INTERVIEW: 19-year-old indie-pop singer/songwriter Lily DeTaeye

Hi Lily, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! I’ve been great! Very busy, but busy is good. We like busy.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Houses”?

“Houses” is the 4th track on the new E.P. and it was one of the first songs I wrote on piano. My cousin used to live in a neighborhood in Iowa City with a bunch of old houses and I came up with the lyrics when I was walking to visit her one day. There was a baby grand piano in the lounge of my residence hall so I used that to write the instrumental.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

Humans make plans and then they change. “Houses” is about how we learn to carry on after those plans change.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes! We have a music video in the works… So stay tuned 🙂

The single comes off your new album The E. P. – what’s the story behind the title?

Completely honestly, there isn’t one. Oops. It’s an appetizer before we start releasing full-length albums. We figured we should name it what it is.

How was the recording and writing process?

This particular project took about about a year altogether. I had written all the songs prior to coming to the studio and then from there we took about 5 months to record. The recording process is just that, a process. Since I live in Iowa City and the studio is in Des Moines, I made the trip back home almost every weekend and even came back for my spring break to record. After all of that was done, we had to make sure everything was right. Since I started off as a solo artist, it took a while to get used to hearing other instruments on my songs so a lot of it was me adapting to a bigger sound. But ultimately, I learned a lot that has been coming in handy for recording the full length.

What role does Des Moines play in your writing?

I LOVE DES MOINES. This city has my freaking heart. Since we are in the middle of Iowa, a lot of people don’t really know how much we have going on here. But there is an INCREDIBLE music scene that continues to grow every day, made up by a lot of really talented and dedicated people. I am yet to write a song about Des Moines, but someday when the time is right, I will.

How has Missy Higgins and Sara Bareilles influenced your music?

My parents played me Missy Higgins constantly when I was younger so I definitely took a lot of inspiration from her on how to write and how to be a badass and all that. She is incredibly versatile. Her “On a Clear Night” album is one of my favorites of all time just because of how different each of the songs are, but still very characteristic of Missy. I started listening to Sara Bareilles more when I began to turn towards piano. Sara is just a brilliant songwriter. I’m constantly amazed with the depth of her lyrics. These two Wonder Women have kind of always been the artists I’ve looked up to.

What made you want to seek for a new direction than your previous album?

I was 16 when I released my last album, so most of the songs were written when I was 14 and 15. As an artist (and as a human), you grow so much in just 4 years. “Nothing to Say” was mainly just me, guitar, and harmonica with some bass sprinkled in here and there. With “The E.P.” and this new album, I am able to share the new music I’ve been writing and also explore with building my songs up from their bones.

What aspect of heartbreak and sexual assault did you get to explore on the record?

Starting college was a big motivator to write about both of these topics. “Shoulda Known Better” is largely based off of the countless #MeToo stories I have heard from people I love very much. In most, if not all of these cases, their stories were answered with what they could have done to avoid that situation. When you think about people you love going through something so horrible and then having it pinned on them, it just fucks you up a little bit. “Shoulda Known Better” is an attempt to open a conversation on how our society treats victims of sexual assault.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! AND I AM FREAKING PUMPED. We have some pending tour dates in May, so keep your eyes open, pals!

What else is happening next in Lily DeTaeye´s world?

I am writing. I am college-ing. I am gigging. I am recording. I am eating copious amounts of peanut butter. Couldn’t be happier.

Stay tuned for updates on the new album, tour and music videos by following me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! @lilydetaeye

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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