So what have you been up to?
I’ve been doing some press. I’ve got a photo shoot today. Just doing the thing, man, having a great time.
Are you psyched about the record release?
Yeah, I’m really excited.
When did you finish the record?
Uh, a while ago. Maybe a month and a half ago.
How did you get signed to Trans-Continental?
I’ve known Lou Perlman for a long time, and he heard the songs I was writing and producing and we just hooked up.
You’ve been writing for a while. Has it always been pop?
Always the same thing. As a writer, I think a good song is a good song no matter how it is dressed up, no matter the production or instrumentation. As a producer, this is always the way I’ve heard music. You know, real poppy.
How do you write? I know you play piano.
Always different ways. For the most part I’ll have an idea that I want to write about or something that I’m feeling. Then I’ll sit down at the piano and come up with the piano parts and the melodies. Usually I’ll do all the music first and then I’ll come up with the lyrics.
Do you carry a tape recorder with you?
Yeah, all the time. Whenever I forget my tape recorder, I’ll be anywhere, like a restaurant, and I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll have to sing it into my phone on the answering machine. And people look at me like I’m a nut.
I’ve heard that a lot. Or you have to sing it the entire way home so you don’t forget it.
(laughs) Yep, yep. That is so true.
How does the co-writing work on the album? Do you come in with a melody and they write the music in the studio? How does that work for you?
Most of the songs I either wrote by myself or I co-wrote. It depends. Sometimes I’ll go into a room with an idea or they’ll have an idea and you go from there. The stuff I co-wrote I also co-produced, so they would have a certain sound that I would like and we would create together and I would write the lyrics. It depends. I’ve co-written in so many different situations that really vary. It can be weird at first, but you get the hang of it.
What inspires you?
Some songs that I write are personal experiences, not all are. Sometimes I see what a friend will go through and write from their point of view. The songs on this album are all a part of me.
Do you ever get frustrated trying to write?
I try not to schedule myself a time to write. I feel it is such a creative thing that I need to just let it flow. The times that I ever tried to force myself it never works.
The spontaneous songs always seem to be the best.
Absolutely. You can’t explain where creative things come from.
A few of us here write, and when we try to sit down and do it, it never works.
Right. It doesn’t. (laughs)
We just struggle.
(laughs) Yep, yep. Exactly.
Shifting gears, I read you were doing some acting. Is that something you did before music?
I used to be on a show on Nickelodeon called Welcome Freshman, so I did that, and now I just did a cameo for a movie called Jack Of All Trades.
Isn’t LFO in that?
Yeah, Rich is in that. Britney Spears, NSYNC, and tons of music people. I perform. There is a big concert scene and that is where I perform. It was a lot of fun.
Is acting something you’d like to pursue?
Music is definitely my first focus. I mean, I’m a musician, I’m more than a singer. I write, I play almost all the instruments on my album, so music is first. Acting is fun too, so we’ll see.
That is a rarity in pop for someone to actually play an instrument, let alone write.
I know. Music is what I love. I’ve done it since I was little. I started piano when I was eleven or twelve.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
I enjoy all aspects, but I have to say performing is probably the most fun because you get an immediate response from the fans. The fans are so incredible. When they hear something they like, you can tell. It is really fulfilling.
What is the misconception that people have about being a musician?
Lots of press. You know, everything looks so glamorous and you are going to be a huge rock star and be in the movies, but you are up at the crack of dawn to get the right lights and you have to really work. Like on a movie set, you have to sit around forever waiting for your scene to come up.
People think all you do is show up at MTV and perform and that is it.
(Laughs) I know. There is a lot that goes into it. It is a lot of hard work and not just on the musician’s part. The label and the management do lots of work to promote you too. There is so much that goes into making an artist happen. Of course, you have to have the music and the talent, but even when you have that you need a lot of other people who do jobs getting you promoted and move you along.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to Duran Duran and U2. I liked all kinds of music. Anything that was on Top 40 radio I listened to.
What would we catch you listening to now?
I like so much stuff. I listen to so many genres. I love rock, and of course I love pop stuff. I like Mariah, Jessica Simpson’s vocals, I like lots of people. I like Lauryn Hill’s record. It goes on and on. I buy so many different records.
What’s gonna happen with you in 2000?
I’m gonna do this Elite Model Search tour. I’m the headliner. I think the Spice Girls did it, Maxwell’s done it. It’s a twenty-city tour. I think it starts in the beginning of March. I’m excited about that. Still working on the summer.
+ charlie craine