lifeblood: listlogs: 2007v10n021-news


ig-news-digest        saturday, march 24 2007        volume 10 : number 021


today's subjects:
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  [ig-news] philadelphia gay news - another amy interview  [sherlyn koo <she]


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date: sat, 24 mar 2007 18:57:16 +1100
from: sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopolis.com>
subject: [ig-news] philadelphia gay news - another amy interview


hi again everyone,


here's an another amy interview, from the philadelphia gay news.  online at:
http://epgn.com/032307/3detour032307.htm


cheers,
sherlyn


- ---begin forwarded message---
catching ray of indigo
amy ray of the indigo girls talks about the early years, being an out artist and
the groups latest album
by casey bell
pgn staff writer
) 2007 philadelphia gay news


when amy ray and emily sailers picked up their guitars 20 years ago, they never
imagined that they were about to embark on a musical career that would forever
change the face of the lesbian music scene.


today, with seven grammy nominations and 12 million album sales under their
belts, the indigo girls are still generating their signature sound and earning
international acclaim.


the pair is currently on tour for their latest album, despite our
differences,
which blends elements of folk, country and pop, resulting in an album thats
both innovative and unmistakably indigo.


pgn recently caught up with half of the duo, ray, for a phone interview.


born and raised in atlanta, ray started playing guitar when she was 10.


i started out listening to a lot of neil young and some early hippie music,
she said. but later on i discovered patti smith and got very into punk rock,
which had a huge influence on me.


ray said she came out gradually in her late teens.


i had a girlfriend when i was a senior in high school, she said. but it was
in little steps that i became open about my sexuality. i was out to my family by
around 17 or 18, and really out to everyone by about 25.


ray and sailers originally disputed about the best way to publicly handle their
orientation once they gained recognition from mainstream press.


everything was talked about in the media, she said. emily didnt really want
to talk about it openly at first  she felt like it was more of a personal
thing. but things were very different then in terms of how accepting people
were. we never really made a decision to come out to the press. it was just sort
of reported.


ray said being gay is an integral part of her identity as an artist.


its hard to separate your orientation from your art. its just sort of an
activist kind of place to be if youre engaged in whats going on in the world
and queer, you have to take it on, she said. i dont think i could ever
separate my art and vocabulary and language from that. sure, its affected my
career some times more than others, and maybe its hurt it more than its helped
it. its difficult to quantify, but there have definitely been times when we
werent getting any radio play because there could only be one gay person on the
scene at a time  like any marginalized group. you just wouldnt hear k.d. lang
and melissa etheridge and the indigo girls. there could only be one of us in the
spotlight.


but ray and sailers held true to their identities over the years, producing 10
studio albums.


ray said shes particularly happy with the collaborative process of their latest
endeavor, despite our differences, released in september.


we got the chance to work with mitchell froom on this album, she said. as a
producer, hes just so creative. every note really matters to him and he has a
legacy all his own.


froom, who has produced records for artists like sheryl crow, elvis costello and
paul mccartney, worked with ray and sailers to record the album in just over one
month in his santa monica home studio.


despite our differences is also the first record the duo has made with
hollywood records, which is owned by the walt disney company.


emily and i like this label a lot, ray said. its been great working with
them. but at the same time, it is just a label. in some ways the music industry
is interesting  theres certainly a lot of reinventing that needs to be done.
this traditional model doesnt have very much relevancy anymore. we have to see
that, but be able to forgive it. when you look at all the music downloading and
youtube and myspace  i think all of that was born out of necessity. people
werent getting what they were looking for from this corporate industry.


despite her beef with the ever-increasing corporatization of the music industry,
ray said she and sailers are happy with the final product and their hard work
has paid off.


the two artists typically write separately, then come together to work on
arrangements and melodies.


it usually takes us a month if we work together four days a week, ray said.
were pretty detail-oriented and we like to take every element apart.


she said the songs she wrote on this album vary in themes.


my songs deal a lot with community and a sense of place. i also talk a lot
about how to keep ones own identity, but at the same time recognize other
peoples. with emily, it seems like most of her songs are very
human-relationship-oriented on this record.


despite our differences features guest appearances by spunky pop artist pink
and wxpn-acclaimed singer/songwriter brandi carlile.


the guests we brought in were chosen because of the specific things we like
about their vocals, ray explained. pink has this attitude and a way of emoting
thats exactly what we were looking for. shes also just a really cool person
whos great to be around. she was able to bring exactly what we needed. and
brandi is just so super-talented. she can set a harmony perfectly between me and
emily in a way thats very special. she has this ability to really morph and
work with other voices, but at the same time she can be the glue of a song.


ray said this albums energy and spontaneity set it apart from their previous
work.


we recorded it in a very short time compared to our normal pace, she said. i
think that allowed us to take some bigger risks.


after playing music together for 20 years, ray said she and sailers have grown
as artists and songwriters.


were always trying to evolve as artists, she said. thats one thing that i
can look back at and say that weve really become better musicians. as artists,
the dynamics between us and the way that we arrange songs has shifted and gone
through cycles over the years. in the beginning, i really wasnt writing very
many harmonies, but now i write a lot of my own. and emily has picked up some
more instruments and added different textures to our sound. we just expand and
evolve  its been a long run, though. its like trying to watch your hair grow.
but when i go back and listen to our earlier music, i can hear how much better
we are now. we were 16 when we first started. we were so young and just not that
great.


ray feels its important for all musicians in the public eye to be open about
their orientation.


some people dont want to be engaged in the scene at all, and i think thats a
drag, she said. id never out anyone, but i think people should be out,
musicians especially. right now is a time when you may suffer a little bit, but
its so important what you can achieve by being out.


when shes not on tour, ray spends time at her atlanta home with her animals and
her partner of four years, who is finishing her filmmaking thesis at columbia
university.


i have 13 animals right now, she said. i rescue them, so i try to spend a lot
of time dealing with them one on one. i also like to spend a lot of time writing
and working on music or hiking in the woods. i keep pretty busy when im not on
the road.


ray has also been working on solo projects; she released stag in 2001,
followed by prom in 2004 and the limited-edition release live from
knoxville
in december.


ray said she and sailers arent together very much during their downtime.


we live in different towns. and weve known each other since we were 10, so
were like siblings. but we are good friends.


the group has been on the road for the past eight months.


its been a really great time so far, ray said. the crowds have been
wonderful too. we still play a lot of old stuff mixed in with newer songs. weve
both just had a great run with this tour.


if you go:
what: indigo girls
when/where: 9 p.m. march 23 at the borgata music box, 1 borgata way, atlantic
city, n.j.; (609) 317-1000
and 8 p.m. march 24 at the grand opera house, 818 n. market st., wilmington,
del.; (800) 37-grand


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end of ig-news-digest v10 #21
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