Lindsay Ell is one of our favourite artists here at Belles and Gals. With the physical release of her fantastic ‘The Project’ album today and her appearance at the C2C festival over the weekend, we caught up with Lindsay at C2C today for a chat!
Welcome back to London Lindsay! Can I start by congratulating you on the fantastic success of your amazing ‘The Project’ album?
Thank you so much, it feels so amazing to be back in London and officially re-release ‘The Project’ for the UK. It is officially out in the UK this morning and I got to walk into HMV on Oxford Street and buy my album. It’s been such a wonderful day!
Did the HMV worker recognise you?
Yes!! They totally looked at the album cover, looked at me, looked at the album cover, looked at me – it was really funny. I actually sold it to another customer, and the customer did the same!
It’s been 6 months since the album came out – how do you look back on those six months?
I feel like the past 6 months have been so exciting. This record has been 16 years in the making and the music part of it has come together in the past year and a half – and watching how fans and the industry have reacted to this album has been truly remarkable. Debuting the album at number one back in August and having the record named as the the number one country album for Billboard for 2017 was amazing. I remember the publicist sent me the list and I was scrolling through names like Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town, and I kept scrolling and then to see it listed as number one was crazy!
As fans, we listen to an album and over time our favourite songs can change. Is it the same as an artist with ‘The Project’. Is there a song that you feel more connected to today than you did when it was released, or is there a song that fans have particularly taken to which might have surprised you?
That’s a very good question! Yes. I feel like when starting the album that ‘Waiting on You’ was such an important song for me, because it was the song that started the whole production process. I sat down with Kristian Bush (who produced the album) and he said, ‘This is where we start, this is where everything stems from. It’s a little bit of country, a little bit of blues and a little bit of Rock and Roll’. That’s who I am. So that’s how it started. But now playing on the road and getting fans to hear the record and the songs that they love, ‘Castle’ has become one of my favourites. Lyrically what it talks about and musically from a guitar perspective, it’s become a song that I definitely feel close to. As a society, we can become so focused on buying bigger houses and cooler cars and all these things that don’t really mean anything, compared to remembering that we get to wake up and do what we love every day. And be around people we love.
Fans have really fallen in love with ‘Champagne’. It’s been a song that fans have requested a lot to be played – ‘Play the Jessica Biel Song! Play the Jessica Biel Song!’. It’s been a real fun one to be able to add to the set.
The album has been given a physical release here in the UK to coincide with the start of C2C – today!
I am so excited about it as we’ve done specific artwork for the UK release. One of the heads of BMG, his name is Alastair, he loved the fact that I painted a guitar for every song on the record and he fell in love with it so much, that we have incorporated a lot of those guitars into the album artwork. I’m so happy that it is a part of this UK album artwork, because it’s such a part of the artistic side of ‘The Project’. People who buy the UK release can flip through the booklet and see me painting each guitar, with the lyrics. For me, to see art represented in different forms, is just great.
You’re now a regular visitor to the UK, so I think we can call you an honorary Brit. Tell us one thing that you particularly like about coming across the pond?
Where do I even start, I mean everything! Ok, I am such a tea drinker. My band makes fun of me cos I just drink tea all time. I feel like I’m one of you guys, because everywhere I go I get offered tea and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.
You seem to be one of the busiest artists in the industry – you played something like 200 shows in 2017! What is it that gives you that drive?
We played 260 shows last year! It was crazy but I love it. I love being busy and I love travelling all over the world and seeing fans. I’m a workaholic, but it doesn’t feel like work to me, as I get to wake up every single day and do what I love, and playing shows is just an extension of that. It’s got to the stage that when I’m home, it feels weird. I can’t stay at home too long, as I start to get antsy!
And have you had any time to write new music in between your busy schedule?
Yes! The minute the album came out I was immediately writing the next record. I feel like when I’m on the road I’m constantly writing – half of them are terrible, but half of them will end up turning into gems that make up cool songs. If you open the voicemail app on my phone it’s kinda frightening, there’s just all these random ideas. These are where the creativity stems from, I can take those ideas and bring them into writing sessions. Over the next three or four months we’ll be writing the next record predominantly, and we’ll be going back in the studio with Kristian probably November or December this year. I feel like creatively myself and Kristian have created this bond where we’re just at the beginning of the journey.
You’ve recorded John Mayer’s ‘Continuum’ album in it’s entirety! When can we hear that, and what was the thinking behind that?
So, one of our first music meetings, Kristian sat me down and asked, ‘Lindsay what is your favourite album?’ I was like, well Kristian that would be ‘Continuum’ by John Mayer, I listen to it all the time. He said perfect, ‘Go and record the whole thing’. I just look at him! He said ‘The only rules are that you have two weeks to play all the instruments and you have to do it by yourself.’ I cleared my schedule and worked from 8am to 3am for 2 weeks and re-recorded the record. I learnt so much from that experience. At the end of the two weeks I learnt how John Mayer played guitar, the way he wrote songs, the way I play and write songs and most importantly how I wanted the record to sound. It was one of the craziest experiences that I’ve ever heard a producer ask an artist to do – take music you love to listen to, recreate it in your own voice and then listen to that through the speakers. It was so smart. It was after that that the gears just clicked. We are mixing it as we speak and we will be listening to mixes next week and it will be released in the next few months.
Have you always wanted to be a singer? Was it a case of ‘hairbrush in the front of the mirror’?
Absolutely. It was a hairbrush and the dollar store made these plastic microphones which would magnify it a little. I annoyed my poor older brother half to death, with this plastic microphone. As soon as I could play guitar, I’d be on the kitchen counter as my mum made dinner, that thing was attached to me. Everyone in my family plays an instrument, but I’m the first one crazy enough to want to do it as a job, but yeah it’s just been in the blood ever since I was little. I did my first show at 10, through our church. Playing a show through your church is one of the most forgiving audiences – you can pretty much do anything and the crowd will applaud! It was the perfect way for me to learn how to perform. I was like ‘This is Awesome!’ I fell in love with performing at a young age and now it just drives me to wanna write better music, and inspire fans as much as they inspire me. The fact that I get to play the O2 for the first time this weekend is so exciting and I’m honoured to be here.
‘The Project’ received an official physical release in the UK today!