lifeblood: listlogs: 2010v12n019-news

ig-news-digest         thursday, july 1 2010         volume 12 : number 019

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] amy interview from  [sherlyn koo <sherlyn@pixelopol]


date: thu, 01 jul 2010 09:23:06 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] amy interview from

hi folks,

here's an interview with amy from, to celebrate the new
album.  you can read it online at

also, for those of you interested in sonia or disappear fear - shewired
also did an interview with sonia a few weeks ago.  it's at


- ---begin forwarded article---
indigo girl amy ray on 'staring down the brilliant dream,' lilith fair and
angelina jolie as her hero!

gay rights activist and advocate of the earth amy elizabeth ray knows a
thing or two about the perils and promises that occur within the music
industry. being one half of the celebrated folk-rock duo the indigo girls
[emily saliers makes up the other half of the team], the georgia-born
singer/songwriter delights in sharing her wisdom with up-and-coming acts
like out-lesbian singer/songwriter brandi carlile and lesbian favorite

the critical object that sets the 25-plus year musician apart from other
musical acts out there today is that she is humble, kind and generous. she
collects musical knowledge from other artists just as much as she hands it
out. it's a mutual love session that continues to enhance both parties and
has nothing to do with record sales or popularity. ray doesn't speak just
to be heard. she raises her voice because she feels the social
responsibility to help improve the communities and lives around her
effervescent sphere. amy ray is a tough chick with a heart of gold and
millions of fans to back her up.

ray and saliers attended both elementary and middle school together near
decatur, georgia before becoming lifelong friends and joining forces to
create the music that would eventually help shape the lives of millions
around the globe. to this day, both talented women write their own songs
independently from one another before joining together to collaborate and
create the finished project.

the indigo girls hit the airwaves in 1985 with their first non-album
single "crazy game" and have released nearly 20 combined studio and live
albums since that time. notable singles have included, "closer to fine",
"galileo", "least complicated", "power of two", "shame on you" and "get
the map." the pair sang backup on the acrobat-loving pink single "dear mr.
president" in 2007 --the song had a worldwide release and also appeared on
showtime's the l word --and they've traveled with cyndi lauper's true
colors tour that same year as well as the following.  in addition to the
indigo girls' success, ray founded her very own independent label daemon
records in 1990. her solo albums -- stag, prom, live from knoxville, and
didn't it feel kinder -- were released under the daemon umbrella and were
successful in their own right.

ray and saliers have permeated the lgbt community with their activism
since first hitting the scene. both women have inspired change throughout
the world regarding equal rights, women's rights, environmental causes and
native american rights (a cause very close to ray's heart being part
american herself).

i had the awesome opportunity to chat with amy ray on the release day for
staring down the brilliant dream -- the highly-anticipated new indigo
girls' two-disc live album. my expectations of ray were surpassed by miles
the moment we began our light-hearted chat about the new album, fame and
the desire we both have to interview angelina jolie. when things took a
more serious turn while discussing the oil spill in the gulf and the gay
community's love for the "girls", ray was introspective and sincere.

congratulations on the release of staring down the brilliant dream! it is
wonderful to be able to chat with you on release day! what is this type of
day like for you?

it's so funny because i usually don't think about it that much because
there are so many other things going on at the same time [laughs]. we were
in new york yesterday doing a bunch of press stuff, so today we got to see
our work put together in its final form. we had seen the proofs, but it
our first time to really see it and touch it. it's a really, really,
cool package and a friend of mine did it so i just feel super-proud. our
sound man mixed it and it was like a real family project. i think that's
what feels good about being independent -- when you have a release day
this, you feel really good with everything that went into it and all of
your friends helped out. i'm very excited about it.

your fans at are excited about that, too! we all can't wait
to hear the new album and experience the journey with you and emily
[saliers]. they are pretty much in awe of you (just so you know).

well, you're welcome but you know that, sort of, we've had to kind of lean
on the gay community to get brave and do the sorts of things we should be
doing. sob&you know what i mean. i just saw that angelina jolie is on the
front of your shewired website. i love her and if i ever got to interview
her it would be really great. i love her activism. there you go! my hero!
you know, she has really done a lot in the native communities, too, but
doesn't really talk about that as much. her mom did as well, so i have a
lot of respect for her, you know.

emily sallers, photo by bonnie parks

awesome. well, if i ever have the chance to interview angelina jolie, i
will let her know that amy ray has a question or two for her!

good deal! that sounds good [laughs].

staring down the brilliant dream features 31 songs in a 2-disc cd package
with personal notes on the reasoning behind every chosen song. how
important a role do your fans play in the music you ultimately release?

wow. well, on a lot of records they play probably a big role because the
show is sort of really dependent on the energy of the audience, you know.
so, the show is better when the audience is engaged and, in turn, we are
better, too. you know, they kind of go back and forth with each other.
we put out a live record, they affect it in a pretty big way because of
just the energy in the room and what we end up liking. as far as the songs
we release on the records, you know, we don't think about it. we just try
to do the best that we can and try to be honest to our music and our songs
and put it out there. it's a live record so the whole point of it is
about that. that's why there end up being a lot of songs that are maybe
more obscure in some ways because it's our own audience that wants that
there are songs that the record label and radio may not have paid
to and that is the whole point.

so many of your fans gravitate towards the indigo girls' more obscure
music because we've been following you for over 20 years and we feel
connected to the music the two of you amazing ladies put out there.
speaking of which, the indigo girls will be joining the lilith fair 2010
this summer. you participated in part of the original tour that ran from
1997-1999 (parts two, three and four). what is different this time around
for the indigo girls?

a lot has changed! it's a different perspective because we're probably
playing earlier than we would've played before and there are a lot more
artists. it's really exciting in that way, but women have not made a lot
huge advances in the industry. there are a lot more bands and women
out there than there were than before lilith started -- a lot more that
recognized, i should say. that's cool because there are a lot of women out
there getting the opportunity, so that's a really good thing. just the
sheer number of the people on the bills, how many people wanted to play
how many people they had to search through to make decisions, you know,
it's a lot. there's just a lot more going on. before it was kind of like,
you sort of traveled for a couple of weeks with the same group of people,
but this time it's a little different because there will be a different
group of people every time. there will be a lot to hear so that's exciting
to me.

your name was mentioned in both of my recent interviews with fellow lilith
fair artists brandi carlile and jill hennessy.  i understand that you and
brandi are actually very good friends now. how does it feel to be such an
inspiration to these extremely talented singer/songwriters that you, in a
way, helped shape?

oh, god, i mean, it's so mutual. it's hard for me to think of it
differently than that, you know, with brandi, she's had such a big
influence on us, too. we feel flattered that she likes our music so much
and that she was influenced by it. justin bonhiver was playing some gigs
with us and i absolutely love his music so much and the fact that he is a
really big indigo girls fan is a really big deal to me.  you know what i
mean? i just get really excited about it. and then, those people really
influence us, you know. i mean, brandi has definitely influenced me
as i've gotten to know her. she's taught me some different things about
singing. justin has influenced my writing a lot as i've gotten a chance to
sit down with him to talk about his music and watch him play. it's totally
mutual and it's an ongoing sort of mentoring that keeps going in both

speaking of getting to know brandi -- i like to call her the third indigo
girl. whenever i see your act in seattle, she jumps on the stage to join
you and emily and so, in my opinion, she is the honorary third indigo
seattle feels proud of our "little brandi" hitting the big time.

[laughs]. thank you. you guys are definitely a part of her success. the
hometown scene is super-important. i remember when i was in sonic boom a
while back before her first record ever even came out. i didn't totally
know her yet. emily introduced me to her music. i was in there looking at
new releases and they were like, "yeah, you should check this out". the
girl that was talking to me was a punk rocker and was like, "you know, i
don't usually like singer/songwriters" -- the thing people always say
before they say something about a singer/songwriter -- "but brandi is
really different. you should totally check her out." i could tell that
seattle was totally pushing her, which is really cool. you're totally
about that. you'll make it happen.

your shows are continuously sold-out across the country. how has fame
changed you over the years since you began performing?  how are you the
same and how are you different?

mmm, i don't know. i guess it would be up to my family to have to tell me
that [laughs]. you know, it waxes and wanes. i mean, there are places
we struggle a lot for ticket sales. it's kind of weird, but i think that's
what kinda keeps us somewhat the same. there's always somewhere where we
are struggling to get our music out there and sell tickets and, at the
time, there are other places where we are doing better so we get both
of the coin constantly. it's good because it's humbling. i think the only
thing maybe is that it's made me appreciate more time at home, family and
relationships. i've gotten to meet a lot of people and it's really helped
our activism so it's changed our perspective on activism, but i don't
fame has really changed us as people that much -- we're pretty much the
same. we've definitely gone through phases, though, where we've changed
the worse and it's good to check each other. it's good to have a partner.
they can straighten you out when you're being a shit.

your work with the environment is monumental and notable. what are your
thoughts on the current oil spill crisis in the gulf?

oh, god, it's a hard thing to even articulate because it's so devastating
and i feel, actually, a little bit paralyzed and i don't usually feel that
way. i am not sure what the right thing is to do. i mean, do i take
on how to do clean-up and go down there and actually work? do i give money
or what? i think that a lot of people are going through that right now.

what i am trying to do is read a lot about it and see what efforts are
being done and kind of figure out what place i have in that. emily and i
are working a lot on funding sustainable energy development through our
organization honor the earth. that's kind of our reaction to something
this, which is always our reaction -- we need to have better ways of
getting our energy that don't devastate the environment and sacrifice
communities and public health.

i feel like what's happening right now is that obama, whom i love, is kind
of not paying enough attention to the scientists. he'll talk about
something he's going to do, like the birms he was going to build out there
that he didn't build. then the scientists that work on social issues come
back and tell him that it would be even worse to do. it gives the
perception that the administration that was supposed to put science first
is not doing that right now and that's frustrating to me. i think that's
really important in all of these situations with the environment, public
health and all of these issues where science comes into play. we need to
regain our respect for that voice and really get it, hear it and react to
it. so, that is how i feel about it.

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