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article imageGretchen Peters talks new album, music career and Leonard Cohen Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 24, 2018 in Music
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters chatted with Digital Journal about her upcoming studio album "Dancing With the Beast," and her music career.
On her new song, "Arguing With Ghosts," Peters said, "I wrote it with Matraca Berg and Ben Glover. Matraca is a Nashville native, and the song started in her writing room. We were talking about all of the changes that Nashville has been going through, and she told us that she gets lost in her hometown. We looked at each other and we knew that we had an opening line. We went from there. It really started out talking about the feeling of disorientation. We talked about all of the ways that a person can feel disoriented."
Peters shared that the song selection process for her forthcoming album, Dancing With the Beast, came about while she was taking a "year off" from touring. "I had been touring really hard for five years, so I took some time off. I was bathing in a lot of grief, from a lot of losses that year, and I turned to songwriting. I started writing in the middle of 2017, and you don't write in a vacuum. It was a result of all the things that had happened. What appeared to me were a lot of female characters and a lot of voices. The middle-aged female voices were the strongest. I was grappling with how I would write with this elephant in the room. I'm not really a protest songwriter, I just write and tell stories. That's what I do," she explained.
While she does not have a personal favorite song on the new album, the tune that feels like the "anchor" of the collection is "The Boy from Rye." "I felt like I had touched on a particularly sensitive nerve, talking about adolescent girls and how they feel about being judged. That's disorienting for me, but the song was the anchor for the record," she said.
Peters also acknowledged that the sequencing of songs on an album is very important. "I feel that within the little stories that are on an album, you are telling an even bitter story," she said.
She listed Emmylou Harris and the late Leonard Cohen as her dream collaboration choices. "Emmylou Harris bridged the gap. Working with her was amazing, and I would love to work with her again, in any capacity. Leonard Cohen was way up high in my pantheon of songwriters. He was one of my biggest idols."
She is the sole songwriter of Martina McBride's signature song "Independence Day," which earned her a Country Music Association (CMA) award for "Song of the Year" in 1995. Peters also received a Grammy nomination for "Best Country Song" that year.
Peters defined the word success as "Being able to make a living as a musician." "I said that answer in the very first interview I ever did, and that definition hasn't really changed," she said. "It is really about being afforded the opportunity to make records and write songs, and to ultimately go out and be in a darkened theater with a group of people and share that music. It doesn't get any better. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to that."
Digital transformation of music business
On the impact of technology on the music business, Peters said, "I am pretty technologically savvy. I think that there are really great benefits in streaming music. I discover music that way. I find new things that I probably wouldn't have found through Spotify. I just hope that the business from an administrative end catches up soon. It seems like it is. I think we are getting there. If you are an independent musician these days, you need to get on-board with that."
Being a visually-oriented person, Peters loves vinyl, as well as the liner notes and the artwork that come with it. "I love the size and the format. It is just so great. Nothing beats an album cover," she said.
Dancing With the Beast is available for pre-order on iTunes.
To learn more about Nashville singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters, check out her official website, and Facebook page.
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