cats, family, donuts: liz miele keeps it personal (and fun!)

cats, family, donuts: liz miele keeps it personal (and fun!)

We have big-time love for one of our favorites Liz Miele, but some of you might not be as familiar. So, here’s a little run-down. Liz is a stand-up comic with a strong personality and fabulous stage presence. Hailing from New Jersey, she has been active in the comedy world since the tender age of 16, utilizing anecdotes from her life as an avid runner, sweets enthusiast, and big, loving family. She keeps us laughing far longer than necessary, with her infectious attitude and ability to think on her toes. (Fair warning: She has a thing for cats.) So sit back, relax, and enjoy a cupcake while you read about your new best friend.

Serial Optimist: You talk about what sparked your interest in comedy in your article “Too Immature” in the April 2005 Issue of The Comical and you started doing stand-up at the age of 16. How did you get into the comedy scene so early?

Liz Miele: I was obsessed with stand-up. I always knew I liked being funny. I wanted to be Sandra Bullock when I was a kid. I just wanted to do funny movies but then at 13 I discovered stand-up and everything changed. I was obsessed. I watched, recorded and quoted it everyday. That’s what I wanted to do! “You mean everyone has to listen to me? YES!” I started writing my own jokes at 14 and did my first show at 16 in NYC.

SO: So you’re the second oldest of five children. How does your family react to your stand-up?

Liz: It’s changed over time. I’ve always been obsessed with animals especially cats and both my parents are vets who own two animal hospitals. So my parents just believed I would become a vet and take over so I think they were a little shocked. But they have been super supportive since day one. Even when I was punished and not allowed to hang with friends or leave the house I was still allowed to go to the city and do my shows. They got it was not just a hobby. Now it’s a little different. I’m brutally honest and curse a lot and I don’t think [my dad] likes it so he doesn’t go to shows. And I get my sense of humor and my sailor mouth from my mom so she loves it. She comes to any big show or show in NJ she can. And my siblings, Theresa, Emily, Sam and Greg are all supportive and have come to countless shows!

SO: Love that family love! Now let’s jump to a random question. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, which words would you choose?

Liz: Loud, Logical, Thoughtful, Crazy, Funny.

SO: Those seem pretty accurate! Before walking on stage, what are your thoughts? Do you have a routine? Butterflies? Just doing a bunch of cocaine?

Liz: Depends on the show. Regular shows I don’t think much. I just review my set and make sure I remember to do the new jokes I’ve been working on. Important shows and auditions I have to talk myself down and calm my mind. I’m not very nice to myself and often feel like a fuck up. So it’s me saying, “It doesn’t matter. This means nothing. You are a professional. You’ve done this a thousand times. If it doesn’t go well or you don’t get this it wasn’t meant to be. Just be you. People like you.” Lots of lies and very self-helpy!


SO: Tell us about your relationship with Carmen Lynch, how you all met, and how the idea for the awesome “Apt C3” came about.

Liz: Carmen was at the second show I ever did when I was 16. I remember seeing her onstage at Rose’s Turn. SO TALL! She doesn’t remember me. Many years later we just did a lot of shows together and I remember one week we did a few shows together and we were talking as we walked to the subway together and having a good time and I kinda asked her out. I was like, “Do you wanna be friends? Like hang out for real?” And Carmen was like, “Yeah for sure.” So we started hanging out. She’s just so funny and thoughtful. We became close fast.

“Apt C3” came from her moving in with me and my other roommate, Chris, about a year ago. Chris is a fashion photographer and videographer and he wanted to make funny videos with us and during Hurricane Irene we were all trapped together and Chris and Carmen came up with the “Hurricane Irene” sketch. That weekend we filmed three sketches and thus began our weekly web series of super short funny videos about us being roomies. We wrote, acted, and edited them all together and also took a weekly picture. It was a lot of fun.

SO: Being a comedy nerd, who are some of your favorite up and coming comics?

Liz: This is gonna come out selfish but it’s really a lot of my friends and dudes I came up with. The coolest thing about being a comic in NY is you are friends with some of the funniest people in the country. So Carmen Lynch (duh!), Adrienne IapalucciJusty DodgeMaria ShehataHari KondaboluGina Brillon, Nick Cobb, Leah BonnemaNate BargatzeDan SoderRory ScovelRyan ConnerMike VecchioneJordan CarlosBaron VaughnKelly MacFarlandMyq KaplanJoe List…dude this list could go on forever. I work with brilliant people daily!!

SO: It did kind of go on forever there towards the end, you’re a lucky cat (sorry had to) to be surrounded by a great group of people! You recently posted a video to your blog (people seriously follow it, it’s greatness) with your reaction to an audience member touching you mid-joke. Also recently, there was a video circulating with a heckler. How do you bounce back from that and get back into the mindset of your comedy?

Liz: Well during the set where the dude touched my thigh mid joke it looks like I was calm and joking but I was like, “What the fuck?” and even in a room full of people a little scared. I think that’s why my reaction was so funny because they were honest thoughts. That table had heckled me in the middle of my act and I had shut them up dismissing them as drunk cause what they were saying didn’t make sense but when I go touched I had the light and had to wrap up. I was just honest. “I don’t know what to end on cause I just got molested” and it was funny cause everyone saw it and I just told a quick one liner and got out of there.

As for the guy heckling me and hitting on me, I was legit angry. Fuck you dude for thinking you are so awesome that you can interrupt me and not even apologize. So I let him know he was being a douche and I have a job to do. So it was easy to go, I’m doing something. You are a loser and then show him that my jokes are worthy of listening to. And cause I’m angry and can’t let things go I kept bringing it up to prove a point and be a little bit of a dick back!

SO: Some comedians say hecklers can help a set, as long as they aren’t the drunk and ridiculous kind, but it can help take the set to a more improv level. What are your thoughts?

Liz: My thoughts are I don’t need your help! It becomes a train wreck more often than not. Those dudes in my videos were slightly drunk and surrounded by non-drunks to keep them in check. But there are so many different kinds of hecklers that you have to be careful and read the heckler to know the best way to respond because you can turn the audience against you if you are too mean, or lose the audience by giving this one person too much power and attention, or you can be too serious and lose the funny in the set and break that wall.

I always try to ignore them first cause that can stop them just from not giving them what they want which is attention. I only deal with it if its so loud and obvious it has to be dealt with cause it’s hurting my concentration and the show. But they can ruin a show for hundreds of people. I don’t need you to improv. I can do that on my own when I want to. I planned my act and decide what I wanna do in the moment. I don’t need help from the audience. I’ve been doing this every night for 10 years. I think someone that embraces it doesn’t have a strong act and needs a distraction from that fact. This is an art form about jokes and story telling, not about dealing with the drunk and the emotionally immature. That’s not why I became a comic. It’s not my job to babysit you cause you don’t have an outlet to speak your mind in your own life.


SO: Well said. Your official bio boasts that you love cats and that yours is named Pasta. Please, tell us more about Pasta?

Liz: Yes, I’m a cat lover since as long as I can remember. Like I said my parents are vets and I grew up next to my mom’s practice which was an all cat clinic called, Carnegie Cat Clinic. Pasta, is 7 years old. I got her as a kitten on my friend Ashley’s farm in NJ. She is an all black domestic short hair with a few white hairs near her tail. She is much nicer now but the first 3-4 year of her life she was a real asshole. And it was a running joke among my friends. Bite everyone, never cuddled. Wanted nothing to do with anyone and was real mean.

Then she started to calm and be nicer at 3 and then I was homeless for a few months during a bad break up and didn’t see her for 3 months and I must have messed her up cause she has crazy abandonment issues now. She sleeps next to me or crawls into my arms in the middle of the night. Sits on my lap as I work at my computer. Follows me from room to room and cries outside my door if I lock her out. She has done a full 180 from unaffectionate dick to over-eager friend.

SO: What would be your most creative argument to get people who dislike cats to change their mind?

Liz: Just give them one. You can’t convince anybody of anything with words if they have already made up their mind. If someone hates spinach they won’t change their mind until you make some amazing spinach and prove them wrong. Cats are easy to take care of, usually aren’t needy and if you love them they love you back.

Most people I know are accidental cat owners and lovers. They fell into cat ownership and love their cat but thought they sucked before. Cats get a bad rap cause they do their own thing but we are busy people. You’d be surprised how nice it is to have someone around when you want them and gone when u don’t.

SO: You like all things sweet. What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Liz: Donuts and chocolate chip cookies are a tie. The Donut Pub is my fav donut place in NYC and Insomnia Cookies is my fav cookie place. Both open late so I can eat them in between gigs.

SO: Your first stand-up album is set to record on Oct 2 in Boston. What can fans look forward to from the album? This is a huge deal! 

Liz: More stories. I’ve really gotten into fleshing out some crazy experiences I’ve had in the last two years. Also just a lot of new material. I was surprised myself when I was putting together my set how much was written in the last 4-6 months.

SO: The Cha Cha Slide or The Macarena?

Liz: What is this question? I don’t know what the Cha Cha Slide is and I remember The Macarena from elementary school but honestly it was dumb and embarrassing. Boo this question!! I like car dancing while driving with my brothers and sisters trying to embarrass them while other cars are near!

SO: What makes you smile on a daily basis?  

Liz: Cat pictures, my friends’ ridiculous Facebook comments and texts, quoting movies and jokes with my little sister, Emily, my cat doing something cute, Carmen walking past my bedroom door saying something ridiculous and funny.

SO: Hugs Liz, thanks for making us laugh!


SO Note: Follow Liz @lizmiele, and get excited for Liz’s live album recording in Boston next month! Check out her website for more info!

**Originally published to SO on 9/19/12. Unnecessary editor updates have been redacted.

the rolling stones, youtube spirals, and psychology: an interview with keli price

the rolling stones, youtube spirals, and psychology: an interview with keli price

It is rare to find someone who is so mad talented at such a young age. But Keli Price has been knocking on music’s door for YEARS. He’s a singer and songwriter and has naturally forayed into the acting arena. He recently played Zak in ‘Side Effects‘ on a YouTube-exclusive channel called AwesomenessTV. But that’s not all. He’s currently recording music, reaping in the benefits of years of hard work, and being the coolest bi-coastal citizen you’ll ever encounter! Check out what he had to say about it all in our interview below. And swoon.

Serial Optimist: We have it on good authority that you have been involved in music for quite some time. When did you realize it was a passion you wanted to make into a career?

Keli Price: Music has always been a passion of mine. I could never get enough of it. When I was about five years old I would sing with my dad as he would play the guitar to songs like “Needle and the damage done” by Neil Young, “Angie” by The Rolling Stones, and eventually, I was so immersed in music that I knew it was going to always be a big part of my life.

SO: What was the first live show you went to? Any musical artists you would suggest that the Serial Optimist readers see live?

Keli: It was a Bob Dylan show at the Tiles Center on Long Island, NY. I was about five or six at the time. I remember turning to my mom and saying “He’s really good but I think he’s depressed”. You should definitely check out “Cream” or “The James Gang” in concert, if you get the chance. Both of those bands put on amazing shows, never a dull moment.

SO: Making a note of it now! What was the first song you wrote? What’s the story behind it?

Keli: The first song I ever wrote was called “LA”. I was in a hotel room in Los Angeles with my little brother Nikko. I was about eleven years old and he was eight. We were sitting there in our boxers about to get ready for the day when he picks up the guitar and starts strumming this chord progression. I started singing this vocal melody and that was that. There was something so organic and natural about that experience. I’ll never forget it. I still go back all the time and listen to the song. I’m transported back to that moment every time.

SO: We hear you may have attended Pepperdine University. What was the collegiate experience like for you?

Keli: Pepperdine was a great experience for me. I studied Psychology there and learned a lot more about why Bob Dylan is depressed;) No, but I really did get so much out of that experience and added so much to my personal knowledge about people in general.

SO: How did you get involved with AwesomenessTV and ‘Side Effects’?

Keli: I was called in to audition for the casting director Sheryl Levine, for the role of Zac. I was then brought back to read for the producers. I got a call a couple of weeks later that I had gotten the part.

SO: Easy enough! We read your FanLaLa interview about how you see YouTube as a television rival. We concur as you can see the power of YouTube sensationalism with Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, etc. Besides ‘Side Effects’, what has been the most artistically stimulating content you have run across on YouTube or a similar platform?

Keli: I mean, I personally go on “YouTube” more then I watch television. Whether it’s to check out music, watch an interview, or check out a video that all my friends are talking about. YouTube pretty much covers it all. Even if I missed an important political speech, a crazy NBA dunk, or an episode of my favorite show, chances are, I can check it out on “YouTube”. It gives anybody the chance to get there own content out there to the world. Giving an opportunity to people that can’t get their foot in the door at TV Networks or record labels, to be seen or heard on another medium, youtube.

SO: What is your favorite food joint in New York? What about LA? (We’re looking for stellar places to hang in our travels, too!)

Keli: “Hunan Café” is a little Chinese restaurant off of the Sunset Strip. It’s the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. It’s my favorite restaurant in LA. When you’re in New York you should definitely check out Gitane in Nolita.

SO: YUM! Can’t wait! Ok, so tell us a little bit about ‘The Sound of Magic’.

Keli: ‘The Sound of Magic’ is a coming-of-age rock musical with a mix of music, comedy, and fantasy. The film is set in a world we all know with an element of the beyond. It allows the mind to escape into a fantasy of wishes and dreams come true. I really enjoyed playing the role of Lee who is calm and cool and definitely beats to his own drum. It was a pleasure filming with such an eclectic group of actors and brilliant directors.

SO: Can’t wait to see it! If you could perform with any talent, who would you choose and why?

Keli: Mick Jagger. On stage with Mick Jagger would be a dream come true. Acting-wise, acting opposite someone like Michael Fassbender or Robert De Niro wouldn’t be so bad.

SO: Haha! No, that probably wouldn’t be bad. If you could give one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?

Keli: Trust your instincts.

SO: Thank you! And finally, what do you think is underappreciated in this world?

Keli: Diversity! There is so much to learn from people who are different than you are.


Want to keep updated on all things Keli? Follow @KeliPrice now!

sxsw 2017: a look back in time

sxsw 2017: a look back in time

In March of 2017, we were in a different place. Financially, emotionally, career-wise… but the biggest difference? We were covering SXSW as official press (for a different publication). Imperfect Fifth has thrived on what we learned within that community, learning tenfold about the industry in one week over what we had in the previous five years combined working within it. Because we are all feeling a sense of lack of community right now — and almost none of us are out enjoying ourselves in the streets of Austin — I wanted to share some video interviews from that first, fated SXSW. You know, when social distancing didn’t exist and we all did yoga in bars together.

For official SXSW coverage and takeovers all week, head to our Instagram!

kat holland | a neo throwback playlist

kat holland | a neo throwback playlist

As a 90’s baby, I have always been a lover of the music that came from that generation. Anything from Norah Jones to Maroon 5 I love to listen to. My music was very influenced by the 90’s soul vibe, so naturally I also love it when new artists attempt to incorporate that in their music as well. This playlist is a mixture of songs that I listened to growing up along with songs that I have discovered over the last few years.

Sunrise – Norah Jones
Sunday Morning- Maroon 5
Make you feel my love – Adele
Never be the same – Camilla Cabello
Many the miles – Sara Bareilles
Fallin’ – Alicia Keys
Valerie – Amy Winehouse
Mercy – Duffy
Save me from myself – Christina Aguilera
Gone – Lianne La Havas
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
At all – Suzy Jones
Thinking ‘Bout You – Dua Lipa
Bound to you – Jocelyn Alice


Keep up with Kat Holland here.

panic! @ the disco @ sprint center

panic! @ the disco @ sprint center

Through almost 15 years of intricate, involved lyricism – the crazy involved titles of the early days, the lineup rotations, the bevy of music videos and the expansion of Brendon’s vocal range – we’ve held on to our deep appreciation for Panic! @ The Disco. So to be asked to photograph Brendon Urie and his team of bandits at Sprint Center on Saturday night, there was zero hesitation. The performance itself was the most involved we’ve ever witnessed from the musical project, Urie’s energy palpable from the first jump out from the hole in the middle of the stage, to his last round of bows and high fives with the audience. The man absolutely thrives off of this life, and you can tell.

What, perhaps, is most notable about his show when comparing it to his performances of yesteryear – think ten years back – is that they have, somehow, become even more theatrical. That was what was so outstanding about Panic! @ The Disco when they emerged on the scene about 14 years ago, they existed as a beacon for the outcasts. The theatre kids, the gamers, the anti-socialites. And now here he is, all this time later, continuing to provide that entertaining escape for other generations, and leveling up with each step. (Just ask whoever he hired as his vocal coach in the past ten years, if you don’t believe us.)

In fact, he even took a moment during his set to bless an unborn child “in the state of Panic” which, to his credit, is a clever saying to have up his sleeve. (Or up his bare arm, depending on if he decides to keep his shirt on or not.)

Either way, here are some fun photos from the inclusive and beautiful evening.

this time last year: john cena @ sxsw

this time last year: john cena @ sxsw

Damn near close to the crack of dawn on Monday, March 13th, we found ourselves on our way into downtown Austin. One member of our party was extremely jazzed about going to see John Cena speak at an official panel for SXSW. Unbeknownst to us, that hour of time would convert us into real fans of the Cena empire – something we cared little for previously. After all, big muscles and rough ‘n tumble WWE nights are not our main calling. But that panel opened our eyes to the type of conscientious, kind, and practical businessman he really, truly is. And we think we could all take a lesson or two out of his book. So here is the panel in its entirety, courtesy of SXSW.

Check out more from SXSW 2017 right here.

**Originally published to (You know, before the owners broke it.)

harry styles, harry styles

harry styles, harry styles

Alright, folks. I am pretty darn open-minded (if I do say so myself), but I never thought I would find myself saying (typing) the following:

Harry Styles‘ self-titled solo debut is my album of Summer 2017.

I will admit that One Direction wasn’t a half bad boy group, but I never would have put them anywhere near the top of any list. But, it seems that they are finding much more success (at least in playtime by me) since each went solo.

Styles solidifies his singledom by self-titling his debut album. And, it works, but if it were me, I would have named it something much more pretentious. Maybe: “Rockstar,” or “THE Album of Summer 2017”.

There are no outright pop songs. Instead, Styles has chosen 10 tracks with melodies and instrumentation – even recording style – that calls back to Brit rockers of the1960s (think: Beatles, Rolling Stones). I know that may seem like high praise, but give it a listen. You will hear it. On top of that, his voice – solo – can be compared to Adam Lambert if he were to tone it down and take out the theatrics. Or maybe even Bruno Mars…if he were to tone it down and take out the theatrics. His voice is actually quite similar to fellow boy-bander, Zac Hanson.

If you haven’t checked out Hanson in awhile, give a listen to “Broken Angel” or “Misery” off their 2004 album, “Underneath”…the resemblance is striking.

My point with Harry’s voice is: It is very smooth, remarkable, and easy to listen to.

It’s not just the sound that has me turning this sucker up on an afternoon walk, evening drive, or even while I make breakfast in the morning, but lyrics that are a mix of fun, soulful, and a bit angsty. No, he hasn’t left the teenage angst behind, but do any of us, really? He croons about love, lust, the past, and growth, never letting us forget that we are all constantly in a state of change, regardless of if we are in our early 20s or our late 50s.

My favorite, “Two Ghosts”, is all about a love gone cold. How everything is the same as it always has been, but the passion and feelings that once were there have left the building. It’s something in between a break up and a love song, and it is heart-shattering.

Harry isn’t just covering light and airy teeny-bopper stuff anymore, folks.

**Originally on Impose.

tbt: juliette lewis talks artistic past, future deep

tbt: juliette lewis talks artistic past, future deep

**Originally published on Impose in December 2016

We caught up with the highly revered Juliette Lewis on a freezing cold day working from home. There was a strange sense of excitement in the air for about an hour before the phone call, which may or may not be attributed to the holiday season. (Or our immense love for this woman and all of her talents. Could be that.) My nerves had gotten the best of me, as I explained to my father earlier in the day that Lewis recently released her first collection of songs in years – an incredible EP titled Future Deep – and that seeing her perform live this past summer had really increased my faith in her ridiculous amount of talent.

Check out the fun – but all too quick – conversation we had with Juliette below. We’ve included the EP for you to rock out to for the rest of the year and beyond.

How are you today?

I’m pretty good. Just a few more days until Christmas. I’m not sure. When is it? (laughing) Where are you based out of? I’m in Los Angeles right now.

I am actually in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wow, that’s neat.

So we’re snowed in right now. Is it OK out there? Heard it’s been raining.

Oh yeah. It’s raining and it’s freezing per L.A. weather, which is great. (laughing) It’s good. We needed rain so it’s all good.

Absolutely. Alright, let’s dig in! Your career is super expansive and amazing. Everything you touch turns to gold. So we were wondering, what keeps bringing you back to music?

That’s sweet. When I was a kid, I was always involved in music. So when I was a kid – before the art mediums were segregated to the extent that they are now – I took dance and sang in musicals and created characters and did storytelling. Then, I got successful doing one thing, which was mainly actin gin movies. When I turned around 30, I thought, “Holy shit, you’re 30 and you didn’t do that thing you wanted to do.” And that thing was to make music.

For me, it begins and ends with a live show and the live show experience. I always likened The Licks – my first band – to like, when you have a band out of high school. The music was really energy based, I wrote songs specifically to perform live. It’s not until now that I’m really enjoying the process of making the album. I got into the idea of making rock music as a collective, so I worked on this record [Future Deep] with Brad Schultz – who produced half of it and is a songwriter as well as a member of Cage the Elephant – and Isabella Summers – who is in Florence & The Machine, I did a few songs with her. For Future Deep, I wanted to work with people and write songs that I dug.

What keeps me coming back to music – and any art form – is necessity. I was touring for about five years and wasn’t making movies. What brought me back to acting was the thought that I wasn’t done and I still had more to say. In both mediums, I feel like I still have more to say. So it’s about navigation of those two streams – those two currants – and it’s proved challenging but exciting at the same time.

Fair enough! Your live performance – like you said – is crazy. I knew you made music and I had heard it before, but I didn’t get to see you until Riot Fest Denver this year and you KILLED IT. Your Evel Knievel outfit, your presence. What made you decide to go with that?

I don’t know! (laughing) I like showmanship. But at the same time, there’s no other way I can be on stage. I don’t know how to do a sedate show or a whatever show. Every show I do, it’s like my life depends on it. And it’s the people that bring it out in me because I want to move every single set of eyes I see in the crowd.

Music – for me – has been sort of spiritual in the sense that I used music to get over a lot of fears. I used to – believe it or not – have a fear of crowds that was happening when I lost my anonymity at around twenty. I never wanted to go to malls or concerts or any place where there could be crowds. The great irony is I formed a rock band and now there’s no crowd I can’t put myself in front of. I don’t throw myself in every crowd, but mostly it cured me of my fear of people. I like the idea of bringing danger and electricity and unpredictability to a live show experience. It’s an expression to me against the anesthetized, plastic part of our culture that’s been happening, especially with women in the arts where there’s this weird, unspoken way with which we deal with women in the arts.

I also feel like a superhero on stage. And Evel Knievel, he wore a badass suit. So I got one made. (laughing) I was inspired by David Lee Roth and others growing up, and he wore great outfits.

performing at riot fest denver 2016

I wish I could pull it off! You do everything right!

Well thank you, I’m glad you were there!

Very happy I got to experience it. So what do you do to prep for a live performance like that though?

It’s weird because when I started my band, I very much approached it – and I guess acting more and more as I go on – by trying to maintain energy. So before I go on, I stretch and love looking at a venue or a space before it’s filled. Every stage has an electricity or a vibe, which is one of the pleasures of touring. You have all that came before you in that space.

I am inspired a lot by my band this time around. I had a bass player named Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta) and his groove alone would excite me for a show. He’s one of my favorite bass players of all time. I was just really excited to play with the group of people I put together. I always know why I’m doing it. I love people and having them come into a space to form a collective and shed their fears and problems and get into a space where we all unite and celebrate life, love, and music.

One ritual I do have is when I’m putting makeup on my eyes. When I’m doing my eyes in the mirror, there’s a focus and I’m doing vocal warmups while I work on it. I always do my eyes, but everything else I sweat off.

So Future Deep makes you feel like a total badass when you listen to it. Are there any fun anecdotes that you have from creating it?

Each song has a whole life of its own. “Hello Hero” is a song Isabella and I created in London. I met with her, we talked about music. It’s so neat to talk about something, to play a song and to create a beat or melody and watch it all come to life. When Brad and I made all our songs, it was snowing. I went to Nashville and we bunked out at a studio there and it was so great because it was snowing outside so we didn’t want to go outside. We made “Any Way You Want” and “I Know Trouble” – which is very inspired by “I Put A Spell On You”.

A lot of the best songs will sort of write themselves. I usually work with musicians who will play something and it will unlock a whole story that is sitting there within me, or a melody. If you’re connected to your truth, you can then access it.

One time, they took me out to Bowling Green, KY. I basically kidnapped most of the members of Cage the Elephant and made my EP. Drummer Jared Champion, Matt, and then Brad Schultz took me out to a bar in Bowling Green. I have a rule where I don’t accept shots or drinks from strangers, but (laughing) I just missed that rule. It was their southern hospitality. I was wrecked in the studio for two days and they just made fun of me. So that was good, I was like a member of the band for a minute. I passed the test. (laughing)

The whole record was made in a couple weeks. It started because I knew Brad Schultz from ten years ago when we were both touring in London and then I heard a recent record of theirs, and I digged the sound a lot. New rock n’ roll doesn’t have a whole lot that’s carrying the torch of soul and groove in the music, but they do it. They do it right.

Do you have a favorite song from the EP at all?

Definitely. We played most of them live the past year, so I do. These songs live take on a life all their own. Like “Future Deep” takes on this dance tone, and people are super into it. “I Know Trouble” is definitely a favorite as far as just a soul-ripping blues song. I love “Any Way You Want” as an out of the gate rock track. And “Hello Hero” is one of my favorite things I’ve done of all time. It’s dancey with big beats and the grooviest bass line. I love “Hello Hero”.

I will have to say I do everything haphazard because I’m totally independent. Vinyl is coming in two weeks, I’m making all of this myself. There’s a lot of freedom in it. Then there is social media and things like this interview that are fun and very helpful.

Over the years, have you had anything interesting or fun on your rider list?

We have such a basic rider. One, we’re so punk rock and low budget. (laughing) There is NOTHING fun on our rider. We play little rock clubs where you’re lucky if you get half your rider. PLUS I always have a couple vegans in my crew, so we prioritize getting them fed. Especially in Europe. So there’s nothing fun ever. Socks? I’m not vegan, but ginger cookies. I like ginger. Nothing exciting. (laughing)

What would your advice to young girls chasing their dreams around the world be, especially with our current political climate?

My biggest advice is to find your truth. I learned how to sing from jazz music, and I realized imitation isn’t bad as long as you develop who you really are. To imitate Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald – I used to sing like that. Then I got with Linda Perry and she helped me get more courageous. She asked me what I like and what it is I want to say and we just started playing. So I would just tell people to try. There is no perfection. Be willing to make mistakes in your art and keep doing it. Stop it with the pressure.

I think with social media, people like writing and directing their own bits online and putting themselves out there. Perhaps there’s less perfection. But then on the flip side, there are young girls who say, “I can’t take a bad picture.”

I’m really big into doing what you fear. Not in an unhealthy way, but to stand up and speak a poem you wrote that was meaningful to you. Say it in front of people. There are so many inspiring things that come from that and you’ll find that there are other people who hear and feel your truth. You’ll find who you’re meant to speak to and where you’re supposed to be.

Please break the mold and don’t get lost in beauty stereotypes. Nowhere in my art am I thinking about being safe or attractive. My deeper concern is expression and connection. That is the end all be all.

I got the privilege of touring with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and it showed me that with certain artists, I don’t see any age. I don’t see anything but a one of a kind voice and a musical force with the most incredible songs. I got to tour with her and Cat Power f0r a month and it was such a phenomenal experience. Two completely different women and musicians. It was so liberating.

You do amazing things, woman.

Well thanks! I’m just open to opportunities and trying not to overthink. I try to leave it to chance. I don’t always feel prepared, but I’ll go for it and do my best in that moment, where I’m at. This record we just made is nothing I would have been able to write ten years ago. But ten years ago was what I could do at that time.

Do you have any big plans for the holidays?

Yes, I’m going to go to the snow. I grew up in California, the snow is like a miracle of life. “OH MY GOD! THERE’S SNOW!” I just want to be surrounded by it. I love that you’re surrounded by it and can’t drive right now. We’re going to Utah. I’m going with my guy and his kids and my sister and their kids for New Years. I’m really excited to play board games and to be stuck with each other and do things in the snow.

As far as Christmas, I’m just doing my thing with family. Should be relaxing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Try and be active in the things you believe in and connect with other groups who are also active. Try to protect the vulnerable. That’s the main concern with our political climate is those people who have to be vulnerable by whatever things are about to be laid down. Right now is a very inspiring time. People are finding their voice and coming together. I’m going to that march on Washington for female rights at the end of January. We’re all coming together. It’s amazing.


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