(October 16, 2008)
Q: Hello Lisa, how have you been lately?
A: I am well thanks, very excited about my new album and how it has been received.
Q: You released a new album since we last spoke, called “Clouds With Silver”. Can you tell us something about the record?
I recorded most of the songs with a very talented New York producer and multi-instrumentalist Brad Albetta. He has recorded and produced very cool albums by Martha Wainwright and Teddy Thompson so I knew it would sound great. There are 2 full band songs and the rest are acoustic with touches of bass, keyboards and some beautiful string arrangements. It is mostly me playing live but features some terrific guest musicians.
Q: And compared to your previous albums, what is really different on this album?
A: I am really very proud of it as all the songs come even more from the heart, it is a real labour of love. Like all my other albums, it still has a strong emphasis on melody but I feel I’ve made a great progression with my writing, there is a lot of emotion, no holding back. It’s really like a combination of both my previous albums, a mix of acoustic songs and Americana tinged tracks but it is even more heartfelt and intimate. I am always totally involved in my recordings but on this one I co-produced with Brad and produced 4 tracks myself. I also played all the acoustic guitar which I am really proud of. The last song on the record is ‘Time to Grow’ and that’s not just about me growing personally but musically too.
Q: What inspirations and experiences led you to write the songs that are on “Clouds With Silver”?
A: It’s a very personal journey of changes, loss, life and love. It’s inspired by all the experiences and travels that I have been on and this has made the album very heartfelt.
Q: What does the title of the album mean?
A: I didn’t want a title track for the album as the songs are a whole journey from start to finish and all special to me. The songs are very introspective, contemplative and tinged with melancholy but, as the title reveals, they are full of hope, lined with silver and ultimately leave an uplifting and positive message.
Q: How did the process of creating this album play out? Were there any setbacks or moments where things seemed to go perfectly? What were key moments in the creative process?
A: There was the odd setback prior to recording but it was mostly just scheduling. There was a lot of online contact as all the musicians I worked with live in the States. As I wanted such great musicians involved, it was just a case of ensuring they were going to be available. The recording process was smooth and easy. I’ve always recorded really fast, mostly getting tracks in one or two takes, and this was the same here with also a few done totally live, just me and the guitar.
Q: Can you tell us something about the stories behind the songs, what they mean to you, and what you meant to share with your listeners?
A: Mostly the songs are concerned with emotions and personal relationships and people have really been relating to and connecting with them. Live Your Life is a really positive song, about chasing your dreams and not letting things stand in your way despite facing setbacks and pain. It has had a terrific response particularly in the States. I’m fascinated by the music business and the nature of fame and When You Come Home looks at the aftermath, someone who has had the adulation and success and lost it.
Q: The album’s been out for a little while now. How are the reactions so far?
A: It has had an amazing response and that feels so rewarding. I have had praise from people I admire and respect in music, had great press reviews, BBC radio airplay and I have had lots of people writing to me saying how they really love the intimate feel and emotion.
Q: No doubt you wrote a lot of songs and had to select which ones were going to make the album and which ones weren’t. How hard is it to make a choice like that?
A: It was not hard at all. I chose the best batch of songs that I’d written over the last couple of years, the ones that really reflected where I am and they flowed well together. I have a very strong sense when I have written a song that I am really proud of. I had nearly decided on the tracklisting and then I wrote the song ‘New Years Day’, on New Years Day!, and really felt that it should be included. I recorded one live version shortly after writing it and that’s the one that appears on the album.
Q: If I would ask you what you think you improved most compared to your older work, what would you say it is?
A: I feel that both my writing and singing have grown, particularly my writing, and my playing is also much better. I have also gained in my ability to produce and arrange tracks and just have more confidence in knowing how I want the songs to sound.
Q: Your album sound very good, but of all the songs on there, which one in particular do you love to play live? And why?
A: I enjoy playing them all but I particularly enjoy playing ‘Live Your Life’ as it has a cool guitar riff that I really get into and there are lots of vocal dynamics. I also love to play ‘Makes Your Heart Sing’ as I put lots of emotion into it and ‘Call Me’ as it also has an intricate riff and the key is in a really cool place for my voice.
Q: And if you could tour with any other artist in the world, to promote your new album, who would you choose? And why so?
A: There are lots of artists I would love to tour with. I am a big fan of songwriters such as Josh Rouse, Ryan Adams, Kathleen Edwards, Sufjan Stevens, Rosie Thomas, Teddy Thompson so I would love to support any of them.
Q: On this new album, you worked with several very talented musicians and technicians to record and produce the songs. How important was it for you to work with these people, and how big is their influence on the end product?
A: As I had such a strong idea of what I wanted for this record, it was just really fulfilling to have such outstanding musicians coming in to play what I wanted and providing embellishments to the acoustic sound. Brad added subtle sonic dimensions on bass and keyboards which were just right and the strings were beautiful, exactly what I wanted. It is inspiring to work with people that you admire and respect.
Q: You worked on this CD in New York, where you spent quite some time lately. Has New York changed you as a singer/songwriter, compared to the singer/songwriter you were before the New York-era?
A: New York City hasn’t really changed me as a writer and my style but I have certainly been inspired by all the creative energy there and you can’t help absorbing that. Seeing so many gigs and the very high standard there pushes you and it is just exciting to be in such a vibrant place.
Q: It’s been really interesting, talking about your new CD, “Clouds With Silver”. Do you have any final words, comments, sentiments about the CD that you want to share with us?
A: Look out for the remix of ‘Call Me’ (The Alone Mix) which is terrific. I have always been versatile, sung jazz, soul and dance music and this shows how suited my voice is to dance and electronic music.
There is also a club mix to come too! Keep an eye on my websites to read all my latest news, hear clips and read my reviews.
Q: Last, but not least. Where can people go to listen to/purchase “Clouds With Silver”?
A: It is available from many online music stores, iTunes, emusic, Amazon, Play.com, Rhapsody, HMV, many more, just google my name! For CD copies it is available through Proper Distribution, the UK’s biggest independent distributors, who are really behind it. Fish Records also have CD copies: www.fishrecords.co.uk/reviews/cloudswithsilver.htm
Thank you Lisa for this interview, and good luck with your new album. I hope it will be a big hit.