GHOSTE CHATS NEW SINGLE “HAUNTED” & HALLOWEEN PLANS 1 658

Having had a long-time fascination with the “other” world, it’s perhaps not that surprising to find that the acoustic performer once known as Jenny Bruce has now adopted a new moniker – Ghoste – and has just shared her new single, aptly titled “Haunted”, in time for Halloween. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to talk all things spooky, song-writing inspiration and what 2019 has in store.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known under the name Jenny Bruce as an acoustic singer-songwriter, so what exactly brought about the transition to Ghoste and your new, electro-pop sound?

Ghoste: Precisely! I was ready to break the mold. Create something new and unexpected. The term singer-songwriter felt constricting, limiting, even if I am still writing songs and singing. The ghost of Lilith Fair! I realize that it’s just my own perception, but when you’ve been doing something for a while, it’s hard to break away from the thing you feel you’re expected to do!

The artist name “Ghoste,” actually came to me in a dream, but I believe it was my subconscious mind showing me a way out of feeling stuck. Creating as “Ghoste” has been liberating. I can be more groove oriented, soulful, and explore a more moody side. Set aside my acoustic guitar and try on some new sounds. Somehow, taking my name out of the equation sets me free.

Also, there is a lot going on in my personal life that makes me feel like I need a secret room where I can hang out. A place to be weightless, ageless, unburdened and creative. That room is Ghoste.

TITL: Which artists have you been most inspired by throughout your life and how do those inspirations filter through to the music you made and now make?

G: I think people hear the Annie Lennox influence. I have always loved her as an artists, and just as a human. She was so daring vocally and creatively. I know she’s a relatively shy person, but she lays it all out on stage. I’ve always been outgoing, but shy artistically. I’m working on growing up to be Annie. Prince was a huge influence throughout my life. I memorized every riff and growl. Loved how free and funky he was. Never mastered the dance moves…

As a female singer songwriter, for some reason, I felt like I had to fit into a girl with a guitar folk thing. I have no idea why I did that to myself. I think I did it pretty well. But inside of me is a whole gospel choir wanting to escape.

Lyrically, Sting was always an inspiration as well. “King of Pain” might be my favorite song ever. Whenever I go for an easy lyric, I think of Sting. He would say it better. Then there were all the ladies, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Carly Simon. I loved them all and was, no doubt, influenced by each. Shawn Colvin inspired me to teach myself to play guitar in my 20s. Before that, I was just a piano girl.

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing?

G: Firstly, my father. He was so passionate about music. He would bring home new albums all the time and blast them at full volume. Everything from Puccini to the Bee Gees. When the music was funky, he would get up and dance with me. When it was moving, he would weep with emotion. Then he would stroll over to the piano and figure out how to play whatever we just listened to. Music was the family religion.

As far as other artists are concerned, I think those first three I mentioned are my top music heroes. I started writing songs when I was around five years old before I even knew what a songwriter was and I grew up listening to so much amazing music. My dad was a music fiend. Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Carly Simon, The Beatles, The Police, Fleetwood Mac and tons of classical music and jazz. I devoured music my whole childhood like a kid eats candy on Halloween. I couldn’t get enough – except for country. I just never figured that genre out. It doesn’t typically speak to me and I’m not sure why, even though I grew up listening to a lot of traditional Scottish and Irish music. Contemporary Country. Meh.

TITL: Your new single “Haunted” has been released just in time for Halloween. Is there a story behind the song and where did the idea for it come from? Do you have any ‘spooky’ plans for October 31st?

G: In that dream I mentioned earlier, where I got the name Ghoste… there’s more. It was kind of spooky in that it was a very lucid dream. I was on stage, surrounded by moody blue lighting and the letters GHOSTE appeared behind me as an MC introduced me. I woke up and had the chorus of “Haunted.” I didn’t originally intend for it to be a Halloween release, but it worked out that way! I’m reluctant to give the song a literal context as it can mean different things to different people which I like. But let’s just say, I believe.

For Halloween, I have two boys and will be taking them trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. New York goes crazy on Halloween! However, on November 10th, I am going on a Paranormal “Ghost Hunt” at the Morris Jumel Mansion. It’s the oldest house in New York City – mid 18th century – and is supposedly haunted. I am very excited! Of course, George Washington slept there! That’s the American gold standard for spooky old houses. I confess, I’m kind of obsessed with ghosts. Most of the music video for “Haunted” was shot in castle ruins strewn about the French countryside…all supposedly haunted sites.

TITL: The video is due out soon. How did you find the shoot, and how much input do you have when it comes to the creative aspects?

G: It’s all me. I do everything. The glory and downfall of being an independent artist. Full creative license. No help. As an independent artist, you kind of have to be able to do it all. My husband, who is French, helped me find the castle locations and often held the camera. I do all the editing. I’m a one-woman production company, graphic designer, and webmaster. All the funds I raise go towards making music and getting it out there.

TITL: You’ve teamed up with producer Matt Anthony to create the track, and your upcoming album. What has he brought to the creative process?

G: Matt is a gifted producer and composer with decades of experience that began straight out of high-school when he was working alongside industry giants in NYC’s top recording studios. He works with such a wide variety of artists and always manages to pick up on the sound they’re going for. He makes us all sound good. With Ghoste I asked him to feel free to try anything! I tried to not be the controlling singer-songwriter, not easy, and invited him to set the tone. He creates such beautiful musical landscapes. We’ve recorded two songs so far and are beginning a new song next month.

Matt also produced my Jenny Bruce EP, “Firefly in a Jar” where I came in with all kinds of ideas about how I wanted the songs to sound. While Matt was still an integral part of the creative process, I feel like with Ghoste the process has been more like riding a tandem bike. We’re both pedaling, but he’s got the handlebars. Except when “Jenny Bruce” comes out and grabs!

TITL: You’ve often said that you feel strongly connected to the ‘other world’ so what is it about the spirit world that makes you so interested in it? Have you ever had any ghostly encounters and, with that in mind, have you been to Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum yet?

G: I’ve been a long-time fan of Ghost Adventures, but I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Zak’s museum. I think I’ve watched every episode and dream of tagging along on one of their adventures! Alas, I don’t get out to Vegas much…

I watch pretty much every ghost show out there and have always been fascinated with the paranormal. When I was eleven I wrote a short horror story called “The Crack Behind The Closet Doors.” It was pretty spooky! I still have it, written out on lined paper with all kinds of creative spelling and illustrations.

While I have always been intrigued by ghosts, I didn’t truly believe until I actually saw one. Years ago I was touring in Pennsylvania. We were staying at the Inn at Jim Thorpe and arrived late at night. This was pre-internet and I knew nothing about the Inn. That night I saw a full-bodied apparition of a woman in a corseted dress with her hair up in a bun. She was translucent and standing at the foot of my bed. Green. Glowing. She turned and looked me straight in the eyes before gliding off toward the bathroom and vaporizing. That was it. I became a believer. Especially when I found out the next morning that many people have reported ghostly experiences including my bandmates in their respective rooms.

I’d had other odd, spooky experiences prior to this, but I had dismissed them. I do have a very active imagination. Not enough, however, to conjure up the woman at the inn. That was incredible. Never seen anything like it since. Never thought I would. Took my breath away.

TITL: Your album is due out early next year. Without giving too much away, is there anything you can tell me about it?

G: We’ll continue with the electronic, moody vibe of “Haunted” but each song is pretty different. The second song we recorded has a very sexy groove to it.  I’m trying to be less cautious in my vocal, melodic choices and hopefully that will come across. With each song, I’m getting a little more daring. That’s pretty much all I can say!

TITL: Do you have any performances coming up and to date, which show would you say has been your best and why?

G: I’m looking at booking some fun shows in the New Year. I’ve had my eye on a few speak-easies and unconventional spaces. I’ll post shows on my website when I get it together. My life is crazy right now, so no time for gigs.

As for my best show…it’s hard to pick one. A favorite was my CD release gig for “Firefly” at Rockwood a few years ago. The room was packed full of family, friends and fans. There was such an incredible feeling of love in the room. It was almost other-worldly. I can’t explain it. That connection that you seek as a musician, as a human, I felt it….like I was connected to each and every person in that room. It was magic.

TITL: Which one venue would you most like to play and are there any bands or artists you’d like to share the bill with?

G: I would love to do a tour of haunted venues! I’ve been compiling a list over the years. It’d be difficult to pull off, but at some point I will do it! I’d love to share a bill with Tracy Thorn. I’ve always loved her music and her voice is so unique. She seems very cool. Sarah McLachlan seems like the nicest person on earth. She’s brilliant. It would be fun to perform with her since I’ve been compared to her my whole artistic career! I would say Annie Lennox, but I’d be petrified! I don’t think I could make a sound in her presence.

TITL: With the end of the year quickly approaching, what’s been your highlight of 2018 so far, and what has been your biggest career highlight to date?

G: That’s tough. It’s been a difficult year on many levels. I take care of my father who is in the end stages of Parkinson’s and it’s been an emotional long-enduring roller-coaster. I have amazing friends, and a wonderful family. The quality, fun times I’ve spent with them are the highlights of my life in general. I definitely had some amazing, memorable weekends with friends this year. I’ll take those stories to the grave! Of my career? I’ve had some incredible moments, but I don’t think I’ve hit my highlight yet. I believe it’s still to come.

TITL: Finally then, aside from your album release, what does 2019 have in store for you? What are your main objectives and, looking further ahead, what are your long-term goals, both personally and professionally?

G: This is out there, but I’m currently in graduate school getting a master’s degree in Education Technology as I’m passionate about education and improving our failing educational system here in the United States. The program I’m enrolled in at Teachers College, Columbia University has a big focus on educational reform, innovation and educational equity. I don’t know where that will lead me, but I follow my heart and my passion. Education, especially early childhood education, is critical to a child’s success in life. That will be tied into my future somehow. Other than that, I want to be a loving mom, a good human. And, of course I want to connect with people by making music until I, myself, give up the ghost.

For more information on Ghoste, visit ghostenyc.com.

Previous ArticleNext Article

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

INTRODUCING MALA FOREVER – THE MULTI-PURPOSE PLATFORM OF 2019 0 40

As a platform that as a whole is a hugely impressive creative lab for the radical femme revolution, with original film projects, an editorial digital magazine and commissioned work, Mala Forever, set up by Nina Reyes Rosenberg and Jessie Levandov and launched in November of last year, is leading the way when it comes to new and upfront platforms that champion the art of creativity and expression. With a busy year ahead, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Nina and Jessie to find out more about the creation of Mala Forever, the power and impact of social media on its audience and their two upcoming film releases.

TITL: Please introduce yourselves if you would.

Mala Forever: We are Nina Reyes Rosenberg and Jessie Levandov, the co-founders and directors of Mala Forever – a radical feminist film studio, digital platform, creative agency, and community.

TITL: How do the two of you know each other and how did you come up with the idea for Mala Forever? Why did you feel that now was the right time to launch the platform?

MF: Mala Forever is a concept we have been dreaming up pretty much the whole time we’ve known each other – we met as film students at NYU where we bonded through our love of queer feminist stories, and have been best friends and creative partners ever since. Mala is the culmination of our diverse leadership experience in film and video, community-based social justice, and fine art and design.

We are part of a unique cultural moment, in which sexism, white male supremacy and heteronormativity in media and entertainment are finally being discussed at the level of national discourse. Now is the time for us to band together and build lasting creative infrastructure, not just for ourselves but in community with marginalized creators.

TITL: What would you say the other brings to MF? Do you each put your own ‘stamps’ on the site and its content in some way?

Nina: Jessie is a very earthly being. She keeps me grounded with a lot of warm energy and her genuine love of people. She’s amazing at documentary and verite filmmaking, and super crafty. We each have really distinct personal aesthetics, and it’s been fun crafting a brand that satisfies both of our sensibilities, kind of like a shared, essential feminist language that we both have. It’s always helpful to have each other as thought partners, and I think we both understand that the most brilliant ideas we have tend to be the ones we’re both really excited about.

Jessie: Nina is brilliant and fierce and I feel lucky every-day to have her as my vision partner. She brings fire and conviction to decision making – which is grounding and inspiring for me and something I struggle with. I love her aesthetic and sense of color – and have always been not only her collaborator and bestie but such a big fan and admirer of her work as an artist. We each bring distinct strengths and experiences to the table, and our shared core values, politics, and vision for Mala Forever makes it really exciting to be building this together – the work is better for it and so are we.

TITL: How would you sum up Mala Forever in a few words?

MF: Bold creative fempire.

TITL: What makes Mala Forever different from the many other online platforms/sites that are out there?

MF: We are not just a film studio, a digital content platform, or a creative agency – we are all of the above! It’s important to us to build a creative engine that truly addresses our audience and customers’ needs, puts resources directly into the hands of marginalized filmmakers and creators, and builds community around radical feminist stories and values. There’s a lot of lip service to inclusion and representation, but not enough creative companies are building community equity into their business structure, and are still falling back on the same systems and modes of production that have contributed to our industry’s toxicity all along. As Audre Lorde said, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” We have to do things in a radically new way, and that’s what we’re doing.

TITL: Who/which age range(s) is MF specifically targeted to and how are you ensuring you accommodate to the needs of those individuals?

MF: Our core audience is intersectional, millennial, and engaged in political resistance. There is a real hunger in our community for representation that crosses cultural boundaries and reflects our community as a complex but powerful coalition of people who share a feminist world view and lived experience of cultural otherness.

TITL: How important is and will social media be in order for you to grow your audience? Do you think eventually all physical content platforms might fade into obscurity and EVERYTHING will be online?

MF: Both the physical and digital worlds offer important possibilities for how we can connect with our community. Social media is critical to how we build and grow with our community; that being said, the physical realm is where our sense of home and community is born, and where many of us are threatened simply for being who we are. So it’s equally important to invest in physical spaces where we feel safe, can share stories and create together, as it is to invest in the digital spaces where we can communicate in revolutionary and evolving ways.

TITL: You’ve shot a short film, “Baby”, set for release in June and a feature film, “The Wild Ones” in the works. Is there anything you can tell me about either of these two projects?

MF: Baby​ is a queer coming-of-age love story set in New York City that confronts themes of LGBTQ identity and toxic masculinity. Shot stylistically as narrative cinema verite, Baby introduces us to the world of Ali, a Dominican teenager from the Bronx, on a Saturday afternoon. ​Baby​ will be released to our community during PRIDE month, June 2019.

It was the first film we produced together as Mala Forever, and was very much made possible by the support of our community. Jessie has spent the last ten years working as a youth media educator in New York City public schools – and this work was inspired by her deep love for making media with young people – many of whom starred in the film!

The Wild Ones​ is our first feature-length film, which we are co-directing. It is a coming-of-age road film about two best friends who go on the ride of their lives with a nomadic tribe of lesbian separatists. We co-wrote the screenplay, and are currently shifting into early development, building the project and community around the film from the ground up.

TITL: As two people who create original content, run a digital magazine and complete commissioned work for/with brands and organizations, how do you find time to unwind, and when you do have a minute or a period to yourself, what do you like to do? 

N: Honestly, work has never been more fun! But making time for myself and the people in my life is key to my happiness. I journal a lot. I love to sing and dance. When I’m feeling emotional, I’ll write poetry or paint. Exercise, home cooking, meditation, and getting enough sleep all do wonders for my health. And of course – watching movies!

J: I’m an Aries, and thus historically have had a hard time being still – so stillness and quiet is something I am excited to cultivate more of in 2019. When I’m not working on Mala, I love making things with my hands (I have a secret life as a jewelry and clothing designer), spending quality time with people I love over meals and on dancefloors, seeing art and films that inspire me, and taking long walks in Brooklyn.  

TITL: What’s the long term goal for Mala Forever? As a newly launched site, how worried are you about the competition and market, and how do you plan to overcome any bumps in the road you might face?

MF: We are building the creative studio our community has been waiting for, brick by brick, by any means necessary. The challenges are manifold, but we keep each other strong and grounded in our vision. Our radical, inclusive, feminist, queer audience is much larger than we’ve been led to believe, and is growing rapidly. The whole landscape needs to change, through a communal effort that goes beyond any individual company or artist. So when it comes to fellow filmmakers who are telling authentic stories from our community, we are rooting for them. Our real competition is not each other, but the existing systems of power and oppression that we’re all working to change.

For more information on Mala Forever, visit the website. You can also follow Mala Forever on Twitter and Instagram.

SOPHIE ANN UNVEILS HER UPBEAT & CATCHY NEW SINGLE “READ MY MIND” 0 71

Following on from the release of her self-love anthem “Flawless” towards the end of last year, Sophie Ann is continuing to speak out, write and sing about mental health issues – issues that affect millions not just here in the UK, but around the world – in an open and honest way in an effort to remind those who hear her music that they are not and never alone in what they are going through.

Her latest track “Read My Mind” is an upbeat, pop-funk banger that looks at the anxiety that often goes with and can come with getting in your own head. In her own words, Sophie says:

“Read My Mind is about when you have a crush on someone and create their personality and your entire future relationship in your head, and when you daydream about someone you don’t even know. I was in this headspace before I went into the writing session where we wrote Read My Mind, and I thought it was such a funny concept. It’s something that’s embarrassing to admit, but we all do it.”

Check out “Read My Mind” below and to keep up to date with Sophie Ann, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.