matter where you go or what scene
you’re in. If you change a tire on the interstate
and change a tire on a dirt road, you may have some
difference in where you anchored your jack, but
at the end of the day -- you still just changed
a tire. The good news is that the industry has changed
for the better, and that makes tire changing much
easier all the way around!
Your story is clearly an inspiration to everyone
hoping to succeed in music... especially women.
You came from a rural area with no backing and made
it in music, film and TV. How do you hope your experiences
will help future generations of women in the years
Wow, well if anything I have gone through can help
anyone at all in any way, especially for years to
come, then my career has been a smashing success.
The biggest thing I would hope people would take
away from my career is to not give up, to be flexible,
and don’t be stubborn -- learn to put your
low ego on a shelf, because it will only stand in
your way. I got my first record deal when I was
21, but my career didn’t get where I wanted
it until I was 38. Just do what you love, work hard,
be honest with yourself about your strengths and
weaknesses, ask for help when you need it but don’t
mooch and don’t manipulate, be humble and
don’t panic and throw fits when you don’t
get everything you want, and don’t stop learning
and making changes to your game plan as the times
and opportunity change, because everything changes.
And if as an artist you
don’t evolve and change, you won’t ever
go forward. If you do these things, eventually,
brick by brick, you’ll build that yellow brick
road to your own Oz. And that’s a great feeling.
Everybody’s been talking about your record
deal, so let’s get to that. In January you
got signed to an unheard of deal with Maurice the
Fish Records where several of your musical projects
are represented at once. This is unique because
most artists have to
choose a musical direction, and you didn’t
have to. With that kind of freedom, what will be
your first release with Maurice the Fish Records
and what is the concept of the album?
My first release with them is my solo album Red
Lodge. It’s an acoustic album whose concept
is based around the feeling tone of Montana –
it’s very raw,and very haunting in ways. This
has been a challengefor me to record, as I have
played all the instruments on the album while engineering
it, mixing it, producing it, of course doing all
the vocal tracks – and that hasn’t been
the hard part. It’s been hard because it’s
such a collection of songs that I am so close to,
and I want to make sure it’s done right, which
takes time. I wanted to do everything on the album
myself, as it’s part of the Montana theme
-- which is a very self-sufficient, maverick culture.
But also that I used to go to the town the album
is named after, Red Lodge, by myself all the time.
It’s a singular thing. I’m excited about
its release this year, but it did occur to me that
unlike any pf my other releases, this was going
to be like somebody reading my diary. It’s
a very personal
Speaking of your personal opinions, in the midst
of our impending presidential election, I saw on
the newswire that you endorsed Hillary Clinton for
president. Do you think that it matters to America
if celebrities publicly endorse political candidates?
Well…(laughs) I think a lot of America thinks
that celebrities are idiots, and rightfully so.
A lot of celebrities act like idiots. But that being
said, yes, I do think celebrities should endorse
candidates, if they believe in them. I think that
more celebrities should be a little more interested
in giving back socially, rather than always wanting
to get some
thing, and an endorsement is something that is just
so easy to do, and can help the visibility of the
candidate. I went on record endorsing Hillary Clinton,
as I really, really believe in her way of accomplishing
change for our country. I’m a registered Democrat,
and I’ve always been very politically active
with initiatives and other campaigns,
and we have some great candidates this year, so
we’re pretty lucky whichever way the chips
fall. I’m a big researcher when I go into
elections, and my choice is Hillary Clinton, and
hopefully, she’ll get the nomination this
year. But no matter which candidate people chose,
republican, democrat, independent, I hope people
get out and vote this year. This is a historical
election with both an African American and a woman
running for president, and it’s fun to be
a part of history.
You're from Montana, a sparsely populated state
with less Indie artists and less places for Indie
music to showcase than bigger cities like NYC, L.A.
or Nashville. Did that make it easier to get attention
in your city, state and eventually nationally?
Actually, it did, and I recommend people staying
put in their local music centers and building the
world’s hugest buzz before moving into a big
music center. We went totally off the grid, and
created all kinds of opportunities for ourselves
in Pope Jane, in Montana. You can do that when a
place is more flexible and doesn’t have a
scene in place. You can build your own scene, and
that’s a powerful fan base later on. Believe
me, moving to big, populated place just because
there is a scene there is highly over rated. All
it means is that you are going to be fighting tooth
and nail for stage space, and you’ll have
people in interested in buying your product, as
every one there has a product. If more artists would
put their ego in check a little, and develop their
fan base where they are, and stop whining that they
have to get a little creative in becoming their
like going to a local bar where they hire cover
bands and talking to the owner about doing a night
of original bands instead of crying in their milk
that no one carved a scene out for them, what they
would realize is that people will come from all
over to hear great original
music, and that buzz will spread.
You are a music producer,
film producer working on the upcoming Imogene's
Waltz, and radio producer on the internationally
syndicated "Music Highway", which you
also co-host. How important to you is the work do
you behind the scenes?
Oh, man, it makes up most of my career. Peoplewould
be shocked if they realized how much of my life
is behind the scenes work. In order to get the artistic
project you want a lot of times, you have to produce
it yourself. I get asked a lot to come on board
to projects because of all the structural work I
do, and I consider it part of who I am, as a creative
person. But I can say that I’ve gotten a lot
more specific about the type of behind the scenes
work I do, as it is a huge amount of work, and I’ve
run out of hours in the day.
How has your life and career
changed as a signed artist?
It’s gotten much busier!
(laughs) I can’t just dink around and finish
an album whenever I want, and my time is not as
much my own, as there is an organization to consider.
Plus I’ve had a lot of press to cover, lots
of interviews, which is really great that people
want to talk with me! It’s just more busy,
but I like it that way.
You started out on piano,
yet in your 20's, you switched to guitar for a lot
of your live shows and studio recordings. Is it
hard for a woman to rock out on a piano?
Nah, it’s not. Tori
Amos has been dong it for along time. I prefer to
keep my shoes, on though. Piano is a rhythm instrument,
and it can rock pretty hard! But it is easier to
play guitar and sing, because the guitar can move
with your body, and when you’re playing keys,
your stuck where your hands are, in front of you.
You are known to be one of
the nicest people in the business yet your songs'
lyrics pack a real punch.Do you have a dark side?
Aw, thanks! I think everybody
has all sorts of depths to their personality, and
certainly more of those facets come out in my lyric
You seem to be very socially
and politically aware,yet I noticed that in some
of your musical projects you wear very revealing
outfits. Do you think it's okay for a woman to be
serious minded and sexy looking?
Sure I do. I think it’s
ridiculous that people believe that a woman can’t
be sexy and savvy at the same time. Hmm, that’s
a lot of “s”es in a sentence, but you
get my drift. Outfits for performance are just costumes,
plain and simple. I don’t think what I wear
for a performance has much to do with my political
and sociological philosophies, except that I don’t
believe in putting myself in a box. If I feel like
wearing jeans onstage, I will, and if I feel like
dressing up like a two penny whore, I’m going
to do it! (laughs) I am really comfortable with
my body at this point in my life, and I think it’s
because I don’t take myself nearly as seriously
as I used to, and realized, hey – it’s
only a body. It’s a big prop. So have fun
Most people seem to be okay
with tasteful nudity, but what do you say to critics
that believe that women who take their clothes off
are selling-out to sell records?
I’d say they’re
making an assumption that it’s all about record
sales. Maybe wearing a guitar strap for a shirt
is just an artistic statement or identity? I say
lighten up. It’s a short life we’re
living, and in this world that’s falling apart,
being naked should be the least of our worries.
Anyway, you usually hear that ‘selling out’
talk from other artists who aren’t happy with
where their career is at, so I take it with a grain
of salt all the way around.
You are endorsed by Minarik Guitars. Do you
consider yourself a lead guitarist?
No, I don’t, thought I can play leads,
and tend to like the ones I lay down (laughs).
I consider myself a rhythm player, and I lead
more with my voice. I use the guitar to do
some pretty interesting things, sound wise,
in recordings, and the Minariks have great
You are extremely photogenic. Have you always been
that way or does mastering a photo session take
work and practice?
Well thank you very much for that. No, I haven’t
been good in photo shoots in the past – this
is something that has come in through time, I think
mostly from having so
many photos taken, so I guess that falls into practice,
maybe? Eventually, you just get comfortable in your
skin, and chill out in front of the camera. God,
the old Pope Jane photo shoots were a nightmare
-- Kristen, the drummer, would give me such grief
for posing too much. It was brutal! Photo shoots
used to make me really nervous, but I loosened up
a lot over time, I think.
Your music is very eclectic and your styles vary
from album to album. Do you find it was harder to
pitch magazines, radio, and labels before you were
signed, when your songs aren't packed into a certain
Well, yeah, I mean, it was hard with labels. That’s
why I was so excited about this deal with Maurice
The Fish Records – I didn’t have to
chose a genre, and can put out whatever I put out.
It’s not like I’m putting out a hip
hop album, and then a folk album, so I won’t
be a complete marketing nightmare for them or anything.
Although I do have a huge penchant for making dance
music, but it’s white-girl dance music (laughs).
genres has never been hard with radio promotion,
and radio is so focused on singles that they don’t
care what the rest of the album sounds like. Genre
doesn’t seem to matter as much as it used
to in this new music industry, though, and that’s
nice. When Pope Jane put out Hide Me From the Moon
in 2000, we sent it to Daemon Records, Amy Ray’s
label, and they said we sounded too commercial pop,
while Atlantic Records told us it
sounded too Indie roots (laughs). So now that genre’s
out of the way in many respects, that’s a
What artists have inspired you on your road to success?
If you could put out a duets album, who would be
I am an Annie Lennox nut. She is so talented, having
attended the Royal Academy of Music, and so amazingly
gifted as a vocalist, and as a pianist and flute
writes amazing songs, and is able to really put
out a soulful album. I also love the Eurythmics,
as Dave Stewart is really a great producer, and
does some great writing, too. Sheryl Crow has been
a big favorite of mine, though I tend to like her
older, less lovey stuff a little better. If I could
do a duets album, I would do something with Annie
Lennox, or course, and some other great strong singers
– Celine Dion, and Andrea Bocelli and Josh
Grobin, even Sheryl Crow when they’re not
making her under-sing in the studio. She has
some big pipes in there! All of those artists have
such incredible voices that I would be honored to
do something with any of them.
You've scored films, radio drops, ads, and TV shows.Is
it easier to write a song or score a piece?
know, I think it’s the same amount of work,
only you have different focuses. If you’re
scoring, you’re paying a lot more attention
to the action of what you’re scoring to,
whether it’s a time code, or something onscreen.
If you’re writing a song, you’re scoring
to your lyrics. So it’s the same either way,
I guess. I just love to write music. I can’t
wait to get back into chewing into some good composition,
that’s for sure.
If you could try something completely different
with your life, instead of being an all around entertainment
success, what would it be?
I would have been an astronaut. But if I had to
makea change right now at 38, I would go in to Physics,
or the Acoustic Sciences. Or maybe Paleontology.
I’m from Montana so I’m used to sitting
in the hot dirt for hours at a time (laughs). Or
I could go into politics. I’m big on human
rights and there’s no shortage of needing
people to stick up for those who can’t stick
up for themselves.
I’m surprised you had so many answers off
the topof your head because you have what most people
would consider a dream job – you’re
a celebrity. You’re a rock star. You’re
famous. But now I have to ask, do you ever wish
you took another career path in your life? [Writer’s
note: Prior to the following answer, there was a
I think no matter who you are, or what you do in
your life, you’re always going to wonder what
would have happened if you would have taken another
path. If you did something different. I’m
very happy with how my entertainment career has
turned out, and continues to grow. I’ve worked
hard for it, and I am so filled with joy that so
many people get so much out of my work. I’m
a very blessed person, and I’m very aware
Danielle, thank you for this visit. It’s been
Well thank you, Lindsay. You’ve been awesome
Egnew's MySpace: http://www.MySpace.com/danielleegnew