Plumb - March 22, 2006


Photo Credit: www.kenphillipsgroup.com

Tell me how you first got interested in music and what led you to pursue a career in it.

I more or less did not choose this career. It chose me. The short version of the long story is that I more or less had grown up singing in church choir and school choir. Music was more or less a hobby playing piano, clarinet, guitar, and things like that. When I was working as a bank teller right after high school, I spent money for what I thought was going to be med school because I wanted to be a nurse and minor in special education and maybe a little bit of music business just because I was a fan of music. I got a phone call from a friend of a friend of a friend that a long list down the line of how I got the phone call in the first place was to do some backup singing. I did that and that led to backup singing for other people and one thing led to another and I was singing backup so much that college got put aside. That led to singing session work in the studio, singing backup for people there as well which then brought me to Nashville because most of the artists and projects I was working with were out of Nashville. An A&R guy had heard me and saw me and offered me my first record deal. I took it and made a couple of records and more or less have learned so much those first couple of records of what to do and what not to do. I've since started over and signed with Curb in 2001 and made two records, one of which just came out a couple of weeks ago. So one thing led to another and opportunities availed themselves that music found me and every opportunity, whether it was someone calling me to sing backup or somebody calling me to sing in the studio or somebody calling me from a label for a record deal, I know it does not happen like that usually for artists. I was not pursuing it at all. I didn't orchestrate it in any way. It just landed in my lap and I just had to make the decision of what does being faithful with the public really look like. So I along that journey have won some or lost some as far as making that decision but hopefully won a lot more than I've lost and I'm having a blast.

A lot of times people look for record deals and they never get them. Maybe they shouldn't look so hard.

I will say this. Every time I meet somebody that says "all I want in life is to do what you do. How could I do it?" Sometimes I question whether or not they're supposed to and that's not because I think it should happen for people the way it happened for me but I also think that sometimes you're meant to do something. If you are wise and alert and obedient to like I said the opportunities that come your way, either accepting or rejecting an idea or the opportunity of what to do with that situation, there's sometimes a situation like singing to a karaoke machine in a roller skating group when I was 14. No, it didn't land a record deal for me but it was part of the process and there are a lot of things that I think I was being groomed for and there were dues being paid that I wasn't even aware of. It's not because I was just so obedient and faithful and just so positive about everything. I just more or less followed my heart and didn't get too set on one thing and realized that I have the ability to do a lot of things. Everyone is given many different gifts. No one is intended to only do one single thing and I think if we keep our minds more open to the opportunities of serious things...my best friend is an amazing songwriter but right now she's a graphic designer for a record label and she's great at that too. In fact if we can learn to be content in the space that we're in, I think we're a lot more useful in those moments and those moments are a lot more rewarding because we're not putting all of our eggs in one basket. I had in my head medicine but I also love music because someone can look at the flipside of it and say that all I wanted to do was music but I ended up being a nurse. You can completely flip flop my situation and I would hopefully be just as happy to say man, I had my heart set on music but I love medicine too. I think sometimes people do try too hard and I think that's the case for most but you should probably reevaluate your motives and your goals and your opportunities and what they mean for you.

That's quite true. My day job is working in retail with people and my night job is doing journalistic and photography stuff so I see what you're saying. Who were some of your musical influences growing up?

They change from day to day so when I even think of growing up, sometimes it becomes a blur because I'm constantly being influenced by new music which I think is vital. I just song write with a friend of mine that has been in music for ages and ages and I asked her what she's been listening to lately and she said she doesn't really listen to music. It affected our songwriting because I felt like she was a little stifled creatively and that's not me judging her negatively but in the songwriting arena that I found ourselves in, she was stuck in a particular era in her head and a particular style. I feel like constantly being influenced by all sorts of different kinds of music is so incredibly necessary for a well rounded musician. I'm trying always to be more that way. Growing up I was influenced mostly by what my brother purchased. He's three and a half years older than me but he had a job a lot sooner and he always bought music. I would spend my babysitting money on shoes and hairclips or something, I don't know. He would always buy music and inevitably I would listen to whatever he had and 90 percent of what he owned was just complete absolute rock and roll and so I think that had a huge impact on me whether it was his Aerosmith or his Def Leppard or his Pink Floyd. Then around 10th grade he went off to college and I had a drivers license and I could really make my own money. I started investing in the music and The Cure was one of the first records that I really bought and spent time falling in love with and just considered it expressive for men. I've always been really drawn to female artists with confidence and passion and artists that have the ability to be both timeless and cutting edge. I think that's an incredible gift and Edie Brickell and Suzanne Vega and so many others have the ability to have a signature sound which is so important. I think we're all unique and when an artist is able to find what makes them special and capitalize on that, that's a gift in and of itself because it's very easy to try to be a carbon copy of other things that are popular sometimes. Any female artist that has the ability to really find what makes them unique and with confidence and reckless abandon and passion, go with that whether it's commercially popular or not, I've always been drawn to. As I've gotten older in late teens and early 20's, Garbage, Hole, Alanis Morrisette, Patty Griffin, and Stevie Nicks. Any end of the spectrum. Annie Lennox, Bonnie Raitt. There are lots of different things that I was drawn to. Mostly females. But again, anybody who can be all of that and still be metaphorical and pointed and vulnerable and poetic, just all of that at the same time has always been really, really influential. Never ever really drawn to ZZ Top. Sometimes itís fun to sing along to in the car but never really bought any of those records. They didnít fit into my musical influences much but again, I think a lot of what has influenced me musically influences my attitude as well. For my music to ever explode and be a household name, I donít know what I would do with that but I do know that itís not really a big goal. I think I would love to be well respected and have a loyal following and whatever encompasses that, itís really rewarding to me. I would love to see that happen like Suzanne Vega has seen and like those other artists that I mentioned have seen. Thatís a can of worms when you ask a musician about other musicians that they love.

Sometimes I read CD reviews that other people write and I think youíve gotten your following and your respect from what Iíve read. I think youíve achieved that.

Thank you.

I listened to the CD and I loved it because it is a little bit different from a lot of the stuff thatís out there. Iíve gotten to a point that I donít even listen to the radio anymore so the only music I really listen to are the CDs that the publicists send me. Itís opened up such a world of good stuff thatís out there.

Thatís cool. Thank you.

How would you describe your musical style?

I coined wrapping it all up into one little short sentence of saying sophisticated, modern rock and roll. I feel like that this dream and some of what I hope is timeless about it makes it sophisticated but itís still got rock and roll throughout every core of it. Itís modern to the respect that I think of what it needs to be but not so modern that I donít feel like itís dated. Again like artists that I mentioned earlier, I really would love to have the sound of some and not say ďhey, it sounds like so and so.Ē Iíd love for it to always stand on its own that it sounds like Plumb and although it may be very conducive to the year in which it came out such as 2006, that itís completely honest so that itís relevant in 1975 or 2028. I have this philosophy that if youíre trying to be relevant, you become irrelevant because I really feel like relevancy comes from just being honest and just being real. I didnít make this record or aim for my sound to be anything but genuine and so when I listen to it, I hope that it comes across as sophisticated, modern rock and roll.

You put out your record Chaotic Resolve. Tell us a little about it.

Itís sophisticated, modern rock and roll. No, itís basically a diary of the last couple of years of my life in hopes that it takes people on a bit of a journey that I myself have gone through. There are the rock and roll moments. Now and then itís pop moments but I actually had someone describe to me that I had a couple of pop moments, a couple of ballad moments, and Iíve got just straight up rock and roll throughout. I even have a dance moment and I thought they were going to say ďwhat were you thinking?Ē They actually said that at the end of the day, it all sounds like fun and how did I do that. I think thatís a good description and I thought that for someone to say that is probably one of the biggest compliments an artist can be given is that everything that encompasses who you are because Iím not just happy one day or just sad one day. Sometimes Iím happy, sad, confused, frustrated, excited, and whatever all in one day or day after day, month after month and so to have the different hats of my personality exposed on a record is important to me. I feel like that is real. However because Iím not always serious but Iím also not always silly and for them to say that it still sounds like Plumb, for me just to hear someone say that was like ďoh man, thank you.Ē I think thatís my best description that it sounds like what hopefully has become known as the sound of Plumb is on there but it is the journal, the entry, the diary of the last couple of years of my life and the highs and lows of that. Some of them are uncomfortable. Some of them are frustrating and some of them are beautiful and exciting and passionate. Hence the title Chaotic Resolve just because things have been, are, or possibly always will be chaos. The resolve is not so much that thereís a fix. Itís just that I have accepted what the outcome has been or what I believe it to be or hope for it to be. And not have this picture of God and heaven holding all these puzzle pieces that represent the moments of my life and in my head I think the puzzle piece goes here and He puts it somewhere else. So all the chaos thatís wrapped up in that moment of that puzzle piece and resolve that I put it where I wanted it is that more or less He put it somewhere and I said okay. I think every song on this record can be pointed back to that philosophy that every song on the record has been chaos, it is chaos, or it will always be chaos. The change that more or less has taken place in me is that I have accepted what happened or is happening or is very likely to happen. That represents some of the growth that has happened in my life just as a person and in my heart. I feel like an artistís heart is certainly revealed in their art and in their lives and so hopefully that is certainly obvious on this record.

I think that especially when youíre upset about stuff or youíre thinking about stuff, I have one friend that the best way she deals with anger and rage is to actually write down what sheís feeling and why sheís feeling that way. I think thatís so much more cathartic especially in your situation where you can write down all of your feelings and put it to music.

Itís extremely therapeutic and itís also another level of accountability because once you put it out there, youíve said it. Youíve had it published to your credit. You sat on a stage right in the microphone and then from your mountaintop if you will explained it. You have to be willing to answer to that and live up to that and so when I write songs like ďI Canít Do ThisĒ more or less saying that I believe we canít be who we were created to be by ourselves, that we exist for others and to be with each other and here Iím trying to fly solo. Hello? I wrote a song about it. Get your act together. Itís so important for that reason and like you said, therapeutic. Any therapist out there says start your journal or write things out because you canít sometimes even talk about them much less work on them and sometimes just writing them out is incredibly helpful and music is really no different. Itís another form of therapy for me.

What three songs on your record do you feel best describes Plumb?

Thatís a hard one. I think ďI Canít Do ThisĒ is definitely one of them. I think ďCutĒ is one of them. And I think probably ďBlushĒ. ďI Canít Do ThisĒ is more like a rock element, ďBlushĒ more pop, and ďCutĒ more ballad but they all three are saying things that are incredibly important to me and things that are sometimes uncomfortable to say which tends to be what follows me around. My parents are always walking on eggshells in large social arenas just like ďwhat is she going to say next?Ē They may still get nervous. When Iím on TV or radio they bite their bottom lip and ďis she going to say something that people will end upĒ...but Iíve never really avoided controversy because I feel like thereís a lot of growth that can happen during conversation even if itís uncomfortable. ďCutĒ is about abuse and ďI Canít Do ThisĒ is a personal testimony of my need for others and ďBlushĒ is about true love. That it does exist and that itís part of my every day. That good and bad happens but if you donít take a little bad with the good, you will never really appreciate the good. I think those three stylistically and lyrically and the production, all of it entwines into one really good representation of my sound as a whole.

Itís so easy to take stuff thatís uncomfortable and negative and sweep it under the rug. That doesnít really solve the problem so I think sometimes you have to voice the uncomfortable. What kind of tours are you doing for the album?

A lot of it and Iím doing show after show in clubs and festivals and playing with lots of different people at summer shows here and there with different artists. Iím really excited about it. Taking it as it comes and here it just came out a few weeks ago so Iím looking forward to the warm weather and the festivals and the diverse group of people that you get at festivals. Thereís always a large collage of different kinds of artists that play at them so it draws different crowds and at the end of the day thereís a unity that everyone is there for their love of music. Even if they were there to see the headliner and youíre three before the headliner, theyíre still out there helping you warm up for that evening. I love playing festivals though.

Festivals in Europe are so cool because there are such diverse bands playing. Itís not all the same shit. You donít have 25 heavy bands. You have five heavy bands and five not so heavy bands and different kinds of musical styles.

Right plus when you get outside your culture a little bit, you have a deeper appreciation for the fact that everything isnít just how you see it or think it. I love playing internationally because Iím always challenged as a musician to see and hear a lot of things that I wouldnít get to. Some of the big bonuses. I know fans love going to festivals but I would hope, I speak on the behalf of a lot of musicians, that we really love playing them because we get to interact with fans we may not normally get to if it was just a Plumb show. Then the heavy metal headbangers may not ever come see me but yet I may be having a conversation with one of them because I played two or three artists before the first one they were there to hear. Then you get to the merchandise table and youíre chit chatting. Itís a great way to connect and open all of their minds.

Absolutely. Do you have any other thoughts or comments?

Not that I can think of right now. Thank you very much.

Plumb