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TC in Conversation with Lindsay Ell

Given the way the world feels right now due to the coronavirus impact, it has felt more like 9 years rather than 9 months since I last caught up with Lindsay Ell when she was in London back in November last year (you can read that piece HERE) but nether the less this time-frame has probably been the longest period that I hadn’t spoken to or seen her on stage pretty much since she first came over with The Band Perry back in December 2013! I suppose a global pandemic is a reasonable excuse fro her not to be able to head back over and see us here in the UK but as always it was fantastic to talk to the Canadian beacon of positivity who is one of the hardest working musicians in Nashville, about getting through quarantine:

I have not seen the BNA carpet for so long! It’s been quite crazy and definitely a 180 to how I’m used to living life you know. It’s been weird to get used to and at the same time, the most important thing that we can be doing is staying home and trying to stay safe. It definitely has been an adjustment from being on the road for 280 days last year to now being at home for 125 days which is not something I’m used to at all.

Quarantine or lockdown as we tend to call it over here brings about many challenges for people, particularly in the music industry so if that wasn’t enough to contend with, amongst other things Lindsay has had the prospect on her second studio album to finalise during this period:

It has been interesting because I feel like quarantine has been really busy! At the beginning I was still finishing my record, we had our last band tracking session the day before Nashville shut down so my producer Dan Huff and I didn’t quite have everything finished. Then going into quarantine I had all of these guitar parts and vocals still to cut, Dan has a few grandchildren going in and out of his house so he’s trying to be super safe and I was trying to stay super safe so we were like lets just finish this in quarantine! I have a little studio in my house and Dan has a studio in his house so I recorded vocals in that room and sent them back and forth. Then the guitar parts, Dan Huff is one of the best guitar players in the world and has become my guitar coach, I will take his advice anytime of the day but we ended up doing it on FaceTime. I would play guitar and he would listen to it and say that’s great Lindsay, can you change the last note of that. It was very crazy, yet a cool learning experience learning how to finish the record in quarantine. Since then it’s been working on the creatives, putting together the album package and now doing press. I also started a weekly talk show called “Living wELL w/Ell” to focus on the positive things and interview some of my friends, then I also launched a foundation from the announcement of my song “Make You” which was released a few weeks ago and launched it around that song. So it actually has been a very busy quarantine!

If you haven’t already seen any of the Living wELL videos, you can find them on her YouTube channel HERE where you can see her chatting with some of our other friends here at Think Country including: Jimmie Allen, Temecula Road, Carly Pearce, Travis Denning, King Calaway, Brandy Clark and the episode above featuring Lauren Toyota and another complete bundle of positive energy, the lovely and hilarious Lauren Alaina.

“Make You” in addition to be the latest song that she has shared will be the penultimate track on her forthcoming album “heart theory” which was written with Brandy Clark and reflects Lindsay being open and publicly talking about being a survivor of sexual violence and exploring the effect on her life following being raped at 13 years old. In addition to sharing this powerful and emotive story, she is looking to use her platform to help other survivors of sexual abuse by launching the Make You Movement which is a charitable organisation, administered by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee that looks to help people that have been through similar trauma and you can find out more about the foundation at: http://www.cfmt.org/makeyoumovement. Lindsay talked about coming to portray this story, how she hopes it gives the chance to help others and why Brandy Clark was the person she knew she had to write this with:

I had gone to this place called Youth For Tomorrow which is a campus that specifically talked to youths aged 12 to 18 who have been survivors and it was shortly after visiting that campus, helping them launch a music programme that I was like if I don’t share this story at this point of my life, I’m holding back the opportunity of helping kids like that. Truly helping them heal and know that they’re not alone. Shortly after that, I had always looked up to Brandy Clark, she’s such an exquisite songwriter and has such a way with words, I knew that she would be the right person for this song. I called her up saying Brandy, I really want to talk about this and if you would ever want to write this song with me, I would be forever grateful. Then she immediately said yes Lindsay, there’s nothing else I would want more, you have so much courage to be able to want to talk about this so she jumped right on it with me. It was so amazing to have her be so open about that and I’m so grateful that she was able to write this song with me then I was able to start a foundation around it to focus on helping disenfranchised youths and survivors of sexual trauma and domestic abuse.

The upcoming sophomore record which has been produced by Dan Huff and is set for release on August 14th genuinely is telling a full story. It is a very personal concept album that explores the 7 stages of grief going from a journey from the dark back into the light and the capitalisation in the track listing below is what forms the title of the album “heart theory”

shock

  1. Hits me” (Lindsay Ell, Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder)

denial

  1. “how good” (Lindsay Ell, Brandy Clark)
  2. “i don’t lovyou” (Adam Hambrick, Melissa Fuller, Neil Medley)

anger

  1. “wAnt me back” (Lindsay Ell, Kane Brown, Matt McGinn, Lindsay Rimes)
  2. “get oveR you” (Lindsay Ell, Gordie Sampson, Kelly Archer)
  3. “wrong girl” (Lindsay Ell, Steph Jones, Matt McGinn, Luke Niccoli)

bargaining

  1. “body language of a breakup” (Lindsay Ell, Laura Veltz, Sam Ellis)

depression

  1. “good on you” (Lindsay Ell, Sam Ellis, Micah Premnath)

testing

  1. The oTHEr side” (Lindsay Ell, Jessie Jo Dillon, Matt McGinn)
  2. “gto” (Lindsay Ell, Nicolle Gaylon, Jordan Reynolds)

acceptance

  1. “make you” (Lindsay Ell, Brandy Clark)
  2. Readto love” (Lindsay Ell, Jessie Jo Dillon, Matt McGinn, Joey Hyde)

I didn’t come up with the album title until it was nearly done. Music is there for when people need empathy or support or maybe if someone could hear my journey where they can connect with that and want to go through their own journey in the same way. Then I thought what if I wrote a record around the 7 stages of grief and wrote them in order of how you feel them.

As I noticed I was writing the record around the 7 stages of grief, I kind of had them in order and it was weird because I’m just writing songs as I’m going through the process, but I have them right now for the stage that I’m at. I was just honestly writing what I was feeling and trying to be the most vulnerable I could with each stage of that. It just sort of fell into place in a weird way then as I became more conscious of it, I needed to write songs about acceptance or this so I definitely knew the things that were missing. It was more like the part of the process I was at, so it was kind of cool how it all fell into place that the listener can bring up the album from track 1 at the stage of shock, through denial, anger and all of the stages through track 12 and acceptance, they can fully hear my journey!

Lindsay Ell’s sophomore album heart theory will be released on August 14th through BMG/BBR Music Group, which you can pre-save, add and order on digital platforms HERE then to keep up to date with all things Lindsay you can check her out on Twitter Facebook Instagram

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