Thanks to Alexz Johnson for letting me interview her and tons of thanks to Stephen Stohn for setting this up. Please leave your feedback in the Comments.
AJI: What do you want to accomplish with your music?
A: The dream would be to change where pop music is right now and bring it back to being about the music. I’d hope to bring a new pop music to the mainstream.
AJI: Do you see writing songs as a form of therapy?
A: It can be really cleansing putting your feelings on paper.
AJI: What is your vision for your music?
A: My vision… I guess my vision is re-creating the most feeling moments that people have felt in their lives, so when they listen to my music it brings them back to that moment.
AJI: What would you do if you could not sing?
A: I would probably still make music. It would just be more painful for those listening..
AJI: What compels you to write? A mood? An experience? Can you just sit down at any time and write?
A: It depends. If I’m feeling down, usually a deep, darker song will arise. If I’m feeling wonderful, I want to share that in my words.
AJI: What do you define as ‘success’ in your career?
A: I believe in any career, keeping your integrity is the most important. To me, that’s success.
AJI: You’ve mentioned your musical influences in previous interviews, what exactly about each one of them inspires you?
A: To me, Peter Gabriel has created a world of sound. There’s nothing else like it and it’s unique. When I listen to his music and production I’m immediately a part of his musical mind. It’s like cinema to me. I want people to have a similar experience when listening to “Voodoo”.
Roxy Music – Brian Eno – similar thing… and it stays true to what they love about music.
Rickie Lee Jones is a master lyricist – she string her words together like she’s having a conversation with you.
AJI: In 50 to 100 to a thousand years from now how would you like to be remembered?
A: I think respected is a word that sums up how I’d like to be remembered. Or maybe as someone who helped define a new sound..
Trip Around The World Music Video
AJI: Why did you pick New Orleans to shoot your first music video?
A: Because New Orleans has a sense of soul that is only found there. There’s also a darkness, a black magic, voodoo, the gospel and spirituality. All of these things represent what “Voodoo” is.
AJI: Why did you choose Michael Maxxis to direct your video?
A: I loved his simplicity. His “Hearts In The Night” video for Bedouin Soundclash was in the same realm of what I wanted for the Trip video. It reminded me of the beginning of “The Outsiders” film. There’s a sense of heart to it and it wasn’t flashy. I also love how he shoots with film.
AJI: What locations were picked for the video?
A: Most locations were shot around the French Quarter. For the fountain and tree scenes we went outside of town to the university areas.
AJI: Tell us about your experience in New Orleans.
A: It was awesome. It’s a really mysterious, unique place.
AJI: What was your favorite part of New Orleans?
A: The buildings and colors of the mist in the air was amazing. The food was amazing.
AJI: One of the things the deep south is known for is the food, did you try any of the food during your stay in New Orleans?
A: Café du’ Monde makes these famous “beignets” type dougnut that is incredible. Crawfish, catfish, anything Cajun spiced – even if I didn’t know what it was, as long as it’s Cajun spiced, I’m in.
AJI: While you were filming the video the Saints had their Playoff game at the Superdome, did your experience of the city change when it was game day?
A: It was insanity! The city’s heart was on fire!
AJI: Do you have any funny stories or anecdotes from your time filming the music video?
A: It was raining more than expected.. I remember being very wet and cold.. but not even realizing until I’d get back from shooting all day.. that’s how fun it was. Also, climbing that tree at the end of the video was really dangerous, but awesome. I was determined to hang upside down! It’s the south – I had too.
AJI: Your album is called ‘Voodoo’ and shot the video for your first single in New Orleans, what is it about the culture of the deep south that you like?
A: I love the music that’s come from New Orleans.. the spirituality and culture. The soul. The jazz, the warm days sitting on a rocking chair on the balcony. So much music has come from the south, the choirs and gospel has so much strength and passion behind it. There’s so much faith in it all.
AJI: How did you decide which tracks would make the final tracklisting?
A: It was natural how it came to be. We simply picked the songs that fit together the best.
AJI: Is there an overall message to your album as a whole?
A: Each song is it’s own entity. We want people to go on a journey when listening to “Voodoo”. Like a movie. As a whole, our goal was to keep it cohesive, but we also wanted each song to be entirely different from the next – western, pop culture, blues, hip-hop – we tapped into all of these sounds.
AJI: What was your creative process when making this album?
A: 3 months of non-stop studio writing and creating.
AJI: How does it feel to finally be releasing an album after all this time, struggles, and obstacles?
A: It feels wonderful.
It feels like the timing is right, afterall.
AJI: What was your favorite part about making this album?
A: The freedom to be as creative as I’d like. It was freeing.
AJI: If Instant Star came back in syndication would you worry people would continue to associate Jude and her music with you and not your solo material?
A: No.. and if they did, it wouldn’t really bother me. I feel the music is so vastly different, and even if the music was compared, I wouldn’t mind. It just meant that the listener hadn’t heard the album yet.
AJI: Would you ever perform Instant Star songs on tour?
A: That depends. Brendan and I wrote material for Instant Star – maybe one day we’d play some of those songs for fun.
AJI: How do you prepare for a role?
A: I become try to become the character by pulling any comparable experiences I’ve had in my life.
AJI: You seem to enjoy playing darker characters, what about this type of character attracts you to those roles?
A: I seem to fit in darker roles… I’m open to good material. I seem to fit better in roles with some deep layers to them than playing a ditsy blonde type role.. that wouldn’t inspire me.
AJI: What do you enjoy most about acting?
A: It’s fun recreating a human being. It’s like playing dress-up emotionally.
AJI: You’ve acted in movies and television for years, would you consider working in a Theater environment like a Broadway or Off-Broadway show?
A: I would love to do broadway one day – that’s a dream of mine.
AJI: Do you have any acting inspirations? If so, who?
A: Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, Audrey Tatou
AJI: You’ve started posting a lot more frequently on Twitter, do you find social media services, such as Twitter, a good way to interact with your fans?
A: Lately, I do. It was hard for me at first because I found it really strange… but now, I see how many people you can interact with and it’s cool keeping my fans in the loop. My goal is to always keep it about the music.
AJI: What can your fans do to help you get your music out to as many people as possible?
A: Share the music!!
AJI: Finally, is there anything you’d let to tell your fans?
A: I am so thankful for have my fans. They’ve got the music in their bones and it makes the up’s and down’s so worth it in the end when I get to share it with them.