Rad Livin’: Meet Lizzy Land

Tuesday // March 14 // 2017

Lizzy Land Music

I remember sitting in 8th grade History class when I heard this deep, incredible voice come from the desk next to me. Lizzy was singing along a tune while doing her work and I thought, “I’ve never heard a voice like that!” So strong, powerful and full of passion.

Lizzy Land grew up in Portland, Oregon and is currently based in Los Angeles, pursuing her music career. One of the things we love most about Lizzy is her authenticity and determination to keep that at the forefront of who she is and what she creates. She recently released her debut EP called Sweet Melodies and we’re so stoked for you to learn more about her story and how she got to where she is now.

Meet Lizzy Land…

Where are you in the world?

Riding in a cosmic submarine. 

How do you follow your bliss?

By being uniquely me. Living in Los Angeles can be unnerving to say the least, and maintaining your identity can be difficult. I’ve had moments both socially and creatively where I questioned who I was. The only way to achieve supreme happiness is to own your true self (which is hard enough to figure out). Settling or not speaking up might sound easier than standing up for yourself or disputing the opinions of others, but in the long run, it feels much worse. My most blissful moments live in the choices I’ve made to stand by my sincerest convictions. People will respond to your earnestness and appreciate you even more for it- trust me.

When did your passion for music first come about?

My mom always tells this story of a dinner party she had when I was about 3 or 4. I guess she had a bunch of people over and after I had already been put to bed, I ran out into the kitchen and climbed up on a bar stool saying “Eddybody! Ein gonna sing… Ein in da mood for love!”. She says she has no idea where I heard or learned it, but that I mimicked a mans’ voice and stared at the ground while I sang the first two lines. Apparently, I ended up running back into my room shortly after. Never really shook initial stage fright btw…

I’ve always felt a deep connection to music. I’d quite regularly sing and dance in front of the mirror in my bedroom pretending I was a Spice Girl, or choreograph dances and film them with my sister. I didn’t ever really consider music as a career until I started performing in High School. Being a part of a show choir sparked my initial move to New York and from there I began to write my own music. The first few songs I wrote will forever stay in New York. It wasn’t until I got to Los Angeles that my writing felt the most “me”.

Lizzy Land

What’s it like being in LA and trying to make it in the music scene? Can you tell us about your journey?

LA is ruthless. The music scene is extremely competitive and while there is a lot of opportunity, most of it only comes around once. Thankfully, I met my manager Will Kiker even before I moved to Los Angeles and he took me under his wing from the moment I landed. His friends became mine, and LA seemed a bit less daunting and overwhelming.

I began by collaborating with a few different producers and found that most of our sessions felt like a dead end because I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly what I was going for. My diverse appreciation for music began to hinder my ability to focus on one genre. 

After working with a notable producer named Martin Craft, I was introduced to Nick Littlemore (Empire of the Sun) and began writing for a Cirque Du Solei project. Our collaborative structure was very freeform and he brought out a more experimental side of me, allowing me to focus less on verbiage and more on how each song felt overall. The completed works were unique and versatile forcing me to question the songs I had intended to release. Some time was needed to reflect on my motivation in the industry.

I put “Lizzy Land” on hold for a solid chunk of time, and began performing with another Los Angles based band called Mating Ritual. After getting back from a west coast tour, we began collaborating on new songs and eventually “Cold ft Lizzy Land” was released. The feature allowed me to see myself as an artist again, and I turned to former band member Taylor Lawhon (Suede James) to produce the new songs I had been developing.

Not long after, ‘Sweet Melodies’ was scheduled for release, and James’ and I had begun finishing up 5 tracks for my debut EP. This collaboration has been the easiest and most organic in my experiences in LA so far. It helps that I’ve known him going on 4 years now, but it is also a point in my life where I am ready to really put myself out there.

While my particular journey has had it’s ups and downs, each one was well worth the payoff.

Whether you’re producing your own music or doing a cover of someone else’s tune, you have such a unique way of creating that’s true to you. How did you find your own unique sound? 

I’d call it naivety. I did most of my covers while living in New York and had no idea more than my family and friends would be watching them. I try and channel that fearlessness from time to time but I truly did not consider the videos reaching as far as they did. 

Choosing the covers was really just me fan-girling over my current favorite songs and wanting to sing them myself. The structure of the song was unique in that I’d just go for it on my loop machine. There was no fixing or editing once I’d laid down a loop. I used a Digitech JamMan pedal, and there wasn’t a way to isolate any layer/loop I recorded. I think this is what led to its appeal. I didn’t really plan out what to play or sing more than practicing chord progressions. It was all feeling-based. Instinctual.

Using mostly vocals set me apart from other covers, and I remember looping being a fairly new concept during that time. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Memories. The good and the bad. The best songs I’ve written come from my most challenging experiences. The more emotion you can muster, the easier it is to articulate. I tend to romanticize even the most devastating times in my life. I’ve got great, sun-shining memories too, but sometimes calling a daisy a daisy is even harder for me to do lyrically. 

Who are your top 3 favourite artists right now? 

Niki & The Dove. Francis and the Lights. Dyan.

Tell us about a time when you took a risk?

Releasing ‘Sweet Melodies’. Putting yourself out there like that will make you feel extremely vulnerable, and it’s hard to risk being judged. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will not receive validation from every single person you’d hoped it would come from. I got some pretty deflating feedback about the single prior to its release, but after the first blow I slowly came to terms with the idea that we all have our own unique opinions and tastes. It was almost more cathartic to receive criticism than praise. Any and all reactions are good!

You might say you’d jump out of an airplane, but once you’re really up there and it’s time, the ledge paralyzes you. These types of risks are the most important. I immediately felt pride and relief after the song was released. 

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An Idea for a Festival

Thursday // February 23 // 2017

an idea for a festival

 

It was May 2011. I wrote the idea in my notebook to have a festival.

I had always been passionate about music and bringing people together. The idea seemed so exciting and full of life that I started to pursue putting it on at my university in College. I met with professors, pitched my idea, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Although I said yes in the moment, the timing seemed off and I let the idea go for a while. So long that 5 years went by.

The moment I thought I completely forgot about it was when it showed up again, this time in a different country and with a new concept. #RadLivin

I can’t believe #RadLivin is getting ready for a second year in Sydney. If you have ever had a spark of an inspired idea and it didn’t work in that moment, it doesn’t mean that it’s not yours to pursue. Sometimes the idea is just meant to launch at a different time, in this case on the other side of the world. 

Love and Radness,

Olivia

Facing Fears in Bali

Monday // February 20 // 2017

Bambu Indah Bali - DonTellSummer Adventure

“I’ve done two things today that scared me, so why not a third.”

Those were the words I uttered to our friends who were sitting across from us at dinner. We were at Deus in Canggu, Bali getting ready to head to the next spot when we realised that we had no way of getting there. One of the guys chimed in and said, “You could ride on the back of our bikes?”

I felt my stomach get filled with nervous excitement and replayed all of the things I had done that day. There’s something about travel where you feel like when you’re presented with new challenges, it’s your opportunity to rise to the occasion. It’s a chance to build up your strength, courage and to face your fears so that you can move forward.

Earlier that day, I ran across a bamboo bridge that terrified me and conquered one of my biggest fears of all: getting into a balinese water blessing with what seemed like hundreds of large fish. I don’t know where the fear came from, but I’ve been terrified of being close to fish ever since I can remember. 

Fear is inevitable if you’re going into the unknown. A bamboo bridge and fish was my story, but it didn’t really matter what I was afraid of, it mattered that the feeling of fear arose, and I moved forward. The more you continue to feel what you’re feeling and move forward anyway, the more your body will realise that it’s just a feeling and you can move past it.

The more you experience moving forward, even though you felt afraid, the more you can say yes to new experiences and opportunities.

That’s how I started my night with our new friends, telling them that I had already done things that scared me that day, and was ready to move ahead with another. I continued to do things that scared me on that trip and when I got home, it equated into taking more risks in my life. Sometimes you just need to put yourself out there, feel the fear, and move forward anyway. You are stronger than you think.

Rad Livin’: Meet Lauren Webster

Friday // January 13 // 2017

Lauren Webster - Lost Boys

Lauren Webster is the brains behind the personality ‘Lauren & The Lost Boys’. She’s an artist, creative, living her dream of painting and collaborating through life. The journey started at a young age, including selling her artwork in the halls of school, totally underground; we love it.

Meet Lauren Webster…

Where are you in the world?

Right now I’m between paintings at my studio in Sydney. 

How do you follow your bliss?

I work on things that I love and fit in as much fun and adventure as I can in between. I guess that’s pretty blissful.

Where did the name Lauren and The Lost Boys come from?

I’ve been creating under the pseudonym of Lauren & The Lost Boys for years now. There’s a few reasons for the name… some of which I like to keep to myself, just because I’m cheeky like that… but one of the main reasons is the obvious reference to Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. You gotta love the youthful sensibilities of a bunch of kids who never grew up.

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Can you walk us through your journey from where you first started your creative pursuits to where you’re at today?

It’s that same old story that you hear from so many creatives; in that I’ve always been really into art and creating things. I cant remember a time when it wasn’t a focus in my life. Climbing tree’s was competition to painting for a few years, but eventually painting won out.

In school I spent most of my time in the art room. I even started a little business in high school selling artwork and t-shirts with paintings on them to the other kids. I had to shut that underground operation down when the teachers caught on and realised I had completely stopped school work for ‘my own work’. I went straight into art school after that to study Fine Arts and then more or less started practicing and exhibiting when I finished up my stint there. So basically I picked up the pencils as a kid and have never put them down.

What are some of your philosophies about how you view and live life? 

I’m pretty relaxed about personal philosophy… to be honest it doesn’t really cross my mind that often. I just live and try to do my best at it. Off the cuff I would say be kind and enjoy.Lost Boys Lauren Webster

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Rad Livin’: Meet Steph Gabriel Founder of OceanZen

Sunday // January 8 // 2017

oceanzen sustainable swimwear bikini steph gabriel

Saving our oceans one bikini at a time…

I had the pleasure of meeting Steph at last year’s inaugural #RadLivin festival. She came in from the Sunshine Coast to connect with like-minded people, get inspired and celebrate livin’ life to the fullest. Steph is the creator of OceanZen Bikini. They work to authentically raise awareness with marine conservation projects, saving our ocean one bikini at a time – each bikini is made from recycled bottles and nets.

Steph lives and breathes OceanZen’s message and is a marine conservationist herself! We sat down to chat about her incredible conservation efforts, leaving her full-time job in Sydney to travel abroad, living in Bali 3 months out of the year to create her brand, and what actually goes into creating a lifestyle that you love from the inside out.

Where are you in the world?
Living on the Sunshine Coast of Australia at the moment
Originally from Sydney and have wandered around the globe a couple of times in between.

How do you follow your bliss?
Whilst I do love being around people and socialising, I love time to myself. When I do find that time to be alone, I love to just sit peacefully and think about where I have been and where I want to go in life. OceanZen has taken up a huge part of my last 3 years and I haven’t been able to impulsively travel as much as I was before OceanZen.  I absolutely love to travel on my own, it’s something that my friends and family don’t quite understand haha. But when I travel alone, I feel the most alive. I have no influence of my home life and no distractions. Travel is my bliss.

Could you tell us the story behind Oceanzen Bikini and how it first came about?
My passion for the ocean and marine conservation is essentially what lead me to create OceanZen. In my early 20’s I decided I wanted more from life than working full-time in an office in Sydney. So I packed my bags and impulsively left Australia on a one way ticket, which resulted in a solo adventure abroad for 3 years.  I floated around the globe, from chilling in the middle of the Kruger Park in South Africa with elephants and leopards, to snowboarding mountain peaks in Whistler Canada, volunteering with orphans in Bali, buying a Kombi van in Colombia and driving it down South America and surfing world class waves in Costa Rica with countless other memories. But the chapter that really changed my life was spending a year in the Caribbean, on a little island in the Cayman Islands. I landed a job there working with Southern Atlantic Stingrays for eco-tourism. Part of my role was to dive down, lure the stingrays to the surface and hold them safely while tourists got their photos. The most INCREDIBLE experience.

I had discovered a deep connection with the ocean and marine animals. But I also learnt a lot about human threats. From this point on, I wanted to learn more, and learn how I could help the ocean. I came home and enrolled into Uni to study Environmental Science, which has also taken me back around the globe researching incredible animals like humpback whales, sharks, sea lions and coral reefs. The most incredible chapter was spending 4 months in the Galapagos Islands where I spent my days in the ocean playing with sea lions… for research of course.


All of this wasn’t enough though, I wanted to do more and learn more and help share this powerful message for marine conservation that was shared with me back in the Caribbean. I wanted to create my own sustainable something and OceanZen was born from my passion for sustainability. I had heard about this sustainable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles in Costa Rica, longgggggggg before I had even dreamed of ever studying this field. Meanwhile through all of this, my entire lifestyle, in the water and out, involved me wearing bikinis. I don’t own bras haha, so it felt only natural to combine the two things that I love; swimwear and marine conservation together


OceanZen raises awareness for marine conservation issue’s, supports a cleaner ocean by using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean, and practices sustainability throughout the entire business model. The bikini’s are packed and sent to customers in recycled cardboard pillow boxes completely avoiding the use of plastic. Plastic/marine debris is causing major issue’s for our ocean’s and the more businesses that choose sustainability, the stronger the message is to consumers to want to make a change.

sustainable swimwear - oceanzen bikini

What is your ultimate dream with Oceanzen?
I have so many dreams with OceanZen. Following my passion was the best thing I ever did. There are definitely ups and downs with following your dreams and it’s not always an easy ride, but I feel so much excitement, passion and inspiration for loving what I do and OceanZen will never just be a swimwear label. As an Entrepreneur, I am constantly thinking of creative ways to branch out. For the last two years OceanZen has ventured to Tonga to swim with wild humpback whales (Just got back last month) Sounds Crazy!! But words can hardly describe this experience. These creatures are giants, yet so graceful and so cognitive. The way their eyes pierce through your soul as they stare at you face to face. It’s a truly incredible experience.
Next year OceanZen is running our first eco whale-swim retreat to Tonga. So so excited to be sharing our love for the Ocean with girls that believe in what we are doing. We will be going over to a school over there as well and sharing the message for a cleaner ocean to the students.


I would love to expand and run OceanZen eco-retreats around the world to take guests to have incredible experiences with marine life. That is an ongoing project. Also have been in liasing with a sea turtle program in Costa Rica to organise a donation/conservation program with them as sea turtles are currently suffering severely from human impacts. The next milestone for OceanZen will be involved with various conservation programs that I feel are sincere and genuinely need the support.


Further down the track I would love to create more sustainable products like an eco water bottle, or bamboo towels, glass straws. So many ways to expand and one can only dream
☺. With all of these dreams to expand and grow, the research and administration increases dramatically. These dreams are only dreams until they are implemented, and implementing them takes me out of working on the business, to working in the business which is when the not so happy times happen. You can quite easily become disheartened, emotionally drained and doubtful and I am sure plenty of creative small business owners will agree with this mutual feeling. OceanZen has a list full of dreams, and as much as I would love to do all of them at once, there isn’t the time or the creative desire to fulfill them all at once. One dream at a time ☺. 

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