INTERVIEW: Chart-Topping Artist & TV Host Lisa Bouchelle

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

Hi! I have been doing great, thank you! Excited about dropping my new single and video for “If You Could Read My Mind”!

From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover “If You Could Read My Mind”?

I was driving home late one night after a performance in Atlantic City, NJ.  I heard “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot on Sirius Radio “Deep Tracks”.  I had been aware of the song, but this evening it was quiet and dark and I really took notice of the lyrics and enchanting story about romance and a ghost in a wishing well…  The lyrics created such imagery in my mind.  I got the idea right then to do a re-imagined version of the song with a dreamy feel and female vocalist’s perspective.

What was the approach for the song?

To achieve that dreamy feel, I recorded the song at slightly a slower tempo than Gordon’s version.  Added instruments such as pedal steel to create that dreamy feel I had envisioned.  I also recorded my vocal with a touch of lush reverb and a richness with very modest compression to give it presence and demension.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

I have really come to enjoy TV, and video production, since I’ve filmed my TV Show “Rock Star Kitchen” (seen twice weekly in the mid-Atlantic region on The Comcast Network) and the videos for “Only The Tequila Talkin’,” and this most recent video for “If You Could Read My Mind”.  The Director, Roshon Tyson has a lot of good ideas for locations in nature, and featuring me dancing and spinning to the music, as well as running in slow motion through a field, which added to the dreamy aspect of the presentation.  A drone was used to shoot me in a soy field, and a green screen

was utitlized to present me, along with my wishing well, in various surreal settings.  Many people have commented that they find the video to be entrancing when they watch it. So am very happy with the way it turned out!

The single comes off your new album “Lipstick Tomboy” – what’s the story behind the title?

The name ‘Lipstick Tomboy’ is extracted from the lyrics in the bridge of my song ‘Whole Lotta Highway’ (the title track to my “Fan Club Only “ CD, just re-released with bonus tracks).  The song is about my first touring experience which was a ‘baptism by fire’ that further sparked my ‘gypsy curse’, and love of touring and traveling in support of my music. The bridge lyrics are: “Tough grand-daughter of a marine, mixed up Lipstick Tomboy hittin’ the scene”.

How was the recording and writing process?

My writing process usually starts with an idea I get by living life.  I get a lyrical concept and a meter in my head.  Then I go grab my guitar. Then I go into my writer mode where everything else seems to disappear and I’m tuned into the ‘frequency’ of nature where the alchemy happens.  I capture my songs on a simple recording, and revisit them over the next few days to flesh out lyric and arrangement ideas.  Then I’m like, “Yay! I love it!” and I’m very happy and excited to play the new song live.

I develop the songs solo acoustic with my vocal and guitar after I write them by performing them live for a month or so at public performances.  They grow, change, develop, take shape…. Then I take them into the studio to record them.

Recording is always a magical process in an of itself; different from live perforhemance in many ways. I do record a rough draft of my guitar and vocal and build on that. The producer and I add drums, bass, and several tracks of instruments such as electric guitar, steel guitar and keyboard/piano.  During the mix process we introduce those tracks one by one ‘to taste’.  Sometimes less is more in keeping a track feeling real and accessible.  Panning goes a long way in achieving a live and in-the-moment sound experience too.  I usually save an entire session for recording my vocal and vocal harmonies, to make sure I am relaxed with time to achieve my best performance.

What was it like to work with Jeff Trott and how did that relationship develop?

My management team had been in touch with Jeff and let me know that he was interested in working with me on producing, recording, and mixing some of my music.  I was happy to hear this, as I have been a fan of his work, including the work he has done with Sheryl Crow.  I flew out for a meeting to see how we felt working together.  We got along so well, it turned into more a pre-production meeting on some of my upcoming recordings.  Jeff really took to the songs I played for him.  He made some suggestions on tweaking the arrangements, and even slightly altering the song keys to fit my voice perfectly. He had ideas about the instrumentation on certain tunes, and even pulled out his mandolin and started playing parts that we later used in the actual recordings! I think we both knew we’d be confirming our plan to move ahead and track these songs working together as a team.  I flew back out a month later and we did just that.  I got to record my vocals on a very high-end microphone that was recommended to me by Jeff.  He said Sheryl Crow really enjoyed tracking vocals on this model of mic, so he rented that mic for me.  Jeff has a keen knowledge of what can be done electronically and technically in the studio.  He also has a great sense of what can and should be done organically, playing actual instruments to give the track a true life-blood.

How much did he influence the album?

I think he inspired me to be my best and think outside the box in-terms of instruments, arrangements and mixing ideas.  So I think he had an keen influence on the songs worked on, and the songs I continue to write and record.  I think people with a lot of creative talent that align with our vision always help to shape us and change us for the better as an artist. His mixing abilities are really special too. The songs he mixed for me seem to have a special polish.

How has Sheryl Crow influenced your writing?

I have been a fan of Sheryl Crow for a while.  I think her music is very organic, but also has a great beat.  These elements allow her music to be enjoyed on many levels.  It works for the listener as something they can casually groove to, and it works for the listener who is really focusing on the lyrics and the stories and hook.   I try to pay attention to all of these elements when I am writing and recording.  She has definitely been someone who has influenced me in that way.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I live life to the fullest, and follow my soul and my calling while living in this complex environment here on Earth, in these complex times, so I find plenty of inspiration just by living my life.  I think the common theme in all of my songs is the bitter-sweet nature of life.  It’s never all happy all the time.  It’s never all bad all the time.  It is a mixture of things, and how we spin those elements together into a ‘tapestry’ will help shape our fate.  I like to write and perform reflective and introspective ballads with lovely instrumentation and lush vocals which people can relate to.  I also love to perform fun, upbeat tunes that make everyone sing or dance.  So I write both, depending on my current mood and situation.  Bringing people together through music is one of those magical elements that is ancient and modern.  How many times has music been what’s pulled us all through, making us smile and cry and feel butterflies in our stomach.  It is magical.  I am blessed to have it as my job and calling.

Any plans to hit the road?

I am currently on the road. I am writing in the sweltering heat from Melbourne, FL. I am three shows into a Summer 2018 Tour which will cover 26 cities in 5 weeks. Having a blast!

What else is happening next in Lisa Bouchelle’s world?

Plans in the works to shoot some new episodes of my TV Show ‘Rock Star Kitchen’ are on the horizon, as well as more touring and recording, which is likely to happen in the Fall.  You can check out my Facebook page to see what I’m up to!

Watch here

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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