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April Kae - Singer & Horse Owner interviewed by Andrea Lawrence

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 23, 2012 07:00

 

Let me start by saying that April was wonderful to take time out of her busy life to let me do this interview for HOT.
I started by asking April what her weather was like in San Diego, California, and when she replied that they were at about 60 degrees there this morning, I almost cried. I explained that is was t-shirt weather here and that it was about minus 20. We both had a laugh and with that I broke the ice and started the interview.
Andrea: April, I see by some of your music that it is quite upbeat and your bio says that you are a pop-dance edge, would you ever consider writing a country song since you are a horse loving girl?
April: Yes, lots of people ask me that because they think horses, country. And yes, absolutely! I write all kinds of music so sometimes I write whatever I feel like writing, so sometimes it comes out being R & B and sometimes I write RAP, but I need to focus myself in one genre right now, but that isn't to say that in the future I might come out with a country album. I like to surprise people and I am really up for anything!
Andrea: It is also good to keep your options open and not be stereo-typed as well.
April: That is true!
Andrea: Obviously you are a pretty busy girl. Do you have your own horses?
April: I do. Right now I have 2 saddlebreds, one is my mom's and one is mine. My horse is named Silver. He is grey, but he is a very unusual colour of grey for a saddlebred, he is almost all white. Most of the time a saddlebred will be a dapple grey or a darker grey, but he is cool, really cool!
Andrea: So what do you do with your horses; Do you go on trail rides or show?
April: Well sometimes, yes. I compete in horse shows in saddleseat. I actually had a horse show last weekend and I won both my classes. My horse does everything though. He has done all the divisions that we have, which is rare because most horses only do one or two of the divisions. I also take him out on trail rides, and we have a huge arena where I keep him. He loves to do that. Silver is actually 22 years old, but he still acts like he is really young! He and I have competed and we have won a championship for the Pacific Coast Circuit, so we have done pretty well together in horse shows as well as just hanging out at home.
Andrea: That sounds like a lot of traveling to get to all those shows.
April: Yes it is, but we mostly just do the ones in California, but occasionally we will go over to Arizona, and we did do one in Las Vegas, so yes, we do travel a lot. The world championships are in Kentucky.
Andrea: It makes it all worth it when you do win, to make that drive. You have to be proud of your horse and proud of yourself as well.
April: Oh yes, the feeling is great, and wonderful!

Andrea: Now, back to your singing career April, I read through your bio and I was wondering if you had ever produced or choreographed your own videos?
April: I co-produced the video that I have coming out now, but basically I don't do the editing or anything myself! I did come up with the story board, and then we shot it and then I helped with the editing. We have one video that I have coming out now, and hopefully some more in line in the future. The current video is due to be released sometime early next week. * the week of December 10, 2012
Andrea: We all know cowgirls can dance, so that is why I had to ask!
April: I can, I can dance, I am not a choreographer, but if you give me the choreography I can do it!
Andrea: Well we all have strong legs if we ride!
April: (laughing) Oh, for sure!
Andrea: With that being said, if I can put you on the spot, if you were interviewing yourself, what kind of question would you like to ask yourself? I mean, what would you like to have 'put out there'?
*both of us laugh here and Andrea says: No pressure April!
April:  Yes, I know, but that is a weird question, because no one has ever asked me that before! I would like to talk about the things that I have going on right now. I would also like to talk about my life and the things that I do, and I would like to talk about my animals, because it is not just, horses I have. I have dogs and, well I have had all kinds of animals! BUT, my passion other than music, is rescuing animals. Recently, on Thanksgiving, I found a stray dog who I took in, now I have three. I have two blue pit bulls and one miniature poodle that is on my lap right now. I am trying to find her a home. She was emaciated, and had a horrible skin condition when I found her and now she is doing great. In the past couple of years, I think she is the fifth dog I have rescued off of the street! I do devote a lot of my time to rescuing animals. I don't go out and adopt them, I just seem to find them all over, and it seems like they are always coming to me! I end up re-homing them, I can't keep all of them.
Andrea: No, especially if you are traveling! It is hard to have a lot of pets, unless you have somebody that you can trust to leave them with?
April: Oh I do! My mom and my boyfriend are both really great about watching them! This little poodle, I can take her everywhere with me, but the dog I found on Thanksgiving is 75 pounds and she is a handful!
Andrea: She probably loves you to death for rescuing her though?
April: Oh she is great, and I know it is going to break my heart to give her up, but I have to say to myself that if I kept all the dogs that I rescued, then I wouldn't be able to keep rescuing them.
Andrea: So, with your music, you said, "Through my music, I want to be empowering for women, appealing to men, and set a good example for young girls.” Can you elaborate on that for me, as I think that is a very important part of your biography for you.
April: Its hard growing up as a young girl, and getting bombarded in the media with the image that you are 'supposed' to project as a woman, and what you are supposed to live up to, and I found it difficult. I found that there were many times when I was growing up that I had just wished that I was a boy. I was so frustrated with being a girl because there was things that I couldn't do, and then all these things that I was supposed to be doing that I didn't want to do, and so I just want to show young women, and women of all ages really, that you can be yourself and that you don't have to fit into a stereo type of the 'typical woman'. You don't have to do that! Also, you don't have to try so hard to be beautiful, there is that too. You know, I don't want to, and I always say that I don't think I would ever get plastic surgery. If I did, I am certainly not the kind of person who is going to walk around lie about having plastic surgery! There are so many celebrities that do that. Are you trying to say that you are perfect, and that everyone is supposed to be perfect? Young women grow up thinking they can never attain that. That is where I am trying to go with that. It is really important to me, because I struggled with all kinds of things, being a young woman in our society, and I just want to do what I can to help the people that are growing up, and tell them they don't have to feel that pressure that I felt.
Andrea: That is a good attitude to have, and I am proud of you for taking that stand and helping. I know, because being a country girl, that had to go to school covered in hay and stuff, I got a hard time all the time! I look back now, and realize that I am just so much better off than the ones that harassed me!
April: It's probably because you have a healthy lifestyle, where you go outside and do things, and I just wish that kids could take the time to be kids, and not worry about growing up so fast. I wanted to grow up really fast when I was a kid. There is eight year old girls walking around with makeup and heels on now, and I just think, I wish you would take the time to be a kid. You have the rest whole rest of your life to have to wear makeup and heels- just enjoy being a child!
Andrea: The horse industry here in Saskatchewan definitely pushes youth and youth equestrianism, to keep the kids into something wholesome and healthy like that rather than getting bored and going to parties and things they shouldn't probably be at in the first place. I am not saying there is not drugs out in the country, because we know there is, but with that being said, where do you stand on drugs and that kind of thing?
April: Oh, I am really anti-drug. It is hard to be anti-drug in the music industry, and I don't drink, and I don't do drugs, but it is almost like you miss out by not drinking and doing drugs. So, it is really hard because people are all getting together and they are all going to go hang out and smoke and drink, and if you don't want to do that, then you kind of stop getting invited to things. It was hard for me through high school, and its hard now, but, you know what, at the end of the day, it is so much more important to me to be healthy and to NOT succumb to peer pressure than anything! I am not going to do something that I don't believe in, just to get ahead. It not important enough to me. At the end of the day I can feel good about my decision. In San Diego there is a lot of drug problems because we are close to the border. I have a lot of friends whose lives have been devastated by drugs. You know, people who have died, people who have gone to rehab, and people who are unable to live up to their potential. I have seen it so many times that I am so put off by the whole thing. I actually wish that more kids could see the effects of what drugs actually do to you instead of just hearing about it or having someone at your school lecture about it. The kids just think we are over reacting, but when you see it for yourself, it really becomes a reality.
Andrea:  I have to give you kudos again, because look at where you are now because you didn't drink and you didn't do drugs. You can take the world by the hand and lead the way if you want. I think you are very beautiful, and wouldn't have any problems having someone believe you with the way you speak about it, and how enunciated you are about those issues and I think it's great of you.  
April: Thank you.
Andrea: What is being normal to you? What is a normal day?
April: *Laughing- Well, ok, I get up, and I go to the gym and I work out. I do dance classes. I run around my neighborhood and sing while I am running, and people think I am really odd. It's necessary because if you are going to be touring and performing, you need to be in that kind of shape! I spend a lot of time playing with my dogs and taking them out on walks. I go out to the barn, at least twice a week right now because I am so busy, but I used to be out there every day, but I just can't get out there as much now. I spend about eight hours a day working on things I need to do. I make a lot of phone calls, and do interviews, and I write music. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time pushing my music, and my song is coming out, and I have a new release, a single, coming out at the end of December or early January. I also have a video coming out next week, and so that takes a lot of getting the media ready for it and post it all on social media like twitter and facebook, so that takes time as well. Someday I might have somebody help me with all that, but right now it is doing a lot for myself! I try to make time for my creativity as well. When you are so busy with the work stuff and accounting and all that which is for my business that I have set up, it's hard to be creative, so I try to limit myself to a certain number of hours a day that I am working on business, and then spend the rest of it being creative. You can't force creativity! Sometimes nothing comes, and I just sit there and I don't write anything. That happens. Sometimes, I write something great as well!
Andrea: That is when you need to just go surf the internet and find a picture or story that inspires you. Like doing something nice for someone everyday can really inspire people.
April: Yes, doing those things can really tap into your creativity.
Andrea: One thing leads to another, and before you know it you will have 15 songs written!
April: Oh yes, when the good stuff happens, it flows really fast! I know that you are a writer and you can identify with that. When its good, it happens really fast. You know, if you are spending hours and hours trying to think of something it just going to be a throw away!
Andrea: Yes, you might as well put the pen down and go make a latte or something! Now, you mentioned that you have a boyfriend, is he into horses, or what does he do with you?
April: *laughing - Well, he is into horses NOW.  He wasn't before and he had never ridden before I met him. So, I put him on this horse, and it was the only horse I had at the time that I could put him on, and she was kind of nervous and jumpy. I was leading him around and kind of giving him the 'pony ride' which was all I was going to do, but he said "No No, I can do this myself!" So, I was like ok, if you are going to try to be macho about it, you can go ahead and do it yourself! So, he kicked her and said Giddy up,  and she just took off! Well, he stayed on, and he did a good job of staying on, but he was terrified, and after that he had more respect for the process of learning how to ride! You can't just do the cowboy thing! You know, people think it is like in the movies where you just get up there and kick a horse and the horse goes! That's not really how it goes. My boyfriend is a great guy though! He makes it to all of my horse events and all of my performances that I do and I really appreciate that.
Andrea: It nice that he is supportive, and that is good. He even babysits your dogs when you have to go do something. 
April: Oh he is even more of a dog lover than I am. I couldn't be with someone who didn't love animals. It just wouldn't work. He is such a good sport when I find these stray dogs, he is like 'alright, we can keep them in the house and I will help you feed them' and everything, so he is a great guy!
Andrea: That really helps you to be able to budget your time well too. Do you get to spend time with him with all the stuff going on?
April: Oh yes I do! One of the things I like to pride myself on is that I am really good at organizing my time! So, when I am spending time with him, that is all that matters. I don't bring work into our relationship in that way. If we are going to have a date night, I am NOT on my phone. I turn my phone off. It is important to keep a well rounded life. I know that breaking into the music business is incredibly hard, and takes a lot of dedication, but I would drive myself insane if I didn't do anything else but that! I don't think it's healthy! I try to spend as much time on it as any person who is starting a business, which is a lot of my time, but it is important to dedicate time to my relationship with him, dedicate time to my family, which is really important to me as well as my friends and my animals of course. As long as I have that going on, I am happy and I am able to manage it.
Andrea: Well this is where I ask you to give yourself a much deserved plug and tell me where these great horse people can read up on you some more, or ask you any questions.
April: My song that is out now is "The Writings on the Wall" and it is available on itunes, and the video that is coming out is for "The Writings on the Wall", and it was partly shot in Las Vegas and part in San Diego, at a place called the Belly Up, where a lot of high-profile artists come to perform. I got to do the club scenes there. The video is awesome and really fun. It has some little twists in it that are kind of cool and different, so that will be up on youtube and on vimeo as well by next week. Also the new single I have coming out, I can't talk too much about, but it is very beat driven and very dancy. It is going to make you want to dance. It also has another really wonderful message that is very empowering to people. It's a song about moving on from a relationship and finding your own inner strength. It is like the theme right now, even though I am in a great relationship, it is a theme that everyone can relate to I think, and it is a really good theme. You can find my music on http://www.aprilkae.com/ and my face book is  http://www.facebook.com/aprilkaemusic and my twitter is https://twitter.com/april_kae#.

http://www.tunecore.com/widgets/show/94757


Andrea: So in the future if any one has any questions for you they can look you up on facebook and ask you?
April: Yes, I am always on facebook and twitter so if anyone has questions or wants to comment or just LIKE my page, I would really appreciate it. It's nice to get the encouragement and feedback from fans.
Andrea: That helps you to design which way you are going to go next as well.
April: Oh it does! I ask questions to my fans a lot.  I'll say that I am going to do a cover video,  what song do you want me to do. Afterwards, I will look through all their answers and pick one of their ideas that I like. I definitely pay attention to what people want me to do.
Andrea: That is good for productivity on your part as well. It is nice to have someone who gives back a little bit as well to the community like you do by empowering young women to make them realize that it's not the way you have got to be, it is the way you want to be.
April: That is a great way to say it. That is definitely true.
Andrea: Well I think I have taken up enough of your time, and I thank you for doing this interview.
April: Oh, it was nice talking to you this morning as well. Thank you!
After speaking to April, I found that she is a very passionate woman. She truly believes that people should be themselves and not have to 'conform' to what today's society portrays in television and movies. She loves spending time with her horses and other animals and smiles whenever she talks about them. To her, right now, her music and the message she is sending through her music are truly important to her. Please watch for this wonderful woman's songs and videos in the near future, and feel free to support her thorough the purchase of her song "The Writings on the Wall" on itunes.

Contact April Kae:
http://www.facebook.com/aprilkaemusic

https://twitter.com/april_kae#

http://www.aprilkae.com/

Contact Andrea Lawrence:
http://andrea-lawrence.artistwebsites.com/
Follow me on Twitter @FridaysMyDay
http://painterskeys.com/pal/andrea_lawrence/

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Music

Letting Money Get the Best of Us By Avery Waite

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 18, 2012 08:13

In 2008, thoroughbred racehorse Eight Belles finished second in the Kentucky Derby, one of the world’s most prestigious horseraces. However, shortly after crossing the finish line, she collapsed in pain from two broken ankles and was euthanized on the track. A similar fate beheld Ruffian in 1975, Barbaro in 2006, and Raspberry Kiss in 2009. While these stories are well known, many people fail to realize how often these events occur. On average, 24 horses die each week at American racetracks. Many horses are drugged to block the pain they feel or to increase performance while they race. Since 2009, the injury incident rate has increased and trainers at United States tracks have been caught illegally drugging horses 3,800 times, a vast underestimate of the problem considering how few horses are actually tested. Why do we overlook the fact that many racehorses are pumped full of drugs, forced to run long distances at a young age, and often die of broken bones or heart attacks on the track? It is time that we help protect horses from people’s desires for economic profit.
The desire for money is the root of many problems in horseracing. In order to increase race attendance, racetracks have added casino gambling to their operations, resulting in higher purses. This provides an incentive for trainers to enter horses that are not ready to race. Trainers also push horses beyond their limits from a very young age with the hopes of having the next winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, or the Belmont Stakes, as these races can generate millions of dollars in profit. People start training their horses between one to one and a half years old in order to be contenders in the major races. However, at that age, horses are not physically mature. Training horses before they have matured can cause common racing problems like lower-limb ailments and injuries. Early training also reduces the average horse’s lifespan from mid- twenties to about six years old. In addition, if a horse is not generating revenue, it could be one of the 10,000 racehorses that are shipped across United States borders to slaughterhouses every year.
After Eight Belles died in 2008, Congress received promises from the racing industry to make the sport safer. While safety measures like bans on anabolic steroids have been enacted, assessing their impact has been difficult because many tracks do not keep accurate accident figures. While there are many people who take great care of their horses, there are others who severely mistreat them. To improve the current situation, stronger regulations must be implemented concerning the use of drugs in horseracing. In England, horses cannot race on drugs, and breakdown rates are half of what they are in the United States. Therefore, banning drugs in races is a good first step towards providing better lives for racehorses. Gambling at racetracks should also be monitored and reduced. If there were not so much at stake, trainers would not feel the need to risk horses’ lives by forcing unfit horses to race. Finally, we should limit the number of races a horse can run every year. This would decrease the stress placed on these young horses bodies that are not fully matured. It would also lessen the number of deaths that occur on the racetracks each year by giving horses longer breaks between races.
What I have learned to love most about horses since I began riding at age seven, and what I miss about them now that I am in college, is the bond that we are able to form with them. They are so powerful and can easily harm people, yet when treated with care and respect, they are eager to do their best for us. Unfortunately, many people take advantage of the trust that horses instill in us. It is our responsibility to ensure that horses have the best quality of life. In order to prevent horses from suffering a similar fate to that of Eight Belles, we must stand up for horses and help make the sport of horseracing safer and more humane.

 

Avery Waite is a sophomore at Duke University majoring in Public Policy and Global Health
To contact Avery, email her at avery.waite@duke.edu