A presence in the music industry for a while now, it seems like singer, guitarist, song-writer Lindsay Ell has finally found a home in Nashville. Her debut album, ‘The Project’ has rocketed to the top of the charts, helped along by a well received summer tour with Brad Paisley.
Congrats on your number 1 album, ‘The Project’. Did you ever imagine you would achieve that with this record?
Moving to Nashville I knew that I was going to accomplish my goals one day, it was never a matter of if it was a matter of when… That being said, releasing this record has been something that I have been waiting to do ever since I was a little girl. I finally feel like I’ve made a record that is me, and to have accomplished that still feels a little surreal, just because I’ve been working towards it for a long time. So the fact that we went No. 1 with it on top of that, is really crazy.
What is it about ‘The Project’ that has captured people’s imaginations?
I feel like The Project is something different, especially coming from a female in Nashville. I just wanted to make a record that was real, and had real songs that said something. I feel like The Project has aspects of all of my influences….a little bit of blues, a little bit of rock and roll and a lot of country.
We are loving the album. You go from wise big sister on ‘Castle’ to angry teenager on ‘Just Another Girl’ to a vamp on ‘Champagne’. Was it difficult being these different personas?
I feel like as humans we feel different things all the time, and look at life from different perspectives. Even though the music for this record has come together rather quickly, I have so many emotions that I needed to put on this record. Being my first official debut album, I had a lot to say.
You worked with some very zeitgeist, up and coming artists on ‘The Project’. Walker Hayes, Kelsea Ballerini and Carly Pearce for e.g. What did they bring to the table?
I am so fortunate to be living in a town like Nashville, surrounded by so many great artists. I’m a firm believer that when you surround yourself with the best, it constantly pushes you to be better. I’d say I have a pretty good circle around me.
When we interviewed Kristian Bush back in March he couldn’t shut up about how great you were. It’s your turn now! What did you learn from him and what did he add to ‘The Project’?
Kristian Bush has been one of the best things to walk into my life. I call him ‘yoda’ in the studio. He has one of the sweetest hearts, and yet becomes like a mad scientist in the studio. I honestly don’t feel I would’ve made this record without Kristian. He found a way to help me discover why I love music again. Sometimes when you’re getting advice left right and center it’s hard to filter it all in and decide what is best. Kristian was able to help me find my voice as an artist.
As pre-production for the record he wanted me to record my favorite record. That record for me is “Continuum” by John Mayer. He gave me two weeks, said I needed to play all the instruments, and told me I needed to do it by myself at my studio. Then said “go.” So I worked 8am till 3am for the next 14 days recreating my favorite record of all time. By the end of it I was blown away from what I learned, and how much I was now able to see how I love to hear music recorded in the studio. It was brilliant. And was a large part to us finding the sound for The Project. I am so grateful for Kristian Bush, and can’t wait to make more music together in the future.
As a guitar player do you get frustrated by the ‘confines’ and expectations of Country music? You cut loose on ‘Wildfire’ but most of your playing on ‘The Project’ is quite restrained.
I think there is a place and time for everything. Playing guitar on a record in the studio is a different place than playing guitar live. I think sometimes different things need to be said as well. I look at guitar solos as additional lyrics to the song. There are times when to stretch, and times when to play for what the song needs. BB King said it best with one note sometimes, and other times it’s said best with a bunch of notes. I just try to play for the song in the moment. And also, why people should come to a live show. 🙂
After a summer out on tour with Brad Paisley you must be shattered?! What has he taught you and how have you changed and developed?
Being out on tour with Brad Paisley has been incredible. I’m so inspired to become better. He is such an artist in every nature of the word, and I’m really grateful I’ve been able to watch him every night on stage. There is something about Brad’s passion and attention to detail to every aspect of his show that is so motivating to me. He cares so much about his fans, wanting to put on the best show possible. Being out on the road with Brad is an experience I will never forget.
Was it difficult choosing the 12 songs for the final tracklisting of ‘The Project’? Did you have lots left over? How do you decide which song to go with and which to set aside?
As for choosing the songs for The Project. Once I released an EP at the beginning of this year called “Worth The Wait”, I had found my gear. As an artist, specially as a female artist I had always been told I needed to find my lane. Once I found that, writing the rest of the record came together rather quickly. I knew what I wanted to say, once I knew how to say it, the songs seemed to fall in place.
We can’t wait to see you here in the UK in October for Country Music Week. What can the fans expect from you live?
I am SO excited to come back to Europe for Country Music Week. My past European tours with The Band Perry and Luke Bryan were such amazing memories. The thing I love most about the UK is that fans are so passionate about the music. From guitar solos, to me looping guitar bits on stage, to singing real songs, I’ve never felt more appreciated than from the audiences in the UK. So fans can expect lots of new songs, lots of guitar solos and all things told and untold about The Project.
Thanks for your time, we really appreciate your input and effort. ‘The Project’ is an outstanding album and we hope it continues to sell loads!!!
You can catch Lindsay at various dates in the UK in early October during Country Music Week.