Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview: 2012 Lazer Rock Girl Britt

 My goal, in writing for this blog, in making music, and in meeting new people is always to bring our community closer together. Really, our music community SHOULD be one big family. We can all use the support, the encouragement of each other, and I think the fans really like it when they come to a show and feel like they belong and like we're all working together.

In the spirit of that, I'm interviewing Lazer 103.3's Rock Girl Brittnie today. I actually competed against her in this contest, and she was great to work with the whole time. She surprised me, because like most people, what I saw first was a pretty face. I was sure I wasn't going to like her or have anything in common with her. I was very glad that she proved me wrong, or rather that I opened up, chose to get to know her, and proved myself wrong.

2012 Lazer 103.3 Rock Girl Brittnie

Now, if I thought she was just a pretty face, I'm sure most people watching the competition and keeping up with things online probably thought ALL of us were just pretty faces. I hope that through reading this interview you'll get to see a bit deeper into the heart of things, into what is really real, and will feel that much closer to our music community.

You belong here. So do I. So does Rock Girl Brittnie.

What made you want to enter the Rock Girl Contest?

I've had a passion for music for most my life. When I heard the ads on Lazer 103.3 for the Rock Girl Search I thought immediately it was something I could do. I really enjoy meeting new people, hearing their stories and talking music. I thought I could maybe bring something new and personal to the position.

So was the contest process easy for you?

Yes and no. Yes, going out, talking to people, being myself was completely easy. I vowed to be nothing but myself and if I was going to win I would win by keeping my morals and values. Then, absolutely NO for many reasons. I have only competed against girls in sports, this competition wasn't like that. And I definitely have bi-polar confidence. The drive to the tryouts I was all pumped up and was like "Ya I'm gonna nail this!". I got there and didn't even want to go into the mall. I was like "WTF did I get myself into, I can't do this." Well, my boyfriend made me. We drove all that way-I was gonna tryout. So I did and it was nerve racking! Getting on stage talking I could do just fine-I've never had a problem talking in front of people. But to purposely put myself in a position to be judged by so many? I thought I had lost my mind.

Then came the day to start promoting our pics for votes to make it into the Top 10 and I was ready to pull out from the competition. I was judging myself so harshly! I thought I didn't have a chance in hell to win and I worried about something I'm very strict on: Facebook adds on my personal profile. I only have people I actually know on my Facebook and I was not willing to budge on that to win a competition. With the sudden lack in confidence and being scared off on FB I was over it and done with the competition. Then many of my friends came forward through messages and texts encouraging me to stay in. One called me out stating that I'm playing life safe-to take a chance, that I'm already what they want in a Rock Girl, so show them that. Then a wonderful woman that didn't even know me yet got in touch with me and kept me in the competition. She talked me through my fears and insecurities. I felt that if someone that is supposed to be competing against me could be so supportive and encouraging, I had to give this a shot. (She didn't want named.)

Photo by MG Photography

Was it easy after that?

It really didn't get any easier, even after winning. I spent nights crying over some of the things I was reading about me. But I had constant support from friends and the ladies going through the process with me. I'm so thankful everyday for meeting these girls and have grown very close to Jen Allen and RG contestant Meghan. The week after winning may have been the hardest. I won but I wasn't doing any Rock Girl stuff yet but a lot of people had opinions about why I shouldn't have won. I understood people wanting to support the other girls who were their friends, but they did so by tearing me apart. Jen and Meghan did not let that happen. They stood up for me, thanked their friends for the support but explained that it did not have to happen by tearing me down. They are two of the most classy, fun-loving, free spirited, REAL, girls I have ever met.

Did you think you would win? Has it affected how others see you or how you see yourself?

Not a chance. My thought through the competition was: "Be yourself." If they were going to like me it was going to be the real me. I'm a dork. When I'm nervous I talk to much, when I get excited I get giddy. I'm a complete nerd and enjoy it to the core. I wasn't going to be ashamed of any part of me and if I was going to do it I was going to show everyone who I really am. So at campaign stops I went out there talked to as many people as possible and gave it my all. Not once did the thought "I'm gonna win this!" cross my mind. Every now and then "I may have a chance at this" snuck in but my bipolar confidence quickly crushed it. I've been bullied at times in my life, people have attempted to tear me down for my likes and things I enjoy. This has kind of been the first time that I've been truly excepted for who I am. I don't think much has changed on how others see me or how I see myself. I'm still a huge dork that trips regularly while walking and runs into walls. I'm still me and was going to be the same whether I won or not.

How do you feel about winning?

Gracious, excited, and ready to do as much as possible with the position!

For those who don't know, can you tell us a bit about what the Rock Girl does? What's your job with Lazer entail?

I'm Lazer's Spokesmodel/Promotions Model. You can find me at just about every Lazer event promoting the station, giving away free concert tickets and talking with the listeners. I also get to be on air with the totally awesome Andy Hall every Friday 5-6pm. Then also the photo shoots to promote many different types of events. Maggie with  MG photography is phenomenal and I'm really hoping to bring a creative edge to my pictures this year.

Photo my MG Photography

You won a guitar in the Lazer Rock Girl contest. Do you play?

I am in the process of learning. Right I'm working on getting my small double jointed hands use to reaching, stretching and use to the strings. I have a pinky that seems to want to do anything but what I want it to do. Really soon I am going to start teaching myself music from Ocarina of Time and will probably post videos of that process.

Ocarina of Time--that's Zelda. What else do you geek out on?

Zelda was and will always be my original love. Mario Bros and Donkey Kong are some of my faves in the Nintendo series. I'm a huge WoW (World of Warcaft) nerd, my Undead Warlock is my pride and joy. I'm a big Call of Duty girl but Battlefield 3 has taken up a lot of my attention lately. The Fable series is beautiful to me, I can get lost into those games for days at a time. Big Elder Scrolls fan also. On top of video games I love me some super heros, Batman topping that list and some totally awesome 80's movies like Labyrinth and Willow! I actually have Zelda and Willow inspired tattoos.

What was the first thing to really spark your interest in music?

I can't remember a time when I didn't have interest in music. When I was a kid I listened to all types of different music. My early high school years really formed my music tastes now. Rock, melodic, metal, alternative, singer/writers had my full attention. Music became the emotion I felt while listening to it. I wondered what the writer might have felt while writing it. It is therapy for me, it has helped me through some of my darkest times and enriched great times.

What was the first show you attended? Was it a local band or a national?

The first show I attended was Cheap Trick when I was 8 years old. It was a mix of emotions, sadly it was very loud (I never complain of that now) but I was in awe at the performance. Up in til that point I only ever heard music on the radio, it was my first time seeing someone play music live. I was hooked on all sorts of live music. I went on a school trip shortly after to see an Orchestra perform. I fell in love with the Cello when they played The Pink Panther Theme Song. Live music of any sorts is beauty to me.

Tell me about some of your favorite bands and why their music does it for you.

Breaking Benjamin tops my fave list. I can listen to every album from beginning to end. Most of their songs have been attached to an event, person or feeling in my life. Music is like a photo album for me but of emotions and feelings. Papa Roach won me over after seeing them live. The guys in that band perform with so much heart, every night giving it their all, like they are still trying to get signed. I've loved Evans Blue and the boys in it since the beginning. I love what they have grown into as a band, I'm proud of them as a friend and really look forward to their new material coming out.

Do you have any favorite local bands that you like to see?

A couple so far have caught my interest. Hath No Fury - I caught one show and was blown away: great music and great performers. It's Complicated is a fun band that really can do it all. They are a newer band but I would have sworn they have been playing together for years. I've made it to a couple of Lazer's Best Damn Band Contest shows which have featured a lot of great local talent like Superchief, David Scanlon of Switchblade Saturdays, the Handlebars, and Richard Arndt.  I'll also be going to The Snowball with Mindrite, Index Case, Dead Horse Trauma, Calous Nation, and Hath No Fury on January 27th. The local music scene in Des Moines is very alive and talented!

Do you have any ideas to improve our local music scene?

Just the haters hating, saying the DM local music scene is dead. You guys are obviously not paying attention to the flyers, the radio ads or the Facebook promotions. Pay attention, get out there, you want to see a killer performance, fill the bar/venue. Bands can give a killer performance but man can they feed off of a full crowd and give an even better one!

Photo by MG Photography

What has been the most embarrassing moment so far as Rock Girl?

Oh boy, where to start. Ask me this again at the end of the year and the list will be 10 times longer. I'm not graceful, I'm a klutz, I'm accident prone so it actually takes a lot to embarrass me. Anymore I just shake my head and laugh at myself. I've had a couple good ones so far. My phone is possessed, and before buying my Santa outfit for my photo shoot I snapped a picture only meant for my photographer Maggie. There was a lot of cleavage, total tummy baring, pretty much half naked. So sent it to Maggie bought the costume and didn't think anything more of it. That night I had my phone in my apron at work, I received a text from my boyfriend's, father's, fiance saying "So that's your outfit for the next shoot? You look cute!" Oh my goodness, my phone somehow sent my Santa outfit pic to her. I was mortified and ten shades of red. To say the least there was a lot of Santa jokes this Christmas. My phone also posted "Ass" as a status update on my Rock Girl page when I was trying to ADD someone through Facebook Text. I was going to delete it but people were liking it so I thought "Eh, whatever, I will go with it, make fun of myself".

What would you consider to be your biggest triumph thus far?

I have a few things in the works that I hope to get done as Rock Girl. I would consider those triumph if succeed at doing so. But lil triumphs I've had have been getting on stage in a swimsuit! It was just a lil nerve racking. And making my dress for the Winter Ice Queen Photo Shoot.

Do you have any big plans for your year as the Lazer Rock Girl?
Oh yes I do, I tend to dream big. I will keep them my lil secrets for now!

Do you have any crazy fan stories?

The Winter Photo Shoot was pretty amusing. We shot out at Sleepy Hollow and there was a lot of young teenage boys out there that day. The background noise was a lot of interesting questions and comments from hormone-raged boys. It was pretty funny.

You get a year of being the Lazer Rock Girl and working with the crew at Lazer 103.3.  What are you looking forward to the most, or enjoying the most right now?

I look forward to any and all of my time with Maggie (Gulling, of MG Photography). We are on a very similar creative level and have so many fun and different ideas for photo shoots this year. Of course Lazerfest, it's THE event in a Rock Girls career. All Lazer listens and music fans in one place at one time. I hope to see so many people while there. I look forward to every Friday, being on air with Andy Hall. The man is so funny and has so much knowledge. I learn something every week with him.

Last question!  Most people think that the Lazer Rock Girl is just a pretty face. Can you tell us what makes you different?

Well, I DO know music and would love to talk music with anyone! I've been to over 80 concerts/shows in the last 12 years. I entered this competition because of my love for music. Besides music, I'm active in many different topics on my Facebook page. I have a weekly gaming subject called "What's in your box?". It's not just limited to 360s which is what I own but to any gaming system. Each week, usually Monday, I have a new gaming subject to nerd over. I'm very into watching and playing sports. I'm a girly girl also, love fashion, cooking, sewing, hair products and makeup. And I always about learning new things. So just about every person I meet I could easily strike up a conversation with just about anything.


Thank you for reading!

I hope you'll join me and Rock Girl Brittnie at the 3rd Annual Snowball at People's on Court on January 27th. We've got some well-known local bands playing such as Mindrite, Index Case, Dead Horse Trauma, and Calous Nation, and Hath No Fury.

I hope we'll all see you at this show, or that you'll be at another show in Des Moines. There is a LOT of great music going on, every week, and it's up to you to get out there, support it, and join the family. This is the family you get to choose, so CHOOSE it! Support local music, support local businesses, and rock on.

Question for you readers:  What do YOU think we can do to make our local music community better and stronger in Iowa?  Give YOUR ideas.


Jen Allen said...

EVERYONE has an opinion. This is an open invitation to SHARE yours! What can we do to make our local music scene even better?


Anonymous said...

The fact that this webpage exists is a good start. Can't speak for Des Moines but here in Lincoln, it seems that each genre has it's own following. The trick would be, it seems, is to get each genre's crowd to inter-mingle within itself. For the sheer love of music itself. Music fans unite!

This web page seems to bring it all together, which is why I like it. I have been quietly reading Bigfoot for a couple of years (This is my first-ever comment), and it seems that you are finally getting the attention you deserve.

-AKA Sparky

Jen Allen said...

Glad you posted, Sparky, and thanks for the input!

I've been brainstorming over how to get the crowd/fans to feel more like family, even with the different genres. I've been lucky that my band has gotten to play shows with a number of bands that are not, persay, our genre--and that helps a lot. I've heard from some bands that say shows they put together like that flopped, but we've had great luck with it so far.

Keep commenting! We like it!


Anonymous said...

Jen. I know of you & think you are a beautiful person. The Bigfoot Diaries is a big deal, & a great thing to be a part of. I read it as often as possible.

I must say Jen...starting off a magnificent blog with a 'rock girl' interview is sort of, off because of the source... Lazer doesn't care about Underground or Local events at all. I don't think anyone cares about a Lazer Rock Girl either. No offense... I am actually glad you didn't win, simply because all the girls elected didn't do anything different (the safe route. Just like politics & job security). The girls were corrupted into mainly promoting only national & trendy (& poor taste) local bands that were/are douches/scene wreckers, to the community & the nation. Hopefully posts like mine put a fire under their ass, encourage & FORCE them to prove me wrong.

Not to go against uniting locals, but the Snowball always has bad connotations. Maybe it's promotion for your band, but I recommend something different. It's a group of west sider mindsets, with no comprehention of quality, original music.

In all seriousness though, I'm still looking forward to future posts by you.

Local/Good Music Lover

Anonymous said...

So did you read the article? Pretty sure she supports local music and promotes it regularly.

Anonymous said...

Wow dude, talk less, listen more and follow your opinions up with facts not just ramblings that you seem to think are correct. You want local music uniting yet you bash the attempt. You are just an idiot that talks to much. Start paying attention more and you would easily be proven wrong. And like the other person said READ the interview! You would already be proved wrong!

Jen Allen said...

I appreciate everyone's words. I wish you were not all posting anonymously so that I knew who I was talking to.

On the subject of the Snow Ball having bad connotations or being thrown by people who have no musical taste, that mostly sounds biased. Who's musical tastes count? If you ask the folk artists, there's no art in metal. If you ask some hardcore metal folk, they may say that it doesn't take any talent to make folk music. Everyone gets to have their taste in music, and it's pretty hard to say what is "original." It's all been done a million times before we were born.

There are 12 notes. Most great songs are based around four chords. It's all been done.

Mindsets that separate part of the community into "good" or "original" music and yet ignore other parts that may be very popular are NOT helping the local music community in my opinion. I may not be in a metal band or LOVE metal music, but I can appreciate what they are doing, the talent, the skill, etc required. And if my very-non-metal band plays with them and gains some fans, it's best for everyone.

Everyone needs to play nice. When we act separatist and elitist about our music community, we oppress it.