October 15, 2014

Interview: Dutch Singer/Songwriter Angela Moyra Makes American Debut with Beguiling New Album

Having already charmed audiences in her native Netherlands with her winsome singing and insightful songwriting, Angela Moyra is poised to likewise beguile a whole new audience in North America with the release this week of her debut LP, Fickle Island.

The music is deceptively laid-back, even whimsical in moments, its acoustic and often tropical distinctions at times belying some rather solemn lyrical sentiments. Such contrasts are complemented by Moyra’s voice, an unaffectedly pristine and sensuous instrument that enriches universal emotions with intimacy and candor.

“I knew I was never going to be a rock singer,” Moyra admits. “Over the years I knew where my strengths were in my voice, and that’s what I focused on and I guess I became better and better. Still, even now, I find out different things in my voice. It’s really amazing. I’m still learning.”

When you finally decided to pursue a career in music, was there some kind of epiphany or some tipping point where you said, “This isn’t just a hobby for me now?”

Well, I’ve always been singing. I’d graduated from business school. I’d always wanted to go to school and get my degree, but then when I was done with that — when I was working — I realized that this was not… My heart was not there. After work I would write songs ‘til five in the morning sometimes, and then after a year of doing that I realized, “Oh, this might be good.” Then I started doing songwriting competitions and from there is where I started to take it seriously.

Is songwriting something that you’re always aware of and doing? Or do you have to set aside time to focus on writing?

It’s funny, because if I need to write — if someone tells me, “Okay, write a song now” — I could probably do it. But the best songs always come from special moments in my life, really, and I can’t predict when it happens. It just comes to me. Those are the best songs, I think.

Do you ever fear of giving too much of yourself away in what you write? Is that something you’re conscious of when you’re writing?

No. I really open up when I sing and when I write. Sometimes I’m more open with my music than I am in my personal life. I’m not afraid to share feelings in songs, or share them with the world. That’s what everyone should do, share their feelings. I think it’s important to always put yourself into songs. Otherwise people won’t feel it.

How are you with stage fright?

Well, I’m always a little bit nervous to go on stage, and I think I will be forever. But I have performed in Holland so many times on big stages and small stages and every time it’s special and it’s exciting. So I’ll always be a little nervous, but I think it’s also something I’ve accepted. I used to hate feeling like that, having butterflies in my stomach and being scared to go on stage. But I’ve just accepted it. That’s just who I am when I’m on stage. I [feel] a little nervous, but then I open up throughout the show. That’s also something that’s maybe nice to see when you’re in the audience.… I go on stage and take them on kind of a journey and explain what the songs are about and involve them in it, really. It’s always a lot of fun. I love it. 

How do you measure your own success going forward? What are your ambitions at this point?

I’m a very realistic person, and as I say to my family and friends, I’m just going to really have fun with it and enjoy that I get this opportunity, shooting in a studio in Malibu or doing a gig in New York. It’s just really something special…. I don’t expect anything, but I do have a goal. I just want to reach many people and I hope they all listen to my music and visit my blog and [view] my pictures and get to know me as an artist. 

Fickle Island is available now on Zip Records. For more information, please visit Angela Moyra’s official website.

Photo © Sophie van der Perre