|Written By Rick
Ellis, Monday, October 30th, 2006
"American Idol's" Kellie Pickler is getting set to release her debut CD, recorded while she was on the "American Idol Live" tour. She spoke with me recently about the CD and how it was put together.
Q: You wrote a number of songs on the new CD. Can you talk a bit about the way that worked generally. Were you sitting in a room with someone writing, or did the Idol tour force you to work long distance?
A: I had to do it over the phone, mostly. I wrote most of the lyrics all myself, and then I spent a lot of time on the phone during the ("American Idol") tour working out everything else with Amy. I was literally recording every day I had off during the tour Blake (Chancey, her producer) would fly out to wherever I was that night, and we would work as much as we could. It was tough, sometimes, but it was so much fun.
Q: Was the writing something that came easy to you?
A: It's weird. It just came to me. I'd never really written songs before. But It's what your life is about, your feelings, your emotions. The songs I wrote all have special meaning to me, they show what's in my heart and in my thoughts. One song--"My Angel" is about my grandmother, and another is about my Mom.
Q: Do you worry that you'll put too much of yourself out there, that you'll share too many of your personal feelings with fans and listeners?
A: Not really. Country music is very intimate and honest and I want my music to reflect that. Honesty is very important to me--it's one of the things I look for first in a person. And I think you'll have a successful album if you're honest and open with your fans.
If I'm going to be singing these songs in twenty years, I want them to be ones that I'm comfortable with, and that I think are honest and sincere and truthful.
But I'm just learning about songwriting. Some day I'd like to be good enough that I could sit down and write something with someone like Dolly Parton.
Q: I've heard you say that Parton is a big influence. What is your biggest non-country musical influence?
A: I love Guns N Roses, and Queen. AC/DC. Def Leppard. Journey. All kinds of rock music. I love guitar, and I think some of that shows up in the sound of my CD.
Q: The album does have a more upbeat, rockier edge than I expected. Was that something you that was planned, or did the sound just evolve as you recorded the tracks?
A: That was just the way it worked out. When I sat down and finally listened to everything, it actually surprised me a bit.
Q: I'm a fan of country music, and I know that I run across people who will tell me that they just wouldn't listen to country music no matter what. They think it's nothing but songs about drinking and divorces and misery. Do you ever run across that, and how do you convince people to give country music a try.
A: That makes me so mad when people say that. It's like saying all white folks are the same, or all black folks, or all Mexicans. I hate stereotypes, and doing that with music is as dumb as doing it with races or anything else.
I've had a lot of people say, 'Oh country music is nothing but songs about drinking and your dog dying.' I've never heard a country song about your dog dying. Sure, country music has some sad songs, but so does any other kind of music. There's upbeat country music, there's songs about everything. It's not fair to stereotype rap music, or any other kind of music.
Music is about bringing emotions and feelings to the listener, and country music does a really good job of that.
Q: You've already accomplished so many of your dreams, but is there one thing in particular that you're really looking forward to doing in the future?
A: Well, I'm getting to play The Grand Ol Opry tomorrow (Friday) night for the first time, and that's definitely a dream of mine. I can't believe that just a year ago I saw the Opry for the first time, and now I'm going to play it.