I recently interviewed the fantastic singer/songwriter and friend of Andrew Peterson’s known as Jill Phillips. In the interview, she talks about being away for a bit from the music scene, being on the Christmas tour for the fifth year and her brand new album due out in just over a month.
You’ve said you’ve really changed in the last three years and the music is different as well. Can you give us a snapshot of the changes in both areas?
Jill: I don’t know. I just felt that with this record… I don’t want to put out records if I don’t have anything new to say. I felt that I was supposed to be a bit more vulnerable and personal than in the past. People have often said that I write personal songs, but there were certain things I had shied away from writing about. I’m a private person by nature and I don’t like writing about my family. I just never have. I’ve never liked to write marriage songs or songs for my kids – not because I don’t love them and think that’s really important. In fact, it’s my life.
But it just seems too personal and I wondered how to express my feelings in my songs about my kids without being emotionally manipulative. I didn’t want to be that girl who writes a bunch of songs about her kids and gets all cheesy or something. [Laughs] I think I just went away from those subjects in the past. But then I felt like I was supposed to do that. I was supposed to talk about my kids and my marriage. There’s only one song or maybe two so it’s not the whole thing. But I was open to talk about all areas of my life – friendships, love, relationships gone wrong, friendships in crisis. So not every song is happy, but it’s about the good things within my life.
SA: That does seem a weird tension, because you don’t want to write an album with several “Butterfly Kisses”…
Jill: Definitely not that! [Laughs] I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I made an album full of “Butterfly Kisses.” It’s very much stylistically my stuff. I wanted the record to sound like stuff that I listen to – like David Mead and Aimee Mann and Neil Finn. These are artists I really love and I wanted to use them as a template for what I wanted it to sound like. I feel very proud of the way it sounds. I just think that in the past I thought that I wouldn’t able to write those types of songs in a way that would honor my family, my music and the listener.
But it was just about pushing myself and having others around me push me to be fearless in what I am writing about, to go to that next level. And those who listen won’t think it sounds fearless or anything like that, but for me, it goes to places I’d never gone to. They were obstacles for me to write a song about this or that.
You can find the full interview over at the Christian music site we recently started: Soul-Audio.