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Halie Loren: Butterfly Soaring

R.J. DeLuke By

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Portland, considering its not a major city. It's a big city on Oregon's scale. It has a very eclectic and active music scene, for sure. It draws a lot of musicians. I think that's because there's something really attractive about Portland, and really Oregon in general. There are parts of Oregon that are very arts interested. Very accepting and supportive and appreciative of the arts. I think that kind of energy is great to be around. As an artist, it's nice to realize you have a place in this world. Not just in theory, but in your actual community," she says. "Eugene is smaller. For its size, it has a ridiculous number of musicians per capita. Its a thriving arts community with a lot of creative energy."

So in Oregon, she continues to compose songs and melodies. As a writer or poetry and stories, it used to be the lyrics would strike her imagination first. "I would often have to have an entire lyric before I would begin. I've definitely gone away from that now. I have tons of melodic ideas. Not only because of my many, many gigs performing and interpreting melodies on the fly, and improvising. But melodies are stacked up in droves, in my head and in my recorder. I have way more melodies in my trove than words that I could ever possibly come up with. So, I'm in a conundrum," she says chuckling. "I don't know what to do with all these melodies."

She tours Asia, Canada and the U.S. And has other things in development. "I have all of these songs I've been saving up for something a little different. I'm going to start digging into those more now and see what comes of that. I have a feeling that whatever project there is for me right around the bend is going to be quite a new phase for me, artistically. This most recent album, Butterfly Blue, dabbles in some elements I had long been wanting to do, but I hadn't taken the chance on yet. It's a bit of a left turn from where I've been. I think I've been really inspired by that. I think wherever that takes me will be the next step in that journey. But i don't know what it looks like and I won't know until I start getting there. I've got some songs I'm really excited to share with people."

Loren is also in a place vocally where her sound has moved away from influence and is her own. Emulating her favorites, and learning from that in years, are behind. Her phrasing and her presentation are seasoned. They move to unexpected places. It is Halie Loren's voice.

"The voice is the most personal of instruments. I know I've had a long line of influences, musically, that have been varied in their approach. But I feel like in the last five years I've come into my own voice in a way that I don't have to think about it. It just happens that way. It's the natural expression of where it wants to go. Now that I've done this for so long, I've finally come to a place in my life and in my music, where I can feel like what I am is what I'm meant to be," she says with confidence. "The way that I sing is the way I sing at this moment. I can change it later if I want to... but the overthinking thing is like this wall I've come up against at certain times in my life and in my creativity... just letting go and letting what happens naturally be OK is really interesting part of the more recent journey for me. The song becomes an experience rather than a crafted piece. It's like a conversation. You never know where it's going to go. And I like that."

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