Dedicated: The Story


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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 again?
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 Hallman, right?
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.

Mark 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 lyrics)
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 lyrics)
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 it.

Track 3: Inauguration Day (read lyrics)
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.

I like 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 my college 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 the album.
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



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