Garrison Starr’s New Album, ‘Amateur,’ Is About Empowerment. - Interview

A short time ago, I was able to have a little chat with veteran musician Garrison Starr. I got the low down on her favorite music, writing style, and what she has to say about her soon to be released album. Garrison is also about to start a tour through the UK, Holland and Germany. So, to European fans, keep an eye out for show dates! Also, make sure to check out her new album “Amateur” when it debuts on May 1st.

Q - Where do you draw inspiration for your music?

A - Hmmmm. Well, my songs are pretty personal. I think, for the most part, I draw inspiration from my own experiences, my own realizations and discoveries. However, in the past few years, I’ve been co-writing more and opening myself up to some broader subject matter. I’ve been working on honing my skills as a songwriter, really listening more and learning to appreciate more perspectives, other than my (sometimes) narrow ones.

Q - What messages are you trying to send through this album?

A - This is a cool question. For me, this record is about empowerment, acceptance and getting to know myself. This record is very much about the process I’ve been going through for many years now of self discovery. Of letting go of my disappointments about the past and learning how to gracefully and happily move forward in my life and artistry. This record is about finding joy and stepping into my own skin for the very first time in my life. I am so proud of this music and its message, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about it.

Q - Which artists/bands do you find yourself influenced by the most and why?

A - You know, I think more than being influenced by bands and artists, I’m more influenced by songs. I always gravitate toward a particular song more than a particular artist. That being said, here are some songs I’ve been listening to lately. “Headlights” by All New People (Rob Giles), “Broken” by Tears for Fears, “I’m on Your Side” by Will Kimbrough, “Luka” by Suzanne Vega (Solitude Standing is one of my favorite records), “On a High” by Duncan Sheik, “Someday” by Steve Earl... these are just to name a few!! I grew up listening to the Bangles (Vicki Peterson is my rock and roll hero of all time), the Beatles, Bonnie Raitt and Heart, Mary Chapin Carter, Tom Petty and Shawn Colvin. Again, great songwriters in their own right.

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Q - Your lyrics are very unique. How do you go about writing songs?

A - Thank you! I am pretty meticulous about lyrics. I like to let them brew for awhile sometimes. I usually start writing when I feel inspired or moved by something. Unless I'm co-writing, I don't write every day. My songs and melodies sort of build up and come out when they're ready. Maybe when I'm ready. Even when I sit down to "write" something, if I'm not ready, it won't happen. I have about 30 ideas at the moment that haven't been fully fleshed out. But I'm also doing about 1000 other things, so it totally makes sense. I'm not a very good multi-tasker.

Q - How does your music differ from what’s out there today?

A - I hope my music is as great and above par as some of the music out there today. I feel like it is!!! It's hard to have a real perspective on what I do at this point- on my music and what it really sounds like. All I know is that I care about making the best art I can make, so that I stay inspired and I can inspire others. My work comes from the inside out, and I can only hope that translates to the listener.

Q - In what ways does this new album, “Amateur,” differ from those previously released?

A - I think the songs on this record are some of the best I've written to date. As a whole, I think this record stands out a head above some of the other ones. I think there's a maturity about it on every level that I'm very proud of and encouraged by. It's also the first record I've ever owned. So, that alone feels pretty huge. I'm running my own business for the first time in almost 20 years in this business. As a woman and an artist, I feel pretty damn good about that! As on Songs From Takeoff to Landing, my second record, I co-produced Amateur. There is a drive and an investment in this project that feels important and very relevant to me. I feel empowered, and that's something I've not been able to say often enough.


BYLINE:

Jessica Graham is a college student who, in her free time, loves to involve herself in all things musical. When not studying, working or writing for Zoiks! Online, she enjoys reading, drinking coffee and playing her ukulele.
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