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Brandi Carlile performs in The Current studio

Brandi Carlile performs in The Current studio
Brandi Carlile performs in The Current studioMPR photo/Nate Ryan
  Play Now [23:59]

by Mary Lucia

December 30, 2014

Brandi Carlile - Wherever Is Your Heart (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Brandi Carlile - The Things I Regret (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Brandi Carlile - The Eye (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR

In town for a couple of shows at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Brandi Carlile and her band (Phil Hanseroth, bass; Tim Hanseroth, guitar; Josh Neumann, cello, piano) stopped in to The Current's studio to chat with Mary Lucia and to play some songs off their forthcoming record, The Firewatcher's Daughter, which releases March 3, 2015.

The session features the live-radio premieres of three new songs, including one called "The Eye," written by guitarist Tim Hanseroth. "It's my favorite song on the album," Carlile says, "probably my favorite song ever."

Here are highlights from Brandi Carlile's interview with Mary Lucia:

On how she and her band approach songwriting:
"One of the awkward ways that we play our songs for each other, is we just start walking around near each other singing our songs and waiting for the other person to say, 'Hey, what is that? Come sit down, let's work on that.' … If no one says, 'Sit down, let's work on that,' it just kind of goes away."

On her understanding of her voice, having sung since age 8:
"It's still a work in progress; I'm still finding it all the time and thinking about it and trying to preserve it now, which I never thought about doing when I was younger. I'm still getting to know it, and I think it leads me and leads the way most of the time and I'm just having to learn to adapt."

On performing in front of an audience:
"I always feel like there are parts of music that are in my soul and there are parts of it that are means to an end. … I always wanted to get up in front of people and make them feel something."

On working with producers Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett:
"They're just larger than life, both of them. They're kind of cartoon-character-esque in their presence. There's gravity to that because you can get a bit irreverent and informal in the studio as a band."

On the role of record producers:
"It's an interesting and fascinating profession that may or may not be around forever. The profession of the A&R guy kind of changed and morphed into something much different than it used to be, and I think the same thing is happening with producers as we're able to record more and more music on our own."

On standing up to producer Rick Rubin at an early stage in her career:
"Even head-butting has its value — learning how to establish yourself, say what you want and mean it — is something I think almost every young woman in their 20s should learn how to do at some point."

On performing at The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis:
"The Varsity is a place that we played in the beginning and loved it there and made it a home; it was a home for us. And so to get to come back here and do these club gigs, it's like a party with old friends, and that's what these two shows are going to feel like."

Songs Performed (live-radio premieres)

"Wherever Is Your Heart"
"The Things I Regret"
"The Eye"
All songs off the forthcoming album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, which releases March 3, 2015, on ATO Records.

Hosted by Mary Lucia
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Corey Schreppel
Web feature by Luke Taylor