NeWorlDeli with Jan Seides and Annie Benjamin swapping songs from 7 to 10pm. Come to one, or all, of the shows!

Then, on Wednesday May 25th, I will join Mother Banjo at Flipnotics for her CD Release Party! Mother Banjo is from Minnesota and will be traveling a long way to come play here in Austin, so spread the word to your friends and lets pack the little coffee shop! I will open the show at 8pm. Come hang out and sip on tea with me while Mother Banjo serenades us…

And the next day, I’m off to the Kerrville Folk Festival. You won’t be hearing from me much until we get close to the CD Release Party on Tuesday June 21st! I’ll be leaving on tour the next day to go all over the place. You can peek at my calendar online at

here is a funny picture of jason covered in ‘uncovering stones’

Jason in CDs

the first steps towards the next album…

Today Jason & met with Keith Gary who will be working with us on our next album…Keith is a great engineer who works out at Blue Rock Studio. We are really excited about having him come into our home to create a cool studio and help out with this next project.

In October of 2010, I decided it was time to make another full length album with all of my new songs. I wanted to come up with a cool way to raise some money for the project, so in November I decided to paint the cover art myself. I made a very large canvas that was made up of 42 individual canvasses stapled together, then painted the painting, then had an event to sell the individual pieces off to folks…and so now we have raised almost half of what we need to record this album! (and as of today, I have 14 paintings left if you are interested!) So we are moving forward, meeting with musicians and such…tomorrow, we will go to Sam Baker’s home and Rodney Bursiel will take photos that will be used on my new website, album art and such. We are surrounded by so much talent here in Austin and have a wonderfully creative group of friends who have super creative friends too! So this feels like such an exciting project already…and we’ve only just begun! So the jams have started, and all the planning. Songs are written (still sometimes in progress) and we are ready! Recording will start the last week of February…Also, our friends Danny & Carrie have been a big part of this project…first, lending us their home for my painting project (which Jason had the bright idea to film the whole process & make a cool video – I’ll post that here…) They have also been a huge support offering their ideas and input every step of the way. All our friends, family and fans have come together to help us in any way they can, and I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so much love & encouragement!!

So I’m gonna go get ready for tomorrow’s photo shoot…I am hoping to keep a great journal of all the album & music happenings here to share w/ everybody.

More to come soon!

with love,