Interview: Lily Kershaw
Fri, 25 Oct 2013 09:06:12
Lily Kershaw's Midnight In The Garden instantly transfixes. It's the kind of lush pop that's as cinematic as it is catchy, and Miss Kershaw knows how to tell a story. She also can sing with the best of them, and that's what makes Midnight in the Garden so powerful, passionate, and poetic.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Lily Kershaw talks Midnight in the Garden, storytelling, and so much more.
Did you approach Midnight in the Garden with one vision or vibe in mind?
Yeah, I definitely wanted it to be a complete listening experience. That's in part why I chose the songs I ended up picking for this record because I felt like they gave a nice balance of light and dark. On this record, I wrote all of these songs between seventeen and twenty-one. I have a good amount of songs at this point, but those songs I wanted to live together for a complete listening experience as opposed to choosing more recent music I've written. I felt like it was important for different aspects of myself and times in my life to be heard. I've been thinking of the 17-year-old in me. She needed to write music to feel better and she would be so happy to have a song on this record. I felt like it was nice to acknowledge your past and how it's created you overall. I found that very fascinating as we grow as human beings.
You preserve every part of yourself in the music that way.
Definitely! If you're going to go for truth and real life, you might as well.
Is it important for you to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
For me, that's everything in music. I love the stories! I love listening to songs that bring a new spin on a story or awareness to something. As I grow as an artist and human being, I want to tell more interesting stories. A lot of the songs are telling things that have been told before, but how do you express yourself and how do you tell your particular story? That's what's interesting about a songwriter and a singer. The music is so important because it ultimately facilitates the mood of the story and can actually bring strange nuances. In "Better", there's an interlude in a post-chorus. There's a tag at the end of the chorus, where it sounds like someone's walking down a hall. That's actually my producer beat-boxing [Laughs]. I liked the idea that it sounded like someone was leaping. I like the musical elements that tell a story along with the words. The lyrics are very important to me.
What's the story behind "Like the Sun"?
I actually wrote "Like The Sun" and "Promised Land" in the same half-an-hour. It's funny because, in a weird way, I feel like they're pieces of a puzzle together. I'm still trying to figure out what it all means in the end. "Like The Sun" came after "Promised Land", and it was recognizing the pathos of things. It's happy and sad. The sun sets, but it also rises. Even when you don't think the light will come into your life again, it will happen. Everything goes in waves. It's accepting the things you've lost, but knowing they'll return.
Where did "Midnight in the Garden" come from?
I wrote it about a specific relationship. It's about the same relationship some of the other songs on the record are about. It was the end of the relationship. I woke up in the morning and realized that person was emotionally gone before he even realized it. I went home and wrote a song about it. It was very interesting. A lot of the songs on this record are about this young love arc I had in my life. I liked calling this record Midnight in the Garden because, even though not all the songs are necessarily about love for me even when they sound like they're about love, they're about being at a crossroads in life. The ages the songs came from between like 17-21 are weird crossroads. It was a strange period for me. I wasn't going a typical trajectory. I was sort of going to school. I was writing music. That was my focus. I was figuring out what I was going to do with it and where I would go with it. Midnight in the Garden was a great title for me because it's that moment everything is unclear. It's dark, you might be a little bit lost, and that's what the song represents for me. It's the moment of confusion and loss, and you're going to go from there. I felt like that was echoed in the other songs.
If the album were a movie, what would it be?
In my wildest dreams, it would be a yet-to-be-made Sofia Coppola film. I love her wide shots where she lets the actors exist. I like music to define things but not. I enjoy that androgynous zone with words, more or less. I like letting things be. I like how in Sofia Coppola's, more often than not, you just watch people exist. You don't ask anything of them. You let them become what they're becoming, and you don't make them fit into a box.
Have you heard Midnight in the Garden yet?