An Interview with Emily Lord
Congratulations on album number four, welcome back!
Thanks you so much. It felt exhilarating to be back in the studio. You know,
launching a new record feels a little bit like welcoming a new child: lots
of hard work involved, but very rewarding stuff. And once the songs are released
to the world, they take on a whole new life of their own.
How did you decide that the time was right for recording
Really the music told me that it was time. With two young children, there just hasn’t
been much space in my life during the past few years to
feel creative. But in January 2009 something changed
and I finished my first new original song in five years.
Writing that song somehow unleashed the flow of music in
me and I’ve been writing new ones ever since.
But I have to thank my husband, since he was the one who
really encouraged me to record them. In fact, he surprised
me and arranged the whole recording session as a birthday
gift for me. So I went off to Austin for a whirlwind weekend
(without kids in tow!) to record the four songs on Dedicated.
This is your third album collaboration with Producer Mark
Yes. Mark is an amazing talent, and a wonderful human being.
Every time I set foot in his Congress House Studio, I feel
honored to be there. He’s worked with so many of
my musical heroes. It’s humbling to see gold records
on the wall.
really knows how to bring out the best in the artists
he works with, which is why I keep traveling all the way
from San Francisco to work with him. Mark and I had a lot
of fun recording Dedicated because it was just the two
of us performing all of the music. I think “Dedicated” reflects
the longstanding trust and understanding we’ve built
over the past ten years making records together.
Tell us about the four songs you recorded on Dedicated:
Track 1: Beautiful Old Friend (read
I’m pretty sure this is the fastest song I’ve
ever written. I wrote it for my best friend who lost her
mother, whom I loved very much, after a long battle with
cancer. I attended her funeral the day before my recording
session in Austin. So, I was coming off one very emotional
event and right into another. As I traveled across the
country, I wrote this song through a sleepless night and
recorded it that same day. In fact, the first time I actually
heard this song out loud was at The Congress House when
I first played it for Mark. Not very often do songwriters
have the opportunity to record a song in its most new,
honest, and fresh state. Mark did a tremendous job capturing
the emotion I was feeling that day. Interestingly, we made
three different versions with various background vocals,
but I ultimately decided to use the version without any
of them. I felt my solo voice best conveyed the intimate,
personal nature of the song.
Track 2: Mother (read
This song is all about what
I’m doing right now,
so I feel very close to it. Until I had my own kids, I
had no idea how much love I could feel. Nor did I know
how much they can turn your life upside down! As much as
I love performing and being a musician, it’s crystal
clear to me that nothing is more important right now than
being my kids’ mom. And the music business will be
there when I’m ready to come back. I feel lucky to
be at a place in my life where I can do that. Motherhood
is not an easy or a glamorous choice, but I’m
really proud of what I’m doing. It felt natural for
me to explore all of these emotions by writing a song about
Track 3: Inauguration Day (read
This is the song that re-ignited my creativity and began
this whole project rolling. As I watched the 2009 inauguration
day’s events unfold with my kids, I found myself wondering
what the real man behind the icon might be feeling like.
Suddenly the hook for this song came to
me, “Hey Mr. President how are you / do you ever
feel lonely too?” Over the next few nights I kept
picking up my guitar and working out the rest of the
song. A few days later, it was finished.
how this song surprises people. Although it was inspired
by a political event, I’m not promoting
any political viewpoint. I believe this song could almost
be about any inauguration day. We, as a country, feel hopeful
each time we elect a new leader. But this song is cautiously
optimistic, and it keeps the euphoria that struck the nation
that day at arm’s length.
Sounds like all three of the originals are very personal
songs that chronicle your life in the past year. So why
cover a Madonna song, too?
Well, a few months ago, we threw a party at our house
and out came my guitar by the end of the evening. Among
all the other tunes I played for my friends that night,
I did an acoustic version of “Like A Prayer” and
everyone seemed to love it. So I thought, why not record
it? I’ve always loved this song. Madonna was my
first favorite rock star as a teeny-bopper. Then during
and high school years, “Like A Prayer” was
an anthem that I loved to sing and dance to with my friends.
Wish I could see their faces when they hear this rendition
for the first time. I really love how our recording adds
a whole new bluesy-rock twist to the song -- it feels
fresh and exciting.
As a recording artist, cover songs are a great way for
new fans to discover my music. I’m amazed at the
download sales both in the US and abroad for my cover of
Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit” from
Brand New Day. That song is only other cover I’ve
ever recorded. I hope “Like A Prayer” might
be equally well received.
The CD artwork for Dedicated really captures the mood of
Catleen Clark, a San Francisco Bay Area graphic designer,
did a great job. I was very touched when she told me
that she found these songs to be “contemplative, thoughtful,
and ultimately joyful.” I think she conveyed those
sentiments beautifully through her artwork.
You know, at first I planned to release this four-song
record as a digital-only release, but enough people clamored
for a physical CD option so here we are. I’m glad
to offer them to fans who like owning a physical CD with
a lyric sheet. For digital music lovers out there, downloads
are available on iTunes and CDBaby.com, Amazon
MP3, Rhapsody, Napster, and other favorite digital retailers.
So when is the next album coming?
Hopefully in the not too distant future! We so appreciate
the warm reception Dedicated is receiving, and for now
we’re just enjoying that.
Listen to free sound clips from Dedicated at CDBaby.com