Make music to bring joy and happiness to people and the planet.
(Part 1)

Heidi Lenffer / Musician

Develop a music industry ecosystem to help the environment.

Heidi Lenffer plays in Cloud Control, an alternative rock band from Australia. In June 2019 she launched FEAT., a solar energy fund for musicians and artists. We asked her how she came to embark on FEAT. and take on an issue of global importance.

My parents taught me how to appreciate music and respect nature.

When I was little girl, music was all around in our family. My mother taught me the joys of making music. She played us music of many types on her classical guitar, from folk music to flamenco. Though unable to play an instrument, my father was deeply into rock lyrics. He used to sit us down next to him and play us bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. He wanted to share the beauty of the words with his children. My first formal exposure to music came when I joined a local group lesson at age 8. Not long after I took up private piano lessons. The piano became my passion. I spent hours practicing every day out of shear love for the instrument.

I also take after my mother–100%–in my approach to nature and the environment. She loves nature as much as she loves music. She watered the garden with wastewater collected from the kitchen. Her actions taught me the preciousness of our planet’s finite resources. Our growing garden was a demonstration that even small efforts can bear significant results. I grew up in a place that abounded with nature. The trees, streams, and valleys were full of wild animals. I loved them all so much, I used to think I would grow up to become a zoologist or marine biologist.

Heidi, aged 7, inherited her love of nature from her mother.

Unexpected success at a band competition changed everything.

Music had always had a special place in my heart, but I never thought of making music as a profession, let alone forming a band. At university I majored in media communications. Cloud Control basically started on a whim when I saw a poster for a band competition at my university and decided to take part. I formed the band with my brother and a couple of friends, and crazy may it sound, we wrote four songs in four weeks and went straight to the competition stage. The first time we simply enjoyed ourselves playing music. We tried it again the following year, and to our surprise, we won the competition. No one back then would have ever guessed that our make-shift band would keep going for more than 10 years.

After graduating in 2005, I took a job as a junior online news writer at the Australian broadcaster SBS. Cloud Control got together to play over the weekends. We might have stopped, if not for the encouragement of a local producer who saw us earlier at the band competition. He told us that we should write more songs and offered to record our demos. Not long after, we started getting regular play on our local community radio station FBI. We had our official debut in 2007. After our first album release in 2010, Cloud Control became the biggest part of my life.

Cloud Control recording in London, 2012.

FEAT. is a method the music industry can use to conserve the environment.

After releasing our first album, our calendar filled up with concert dates in different cities. An idea began to form in the back of my mind as we traveled from place to place. We musicians make a living by selling CDs and going on concert tours. Our music spreads joy, but our activities weigh heavily on the environment. Back in 2014, Australia was embroiled in a heated debate on global warming. So, I got to thinking about renewable energies.

I calculated, to my great distress, that a single Cloud Control concert tour emitted the same amount of CO2 that an average household emitted in a year. There had to be something we could do to lighten our carbon footprint. Over the next months I spoke with many environmental specialists to educate myself on the issue. Eventually, I hit upon the idea that we could generate our own renewable energy. I launched FEAT. in 2019 to take the idea further. FEAT. enables artists to take part in renewable energy projects as investors. Musicians can invest in FEAT. if they are willing to take action on environmental issues. The funds they invest are used to pursue environmental conservation projects.

On a scientific expedition to Heron Island in 2017. Discussions with climate scientists inspired her to create FEAT.

Read the Part 2

Heidi Lenffer / Musician
Born in the Blue Mountains, Australia, Heidi sings vocals and plays keyboard in Cloud Control, an alternative rock band she formed with her brother and two friends. Cloud Control has toured Australia and Europe with good success. Heidi’s strong commitment to the environment inspired her to create FEAT., an investment organization that gives musicians the opportunity to finance renewable energy projects as stakeholders.

Interview Date:

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