Quick Q and A with Melissa Ferrick

Melissa Ferrick is an icon in the greater Boston music scene.  Her name comes up whenever anyone discusses their favorite musicians so it’s no big surprise that her popularity keeps soaring as she releases each new recording and tours all over the nation.  What more can be said about Melissa?  She’s got eighteen albums to date. That’s an enormous number of songs and likely hundreds of thousands of miles traveled.  To say Melissa’s fans revere  her is an understatement.

To learn more about Melissa and especially about her new CD, The Truth Is, visit her website.

Here’s the official video of the song “Home.”

This video gives you a taste of Melissa “live.” Melissa also talks a little bit about how the song “Never Give Up” came about.  Good stuff.

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According to your website, your newest CD The Truth Is, was recorded in a totally different way than you’ve done in the past—live in the studio.

I didn’t record it live in the studio with the band –that’s misinformation, All of the tracks vocals and main guitars were done live in one takes but certainly there was a TON of production elements on this album that just could not have been pulled off completely live.

Many of your songs are extremely personal.  Your fans feel like they really and truly know you—not just as a musician but as a person.  Has it proven to be a bit difficult laying out your life on your records to such a degree in terms of trying to remain a private person, neighbor, citizen etc.?

Yes as I have gotten older I have found better ways of navigating this. My privacy has become important to me. I am still as willing to sing my “truth” through my songs, but the facts of who they are about and what character in each of my songs is actually me is less important to me as I grow as a writer.

 You teach at Berklee (your alma mater) now.  Does the new generation of songwriters have a good sense of the history that you forged as one of the first female alt-rockers?  

Wow I am not sure about that; I loved the students I worked with at Berklee over the spring and summer semester and really adore their sense of urgency and wide eyed optimism. There are some exceptionally talented songwriters there. I was mostly impressed that they knew who (for eg.) Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley were.

Do you think it’s more or less difficult to break into the music business now as opposed to when you first started playing out?

I think it’s the same ,..it’s all relative. You still have to have that “in the right place at the right time” thing, and I believe you also still have to have the talent and desire behind the opportunity to really make something of it.

When you look back, was the tour with Morrissey “the” big break for you?  How did that come about?  

It was really just as simple as a last minute call,…a “right place at the right time” thing. His opening act canceled because of a family emergency, and I was at the apartment I was sleeping on the floor of, I made it to Great Woods, and that’s the moment my professional career as an artist began.

 Is there any place in the world where you’d like to play that you have not toured yet? 

Australia and I really would like to get back to Europe. I haven’t been there since 1995.

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Do you have any favorite type of gig?  Do you like big, small, in between, festivals etc.?

Hmm, I love small theaters, they are my favorite, meaning,..800-1500 but I only get the chance to play those once in a while. Festivals are also right up there on my list of fun inspiring places to play, mostly because I finally get to see a ton of bands I have wanted to see play live, but haven’t been able to because I am touring.

Do you find yourself listening to music in your spare time or do you immerse yourself doing other things when you’re not concentrating on making or writing music?

I usually only listen to classical music and talk radio (NPR). I did however get a record player for Xmas last year so all of my old vinyl is out and I am enjoying cooking dinner’s to 80’s rock in the evening. But, for me when I am driving, I like it quiet, driving is a kind of meditative state for me. In my spare time when I am not in a moving vehicle of some kind, i do listen to music, mostly new bands, most of the time two stations here in MA–WERS and WUMB. I love these stations.

Melissa Ferrick is appearing at the me&thee in Marblehead, MA on Friday, October 4.

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