Getting to Know Wendy Cahill

Wendy Cahill has a voice.  She’s got a voice that is captivating and beguiling.  She’s got soul.  And like I said above, man-oh-man, she has got a Voice.  It’s raw and powerful and is definitely meant to be heard!

Wendy Cahill is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes).  The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.

Check out Wendy’s music on her website.

Here’s a video of Wendy singing with Sans Cherubs.

Wendy Cahillb

 Do you have any favorite musicians whose music has moved you?

Janis Joplin, Barbra Streisand and Mahalia Jackson are my strongest vocal influences.

Lyrically, I’m brought to tears by Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell.

I listen to a broad range of music but often gravitate toward Radiohead, The Pixies and Massive Attack and bands of that ilk.  Beyond lyrics, I’m moved by vocals caught up in complex/hypnotic instrumentation.

What inspired you to start writing your own songs? 

My Mom carried me in her belly during the summer of love, my Dad is an avid music fan and rock historian, I was surrounded and infused with some of the greatest music ever made from the time I was conceived and finally, I was born to sing.  I can only assume that all of this influenced me but, honestly, it has always felt like writing is a necessity.  I write because I have to and because… It just happens!  Writing is catharsis, self indulgence, revenge, love… It’s how my emotions have always found their way out and how I express shared experience.

Are you the kind of songwriter who is constantly writing or do you take time off to recharge and just “be”?

I rarely “force” my songwriting.  The process, for me, is based mainly on something that moves me to write.  I don’t feel in control of the initial spark or the first draft and, most of the time a nearly complete song will pour out of me, as though it were being written in a subconscious place.  I’ve even dreamt some of my songs and written them after the dream.  So, there have been periods of time when that process stops and I become increasingly anxious that I’ve lost it.  It’s always come back though so, I’ve never taught myself to write on demand.

You donate 50% from sales of your songs on your Reverb Nation site to Heifer International.  Why is that charity important to you?

Practically, Heifer feels like one of the most positive and success generating charities available.  My whole family gives to Heifer because of their focus on self reliance and neighbors helping neighbors.  As a small business owner and community activist I know how much more important it is to provide reasons to survive and flourish rather than just throwing money at problems.

You live in southern CT and wrote a song about the Sandy Hook tragedy soon after it happened.  Were you able to share your song with your neighbors and what was the reaction?

I was compelled to write and share my song because of the visceral sorrow that injected itself into our close knit community and the amazing way that we all held each other up.  My home and business are five miles from Sandy Hook and our northern part of one of the wealthiest areas of the country is worlds away from our coastal neighbors.  It was already a close community and one that I’m invested in.  I think the reaction to the song was the same as for all of the good that was paid forward at the time and all of the emotion that was shared.  We were all grateful to know we weren’t alone.


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