Liana Conway’s “Sunrise” is….Real - Interview

I love rooting for young talents in the music industry. I particularly love rooting for the young talents that get what it means to be a musician and an artist and Liana Conway is one of those young talents. She’s not an artist to be famous and make lots of money, she’s an artist because she has to be. I hope that fame and success comes to her, because she’s the real deal. Recently I got the chance to interview Liana, check it out.

Zoiks!: How would you describe your album "Sunrise?"

Liana Conway: Real. Sunrise is my storybook. All the lessons I've learned and still haven't learned. It's about falling in love and people leaving and picking yourself back up again. It's about staying young even though we're all getting older, remembering to smile because there is so much to smile about! This album is a little bit of everything. Between the music and lyrics, I'm confident it will traverse all ages.

Z!: If I didn't know what you looked like or knew your age I'd have never guessed you are as young as you are. Where do you think that maturity in your music, lyrics and voice comes from?

LC: I’ve always been told I’m an old soul. My parents brought me up to be a deep person, to believe in love and faith and fairytales. I love old music, pictures and books, I love sitting around and talking about World War II with my Dad. I am moved by melodies, by adjectives, by imagery, by tales of romance and hope. Anything with soul and passion and profundity. When I sing or write, I go back to the people, the places, and feelings that I am singing about. I guess that maturity is just me bearing it all. I’m not hiding anything, it’s everything I know and everything I feel laid out on the table.

Z! What made you want to start singing and playing music?

LC: It’s the only way I know how to make sense of this crazy world. Music gives me peace and words give me clarity.

Z!: When did you write your first song and what was that experience like for you?

LC: I wrote my first song when I was 16. It was about the first boy (I thought) I loved. It was soon after I bought my first guitar and I didn’t know any chords so I made up my own. I was sitting on the edge of my bed staring out at this big tree in my backyard I used to climb when I was little, wishing I could call him. I still remember the chorus started “We were a scene from a movie, Your arms wrapped around my waist, Hollywood meets small town, Felt like heaven that I could taste”.

Z!: What is your song writing process?

LC: I have these notebooks I fill with words and thoughts and sentences and quotes I make up. Some of them are poems and some of them are letters I’ll never send. Some of them are angry and some of them are sad, some of them are me counting my blessings, and some of them are me missing someone. I derive all my lyrics from these notebooks. Once I write a melody, the words are the easy part.

Z!: Do you need to feel inspired to write or can you write any time?

LC: I’ve never been the kind of songwriter who can block out a specific time of day to write. All my songs start out as thoughts or ideas I have that I get at any given time. The voice memo app in my cell phone is full of melodies and lyrics that I’ve come up with when I’m driving or in the grocery store or even out at dinner. I could never write when I’m not inspired. Although, luckily I’m inspired easily so I write a lot!

Z!: Who are some of your early musical influences?

LC: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix…I could go on and on and on! I also loved the more pop-sy music from the same era i.e. Fifth Dimension, The Temptations, Tommy James and the Shondells, John Sebastian, The Drifters, etc. My father has this old Woodstock VHS that I used to watch when I was around seven or eight (a.k.a. too young to be watching it!)…and I loved every minute of it. I love the music that came out of that time period. The tunes, the lyrics…it’s all so raw and honest.

Z!: Who are some of the artists you're listening to now?

LC: The one artist that I am constantly playing is Ryan Adams. He’s a musical and lyrical genius. Michelle Branch is another favorite. Third Eye Blind too. Recently, I’ve discovered a more alternative, singer-songwriter group called Green River Ordinance whose sound and lyrics I am loving. Eric Church’s new album Chief has also been on repeat for the past week.

LC: You're a young, pretty, female singer song writer, without even hearing your music people are going to compare you to Taylor Swift. Is that comparison frustrating or is it more flattering?

Z!: I own all three of Taylor’s albums. She is a wonderful songwriter and most importantly has been able to connect with millions of people of all ages all over the world. To me, that is the essence of music. Touching people, healing hearts, making someone feel less alone. Being compared to her is definitely a compliment.

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at

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