Saturday, May 10, 2008
Quite a few people have asked me why I decided to move more in the pop direction for the new album, away from the more alternative pop/rock of HPF Take a Chance, and I think it's a fair question that deserves an answer.
I listen and love tons of kinds of music. My favorite artists are bands like MuteMath, Muse, Switchfoot, Relient K, My Chemical Romance, etc., but my favorite songwriters of all time are artists like Bebo Norman, Steven Curtis Chapman, James Taylor, Bryan Adams & Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows). The thing about that is: my favorite songwriters are many times on the opposite end of the spectrum of my favorite music to listen to. So, as all songwriters do, you try to figure out how to combine all your influences to make and amalgamation that is your own style.
With HPF, I was in a band and we were a mainstream band that wanted to put on as exciting a show as possible, so songs like Hero, Closer, Tunnel Vision, Somewhere and Convenience ended up really working for what we wanted to do. When we played a 30 minute opening set, we had the opportunity to rock out for 30 minutes straight.
Now, the goal for my solo career is to be at a place where Chris Sligh is identified as being a band show...but there are still times that I will be playing acoustic gigs. After all, I am a solo artist. I'm not a band. On later albums, I'm hoping that I don't have the problem of having to worry about playing acoustic gigs, so my albums may be informed by that. However, on this album, I knew that in trying to break me as an artist that I'd be playing acoustic gigs...thus, I needed songs that I could sell with just me and an acoustic guitar. I'm sorry but none of the songs I mentioned the prior paragraph would work in that fashion. I included several songs as it is (Love is Raining Down, Arise, Waiting For You, etc.) that do not really work acoustically...but I have enough of a song base that I can pull it off.
So, to answer the questions...the reason I went more pop has to do with being real in a live situation. I'm a solo artist now. Look for albums to come to definitely be a little edgier...but for now, I'm excited for and proud of the album I made, and I think it fits me perfectly for where I am at this point!
Another thing I've seen is people saying that they wish I'd shown more of my personality in my lyrics. I would like to point out someone like John Mayer...Mr. Mayer is one of the funniest celebrities I've ever seen and in concert he jokes and tells stories and is hilarious. But his music is deep and serious. As a songwriter, I feel like that's my place. There are few things in life I take seriously and those things are my relationship with Christ, my relationship with Sarah and music. Period. That's it. I feel like I would be cheapening my vision for my artistry by writing "witty" or funny lyrics. I want to write songs that meet people where they are for a lifetime, not just makes them laugh for a couple of seconds the first time they hear it ('cause let's be honest...once you've heard the joke, you've heard the joke - it's not as funny the next time around).
I hope that people listening to the album will enter in listening with an open mind. Don't go in with preconceived notions of what I should be (funny, witty, etc.) because you won't get those things. What I hope you get is an album full of killer songs that speak to your life like they came from mine.