Can you talk to us more about your latest single “No Way”?
A: Absolutely. “No Way” is one of my favorite songs on the record because I think it’s one of the most fun to listen to in terms of catchiness and subject maMer. The song is about taking your power back and saying “no” to negaOve situaOons and removing negaOve people from your life. I love hearing empowering songs where the arOst triumphs over whatever struggle they have been through, so I wanted to write a song like that for myself and my audience. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
A: In my experience, lurking ex boyfriends seem to magically pop up at the most inconvieniant Omes–usually when I’ve been vulnerable. I’ve made the mistake of le&ng people like that back into my life because I was lonely or down or just felt like I needed someone at the Ome. Inevitably, this kind of allowance has always ended up making everything worse in the long run. This song is about the ﬁrst Ome I resisted the urge to let someone I knew wasn’t right for me back in, simply for the sake of having someone around. Instead of numbing my pain with the short term comfort of having someone around, I felt my pain and grew and learned from it instead of le&ng it slow me down. That felt good and like a real triumph in my life.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
A: Probably not an oﬃcial video for “No Way,” but deﬁnitely plans to release a handful of videos from the record in the coming months. I’ve just started working with a new creaOve director and a new writer/director/ﬁlmmaker, and we are planning on releasing at least one concept video for a song oﬀ the new album. I’m excited to work with them and see what the three of us can produce together creaOvely, they are both brilliant and great at what they do. Stay tuned for that!
The single comes oﬀ your new album Road To Reckoning– what’s the story behind the title?
A: I wanted a Otle that represented the fact that almost all of my wriOng and art making is about my own inner struggle. The archaic deﬁniOon of the word “reckoning” is “a summaOon,” and “a bill or account, or its seMlement.” The album represents my journey from my last record, which was wriMen at the darkest Ome in my life thus far, the Ome before I was really pursuing music. This new album represents the triumph and posiOve change that came as a result of that last release and the happiness and fulﬁllment that comes from artmaking in general, but from the standpoint of someone who is inhereantly fallible and struggles everyday to make the right choices for myself, instead of the easy ones. Each song on the record represents a diﬀerent phase of self-realizaOon, learning, and growth about myself as an arOst and as a human being, so as a unit, the songs come together to form one whole summary of events, the “reckoning,” and each song represents a diﬀerent place along the road to that reckoning, and reconciliaOon, with myself and all of the parts–both good and bad–that make up who I am.
How was the recording and writting process?
A: The wriOng process was very exciOng for me because the songs on this record took a very diﬀerent direcOon and an obvious departure from my last one. The songs from the last EP were very dark and mostly sad, while the songs on this new record are bouncy and fun, even when the subject maMer is dark. It used to be a struggle for me to write upbeat songs that are catchy and fun to listen to, and it was incredibly rewarding to see the growth that my wriOng has undergone since my last release.
The recording process is always many things at once. It’s fun someOmes, and incredibly frustraOng other Omes. There are points in the process where you think “this is going to be the best record ever,” and that same day, an hour later, you might think, “what the hell was I thinking recording this record, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” The recording process is ﬂuid and ever-changing because there are so many moving parts that, liMle by liMle, ﬁt together as one big puzzle. The trick is to just get through the whole project one step at a Ome and then look at what you’ve made as one ﬁnished object, rather than picking apart and obsessing over every individual piece before each piece is ready. I’ve found that the details get worked out in one way or another if you’re showing up and doing the work, and that paOence and an open mind are powerful allys to carry with you.
What was it like to work with Jesse Thompson and Jon Smalt, and how did that relationship develop?
A: Jesse Thompson and Jonathan Smalt, along with Chad Brown, produced and recorded Devon Gillﬁlian’s ﬁrst EP, and I heard that and immediately loved everything about the way it sounded. Devon is an arOst in town, and was having a tremendous amount of success in the Nashville music scene since the release of that EP that Jon and Jesse produced, and I was deﬁnitely curious to know what they might be able to do with my songs a^er seeing Devon play and listening to his EP. Soon a^er hearing it for the ﬁrst Ome, my lead guitar player met Jon, who is also Devon’s drummer and manager, at an East Nashville dive bar we all frequent, and told him I was in the market for a producer for my new record. My guitar player told Jon about me and sent me Jon’s number at 2 am, saying that Jon would love to meet me and discuss the possibility of producing and recording my next record. I texted Jon the next day, we met up for coﬀee the next week, and that was it. Jon pulled his co-producer and audio engineer, Jesse, in on the project, and a few months later we had deﬁnite plans to record the album.
Working with Jon and Jesse was very inspiring. They both bust their asses as working musicians who only make what money they have from music, and I have the utmost respect that they were able to get my project done as beauOfully as they were and sOll have Ome for each of their own musical careers with their own bands. They made me want to work harder and be beMer at what I do because their hard work is paying oﬀ in a visible way. Devon Gillﬁllian just signed with Capitol Records and is blowing up, so Jon’s band is taking oﬀ, and Jesse’s band, Forlorn Strangers, has seen a tremendous amount of growth and touring success as well.
How much did they inﬂuence the album?
A: Jon and Jesse envisioned a more backbeat heavy, Muscle Shoals inspired sound than I envisioned at ﬁrst. I loved that direcOon as soon as they pitched it to me, and although it didn’t come out sounding like a Muscle Shoals record, it came out sounding uniquely mine because of their inﬂuence blended with my own vision. Had I gone with another producer and the original arrangements of the tunes, the album probably would have come out sounding a lot more like tradiOonal Americana, rather than the blend of tradiOonal country, blues, rock, and soul that emerged because of Jon and Jesse’s vision.
Would you call this a departure from your ﬁrst material?
A: Absolutely. My ﬁrst material was catharOc and dark, but sOll beauOful and interesOng in it’s own way. This new album has themes that are far more relatable and accessible to everyone, rather than mostly just speciﬁc to my experience. My hope was to create something that has commercial appeal, but is also authenOc. I am thrilled with the way the project turned out and I have high hopes that I was able to achieve both of these artistic goals.
What aspect of self-destruction and self-love did you get to explore on this record?
A: The consistant theme for almost all of my wriOng and art making is about my own inner struggle to live my life in a way that is true to my authenOc self, which means creaOng and living out my dream to have a successful career in music. I struggle, like every arOst, with tremendous doubt about the quality and relevance of my work, and as a result of my fear, the temptaOon of giving up that dream to live a simpler, easier, but ulOmately unfulﬁlled, and less happy, life inevitably always arises. Art and music making isn’t an easy life, but it’s the only life I know I can lead and sOll live happily with myself. Self-love, for me, means si&ng down and working on my art, because that is something I must do to be happy, but it is also something that I admiMedly avoid at Omes because it’s incredibly diﬃcult and takes so much Ome and energy. Many days I wish I could be happy with a 9 to 5 and a life that looks “normal” without all the guilt I feel when I don’t work at my cra^ as much as I should. That’s when I try to use graOtude and posiOve self talk–it’s ok if you don’t get something great wriMen today as long as you actually show up, sit down, and write. The good ideas are someOmes few and far between but they’re in there somewhere and they’ll inevitably always surface if you keep at it. Self-destrucOon occurs for me when I ignore that creaOve voice inside of me by passing up the opportunity to sit down everyday with my thoughts and feelings because I’m too lazy or Ored or busy, and that’s when I get into trouble and start digressing. With everything else going on in my life, it’s all too easy to get out of the habit of wriOng and making music if I’m not forcing myself to do it everyday, because then it becomes something that isn’t part of my rouOne, and something I dread and put oﬀ. This record is about that inner ﬁght. Sacriﬁces have to be made in order for me to truly prioriOze my art, but those sacriﬁces end up being well worth it when I’m able to reap the rewards for hard work.
Any plans to hit the road?
A: Working on a residency here in Nashville shortly a^er the record is released, and hoping to get a summer tour together to promote the album.
What else is happening next in Lottie’s world?
A: Looking forward to the release of this record on May 18th and the release party here in Nashville on the 23rd. A bunch of my friends and family will be in town for that, so it should be a great Ome. I’ll begin working on the storyboard for the next video oﬀ the record in the next month or so, and we’ll probably shoot that in June or July and release it at the end of the summer. Looking forward to the touring and wriOng opportuniOes that will arrise from the release of this record, and looking forward to starOng work on the next project, whatever and whenever that may be. I’ve been working on the recording and release of this album for over a year now, so thinking about an enOrely new project and direcOon is both incredibly scary, and incredibly exciOng. I’m excited to see where this arOsOc journey will lead me next!