By: Denise Warner/ photos by Shervin Lainez
Melissa Ferrick is back with a
brand new, self-titled, original
album, which she made with the
help of her very loyal fans. This interesting,
unique concept allows
her to get direct input from them.
Gone are the days when a label executive
tells her what she needs
to do. She’s listening to YOU now
and it’s FANtastic! I recently had
the pleasure of discussing the
process, in depth, with the musician,
This newest album, your 12th
original album, 18th overall, has a
very different feel to it. It’s a solo
effort, just a girl and her guitar
and it’s so raw and powerful. Was
that the intention?
Yeah, and so, I’m really happy with it. It felt so
much more like me. I think the song writing
is getting stronger and stronger. I recorded
this at home, so it’s me at home, recording
and playing everything. I’ve been listening
to some of my favorites on vinyl and I knew
that was a sound I was going for. That layered
vocal sound. I even went back to some of my
early stuff, some of my first few records and
listened to them. I could hear how...almost... “wanna-be commercial” they sounded. Even
the pictures—how posed I was. That’s not me.
I actually disliked it. So, if you notice, even the
new cover, it’s just a simple black and white
photo, no words, no text. I’m wearing my
own clothes. My sister did my hair and quote
unquote “make up” and it’s just me. Ya know?
(laughs) Just me. What a concept, right?
How interesting that you went
back and listened to your own
older stuff. Is that the first time
you’ve done something like that?
Delved into the past?
Yes. Yep. I’ve never done that before. I sat upstairs and spent time listening to “Massive
Blur” and “Willing to Wait” and “Everything I
Need” and I also listened to “The Other Side” because that’s one of the few records I made
by myself. So, I thought, I can do this better
now. I’m a better producer, a better engineer.
I even went back and looked at what the most
downloaded songs were, to see what the fans
liked best, what albums had done the best—and oddly enough I saw that “The Other Side” was one of the most popular with the fans
and it’s the one I did all by myself. That really
resonated with me and I ended up making
the decision to do this, again, by myself, not
through crowd funding, or Kickstarter but
through a fan-based website that I started
myself. The money comes directly to me
through PayPal and it’s member based—so
I could throw up demos, music, pictures—and get these couple hundred people who
pitched in $100 or so a person, and get their
actual input on everything and I could take
it or leave it. It was really cool. It’s a great
way to do pre-production. It’s a LOT of preproduction,
a lot of thinking and getting a lot
of advice and direction from the people who
are the ones that are helping to get it made.
Well, it’s really paid off. The songs
are incredible. I love “Elephant”—it’s so soothing (for lack of a
better word). Like, soul soothing,
Oh, thank you! Thanks! That means a lot.
It’s funny you said that, because I’ve never
put an instrumental on a record before and
it was actually my father’s idea. I had three
other songs, but they just didn’t fit this
particular record, ya know? I had a song
called “Baltimore” that’s up on my YouTube
site and two others—and who knows, I may
record them and put them out eventually,
but for this one, it wasn’t the right feel. I was...
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