I had a chance to sit down with singer/songwriter Miranda Dodson recently and talk about developing her craft, her travels and the musicians who contributed to her upcoming release "Change A Thing".

So the folks over at KUT Austin recently asked after an interview with you..."Where did she come from?" So we'd like to ask the same thing...where did Miranda Dodson come from?

Haha! I think that I have been here for a while, but kind of under the radar, learning who I am as an artist, figuring out how to do this thing well. I didn’t want to just run out there with the wrong songs & the wrong sound and with the wrong producer. I needed to take the thought and time developing my craft. If I had pushed too hard too fast I feel like that would have been a mistake. So I took my time. It also takes a lot to convince yourself to do something like this. I had to be honest with myself, “Do I have a gift that other people want to participate in?” or do I just love to sing? …after some time of playing out, writing, learning to edit my songs & networking with great Austin musicians that I really admired, I thought that the answer was “Yes” I should take this seriously, really put my heart and soul in to it… just see where it takes me.

We hear you're a world traveler. How does traveling affect your musical content, and what parts of the world have you shared your talents with?

Traveling is one of my life’s passions. Participating in other cultures… other ways of life… It is just so interesting -- I always love people and their cultures more when I get the opportunity to experience it first hand. Traveling makes me think about life differently… it always takes my perspective and broadens it….realizing that not everyone thinks the way you do, and trying to put yourself in their shoes to understand why. Floating in and out of world-views always makes me think about life’s bigger question. It's kind of a head-trip, but it always compels me to write. My husband and I lived in Oxford, England for a little while as he earned his Masters degree. I was able to do quite a lot of thinking & writing while I was there. Most of my writing was awkward and incomplete…not too much of it will ever see the light of day, but it was an integral part of my growth as a songwriter. I am so grateful for that time. While we lived there I did a little bit of playing out, my first gig in Oxford was at the same pub that Radiohead had their first gig as well… so I felt like it was a good omen. Thom Yorke actually lived right down the street from us and we would see him from time to time walking his son home from pre-school. We never approached him cause he is little and scary…we would mostly just elbow each other and try to “play it cool”.

Tell us about the new album and the musicianship and production behind it?

When I thought about starting work on a new recording project, I knew that I needed a great producer. In the past I had just kind of gone with whoever was at hand, which isn’t always bad, but I just wanted to make a more educated choice and one that would benefit the music foremost. I chose Robert Harrison (Future Clouds & Radar, Cotton Mather). I knew that Robert hadn’t really produced anyone other than himself and the Future Clouds & Radar record “Peoria” had just come out. As I listened to that record I was just more and more convinced that Robert was not only the producer for the job but also the artist for the job. I could have gone out and picked any number of great producers here in Austin that would have done a fine job… but I needed these recordings to rise above the collective folk/alt-country noise and grab the attention of listeners. Robert is just crazy enough to push the folk/alt-country boundaries and yet smart enough to know when to stop. On top of that…he is just a fantastic guy, a pleasure to work with. “Change a Thing” started as a collection of about 10 songs…some made it to the album…some are still living in my notebook… and some were written along the way. We thought at first that it would just be an EP with “Too Late”, “Prodigal”, “Slow Motion” and “Fly” –those were the first four that we completed. Once we got to the end of those we kind of sat back and thought… “WOW- that doesn’t sound like an EP… that sounds like it should be on a full-length record.” So then we started looking at the other songs I had written, we then added in “Stone” and“I Will Be Free”, “Home” & “Never Be The Same”… Robert and I collaborated on writing “King” and at his suggestion we added in the Jimmy Cliff cover “Sitting In Limbo”. I had always recorded very economically: you get all your pre-production done, get your drummer & bass player who play together often to come in and track simultaneously…one or two days later all of the drums and bass are done… etc. Good way to record for sure… but the way that the process unfolded for me was different this time, I thought that I was recording an EP, and Robert had never recorded another artist before… so we went a song at a time. It was more of looking at one song at a time, making each song as strong as we could make it, while keeping the sonic palette controlled so that all the songs would all fit together as a collection in the end. –It was a challenge, but I think that we pulled it off. As we rolled through production Robert instinctively knew who he thought would be great musicians for the songs… and Austin is blessed enough to have some of the best musicians in the nation. So we got Rick Richards -Drums (Ray Wylie Hubbard) George Rieff- Bass (Jakob Dylan, The Court Yard Hounds), Derek Morris (Alpha Rev), Joshua Zarbo- Bass (Monohans, Spoon, John Vanderslice) and others to sit in… they were all incredible musicians, they each brought so much to the quality & creativity on this record. It was a true collaborative effort.

"Change A Thing" will be out this month, what are your plans for the big release, and what can we expect from you after it's released?

Yes! We have been working so hard on every aspect of this record and are so excited to get it out there. We are throwing a CD release show at the famed Stubb's (indoor) here in Austin on Friday, June 11th w/ special guests Jason Poe (Jets Under Fire) & Aaron Ivey. It will be a great show. I even have my friends Dave & Brian from Alpha Rev stopping by to play some strings…so yeah…it should be really fun! After the release we are working on putting together a Texas Tour that will include Dallas, Denton, Waco, Houston, San Antonio and more so keep check the site for added tour dates. I also plan on releasing some singles later in the year, I have been writing a lot lately and am very excited to get these songs out there as well. If folks are interested they can join my Facebook page to stay up on those details.

"Change A Thing" will be released on June 11th at Stubbs - Austin, Texas and nationally on June 15th.

1 comment:

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