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Genres You Will Love
Folk: Singer/Songwriter Moods: Solo Female Artist Moods: Type: Lyrical New Age: Nature New Age: Spiritual

By Location
United States - Hawaii

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Lily Swan

Early Days:

I started playing music when I was a kid. Every other person had a piano in their home back in the day, and that’s where my parents would always find me. Like as soon as I could walk, that’s where I’d be, parked in front of a piano plunking out a tune. I would also “borrow” my brother’s guitar when he was at school. Until one day I got carried away and busted a string jamming out on “I‘ been workin’ on the railroad . . .” (So much for discreet practice). So I was just really into music early on.

At school I got into band and choir and every kind of offering they had for music. I had a natural proclivity for instruments, so I was playing several by the time I was maybe ten. After high school I ended up studying music theory and composition at ASU, and started writing tunes in my late teens.

When you’re an independent musician, you just have to figure it out as you go. I learned to record on an old Teac reel-to-reel (I feel like such a geezer even mentioning it!), with no multi-tracking and no overdubs. Everything had to be note perfect for the recording, so it really made me practice. I’ve mostly recorded my own tunes. I now have a really nice compact digital studio, and for me it’s state-of-the-art, although by today’s standards it’s already a dinosaur. I have never been up on the latest gadgetry, but have stuck more with the tried and true.

The creative process:

People always want to know, “Which comes first, the music or the lyric?” For me they are almost always together from the beginning. Usually I get a verse, and by the time I’ve sung it through a couple times, the next verse is on the way. I usually write in one sitting, although some tunes take longer than others. A lot of times I compose in my car (don’t try this at home kids!) But seriously, with miles of open road and no one to hear me figuring it out, it’s a great place to create.

Recording is a completely different creative process in itself. I can never hear harmonies in my head, but once I have the melody track recorded, I can spontaneously create harmonies over the top of it. I pretty much ask the tune what it wants, and gather my instruments as it calls for specific ones. I usually play all the instruments and sing all the vocals on my recordings, do all the engineering and mixing down, and create the album artwork and layout as well. It’s not that I’m a control freak, but I really enjoy the process of putting it all together.


I take inspiration from the beauty of the natural world, from the dream of humanity in harmony, and from my desire to make a meaningful contribution.