OPENING CEREMONY SOUNDCHECK: TROI IRONS

 

STRENGTH IN SOLITUDE


 

Troi Irons heard the sound of music as a child and immediately reached for the ... guitar. We catch up with the musician in the midst of her journey, finding the source of the fuel that keeps her legs moving and fingers plucking.
 
In this digital age, our younger generation’s musical pursuits tends to veer towards a more electronic conquest. Ever since her youth, Troi Irons’ heart has been set on something more organic and natural, which starts with the food she eats and ends with her fingers on her guitar. The road to being a musician tends to be an arduous one, the brightness is usually dimmed momentarily, while the ups & downs run their course. Irons has found the ability to take all of those instances and craft them into a vehicle that moves her art forward—finding strength in solitude. Below Patrick Spears photographed Irons, and takes a moment to discuss everything from being homeschooled to the sustenance that keeps her head up and legs goin’. 

PATRICK SPEARS: At what moment did you realize that you wanted to be a musician? And when you decided this, what kept you on the journey? 
TROI IRONS: When I was twelve-years-old I picked up the guitar to play along with the music I liked. For the first time I felt like I had something that was mine. I'm happiest when I'm playing instruments. So I decided I'd do what makes me happy. I'm very determined. When I make a decision I stick to it at all costs. I had encouragement along the way. I had some false starts. I hit some low points. But [these experiences] taught me how to trust people.

You were home schooled and finished high school at age 12. What was that like?
That's a mixed box. It was lonely sometimes. I remember watching the school kids walk home together at 3pm. I wanted to be a part of a group. I guess the upside is I can't be a follower even if I wanted to be. I never learned that. 

What inspires you? 
Life. The little things inspire me. I couldn't find inner quiet the other day. When I looked outside, the cattails on the mountaintop were blowing and looked like waves in the sea. I felt so small and finally quiet. 

You recently released your EP Turbulence. It's an amazing body of work. (I think it's magical.) How did the project come about? 
Thank you. I started out writing songs about my coming of age, creating an album about that. Many artists kinda do that on-your-own-troubadour-live-in-car thing. Then I got sidetracked with a girl and it was the most toxic and destructive situation I've ever engaged in. It definitely shook my journey up. So Turbulence is kind of a crash-course, to introduce people to my world before I take them on the full journey.


You also just dropped a beautiful video for your single Today—writing and producing the song yourself. You also developed the treatment for the video and edited it yourself. This says a lot about you as an artist—that you want to directly convey your vision without compromise. Can you tell us about the song and how the idea for the video came about? 
I wrote the song not truly knowing what it was about. It all came to me in under an hour and I recorded my vocals and all the instruments that day. When it was time to shoot the video a year later, I kept coming back to butterflies. Chrysalis is a concept I've been obsessed with for some years. It's apparently a really painful process in a dark and tight space (cocoon) that ends in a beautiful transformation. I realized that's exactly what Today is about. So of course I spent weeks moodboarding and stalking MUAs on IG and explaining the metaphors behind each outfit and scene to the crew. It was cool for a first time. The next video gonna be flames tbh. 

What impact do you want to have on the world? Self-acceptance. There are a lot of kids that look like me or otherwise outside the norm. I hope those kids go for what they believe in even when people tell them that's not where they belong. The more we accept ourselves, the more we accept others. Love is the only way. 

What's the strongest lesson you've learned along your journey so far? 
Patience! Patience is key! You have to wait for the right time. Just because you're ready doesn't mean all the chess pieces are in place.

A lot of our generation has become more conscious about what they put in their bodies. You're a kale lover yourself. Have you always eaten healthy? How did this come about?
Haha yes, I do have an affinity for kale! My health journey actually started when I was eighteen and kinda broke. Meat is expensive so I stopped eating it. Then I realized I should supplement it with other protein and iron sources. Honestly, health is a slippery slope. You start out taking Vitamin C and a year later, you're eating a burger made of cashews. 

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced you?
I've been listening to Bjork since I was 14. I remember seeing the level of her art and being impressed by how involved she was in the vision. The Beatles influenced my songwriting, McCartney always said he didn't want to be called a rock group, he was making pop music. I feel that way. Sufjan Stevens is the reason I play fingerstyle guitar a lot. 

What upcoming projects are you working on? 
I'm working on my album right now. My EP was a bunch of people adding kicks to my finished songs and taking production and writing credit. This time around, I'm pushing myself to make better drums so that doesn't happen. 
 
Last but not least, we call this rapid fire round … What’s your favorite ...

Favorite Fashion designer?
Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ann Demeulemeester, Saint Laurent. 

City? 
New York. I feel alive there.

Restaurant? 
Nyala (Ethiopian restaurant). They just closed though so I have to find a new spot. 

Workout? 
Rowing for 25 min then plyometrics for 25 min. 

Snack?
Trader Joe's greek nonfat yogurt. 

Meal? 
Kale salad with a steamed veggie and blueberries + ginger dressing.

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