Expanding her sound at a pivotal time – Callaghan

Ahead of the upcoming release of her upcoming self-titled album, Callaghan took some time out of her US tour to speak to Maverick about the new record – her third as a solo artist. 
So, what can you tell us about your new self-titled album?
‘Callaghan’ is a 12 track album written and recorded over the course of one year in Los Angeles. I made the album in 3 stages, recording 4 songs at a time.
It was easier to fit around my touring schedule that way, but it also gave me a great amount of freedom to keep writing as the year went on and draw from the experiences I was having and what was going on in the world at the time, and then put all that into the songs I was writing.
You recorded the new album in LA, how did that process compare to recording in Nashville?
The move to LA has been really great in terms of getting to work with new producers and writers and explore a slightly more pop sound.
Both Nashville and LA have amazing musicians and producers to work with. In LA the industry is focused more on the pop and movie side of music, so working with people from LA definitely gave me different perspectives and ideas. It’s also been inspiring taking in new surroundings, living by the ocean and the mountains.
I love the feeling of going for a walk on the beach when I’m stuck on a lyric, and letting the environment bring new inspiration.
How do you feel your music has progressed from your last album, ‘History of Now’? 
I like to call the sound of this record “cinematic pop” because a lot of the songs have very atmospheric production, with brass sections, orchestras and gospel choirs.
I named the album “Callaghan” because I felt it reflected me as an artist more than anything I’ve recorded to this point. I’ve explored more of my sound and my voice than ever before, and delved deeper into my soul through these songs.
I hope that on both ‘History of Now’ and ‘Callaghan’ people will find songs that move them and which they can relate to their own lives and experiences.
You’ve played C2C a few times, and you’re headlining London Roots Festival in November. How important has the UK country/roots scene been to your career so far? And why do you think it’s so successful here in the UK now? 
I think the genre of country and roots music in the UK is, in some ways, much wider than it is in the US. So there’s more space for a huge range of artists, all doing their own thing.
To me, the most important thing is always the song and whether it makes you feel something, whether that’s making you cry or want to dance around the room.
I think that’s at the heart of the UK country/roots scene and that’s why so many people connect so strongly with it.
You’re an independent artist, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of that?
I have a lot of creative control as an independent artist which is something I really value. To have the freedom to write and record exactly what I want to express is incredible.
However, it’s also an amazing amount of work to be independent, and can be a challenge to reach people without the resources of a label to promote the music.
But in today’s world, more and more artists are going it alone and figuring out ways to build their own audience.
Having lived in the States for so long, are you ever tempted to move back to the UK? And if you did do you think if would effect your sound? 
I love that I get to tour in the UK a couple of times a year and, to be honest, I still miss home a lot! Living in the US has given me some unforgettable experiences and I’ve been able to work with some incredible people through recording my albums in three cities – Atlanta, Nashville and LA.
Who knows where my next album will be recorded – I’d love to spend some more time in the UK and possibly work more with writers and producers I’ve connected with over there and see where it takes me next.
What is your favourite song on the new album, and why? 
It’s always hard to choose a favourite song because they each bring something different, but I have a particular soft spot for a track called “All Through The Night” on my album.
I grew up listening to and playing a lot of classical music, and I had always wanted to incorporate that into my music in some way.
So this song starts with a 1:30 instrumental prelude that I composed with the producer and arranger, Starr Parodi, which is performed by a 30-piece orchestra and leads into the track.
There’s something about this song that always puts me into a trance whenever I listen to it. I would challenge anyone not to feel completely chilled out after listening to it!
What is your favourite ever live show, and why? 
I recently got to play at British Summertime Festival in London’s Hyde Park this summer with my band. I was on the line up with James Taylor, Bonnie Rait and Paul Simon, which was incredible.
There were 65,000 people at the festival and such an amazing atmosphere, topped off by the fact that I got to meet and chat to James Taylor, and he was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met!
If you could only listen to one other artist for the rest of your life, who would it be and why? 
That’s a tricky question because I think if you could only listen to one artist their music might start to drive you a bit crazy, so it’s a tough one!
I guess I’d have to think of the artists that have been in my musical collection the longest – Elton John, James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion and Coldplay.
If I had to choose one, I’d go with Celine Dion who I have listened to since I can remember. Her song “Think Twice” was the first song I ever bought and I find her a very inspiring vocalist and performer.
I also love listening to her French songs which are quite different in style to her English recordings and if I had the rest of my life to listen to them, I could really improve my French!
The album which made me want to be a song-writer was ‘Soul’s Core’ by Shawn Mullins so that would be a contender as well.
Finally for our readers who aren’t familiar with your music, could suggest three of your songs to listen to, which best sum up Callaghan?
‘Broken’ – from my new album ‘Callaghan’. This is a song I co-wrote with my producer, Starr Parodi. We were discussing the state of the world back in 2016 and how unpredictable everything seemed to have become.
This feels like an extremely powerful song to me and we recorded it with a 30 piece orchestra which was an incredible experience.
‘Better Together’ is an uptempo, feel-good track on the new album that is all about positivity and being stronger together. It was so much fun to record, and features a brass section which was a first for me.
Finally, ‘When You Loved Me’ is  a love song from my previous album “A History of Now” that I love to sing live because it’s so stripped back and always seems to resonate very strongly with audiences.
The new album ‘Callaghan’ is out August 31st.  
Callaghan’s UK tour starts October 30. For more information visit: https://callaghansongs.com/

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