A few weeks after her trip to Austin for SXSW, Troi will be playing at NYU’s Bookstore on Apr. 7 at 6:00 PM. In addition to that show — which is free and open to the public — Troi will be back to Manhattan for a proper gig in the coming months. Downtown had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Troi not only about what’s coming up for her, but what drives her as a creative being. For more info on all things Troi Irons, follow her via Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram.
Where was the first gig you ever played in New York? What do you remember about it?
Troi Irons: My first show was this little acoustic set in an old church. I think at that point, I was still blacking out. I heard I did well but I don’t remember anything. I know I had brussels sprouts beforehand.
Do you have a favorite song on your new EP?
Troi Irons: It’s hard for me to choose a favorite, since I wrote all the songs and they’re about life moments that actually happened. I will say “Worst Habit” is my favorite song to play live right now. It’s the big finale in my show.
Around how many songs did you write when preparing your EP?
Troi Irons: I think any musician writes at least 1,000 songs for their first work. I’ve been writing and recording songs for years. You have your entire life to create your first album but only a year to write your second.
This isn’t your first record deal. How did you wind up with a record deal the first time around? Did you have a manager or lawyer shopping you around?
Troi Irons: Right, my first deal was with Jive, which collapsed into RCA [Records]. My mom is a songwriter and she started co-managing me with her manager. They shopped our demo around — I was in a band with my twin — and we quickly got a buzz within the industry. It was super-easy compared to the second time around.
I’ve read that the first album you ever bought was by Green Day. Was that the band that also inspired you to play guitar?
Troi Irons: My grandparents bought me a guitar but I never played it. I actually picked up that guitar at 13 because we had just moved to L.A. and I was bored waiting for the semester to start. American Idiot was two years old by then so it was related but not causal.
How did you first become interested in producing? Do you have a home recording setup?
Troi Irons: Tyler, The Creator released “French” and I found it and was pretty crazy about it. I read the few interviews he had out and I thought, “Here’s this kid making his own beats and doing his own videos, living out his creative dreams — I can do that.” So I did. I saved up for a Mac and got Logic and ProTools and taught myself. I have a comfy home studio. Just got a new Prophet and Virus that I’m stoked about…
What’s coming up for you for the rest of 2017? Any idea if we’ll be seeing you live in New York anytime soon?
Troi Irons: I’ve got a few showcases at SXSW! I’ve never been so I’m pretty excited. I play the Melissa Etheridge & Friends Fest in Nashville after that. New York is happening first or second week of April. It’s funny, I didn’t know that until NYU Bookstore tagged me on Facebook in a post about my Apr. 6 performance. They gave it away.
Will you be touring solo? With a backing band?
Troi Irons: I’m definitely touring with a band. That’s what I grew up seeing, it’s such a fun dynamic. My upcoming album’s production will reflect that, some of my band members will probably be on the record. Jimmy Novocaine plays bass, Mike Avenaim is on drums, and Connor Doyle is backup guitarist. Not only are they great musicians, they’re also good people. That’s important since we’ll be living on top of each other for the next couple years.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
Troi Irons: I read a lot — never to escape though, just to think deeper. If I feel like escaping, I watch films, usually art house or foreign. I enjoy hiking too. Basically, I could be BFFs with your grandpa. (laughs)
What was your favorite album of 2016?
Troi Irons: Ah, man. Sufjan Stevens’ last release was in 2015. How am I supposed to give an honest answer here? I just checked and Julien Baker’s album came out in 2015 too. There were some amazing songs and visual art pieces in 2016. Not a lot of good albums, just for me personally.
You sent out a tweet on Feb. 20 saying “I think I finally found balance.” What inspired that?
Troi Irons: I work a lot. I’ve been supporting myself since I was 15. Everything is a task and a goal for me and it’s been hard for me to have fun. Even reading a book, sometimes I’ll be thinking, “This will bring new perspective and wisdom and then I can flip the situation I’m in and move further in my career.” I’ve had trouble shutting my career off. The more spiritual I become, the more God becomes the center of my life and I’m able to let go of that pressure — because I’m no longer the center of my life, it’s something higher. So that’s what I meant by, “I think I found balance.” I’ve finally become spiritual enough to worry about myself less.
Finally, Troi, any last words for the kids?
Troi Irons: Don’t live for any other person but yourself. The least selfish thing you can do is to take care of yourself.