How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
My best ideas come while I’m driving, actually. I drive a lot for work, and I usually listen to NPR and let my mind wander. I’ll start thinking through what’s been going on, and things will start to piece together, first with a line or two, and then build out from there. Voice-to-text and voice memos have been a lifesaver in these moments! The I’ll flesh the ideas out later with a pen and paper, which is still my preferred way of writing.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
Ingenuity and honesty are most important for me. I want to feel the lyrics through the vocalist’s emoting. It doesn’t have to be a direct personal experience that you’re writing about, but when you sing it, I need to believe it. And don’t force a specific style! If you don’t write insanely metaphorical lyrics, don’t push it. Be you!
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
Never. I’m an open book, and at this point in my life, I’ve learned to take responsibility for my errors and own all aspects of myself that have created who I am today. There are a couple of topics that I’ve kept to myself, but I’m warming up to writing about one of them, since it could be helpful for others going through the same thing.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
The most meaningful to me is the bridge to “As Luck Would Have It”: You’re the light in me/You’re a part of me/you’re the spark I didn’t know I had/You help me bloom despite my past. That part was inspired by Zach (Duarte, guitarist), and used for our wedding vows.
What inspired “Empty Space,” your latest single?
My grandfather passed away in July 2016, and it hit my whole family really hard. My grandparents were married for 74 years, and seeing my grandma deal with the loss of her soulmate was devastating. They were a great team, and always together. They held each other up when the other was sick, and exemplified the kind of marriage I wanted. I have so many memories of the small things they did for each other that showed me how a partnership of love and respect should be. It broke my heart that my grandpa wasn’t able to be at my wedding, to see me marry the person that I know will be by my side until the very end. “Empty Space” is about losing your soulmate, and dealing with that space in your life that will always be there, that they used to fill.
And “Bright Side”?
“Bright Side” was 100% written for Zach. It’s the first “love song” I’ve ever written. I wanted to show people that despite all the anger and sadness I write about (which are real experiences and feelings), that I also have hope and happiness in my life. It’s honestly about how before we started dating, I second-guessed everything, and even tried to talk him out of having feelings for me because I didn’t think he would be able to handle all my ups and downs. I’m so glad he was patient with me, because he has been my saving grace in many ways. Before Zach, I’d given up hope of having the partnership I wanted in life and had resigned myself to being more of a fixture than a muse for someone else. With Zach, every single day I think of how grateful I am to share such deep, incredible love and respect with him.
Do you remember the day you wrote “Vacancies”?
I’m laughing right now, because that song went through so many changes, and was written over a period of weeks, not in one day. We nearly scrapped it at one point, and right as we were about to give up, Zach and I realized changing the key would help immensely. The day we began writing it though, I was incredibly frustrated with my job, and felt like I was living for my job instead of doing what really made me happy. I felt stuck, and I wanted to people who were going through the same thing to listen and think: “Does this actually make me happy? Or am I doing something that I feel like I’m supposed to at the expense of my own happiness?”
Any plans to release a new album?
Of course! We’ll be demoing a couple more songs in late May and heading back to record the full release in late summer. Depending on timing and other details, we’re hoping for a late 2019 release.
What is the best suggestion your producer gave you when working on “Empty Space”?
The best advice period he’s given is to worry more about the take than if it’s perfectly on pitch 100% of the time. As in, give it your all in the performance of the line, because you can’t edit grit, emotion, etc.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
Finishing demos before our next tour in July, then back to the studio for the final album tracking before a fall tour. We’re filming another music video at the end of May for potential release before the July tour.
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your song “ Empty Space”: Vulnerable.
- The best show you ever played: Warped Tour 2018 in San Antonio!
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Monster Zero or Bang energy drinks.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: John Hughes’ movies.
- Your favorite song lyrically speaking but not written by you: ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’ by The Wonder Years. Actually that entire album, The Greatest Generation, has been extremely influential to me.
- Last question is “unusual”, we want to know your best relationship advice: Communication and genuine appreciation are so important. Check in with each other. Some people won’t be forthright with what’s bothering them, and you should explore those issues, not ignore them. Don’t be afraid of talking about what you want or need because you might be surprised how easy it is to get something if you just ask for it. Every day, look at that person and I mean really look at them and think about what it is that draws you to them, what you admire about them. Zach and I respect each other and always thank each other for small things like washing dishes or changing plans to suit the other’s needs. We work really hard to ensure that we both are happy every day. This sounds cheesy, but I tear up thinking about how wonderful he is and how thankful I am to have him in my life. It’s a crazy, beautiful, incredible love that we share.