We had the good fortune of connecting with Persephone Godwin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Persephone, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
Affirmations are so important to me that I collect and cycle through many of them – as well as quotes that inspire me. So I can’t say that I have a favorite – but I definitely have a current one, by American dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp, which is particularly fitting for the pandemic. “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”. And here we are, stuck in our houses for months. I’m fortunate to be on lockdown with someone I love and laugh with, my fiance and co-creator of music and film projects. But lockdown is frustrating. We can drive ourselves crazy and each other. And every time we hit that wall of frustration, of feeling cooped up, turning on music or creating a new piece gives us a feeling of expansion and movement. We tend to associate works of art and music with large landscapes or exotic places, as they’re portrayed in music videos or film. But the truth is, like Twyla says, it’s all done in the studio. So that little box can transport you anywhere you want to go. That one instagram-able image on the mountain doesn’t reflect the days, hours, and months spent inside. Of course, I don’t recommend a pandemic to make my point and I look forward to the day when we can all safely and confidently get back to our travels and adventures! But in the meantime, run away with your art!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It used to be a struggle for me to describe my artistry. I started out as a vocalist, and became a songwriter through that. I worked with different musicians and tried to convey what I felt but I didn’t have the language to articulate how I wanted to be produced – I really just wanted to sing. For a long time, this weighed on my self-esteem as an artist. I hated being asked the question. I didn’t fit into any one marketing genre. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to brand yourself, and it’s increased with the social media era. But one day a friend invited me to a Janis Joplin documentary at the Grammy Museum. She was asked how she got into the blues, and she replied completely casually without hesitation – “well, I lived in a town, and I wanted to sing, and the musicians in my town played blues, so I sang blues”. It was so unapologetic that I felt like she had personally given me permission to release this obligation of needing to define myself as anything other than a singer. That was about the time I shifted into doing the music I love that I never had the words for. Just letting it come out without a label. Of course, now it’s finding it’s own label – which I absolutely love. All my influences of the 80s and electronic music are seeping in, even when I don’t start out with that intention. This past month I started a new song which has synths so reminiscent of The Cars and Berlin that it caught me by pleasant surprise. My story – well, I’d like it to be one of light and healing. I find the world to be a dark and difficult place, so I write to feel better and to find ways to navigate it. I feel like there’s an element of my sonics and lyrics that comes from a heavy place, but lands in the light. My intention is to give people hope and remind them of what is important – love, beauty, and personal freedom.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Echo Lake Pedal Boats – a chance to float around on the water, look at nature, and get some exercise while you’re relaxing! Griffith Park and the Observatory – we love to hike up from Ferndell Park and enjoy the amazing views of the city. I love renting bikes in Santa Monica and biking the strand down to Venice or even beyond. And the Venice Canals for sure! Also – Beverly Gardens Park and especially when they have the art walk. Fresh on Sunset is one of our favorite vegan restaurants and they are still going strong with takeout through the pandemic. Juice Crafters – amazing Chocolate Acai Bowls and ayurvedic lattes. I could go on and on since I absolutely love L.A.!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been so fortunate to work with some amazing musicians and producers. Michael Spriggs, one of Nashville’s top session players, produced a celtic-inspired EP for me called “So Mote It Be”. My first music video was a collaboration with an amazing team – Tommy Byrd and Clay Tapp. Steve Postel in Los Angeles is my go to for the best vocal production. I can’t forget to mention Jim Beam, who gave me my first boost by make me a recipient of their Emerging Artist Grant Program. In L.A., I’ve collaborated with writer/director Heidi Hornbacher on two music videos. My fiancé, Matt Richardson, and I are co-creating music, music videos, and film through our company Pele Pictures. We released an EP in 2019, Love Spell, and a music video “Love Me So Much”, which has been screened in numerous film festivals, taking home awards for Best Music Video, Best Female Solo Artist and Best EDM/Dance. We’re both excited to be collaborating with guitarist Sepand Samzadeh of Days Between Stations and have a new single, “Dream of Better Days”, which will be released early next year.
Matt Richardson Kyle Bart Reid