Wren is a Seattle folk singer-songwriter who writes about “transformation, love and the soul of wild lands.” She splits her songwriting between the Pacific Northwest and the pacific northwest of Spain, Galicia. Wren is finishing up a Kickstarter for her second album, so we talked to her about Galicia, vision quests, and a bit of permaculture.
Tell me about Galicia. How did you end up there?
Well, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I have the French Ministry of Education to thank for that! I had applied for a teaching job in France, and the same teaching program in Spain was my “back-up.” Even though Spanish was my first foreign language, I was going through a love-affair with French at the time that I just couldn’t seem shake. When I didn’t get the job in France, I was devastated! Months went by, and I’d completely forgotten about the job in Spain. In late summer, I came back from a few weeks in the woods studying permaculture to find the job offer in my inbox, already expired. I had to make a split-second decision: move to Spain next month, for a whole year? I noticed that I’d been assigned to Galicia, the Celtic-region of Spain (and the region I had requested in my application). I’ve been obsessed with all things Celtic since middle school: the mythology, the runes, the magic (laughs). So I guess something inside said, even though it’s not what you asked for, maybe it’s what you need. Maybe this is one of those life moments, where something completely unexpected and marvelous shows up, and you just have to be brave enough to say yes. So I said yes!
How does your work as a wilderness guide influence your music?
Re-connecting with the wild is really what made me a songwriter in the first place. I think there is something deeply authentic about who we are as children, and that we spend a lot of our later years later trying to reconnect with the purity of intention that we had when we were little. For me, nature and music were two of those essential things that I had left behind when I thought I had to grow up and conform to society. While living in Galicia on a magical piece of land, I started peeling back the layers, and connecting to something both more individual and universal. The wilderness around me shifted my focus, and gave me back a piece of myself that had been missing. As I have deepened my songwriting, I see more and more that each song is drawn out of the deep well that is the natural world. It’s not a coincidence that my music is starting to take off at the same time that I’ve been in training as a wilderness guide to lead vision quests. This summer, I’ll be guiding my first trip and going on my first big tour. I guess if I’m really honest, my music cannot exist without authentic connection to the land and, now, I wonder if I can!
How does it feel being so close to your kickstarter goal?
Humbling! For those of you who have never run a Kickstarter before, let me tell you, it’s terrifying! It’s like leaping off a huge cliff, wondering, will my community and fans catch me? Do they believe in what I’m doing?? But from day one, I’ve just been floored by the love and support I’ve received. People I haven’t even spoken with in years have popped up to pledge, and people I hardly know but want to, and close friends who have given me near heart-attacks with their generosity! It’s just been amazing. And even though I’m not to my goal yet, I’m feeling really great, and hopeful, and excited to see what happens next!
What’s your plan for the album once it’s made?
First things first, I want to take it back to Galicia, the place that birthed it. The album art will be partially translated into the Galician language for exactly this purpose. I’m excited, and incredibly nervous, to see what los gallegos have to say about my work! I’m not Galician at all you know, so my music is really my reaction to their homeland, and my own take on their traditional songs. I hope they like it! And then, I’ll be touring more in Europe and the U.S., stitching a metaphorical ocean across the lands, helping my music reach more ears.