by Ryan Meehan with assistance from Cobra Tucker
Nashville-based artist Liza Anne released her debut album, The Colder Months, independently back in February of 2014. To say that Liza Anne is ambitious is an understatement.She is also now the creator of a beautiful, haunting and deep sophomore record, entitled “TWO”. Liza Anne’s music is rooted in folk with strong pop influences, a style that has been brought to the forefront by artists such as Daughter and First Aid Kit. Early accomplishments in Liza’s career include performing alongside established artists such as Matthew Perryman Jones, Sea Wolf and Landon Austin. The Colder Months not only showcases Liza’s proficiency for songwriting, but also highlights the musical talent brewing at Belmont University, with everyone involved in its creation a current or former student. The album was recorded at Schematic Studios with producer Zachary Dyke, and was mixed & mastered by audio engineer Chad Wahlbrink (Soil & The Sun, Caleb Groh). Liza commented on her debut effort saying, “I never intended on writing a full length record so early in my career, but I couldn’t stop writing. I’ve written some of my most honest and painful moments into these songs. This album is a collection of stories that I’ve lived, and I hope they are found relatable.” I had the pleasure of coming across her work on my favorite radio show – KALA’s Tucker after Ten – and I am delighted to welcome her as my guest today in 10 questions.
RM: What was the first record you can vividly remember listening to over and over again? What was so captivating about that album that led you to keep playing it without getting burnt out on the disc; and how soon thereafter did you realize you wanted to become a musician?
LA: I think the first CD I ran into the ground without getting sick of it was a mix from my aunt and uncle. It had everything on it – Joni Mitchell, The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac. I think after listening to a bunch of kick ass ladies saying whatever they wanted in songs it made me want to do the same.
RM: What was the first song you ever wrote? How old were you; and what was the song about?
LA: I started writing to the tune of things when I was about 8. The first thing I wrote was called “Useless” and it was depressing as shit, but I mean I guess I started being melodramatic at a young age – at least I’m consistent.
RM: When did it become evident to you that the intention of compiling the material which would later become “The Colder Months” was no longer to create an EP but instead to put together a full-length record? Was there any particular song you were working on that was a turning point in determining the length of the final program?
LA: The Colder Months was really just old letters, memos and small recordings that we pieced together and turned into the project. I want every project to be a complete thought – for TCM to be that, it had to be those songs. I’m not fussed over calling things EPs or full lengths – everything I release will be a complete thought, whether two songs, five songs or twelve.
RM: Which lyric on the record holds the most personal meaning for you? What is the story behind that line; and do you ever feel like you write with the intention of the listener developing their own interpretation to a lyric that has a unique meaning to you?
LA: For me, The Colder Months is a strange thing to look back on – I think I did the writing subconsciously, meaning I wasn’t really aware of what I’d said until I sat back and listened to the final recordings. It felt like an out of body experience – something I could actually be proud of because of how removed I almost felt from it all. So, I’d say my favorite set of lyrics is Watering Can. I don’t know where the hell that song came from but it changed things for me.
RM: You shot a video for “Colder Months” which can be seen here…Who directed that clip; and how involved were you with regards to the conceptual vision outlined in the finished product? Is the idea of turning one of your creations into a visual project something that crosses your mind when writing every one of your songs, or do you feel that there are some selections in your catalog which are better suited solely as auditory experiences?
LA: My friend Mikaela Hamilton directed it and we basically dreamt up the idea together.
I am always looking for ways to give my art more faces. Visual counterparts are important for songs, and I want each one I release to be well-thought out and partnered with a videographer who gets it and takes things even deeper than I could. That’s what Mikaela did and what every other person I’ve worked with does. I’m picky with who I pass the torch to creatively, but involving friends has never been a mistake.
RM: How would you best describe what fans of your music can expect from one of your live shows? How has your vision of what you want your live performances to look like changed as your career has progressed?
LA: I’ve always wanted a live show that quiets a room and makes people feel every inch of emotion that I felt when I was in those dark corners writing the songs. Since releasing my first record though, my live set has grown from just me and my guitar to a fuller more band centric set which has been the most fun to create.
RM: (This question comes from Cody) Do you have any plans to delve into other genres that you may not have had the chance to explore yet? With such a soulful voice, would you ever consider writing a song or an entire set of songs that are focused around an R&B style with regards to overall structure and feeling?
LA: I’m not really into genre placement – whatever the hell comes out of my mind and then mouth is whatever it’s going to be.
RM: What’s the strangest place that you’ve ever came up with an idea for a song? Do you find that most of the ideas you have come to you when you least expect them, or are you the kind of songwriter who sits down at a certain time to work each day and that regimen tends to produce creativity?
LA: I wrote an entire song on a train once. Melody and all. I was just whispering all secretive into my voice memos, cornered into a window seat.
I’m both kinds – I like the intention of giving myself time to sit and create but I love the spontaneity of always being open to something coming out of your mind to paper.
RM: If you could instantly acquire the ability to play an instrument that you currently aren’t familiar with, which one would it be and why? Do you think ten years from now you will be able to say you can play that instrument well?
LA: Probably cello. And, no. I would like to think so but cellos are expensive and so are lessons, and that’s not something you just learn from YouTube on a borrowed instrument.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
LA: Touring and writing and resting and touring and writing and resting. I’m excited to dream up the next release. I’m always thinking ten steps ahead so, I’m excited to keep making things that turn into songs and videos and live performances that I can share with you guys.
Official Website: http://www.lizaannemusic.com/
Liza on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LIZAANNEMUSIC
Liza on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizaannemusic
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