Interview: LeAnn Rimes
Mon, 08 Oct 2007 13:02:24
Since her debut record, Blue, was released at age 13, LeAnn
Rimes' distinctive twang has become a fixture on the charts—both
country and pop alike. With hits like "How Do I Live?" "I Need You"
and "Can't Fight the Moonlight," her career has spanned more than
12 years and 37 million album sales.
She chatted with ARTISTdirect about a life in the public eye, her evolution as a songwriter and why her latest record, Family, is her most personal to date.
This new album marks a return to your country style after more pop-flavored projects. How did Family come about?
I guess like any artist, I wanted this album to be a reflection of myself. I've enjoyed success, but what I think Family does is tell a story of me as a writer. The more I write, the more I find what comes naturally to me.
How was the process of making this album?
Most of the songs were written over an eight-month period, so I was touring and promoting and writing—I had a lot going on. This whole album was written with a team of five writers, and they're all very close friends of mine, so it really was a family feel. A lot of the songs came out of our writer's camps; it was great, we'd sit down and one of us might have a title, or something that was going on in our lives that would make a good subject. It really was a very organic way that the album came out. This album, I'm not hiding anything—it's a very vulnerable record.
That vulnerability comes through in a lot of the songs; it sounds like you were trying not to keep any distance…
It's true. When it comes to your heart and soul, when you're writing about your own experiences, it's definitely very honest. Not that I haven't done that in my other records, but this time, the stories I'm sharing—the stories I wanted to tell—are very personal. I feel like as an artist, to my fans, this is showing a different side to me.
This album is coming out on Curb Records; they were the first label to release your material. Have you stayed with them all along?
Yes, they've been my label since the beginning.
That's pretty unusual nowadays…
It is! I've actually been with them since I was 11. We've had our ups and downs, but I do have a good relationship with them. The great thing about them is they allow me to go and do my own thing, and I turn it in, and then they go promote it, so nobody's looking over my shoulder or telling me what to do. I'm very fortunate in that respect, that I have that kind of control. They know that I make a good product, and they're happy with what I've done over the last couple of years, so I think I've earned that freedom.
Over the past few years, you've moved back and forth over the country and pop boundaries, especially in Europe where you've worked on collaborations with pop artists like Brian McFadden. How did you feel about shifting your sound like that?
I think that the Whatever We Wanna album has some wonderful songs on it—some of my favorite songs I've ever written. Making that record was such a stepping stone for me, to be able to have such confidence in my writing. The thing is, maybe people don't agree with me moving back and forth, but I feel like I've done it well. I've made a great project every time, and I'm proud of them.
And it sounds like you've brought some of the sensibilities of pop songwriting through into your country-based work. Your lead single, "Nothing Better to Do" for example, has a very pop-orientated structure…
Right, I've learned so much from it, from singing all those different styles. For me, there are no boundaries. When it came to writing this record, it was about whatever came out, not if we needed a certain type to fit. I think I have such a well of information and experience and different kinds of music now to draw from that I'm not just stuck in one genre.
Since you started in the industry, over a decade ago, it seems like there's much less of a clear division between being an artist and being a celebrity. To promote a record you have to blur the boundaries—talking about your marriage or weight-loss to get coverage in magazines. How have you found this?
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