Interview with: Songwriter, Artist, Singing & Songwriting Coach, I AM Willow

Time to read: 7 minutes

Today we introduce you to Empowerer, Expresser, and Seeker Carolanne Busuttil aka I AM WILLOW.

I AM WILLOW photo by Paulaa Klupsch

What do you do? What is unique about what you do and how do you stand out in your industry?

I’ve been a songwriter since I was 10 years old. I also spent many years as an artist. First, under the name Carrie Haber when I won recognition in my country (Malta) by winning Best Female Artist and Best Songwriter at the MMAs (Malta Music Awards), and afterwards, under the name I AM WILLOW which was during my time in London where I was named one of the Top 5 Artists to watch by Time Out London and Q Magazine. As a songwriter, I have written many songs that are used in movies, trailers, and adverts all over the world, including a song called ‘Delicate Problems’ under my real name, Carolanne Busuttil. Most recently I have been dedicating my time towards working with artists that are looking to develop and grow in their artistry. I collaborate with them to help them find and express their ‘sound’ and their message through a mixture of songwriting coaching as well as human development coaching, using the tools I’ve studied and learned from iDiscover. 

What inspired you to go and do it?

Finding a ‘sound’ and having a clear message is a very important part of being an artist. It’s the seed from which an artist can grow and blossom. It’s very similar to having a purpose. Yet, many artists forget all about it and end up writing song after song without intention and then spend years wondering why they can’t seem to connect with their audience. Knowing the reason behind an artist’s work is at least 90% of the job done. It’s the light that sparks action and dedication and breathes authenticity into the music. Why? Because understanding the reason for doing anything involves a lot of self evaluation which means having a better understanding of yourself as a person. When you know who you are it is so much easier to express that in your own unique way. 

I AM WILLOW (album cover)

What is the most challenging aspect of your work or the biggest challenge you have dealt with and how did you overcome it?

Initially, as I was transitioning from artist to songwriting mentor and coach I struggled with a sort of identity crisis. Ego was definitely playing its part and I had to do a lot of self-reflection. My intention to serve artists was very aligned, however, I struggled to find a place for my own voice since I wasn’t interested in being an artist publicly anymore. I soon understood, however, that in co-creating music with these incredible humans I was expressing my artistry all the same. It may have felt different initially but it soon became part of what made the act of writing so inspiring and fulfilling. So in the end, it was all about reframing my perception and attitude towards the collaborative element of making music that undid the internal struggle, as well as a lot of self-compassion and patience along the way. 

What is your current Mount Everest? What would you love to create in the world?

During my journey as a songwriting coach and mentor, I found myself holding space for my clients who felt safe sharing very deep and meaningful parts of themselves with me. I felt a huge responsibility to them and I also realised I really loved the personal development side of it. That’s when I attended my first Core at iDiscover. I was blown away by the methodology and saw an opportunity to merge what I do as a songwriting coach with some form of personal development coaching. So I decided to start training as a coach with iDiscover and I’m now developing a unique structure for coaching with songwriting as the medium. The inspiration behind it is that a song has the power to transport people back to a particular memory. Kind of like a snapshot in time. The memory comes with scents, moods, sounds … basically a complete experience of a moment. Why not then capture an empowering moment of self-discovery in a song so that whenever a reminder of that potential is needed, just playing the song (which would have been written and recorded as a part of our coaching sessions) can recapture the memory of that empowered feeling or raised level of awareness and fuel progress.

I AM WILLOW photo by Paulaa Klupsch

What are the words that describe who you are in your essence and do you feel they are being expressed through your work?

In my essence I am a performer, empowerer and seeker. The performer side of me is expressed in the creation of music and my presence in coaching. The empowerer side of me is expressed in coaching people to express themselves fully and authentically. The seeker in me is always looking for answers and seeking growth which in turn also has a positive impact on my work.

What is the most inspiring thing that happened to you as a result of iDiscover?

This is so hard because so many amazing things have come out of working with iD. I think above all I feel like I know myself so much better and I have a much healthier relationship with those around me. I notice I feel a lot calmer and much less reactive to the things that normally trigger me. From this grounded place I feel like anything is possible.

What do iDiscover and its community mean to you?

The diversity of incredible people that iDiscover seems to attract never fails to amaze me. I have made some lifelong friends from all walks of life. I have opened myself up so much more as a result and have had the opportunity to benefit from the exchange with so many inspiring and progressive people. I feel like I’m growing every time I’m among them. 

What is your most sacred daily/weekly/monthly ritual or performance hack that really works for you?

Exercise. This is how I re-energise and simultaneously ground myself. It keeps me connected to my body and my spirit like a meditation. It truly is life-changing. My favourite form of exercise right now is jogging cause it gets me out in nature but I have also really enjoyed boxing, circuit training, and HIIT classes. 

What is your guilty pleasure?

Peanut butter crunch Haagen Dazs when in London. When in Malta, Italian pistacchio ice cream. I’ve had some great Italian ice cream in London too but none close to home sadly. 

What is your favourite quote or a question you want to leave us with?

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” – Eckhart Tolle