Artist Spotlight

Terra Naomi on How to Spread Love in a World Threatened by Hate

A month ago, I was beyond touched by the release of “Machine Age” by Terra Naomi. The extremely well-written and thoughtful political song made me a huge fan of the songwriter and I wanted to know more about her. Terra Naomi became well known after releasing “Say It’s Possible” on YouTube in 2006. Now, she focuses on the release of a new album due out in September.
Izzi Krombholz: Tell me about how it felt to become famous after releasing “Say It’s Possible.” How long had you been making music prior to that?
Terra Naomi: I wouldn’t say I became “famous” — it was more like I had a bunch of exposure all at once. It felt good to finally be heard by a large group of people. I’d been writing songs for about five years, so even though I was learning and studying and playing music since I was four years old, I’d only been touring and playing my own songs for a few years. 
IK: How did you get your start playing music?
TN: I was always musical, from the time I was a baby, and I started piano lessons at age four. Then French horn at age eight, and singing lessons at around fifteen. I went to performing arts camp, but for piano and theater. I switched my focus to voice at fifteen. 
IK: When was “Machine Age” written and how did you feel once you completed it?
TN: I only wrote it a few months ago, so it’s still very new to me. It came in a burst of inspiration, completely written in under an hour. I didn’t intend to write it, and it basically wrote itself. It was interesting, because I felt a certain responsibility to get it out into the world, as soon as it was written. There was this kind of pressure, because I didn’t choose to write the song — it chose me — and I felt like it was my job to make sure it was heard. 
IK: In a world full of so much hate and disagreement, how can we stress in our communities love and healing?
TN: I think it’s hard to stress anything in our communities — in my experience, it’s best to lead by example, so I try to focus on my own actions. I find it very easy to fall into a pattern of fear, pain, dissatisfaction, anger, worry, doubt, frustration. I’m constantly reminding myself to bring it back to love, whether in my dealings with other people or the way I interact with myself. 

I think what we *don’t* do is often more important than what we do. I try not to get pulled into the negativity online — Facebook is like a bottomless pit of negativity and anger, and no good ever comes when I engage with people on that level. There is so much anger in our world, and it seems like people often post things online just to engage in that way, to provoke or incite. So I stay away from that. Not contributing to the hate is one of the best ways to encourage love.

Photo by Jeff Shipman

IK: Have you dealt with disapproval and hatred within your own life?

TN: LOL. Yes. Lots. But I’m the worst offender as far as that’s concerned. I’m harder on and meaner to myself than anyone else has ever been. So that’s what I work on. When I love myself and approve of myself, no one else can touch me. 
IK: What drives you to persevere? 

TN: That’s a good question. I don’t always know. I can’t imagine doing anything else, so I keep going. Sometimes I feel like it’s really pure, positive intentions, like this intense desire to share and connect with people; and other times I wonder if some of my determination is fear-based…not wanting to fail or deviate from this path I’ve set out on. If I’m honest, it’s probably a mixture of both. 

IK: When is your new album out? What all can we expect from it? 

TN: Well, “Machine Age” is the only political song, and all the rest are more about personal experiences, more intimate, less all-encompassing. There is a wide range of emotion, storytelling, observation, reflection. Lyrics and melody are at the center, and the production is created around that. As far as the release date, it will either be June or September. Apparently the planetary alignment favors a specific date in September, so I’ll probably go with that…

**If you haven’t had a chance to listen to “Machine Age,” check it out now! This song is what revolutions are made of…


An avid rock musician and enthusiast as well as a rock history buff.

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