That is so true and such a lovely, honest way to put it.. And I’m so excited for people to hear this song because of what it will bring to then. All of your music – from the lyrics to the vocals to the instrumentation – is infectious and meaningful and genre-bending. I was wondering what your background was like musically? Because there seems to be so many layers of skill and so many different influences playing a part in all of what you release.
My dad and his side of the family were jazz musicians. So when I was a kid my dad was pretty adamant about me learning an instrument and bringing me up on things like “real music.” He definitely instilled in me an understanding of what that meant to him. It was a lot of jazz and blues and soul – even gospel! We’re not religious, my dad is actually Jewish, but we would go to gospel concerts just for the music. He had me listening to all of that, along with like, The Beatles and such. Then when I became like a teenager, I discovered an edgier kind of music. I got into Queen and David Bowie and The Rolling Stones. I really respected people like Sam Cooke. That made me a singer. I just loved that music, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles and all those like bluesy soul singers, but like Mick Jagger and David Bowie… they made me want to be a performer. James Brown, though, was kind of like my whole life. I idolized James Brown and just his ability to be a little bit of everything, I guess.
I was an actor. Acting was my first passion, my first love. I never thought that I would be like a singer professionally. I always was like, “Well, I’m going to be a movie star and I’m going to be on Broadway.” So I did theater and I had to sing for that, but it was never like singing was my only thing. It was just something that I had to gauge to be able to act. So I was always learning instruments and singing and kind of training for something I didn’t really know I wanted to do yet. I got more into and roll scene and like that kind of vibe. It’s all influencing my music. There was a brief stint in my career when I first started doing music, I was very young and kind of being influenced by the team that I had who said “You’re going to be a pop star and you’re going to do this and you’re going to wear it and you’re going to do this.” And it got to a point where I realized like, “I’m fucking miserable. This is not me. This is not what I will be doing my whole life. If I’m going to do this. I’m going to do it my way. I am going to play music that I want, wear what I want to, and say what I want to say.” That was the moment, where my dad and I were in the car and we were listening to Stevie Wonder or something – I don’t know, it’s just great music, in my opinion. And I was like, “This just feels good. I just feel good.” And so my dad said, “Why aren’t you making this music?” And I was just kind of like an aha moment where I was like, “Yeah, fuck this. I’m going to make exactly the kind of music I want to make. I’m going to have the influences of jazz and blues. I want to make rock and roll music and I’m going to do that.” And then obviously having pop influences, too, because at the end of the day, The Beatles were a pop band. In no way am I shunning “pop music,” I just think it can be such a subjective thing. I love what Amy Winehouse did. She was not making typical pop music, but she became a pop icon, you know?
What you are doing is working so well for you. Just having all that culture and skill in your back pocket is clearly playing such a role in your music as it continues to blow up. I really feel like your last 2020 release, “Devil On My Shoulder,” encompasses all of that. It’s theatrical and it’s rock and roll, but it’s kind of upbeat and poppy, too, as it is just so much fun to listen to. Is that the kind of sound that you want to go for in a possible forthcoming album? Or is it going to be something even more different and new?
You just said it: it’s working for me. The second that I basically stopped caring if it would work, it started to work. Like when I was trying to make what I was told I should make, that’s when I had no success and I was depressed and I was miserable and I was like “fuck this.” The second that I was like “I’m gonna do it my way. I’m going to sing what I want to sing.” That’s when I started having success, ironically doing music that was a little bit less expected. And, yes, “Devil On My Shoulder” was definitely like everything at one. I think the guys that I wrote that with and produced that with were the most incredible collaborators. The thing about it is that I went into the studio with them and I said to them, “I want to make rock and roll. I’m a female doing rock and roll.” And a lot of sessions that I’ve gone into with other people that have been like, “Okay, cool, let’s make you Joan Jett. Let’s make you Amy Winehouse.” And I was like, “You’re not seeing it. I’m sitting right here. I’m not either of those people. Let’s make something brand new. Let’s make something that embodies rock and roll and embodies the spirit of that.” Because that’s who I am, but I wanted to do it in a new fucking way, in essentially a pop sense. And I said, “Let’s be weird and crazy.” So that’s kind of like what “Devil On My Shoulder” turned out to be. I’m not just singing the whole thing. I’m kind of like talking and it’s this weird, chaotic kind of vibe. It came out and when we were writing that song, no one would say it, but we could all kind of tell that we were thinking, “What are we doing? This is not going to work.” And then we finished it and we’re all like, “Oh, first single! Let’s go!”
Yeah, so an album is going to be like a combination of that kind of like punk rock, chaotic kind of spirit, but definitely super theatrical and big and anthemic. The album’s very big. There is definitely nothing minimal about the album. But yeah, it is definitely going to be like a combination between the punk rock of “Devil On My Shoulder” and “Catch Me If You Can” and the anthemic-ness of “Liquor Store on Mars.”
That is so exciting. You don’t even understand how thrilled I am to hear that. It is going to be so much fun to listen to. Because I feel like even though there might be a lot going on in your music to an outsider, there’s so much heart to it and the way you’re going about it all still seems to be so intricate and purposeful, even if it might come across as typical rock and roll craziness.
Wow, thank you so much.