(CSC) 1. Congrats on the new record! Please tell us about ďLady & GentlemenĒ and reasoning for the amount of time since the last release.
Thank you very much! No reason really on my part, this album was meant to come out last year and it kind of spiraled into really wanting to make sure it was the right time and the right moment and getting on the same page as the label. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that I think a lot of people donít see. Sometimes we as an artist and managers have an idea of what we want and they have an idea of what they want, not that it is always a negative thing but sometimes it just doesnít match. I think itís because we just werenít on the same page at the same time. Iím just excited that itís finally out; it is very surreal for me. I say this every time but I think Iím proud of this record more than I was the last and I hope I can continue to say that because Iím growing as a woman and as an artist, and every time thereís a new adventure and a new creative process to fulfill.
With the concept being that these original songs were originally recorded by men but not from a womanís perspective, I think a lot of people sometimes cringe when they think of an artist doing a covers record but with Vince Gill producing it and Darrell Brown being a huge part of the production, including myself, we are really kind of creating a story and a film almost I feel like on an album to listen to. These are genius songs that were huge hits and now from a womanís perspective and a lot of them have never been performed by a woman before. It takes on a whole different connotation, I think the arrangements are genius, I think we pushed the envelope in a lot of things, I believe we paid homage to the originals on a lot of things and the people that grew up with these songs will forever love them I hope and the people that never heard these songs will bring them to a new generation of kids.
(CSC) 2. What challenged you most about recording songs made famous by country musicís leading men and what type of an approach did you take with each track?
Each track we treated completely as its own entity, I feel like Vince, Darrell and I have such a vast knowledge of music when it comes to different styles and we appreciate and respect the true sureness of real country music but we also have influences in jazz, blues, rock and Motown, whatever it may be, we grew up in all of it.
It all stems back to these classic country songs and thereís definitely influence from all different kind of types of music in this record. I always felt like some of the time we changed the gender because it needed to be but some of them we didnít; I felt that if I could make you believe that I was singing it, it didnít really matter.
One day when I was in the studio, Vince walked in and said that we should cut ď16 TonsĒ because he had heard it on a car commercial earlier that day. My initial reaction was ďIím working the coal mine?Ē (Laughs) He said ďYeah why not!!Ē I think we really pulled the sex out of that song which was so cool; Iíve never heard ď16 TonsĒ be so sexy so it was really fun to push the envelope but also remain true to these genius songs that were popular in the day and still classic and timeless to this very day.
We definitely did a song by song approach with this record and we had a great time creating each and every one of them. A lot of people say itís a very ballsy move, I never thought that until someone said it to me, because I just grew up with these songs. To me it was just paying my respect to these men that influenced me my whole life; it was never a ďballsyĒ move for me, I never thought of it that way because I did what I love and the music that I love.
(CSC) 3. What was the creative vibe like in the studio being able to work with two of your mentors Vince Gill and Darrell Brown including yourself as executive producer?
It was so chill. (Laughs) You know Darrell is very gregarious and over the top and I love Darrell because heíll get in front of my vocal booth and dance around it if I need to be lightened up if Iím having a crappy day, and the song doesnít really call for me to be sad. (Laughs) Iíve learned from being in a room with him that he wonít really go after me and push me to do something unless he really feels that itís important. Iíve always been one that is really open minded and Iíll listen to what he has to share and weíll go round and round a few times on it but if I donít get what he wants me to do I tell him.
Even Vince and I both sometimes got locked into what we originally heard on these songs so we both had to push each other out of that box and we were good for each other in that respect. Heís an artist at heart so he always told me that this was my album, and he wanted my voice to be heard which is rare from a producer because sometimes producers make a record and they want to make it their record.
Vince was very adamant about my voice being heard on this and him being there to facilitate my vision. Every single person in that room down to the guitar players and drummers had a say in how we were making this record, and that was what was so fun; it was an open room, an open mic in a way where everybody had a say and everybody was willing to hear each other and willing to try. I think thatís where the genius records come from.
(CSC) 4. Your current single ďGiveĒ embodies the positive message of forgiveness and outreach. As an artist, what compelled you to partner with StandUp For Kids and record a video for the song in Chicago?
When I look for outlet songs, itís something that I really want that moves me and where it tilts to my life and I really understand it and get the relationship of it. With ďGiveĒ I feel like Iím this little vessel carrying this big message. I feel like in this country we always feel like we have to give only monetarily, and to reach down in our pockets in this economy a lot of people feel that they canít do that and a lot of people canít.
My manager lives out here in L.A. and we were talking about how many homeless kids there are out here in Ventura County and Santa Barbara and I told him that Iíd like to get involved with this. The more research there is, the numbers are growing exponentially and these kids really donít have a choice sometimes to be in the place that they are. So we came across StandUp For Kids, thereís forty-five chapters across the United States and theyíre solely volunteer based which is really inspiring to me because these people are not getting paid to do what they do; these people are passionate about what they do.
We actually filmed the video with kids from the chapter in Chicago which was an eye opener and a life changing experience for me. I would film with them, be strong for them and then go in my trailer and cry and have to redo my makeup after every different setup because I just realized I didnít walk in their shoes, but I definitely walked beside them that day and I felt for a moment what they go through. The minute I start stressing about my life is the moment I think back to them and realize how great I have it. We all have our issues but when you really think about it, they go through a lot and itís hard. If I can do the smallest bit in my part to help thatís really what it was all about, them telling their story, not mine.
(CSC) 5. Growing up the music business as a young girl, how did you cope with that lifestyle compared to those of your peers and what have you come to accept about it in your adulthood?
(Laughs) This is a complicated question; I say that with a laugh. I donít know how I coped, I had great parents because I know a lot of people realize that weíve gone through a lot together and that is fine because thatís behind us. I had a great upbringing with my Godmother and Godfather and I was taught great manners, how to be a lady but also went through this whole craziness of a whirlwind of success that no child would ever understand how to handle even if somebody gave them a book on it telling them what to do and how to do it. (Laughs)
We all go down our path, we each have our own paths, Iím really not proud of some of the things Iíve done and Iím very proud of some of the things I have. At the end of the day there are no regrets about what Iíve done or what Iíve gone through because it has made me who I am today. I think that if you really break it down, celebrity or no celebrity. Hopefully we all can kind of come to that at the end of the day.
Itís been hard, itís been rewarding and I know I have an amazing family, Iím in a place that Iíve never been where there is a balance, or at least Iím striving for one where finally I get to have a life because I really have never been able to have one. I like making lunch with my stepsons; I like being at home with my family and supporting my husband and his career. Iíve never had that before so itís really important to me that that belief comes before anything in my life. I like music and Iíll always continue to do that. I have a huge respect for my family and the family Iím creating, I want that to be in the forefront in my life from here on out.
(CSC) 6. Looking back on your career, what do you feel is your greatest achievement as an artist and why?
I believe that my whole career is my greatest achievement. I was talking to someone recently, and I think they put it into terms that I actually never thought about; to be in this business for eighteen years, still be relevant and still come into my own for the first time after having success so early on, itís almost like the reinvention and the reverse of myself as an adult. Iím almost like a miracle actually in this business because that doesnít happen, so I think honestly my whole career has been a huge accomplishment for me. I feel like Iím just now scratching the surface of what Iím really capable of.
(CSC) 7. Do you have any specific pre-show rituals or techniques that you do to keep your voice conditioned so well?
Iím kind of laid back about it more now, I used to be really uptight about it but I do warm up twenty to thirty minutes before the show. You wouldnít go running without warming up first, my voice is like a muscle so I have to do the same thing with it. I really donít have any superstitions or anything like that when it comes to going on stage.
(CSC) 8. Whatís your response to the critics who cast judgment upon you and what gives you the strength to rise above that negativity?
My family gives me the strength. Obviously there are a lot of people who have no idea what theyíre talking about because theyíre basing something on a one sided story. Everything is based off of a picture or a very slanted comment and I donít fight back. I do comment every once and awhile when I feel itís needed but I always try to keep my comments positive because I feel like thatís just who I am and thatís what my life is.
My life is incredibly positive, my family is incredibly positive so why bring it down to a negative level when thereís no negativity in our lives when it comes to our household. I know who I am and where Iím at more than I ever have and where Iím headed. I think that it gives me a confidence to just say ďwhatever.Ē (Laughs) Whatever you want to say, say; Iím glad Iím that interesting but Iíve never considered myself that interesting. (Laughs)
At the end of the day, Eddie and I both have multifaceted careers; he acts and I sing so unfortunately like celebrities become huge and that kind of overshadows us sometimes but truthfully we give each other strength. As long as my family knows, I really donít care what anyone else says. Thatís a huge deal for me because growing up in the business, you always had to care what people think. I was told that and taught that so for me to really start to let that go and really care about what my husband, my family and stepchildren think is the most important thing to me. As long as weíre keeping each other in check, the world kind of doesnít exist in that facet when it comes to people being negative.
(CSC) 9. It seems that you get some pretty interesting tweets every so often online. Would you like to comment on that?
I donít even pay attention to them. To be honest, I get maybe one negative tweet every three or four days because the people that are tweeting negativity, I blocked so therefore they have to start accounts that are eggs (Laughs) and theyíve only tweeted like two things that are all to me, so itís the same people. Thatís the thing, itís so funny because people tell me that everyone is so negative to me on Twitter and itís not that way at all. The only ones were the few people that I blocked, so the craziness is that there are people out there that will continue to create new accounts so they can say ignorant and negative comments. Twitter is so positive for me other than the few things that you see from the same people. (Laughs)
(CSC) 10. What would you like to say to your fans that have stood with you from day one?
Well they are part of my biggest accomplishment, so thank you. I really appreciate people that have been there with me through everything. To a lot of people, itís about my voice and I think that Iíve grown so much as an artist, Iím really proud of where I am with my live shows and my music. Itís just so cool to have people that Iíve known for years and years still listening to me. (Laughs) The fact that Iíve been able to stick around this long is honestly all because of them so I send along a huge thank you!!
(CSC) 11. Moving forward, what would you like to accomplish next in your life and career?
Oh gosh, I donít even know. I take life as it comes at this point and time, day by day. Iíd love to have a family and have a child of our own. There are days when I think that I couldnít even deal with that but it changes daily. I definitely want to do more acting. I have tons of stuff to do when it comes to music and have so many ideas.
Iíve been with Curb Records since I was eleven, and this next album is my last record so I have a whole new world of things opening up that I donít even know about yet. Itís an exciting time but it is a lot of closure to one huge chapter of my life and a rebirth in so many other ways. I think that this time itís on my own terms and it is not when Iím a child, Iím really making these decisions myself, doing my homework and I believe that I will be even prouder of the accomplishments that come as an adult.
I never took the time when I was a kid to really sit there and absorb it all. I didnít understand it and know that you should bask in the excitement and achievements. There are a million artists out there that will never win Grammyís and awards, and I never took the time to sit there and fully appreciate it but I know how to do that now. With all that Iíve gone through I think the next stage of my life will be the most exciting and the most rewarding. Iím incredibly grateful for where Iím at.
Follow LeAnn Rimes on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/LeAnnRimes
Visit LeAnn's official website: http://www.leannrimesworld.com/
Enjoy pictures from the post interview and cover presentation below: