Karem Nunez Photography
by: Kiva Johns-Adkins
(original interview posted on Dreaming of Edward's blog, December, 2010)
It’s not fair to call Lee Safar a musician. She is so much more than that. Lee is a musician, philosopher, entrepreneur, friend and very soon she will become an author.
“I read it yesterday,” Safar said. “I’d written the book I’d always wanted to buy but could never find out there.”
I met Lee on Twitter about a year ago after I saw many of my Aussie friends raving about her music and accessibility to her fans. Since then, I have tried to share Lee with the world because she is gift everyone should get to open. Her life has changed dramatically since that time last year, when she still lived in her native Sydney, Australia and worked hard to self-promote her music and vision. As Lee says, she is now “A citizen of the world. I will go where the music takes me.”
“The most important change for me, in the twelve months is the fact that I feel less of a sense of urgency and I am calmer in my approach to things,” Safar said. “I say ‘no’ more often now and things are more on my terms. I am determined to set the pace of my life.”
Safar spoke with me last week from her current home-base of Los Angeles, just after she sent off the first 1/3 of her new book to an interested publisher.
“I have given birth,” Safar said with pride after writing day and night to complete the first part of her book. “Now it is a communal effort to raise it.” And raise it they will. Safar still remains an independent musician, fiercely loyal to herself and her fans. “No one will own me.”
What began as a little podcast called “Dream Angel” has, along with everything else in Safar’s life, evolved into something so much more. That podcast, which began in Thanksgiving, 2009 offers listeners advice and inspiration on how to make the most of their lives, will become a book to guide them 365 days a year.
The unnamed book is being written to serve as a reference guide to readers that talks logically about how to add what they need to their lives. “It cuts out all the ethereal bullshit,” Safar says honestly.
Safar has learned many lessons on her journey through life. She has no particular destination in mind, aside from happiness and will follow whatever road leads to that. She is honest and frank and refreshing. Safar hangs out with old friends and reaches out to new ones, growing emotionally as she also grows professionally.
“I doesn’t suck to be me when someone sends me an email telling me how I have changed their lives,” Safar admitted. “I am doing this, all of this, to inspire people.”
Along with the book, her new album and continuing the Dream Angel Podcast and Sandwich Bag Series, Safar is spreading her musical wings. In the year ahead she plans to work with new artists on original collaborations and world music cross over tracks that will expand her musical repertoire into the genres of Hip-Hop and Dance.
“The artists I've chosen to work with have blown me away with the truth that they bring to their craft and we're learning so much from each other. Pushing each other’s boundaries to be more real and authentic with what we're creating! The songs we're working on together are sounding AMAZING and I really hope my fans love them too,” Safar said.
“I’m hoping to combine a music tour with a book tour,” Safar said. “I would like to be a writer by day and a musician by night.”
From now until the end of the year, Safar’s focus is finding a publisher to pick up the book and complete writing on her debut album. She hopes to begin recording in February or March then release it in late spring or early summer, 2010 at the latest.
“On a very personal level, a whole new Lee Safar has emerged this year and I want to the album to reflect that process,” Safar reveals. “It will be a real progression from the previously released material but will have all the trademarks of me- intense, honest, mystical lyrics with melodies that knock on the door of your soul inviting you to come explore yourself with me. I simply can't wait to hear it myself.”
Living in Los Angeles since 2009, Safar still visits her native Australia and has plans to tour the U.S. as well as Japan, a new market that has opened for her music.
Very soon, her break-through single “I’m Here” hits the Japanese markets and introduces another part of the world to the soulful music that emanates form Safar’s heart and right onto the track.
“When I went back to Australia a couple of months ago, I attended a panel for AUS Trade and got a distribution deal for my music with ICJ, a major distributor of music in Japan,” Safar said. “Now, I am looking at doing some kind of tour there.”
Don’t expect Safar to headline The Staples Center or The Tokyo Dome. That’s not who Lee is. She is a former corporate employee turned barista who, by walking away from all of that, found a reason and way to follow her dreams. Now is sharing that with the world; one song, one podcast and one intimate venue at a time.
“I don’t want to just be here for two years,” Safar admitted candidly. “I want to be here in 25 years.”
In 2009, “I’m Here” went viral on YouTube and became an instant sensation; thanks in large part to the Twilight fandom that helped propel the song around the world. “I’m Here” was originally considered to be included on the New Moon soundtrack, although it didn’t make it onto the final product.
Safar, a Twilight fan herself, never saw having her music being included on the rocket ship known as Twilight, as a way to promote her music but as a way to share her story. And Lee’s story is the same story as many of her fans, fans she interacts with on a daily basis – fans that are so much more. They are friends.
To check out more on Lee, visit her website at http://www.leesafar.com/
copyright Kiva Johns-Adkins, 2010. All rights reserved.
*other blogs may post this interview but only in its entirity with my name as the interviewer.* (An interview translated into Japanese is also available by request).