It might be a meaningless moment, but those sparks that ignite the song…. It’s mystical maybe, those magic moments. And to make music for a living, to perform these songs over and over, you have to safeguard those sparks. If you can do that, they’ll last a lot longer.
Certain things you have to stumble on to. They can’t be preprogrammed.
I’m somebody who gets a lot of inspiration from dreams.
The way that I’m working now is basically the way I’ve been working since I was a kid: Find the greatest artist in whatever you do, and rip them off with respect. I think there’s a big difference between ripping off with respect and ripping off in disrespect.
I’m somebody who doesn’t feel the need to be in the driver’s seat all the time. I appreciate the perspective of being in the passenger’s seat sometimes, and I feel fortunate for that because I’ve learned a lot from that perspective.
I get most of my inspiration from older records and older production styles, and that ends up rearing its head in the records that I make.
I have a very strong belief in God.
When I started writing, I used the singing side of the production as a vehicle for melody and lyrical ideas. Eventually, that process of using my voice to bring ideas across became more complicated, and I felt I could use it more as an expressive tool.
The songwriting style, to me, is superior. There was a certain amount of joy in it, no matter how sad the song is. You get joy in listening to these Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison sad lyrics. I’m attracted to songs that have balance between the darks and the lights and giving them all equal opportunity.
One of the great things about music is that it has the capability of time travel – you smell a certain smell in the room and it takes you back to your childhood. I feel like music is able to do that, and it happens to me all the time.
My grandparents are from Mexico, so I grew up with great Mexican food.
It’s a hard thing to explain, but the more I arrange for strings, the more I realize the possibilities.
It’s a luxury to not have to just be performing with other people to have my music heard.
I’ve worked with just as many talented women as I have talented men, and I feel fortunate enough to have that great balance.
When you work on a record for three years, it’s a great sense of relief when it is finally out in the world. It just feels good.
I just want the songs to have the staying power as my favorite songs. If you listen to any Hank Williams song, when you’re in a good mood, it’s going to put you in a better mood. If you happen to be bummed-out, you’re going to feel maybe a little more bummed-out and better at the same time. At any time in my life, his music has had meaning and value to me. If a song can shape-shift in that way, that’s a sign of success.
The South of France is one of my favorite places in the world.
I believe in working with songs that have personal value for me.
The best live recordings capture elements of surprise onstage.
My favorite recordings are the ones that feel like there were no middlemen in the creation. That’s the biggest problem with most films and records being made today – too many people involved. I think it dilutes the artist’s intent and inspiration.
I like using concrete imagery, but I don’t feel that’s what it’s about. It’s a combination of concrete and abstract to take the listener somewhere they know better than you. That’s true for music, seeing a painting, watching a movie… it’s all some kind of an escape.
I don’t really watch TV series because I don’t want to get hooked on them and have them suck up all my time.
If I’m writing… even a piece of a song… I write it down. If it still resonates six months down the line, a year, even five, those are the ones you put in your bag and you take to the studio. You come to realize, the ones that don’t make it, they were only meant to live for that moment in your notebook or on the 4-track-and plenty of songs never get any farther than the 4-track.
I learned a long time ago that fame and money is not a ticket to happiness.
I love the sound of Elmore James, the sound early guitarists like him got just by using minimal means.