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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 031119 — Ellie Baer

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Daylight Savings Time is upon us, bringing a welcome change of light … but with a little side of jet lag. Our #sparkchamber guest today, voice artist Ellie Baer, is no stranger to that, hailing from New York, then Los Angeles — via Tokyo — and currently residing on the Southwest coast of England. Ellie entered the voiceover arena after composing and singing a song on Mickey’s Rock Around the Mouse, a Walt Disney Records compilation album featuring Disney songs in a 1950’s style. The song, Everything is Ducky with Donald, and the Daisy Duck character she voiced earned her a solid reputation in both music and character work.

Ellie began her career as a songwriter, performing her original work in New York’s Greenwich Village. She toured Japan as an artist — becoming fluent in both Japanese and sushi — and worked as an A&R director for Warner Records, collaborating directly with celebrity voice talents and brands.

In her own words: “I’m inspired by the moon, a good view, music, sushi like jewelry, my son’s laugh, the odd comment, a fierce sea. My influences are varied. My maternal grandmother — who was childishly impish and imaginative. Montauk — where my life began and evolved by the sea. The Beatles and other artists who inspired my songwriting — JT, Carly Simon, Steve Bishop, Broadway teams like Lerner & Loewe. Writers like William Faulkner who made me think out of the box, and Pat Conroy who seduced me with language. Other influencers included my mom — a glorious and professional singer — my uncle — a veteran comedy writer — my little sister — whose Down syndrome taught me compassion —my big sister, Jill — for her creative eye and writing talent — and the lifestyle of the uniquely artistic family in which I grew up.”

Her love of original music continues to be a thread. She organizes [and is one of the performers at] Songwriters in the Round, a multitude of songwriters based mostly in, but not limited to, West Country, UK, who perform their original acoustic music in the round in small, intimate venues. [Plus free cake!] The next event will be in March. We will let you know the date when it is announced.

1.] Where do ideas come from?

it’s alchemy. kind of a divine magic when everything flows. but ideas can come from your own internal dialogue. or from the conversation you overhear ... sometimes, an idea comes from making a mistake. and the mistake feels good ... ideas come from desire. from hope, from art. if you stay juicy, go see and feel and hear art, i think you are more inclined to tap into those secrets. 

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

to be the best i can be. It’s really about staying juicy. not being boring. staying original — fresh. I’d rather not share if i cannot bring about something new.

3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

depends on what I’m doing. for voiceover, morning is my time. my vocal range is fresh and with strong coffee by my side, I’m all over it. it’s my best time of day. It’s pure energy and drive. for songwriting and singing, it’s a night time gig ... i need to be alone, to feel a longing or a desire and i need my crutch ... the glass of “something” on the piano. It’s a complicated question because it doesn’t always happen. i think the key for me is feeling the need to say something to a certain audience that will make someone's head turn. It’s often about “reaction” that will drive the urgency for me to get it all out.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

I’m not sure that i do ... :-)