album_entrance
release date:

June 25, 2014

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Warm breathy alluring female vocals backed by hypnotic ethereal alt rock, this is Starr's seventh album and fourth studio release, “Entrance.” She worked with long-time co-producers, prize-winning poet S. Asher Sund and Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp), and recorded with session musicians Dave Palmer, Tim Young, Paul Bryan, Scott Seiver and Jordan Richter. These musicians have played, produced and toured with Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Fleetwood Mac, Fiona Apple, Air, Chris Isaak, Marc Cohn, Supertramp, and many others.

Entrance

  • Let You Go
  • Jealousy
  • Honey Bee (Sorry)
  • Diamond Sea
  • Driving for the Sun
  • Resignation II
  • Just Kids
  • Glory, Ohio
  • Sing Along
  • Hold Me Now
  • Entrance

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EVOLVING AND REVOLVING THROUGH NEW DOORS:
RELEASE OF ANDI STARR’S 7TH ALBUM “ENTRANCE”


(Interview on March 20, 2014, with Geri Lord, music critic and writer, Los Angeles, CA)

I met with Andi Starr at Kay’s Coffee Shop on Seaward Avenue in Ventura, California, on a bright, cool early afternoon on the first day of Spring to interview her about the release of “Entrance,” her seventh album, and fourth studio release.

I started by talking with Starr about co-producing this album with S. Asher Sund and her time in the studio with session musicians from L.A., including Dave Palmer, Tim Young, Paul Bryan, Scott Seiver, Jesse Siebenberg and Jordan Richter. These musicians that have played, produced and toured with Aimee Mann, Fleetwood Mac, Fiona Apple, Chris Isaak, Marc Cohn, Supertramp, and many others. After these preliminaries, we got down to business.

GL: Wow, I’m very excited about this new album!

Starr: Me too! For release in June, but hitting radio in April.

GL: I have to say that I’ve listened to this record over and over in my car. The presence, warmth and absolute seductiveness of your vocals leave me mesmerized. I’m lulled, already addicted.

Starr: Ah, thanks so much. Yeah, I’m really stoked about this one.

GL: You’ve really developed a sweet, underground soundscape that is all your own. There’s a new image, a new sound, a new you. Can you tell me some about this?

Starr: Well, let’s see… I came undone. I lost my shit. [Laughter.]

GL: Wow. I was expecting you to go on there.

Starr: What else can I say? [She shrugs, takes a sip of her Americano.] I’ve been saying to many that whereas these last two years have been some of my most difficult, it’s also been the easiest, most effortless making of an album. Funny how things work out like that sometimes.

GL: Isn’t that true? The paradox of life.

Starr: Yes. I was teetering on some dark abyss. My personal life was unwinding in ways that sometimes shocked me, things were happening, I couldn’t recognize myself at times, and the music, these songs—though perhaps dark to some people, were full of so much light for me—they called me back.

GL: The first thing that strikes me about what you’re saying is the image on the album cover that you sent with the songs. Very instinctual and sensual.

Starr: Michael Schroeder did a stellar job with the design. Really happy about how that turned out. The funny thing about that photograph is that I found it on my phone the night after my birthday and didn’t know who took it.

GL: One of those parties, huh!

Starr: Oh, yeah, well… [Laughter.] But the photograph spoke to me. It holds something… perhaps an animal prowling in the dark, some part of me aching to break free of systems and ideological cages.

GL: And that’s what the songs from “Entrance” do as well. They really hit the core. I think that’s why people resonate so deeply with your sound. It’s so present, but with a sense of rocking edge, rawness.

Starr: I like that. I’m introverted and sensitive and get my energy in nature, from long walks or runs on trails or the beach. Maybe that’s what separates me from the corporate buzz. Nature is where my sound is built and developed, and I think it’s where I’m able to embrace both the edge and beauty of life. Perhaps this is the frequency or vibration that others pick up on.

GL: Yeah, I feel that just sitting here with you.

Starr: I think you’re hearing the ocean. [Laughter.]

GL. True! It is nearby, isn’t it. Regarding this album, it’s almost like there is an otherworldliness, a foreignness that is arresting too. And maybe that’s the nature thing you’re speaking to.

Starr: I love to hear people say foreign because I’m always moved by what I cannot quite get.

GL: Musically, too, it’s so rich. What was it like to work for the first time with studio musicians of this caliber?

Starr: I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. In fact, I said this to Tim Young, Dave Palmer and Paul Bryan who were sitting outside for a smoke break between songs. I was definitely a little intimidated knowing the musicians they’d played and been on the road with, but Tim looked at me and said, “Luck? There’s no such thing. You got yourself here.”

GL: I believe that.

Starr: Me too. After all these years, it’s not about luck as much as discipline, showing up, believing, playing, doubting, never giving up. Ten years ago, nobody would have called me lucky, not when I could barely get through a song while recording it, with my trembling fingers. Or when I went to play my first shows, shaking.

GL: I love to hear that. It’s so encouraging to see where you’ve come from and though lyrically you’ve always been strong, the lyrics on this album seem more personal than I’ve heard before.

Starr: For sure. There was so much happening after the release and radio play, interviews, et cetera, with “The World Will Follow” [Starr’s previous release]. And in the making of my first video for that album, I was working closely with a Serbian film director who gave me Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids.

GL: A great book.

Starr: Isn’t it? Her grace, poetry and drive have changed my life, or at least have been a great influence in the thrust of my personal life and the making of this album. In fact, the verses of my song on this album “Just Kids,” are quotes taken from Patti’s book. The relationship with her long-time artist-lover Robert helped me turn a corner with my longtime artist-lover, S. Asher Sund.

GL: I wanted to ask about that, as so much of the album seems to be about breakup, but in such a loving, mature, even playful and hopeful way.

Starr: Asher and I were married for a long time and had co-produced six albums together. This is our seventh. But we just weren’t sure that we were helping each other evolve anymore. The lyrics for “Entrance,” the title track go, “No time to second-guess. Look ahead, my love. Let’s revolve, evolve, through these doors.” Asher and I were trying to figure out how to do something different. It goes back to the image of the animal breaking out of ideological cages. We knew that we loved each other, but the question had changed: How do we still love each other while letting the old story go.

GL: Wow, that’s a brave question to ask.

Starr: Patti has a moment in her memoir where she looks back on her apartment in New York, with such love, where she learned how to be an artist through all those years with Robert. Yet she knew—they both did—when it was time to go. And she does it with such grace and love, without drama. And then she turns the corner.

GL: Turns the corner.

Starr: Yes. That’s the courage and attitude that Asher and I wanted to carry through the end of our relationship and the making of this album. How to do it with as much grace and dignity as possible. Ironically, the songs for the first time in 7 albums are all about us.

GL: That makes sense then with some of these lyrics.

Starr: Lyrically, some of my favorite lines are Asher’s: “Is this a tragedy or a new opportunity?” in Glory, Ohio. And from “Sing Along”:

You had the words, I held the melody.
You had the words, but now you're gone.
I would like to think the river is made of our song.

GL: Powerful. It’s really touching what you two are doing and how you seem to be honoring the creative impulse in each other. What an inspiring new story for others feeling stuck in their lives and relationships.

Starr: Absolutely. For me, the task is to be free, and not be afraid to shake up the system when things aren’t working anymore.

GL. But perhaps easier said than done sometimes?

Starr: For sure. But for me it was about coming to a place of not caring anymore what people thought. It takes incredible focus to get to this place, and self-affirmation, to say yes, I am here whether you like it or not. This is me, and this is the artist, the lover, the rocker I'm going to be. Fuck all these seminars and webinars, self-help books and pseudo-psychological platitudes. I’m done with all that. Instead, I'm going to align with my soul, my heart and boldly go from there, regardless.

GL: Beautiful.

Starr: But of course at the end of the day, sometimes it’s more about sitting down with a beer or glass of wine and laughing at it all.

GL: Because it’s all a big game.

Starr: Absolutely. One big psychic game.


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