Interview: Shelby Lynne speaks her f-ing mind
"I'm a strong f*cking b*tch," says Shelby Lynne. And that's not all she wants to clarify.
Although raised in Alabama and possessing an admitted southern accent, she says she's not country. For sure, the genre has become increasingly vague, with the modern radio sound frequently glossier and less intense than Lynne, a Grammy winner who strives to make art with a deep emotional experience.
"I want to break down and cry," she says, "when someone sings to me through the speakers."
Her latest album, Revelation Road– which she wrote, performed, and produced herself– is her most personal yet. There are several songs about her troubled childhood, for example, including the murder/suicide that took her parents. Listening to all this can be rough, but for Lynne that's the point.
The Hook: Did this album take a lot of planning?
Shelby Lynne: I don't make plans. You can try to make plans, but you're really just at the mercy of what the universe is going to do.
The Hook: What did you learn along the way?
Shelby Lynne: I've been making records so long, most of the time dealing with several different personalities. This was different in that it was just me, and it was relaxing really.
The Hook: This is a change from the early years when you were more just a singer.
Shelby Lynne: [When] I was just 18, a child, my goal was just to be a famous country star. I never gave a sh*t about writing. I just wanted to sing and perform and be famous. After years in Nashville, I just decided that out of the songs I was cutting, I wasn't getting my point across. I wanted to make art.
The Hook: This one doesn't sound like a Nashville record.
Shelby Lynne: If I could only eliminate the country stigma from my name. I am a country person. I was raised in Alabama, I have a country accent. I love and appreciate country music, but I make music that moves me and I don't give a sh*t what anybody calls it.
The Hook: How would you define country today?
Shelby Lynne: People think country is what they play on the radio. I want to write songs that in 40 years I can say, "I'm f*cking proud of that."
The Hook: Were there emotional places you couldn't go on this record?
Shelby Lynne: No. It doesn't bother me to be bare and emotional and naked. My a** is out there to make you feel something. It's not a f*cking talent show.
Shelby Lynne performs at the Southern on Thursday 11/10. $25-$30, 8pm.