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BETH HART (2019)


Music Waves went to meet a great rock lady to talk about her latest album, but also to talk about much more sensitive and personal topics, not without emotion!
DARIALYS - 11.10.2019 - 12 picture(s) - (1) comment(s)
We don't count Beth Hart's albums anymore! After releasing several albums with the famous guitarist Joe Bonamassa, the American singer returns to her first love with a very personal album, "War In My Mind". Music Waves went to meet this great rock lady to talk about her latest album, but also to talk about much more sensitive and personal topics, not without emotion! A very beautiful interview all in sincerity to discover.

The last time we met in 2015 for the promotion of your album "Better Than Home". You told me it was your most personal album, but I heard you said the same thing for your last album, "War In My Mind". So you seem to be making more and more personal albums. How far do you plan to go?

It's been like that since I actually started playing music. I have always written personal songs because I don't know how to write songs that tell someone else's story. It's always my story I tell, it's never going to change. It's funny because every time I release an album, people say to me, "This is your most personal album!" (Laughs). They all are!

This time, you're talking about your father's addiction to games on the track "Try A Little Harder", the fact that your sister left home in 'Sister Dear', your bipolarity... Is it therapeutic to write songs like that? Or is it an opportunity to write deeper songs?

Probably both. I am getting older, so I have some hindsight on my character, on my personality, on my experiences. I sing with different perspectives from the same experience, I use different points of view. I think it's because I'm getting older. I do a lot of speech therapy too. I could talk about my father's addiction to gambling through a negative angle, but on the other hand, I have a certain admiration for him because he has the courage to take the risk of losing everything. I think it's incredible!

You always talk about your own stories in your albums, but this time I don't know if it's related to the fact that you're getting older, but the subjects seem to be deeper.

Yes, I think that can be explained by the fact that I'm getting older, certainly. When you're young, you're afraid of how people perceive you. You think your reputation is important. When you grow up, you realize it's not. Everyone is focused on their lives and doesn't care about you! It's the very nature of man, we all try to survive! We are more focused on ourselves than on others. I think you realize that more when you grow up. In any case, there is a big artistic difference between what I do today and what I did when I was younger. One of these things is anger. I always had them, but when I was young, I hid behind her because I felt safer. Today I am calmer, but I am more afraid of the scene, whereas when I was young, I used to hide behind my anger when I went on stage.

Do you think that all the rage you show on this album allows you to be calmer today?

I think that becoming calm is normal when you get older. You have a choice: either you get bitter and focus on what you don't have, or you consider yourself lucky to have what you have. Fortunately, I think I'm moving more towards the second path, even though some days I'm bitter. It depends on the day and the time of day!

Most of the songs on your latest album are ballads or songs with a slow tempo. Do you think these formats are better suited to highlight your feelings? Maybe that's why some people even consider it your most personal album!

It's interesting because I never intended to make an album that would sound like this or that. When I write, I never think about what it would look like for someone from outside, what it would look like on the album or on stage. All I care about is my feelings.

You're calmer now, and maybe that's why this album is calmer too.

I don't think this album is any calmer, either narratively or musically. There are tracks on this album that are more aggressive than those of "Better Than Home". One person may very well find this album dark, another may say it is very calm. Since I have been giving interviews, I have heard many different opinions, and all these opinions are valid. After all, when I make music, I do it for myself, but once the album is out, it's for everyone! Everyone can interpret it in their own way and it cannot be misinterpreted. It depends on how it makes people feel.

On your previous album, you collaborated with Joe Bonamassa, and you reached a certain level of popularity. A lot of people seem to be trapped in their popularity, but you seem freer as you gain popularity! How do you explain that?

To be honest, I don't really pay attention to that! The only thing I noticed was that the older I get, the more I work. I noticed that. The audiences are becoming more and more important but I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm lucky! I don't pay attention to it because it doesn't really mean anything to me. What matters is getting up in the morning, being passionate and excited about what you're doing. That's what I care about. If I gave importance to my popularity, I would have big artistic and psychological problems. It would make things a lot more complicated.


This album has very different atmospheres. There is gospel on 'Let It Grow', a Latin side on 'Spanish Lullabies', a pop/rock side on 'Sugar Shack'... Was it your choice to have such variety on this album?

There is never any particular intention. I always have songs that come to mind, all the time. On each album, I work with a different producer. I try not to repeat myself. The only time I've repeated myself is when I've worked with Joe Bonamassa, because he still works with Kevin Shirley (producer of bands like Iron Maiden, Rush, Journey, Dream Theater..., ed), but I don't like doing that. I like working with new people, which has an impact on sound, and it allows me to learn. But every time I try to compose, I always have a lot of songs coming to me. I write everything, all genres combined, no matter who the producer is. For this album, I wrote 35 songs. On "Better Than Home", I wrote more than 50 of them, I don't believe in concept albums, I don't like it. I prefer concepts on the scale of a song, where each song has its own story. Every song has its importance. That's what turns me on when I work with a producer. Some of the people I've worked with have the leitmotif of having a coherent, more conceptual album, but I still like it because it's different from my opinion and it makes me grow.

If you write so many songs, what about the ones that don't appear on the album?

They are released on the next album. It allows them to grow. Sometimes the song doesn't ring a bell anymore, so I don't plan to release it for the next album, but that doesn't mean it won't be released on the album that will come next! You never know! You never know!

We were talking about your popularity....

(She cuts) She doesn't matter, not at all.

But do you trust yourself?

People think so, but if you lived with me, you would see another aspect of my personality.

Not having confidence in myself, what people think of me is very important. Isn't that important to you?

Yes, it is! 

Your popularity has grown more and more, and you could have told yourself that every night you play sold-out concerts, which means that people love you.

That's not how I work. And if you ask my musicians when we're on tour, I often find that the audience was disappointed by the concert. Sometimes I have the impression that people regret coming and want to leave but they don't want to do it because they don't want to hurt me, so they force themselves to stay in their chairs. I feel even more so with age. When I was young, I had more anger, so I didn't care about any of that. Nowadays, it matters to me that people like what I do. I not only want people to have a good time, but as a human being, I also want to be accepted.

If people buy their tickets to see you, it's because they like you!

Yes, I know, my drummer tells me every night! And I can give you another example. I've been married for 20 years. My husband was by my side while I was in 10 psychiatric hospitals, while I went through 5 rehab sessions, while I was in prison, and he is still with me! Yet I still have nightmares about him leaving me for someone else! Since I was a child, I have been abandoned many times. When you go through all this, your self-esteem is very low. You think you're not good enough. Even though I've done tons of therapy, I've been to church, I've prayed... There's always this fear of being left inside me. She's always been there and she won't leave.

You were abandoned as a child by your parents?

My father left first, then he didn't come back until I was much older. I had a stepfather for four years. Overnight, he left too. Then my mother started dating weird guys. When I was 13, I had a relationship with a 40-year-old man. I stayed with him for six months. And when I was 14, I left home with a 25-year-old boy who was violent. I lived with him in Brooklyn. I was really abused in my youth by men. I needed a father figure so much that I was looking for anyone to play it.

Maybe in your dreams, your husband has the same behavior your father had with you.

Yes, that's right. One part of me feels that my husband loves me, while the other part thinks that he can't really love me, that it's not possible.

You said you went to church. The song 'Let It Grow' has elements from gospel music. Is there a connection? Is this a way to show your belief in God?

I'm not trying to show people my beliefs. I don't think people need to know that. I'm just trying to express my feelings at some point. I wrote this song with my friend Rune. As I explained to you, I don't think I'm a good enough wife, I'm good enough on stage, but I still do. That's what 'Let It Grow' is about. Whatever you feel, do what you have to do by ignoring people, lead your life as you see fit.

Life is a struggle for all. For you, this struggle seems to be even stronger.

Maybe not, maybe you think it is, because I'm very open when it comes to talking about it. A lot of people keep it to themselves. Since I've been taking therapies since I was six years old. I've been used to talking to strangers about everything.


By being so frank and open, aren't you afraid to be judged by people?

No, I don't care. Because as I was saying earlier, I'm not interested in popularity. I would rather be hated for who I am than be loved for who I am not.

When people see you so beautiful without any make-up, does it make you want to stay authentic?

This morning, we went to the interview site, and I don't know if I felt confident or if I assumed my age, and I thought it was stupid to have to wear makeup to make me look 25 or 30 when I'm 47. It has nothing to do with the fact that I don't like women who are getting ready. I wear heels myself, I put on makeup from time to time when I'm in the mood that goes with it. But today, I didn't want to. I don't know why. I've been thinking about it. Maybe I'll understand one day! I don't know if it really matters. We have a series in the United States with housewives from all over the United States, and I noticed that when actresses my age wear makeup, they look older! I wonder why we're doing this.

There's makeup, and there's also plastic surgery.

I do all these things, they put botox on me, they gave me injections. I've been doing all this since I was 12 years old! I love it! I love it! Because I was never very beautiful so I wanted to put all my chances on my side!

To be honest, it looks natural on you.

I don't do it often.

Many older women use all this and end up looking alike.

Yes, they're overdoing it. But if you look at pictures of me from five years ago, you see a difference. I did it too much back then too. It's easy to abuse it because with each session, you have the feeling of being more and more beautiful! But no, you're not better, you're just different. And then you get addicted to all this.

This is the third time we've seen each other, and I've never noticed.

Yes, because I don't do much. I mostly did injections. It made my cheeks look big. My childhood friends, when they saw me, asked me what I was doing. They told me I was horrible and I shouldn't do that anymore.

These are good friends!

Yes, they are very good friends. They're honest! (Laughs).

There is a Jamie Cullum side to 'Bad Woman Blues' and Supertramp's influence on 'Try A Little Harder'. Do you think so too? If so, are they an influence to you?

I don't know the music of Jamie Cullum. I just know him by name. I don't know Supertramp either. I haven't heard from Jamie Cullum in a while. I didn't know Supertramp was a music band.

The beginning of 'Try A Little Harder' with this piano is like a journey that would remind us of Supertramp.

After hearing the final version of this song, it was my favorite, I couldn't stop listening to it. She's funny and a little crazy. I like the way it sounds and I love its meaning. She talks about my father and his sides that I love.

Is this still your favorite song?

Now, it's evolved a little bit and I think it's natural. I really like 'War In My Mind'. I am aware that I can exaggerate certain things, and to the extent that I am aware of it, I am less afraid of it. It's when I think I'm better that's not a very good sign! I really like 'War In My Mind' and'Woman Down' too. I really like this one. But for a while, 'Try A Little Harder' was my favorite.

You said you had wanted to work with Rob Cavallo since 2003, but it wasn't accepted by the producer you were working with at the time. Can you tell us more about this story?

I didn't want him to produce me, but I wanted to sign at Warner Bros (Rob Cavallo being the president of Warner Bros Record, editor's note). At the time, I wasn't at any label. I was writing a new album, "Leave The Light On". My producer at the time, when he heard the songs on the new album, called Rob to come and see me play at my house. Once the album was released, he didn't like it and so I missed this opportunity. But I have one of my best friends whose sister has been married to Rob for many years. I played 'Sister Dear' at a party, and Rob said he really wanted to produce this album. I also played 'War In My Mind' and 'Rub Me For Luck' that day. He just wanted to produce these three songs in the first place, but he ended up producing the whole album. He did a very good job.

You seem to use the tremolo on your voice more often in this album than in the past. Is this a way to pass on your sensitivity?

No, I've always used this technique. I train a lot with my coach to be a better singer, and also to get rid of my vibrato. He says it's not possible and that it's my natural way of singing. You can't hear it anymore on this album certainly because Rob made sure that we don't hear it anymore in the mix, whereas some producers who don't like it hid it in the final mix so that we don't really hear it. You hear it less when I play in a band, but when I'm alone on stage, you hear it more.


Are there any choices made by producers you have worked with in the time you have missed?

Of course! Of course! Over the years, there are albums that I like and others that have been ruined by bad production. This is the case with "My California", but basically, I love this album. The songs are good, it's really the production that's not right. I love all the songs on this album, but I hate the production. On "Better Than Home", I also think that the production of some titles was not good. I think it could have been much better in another way. But there are songs like 'Tell Her You Belong To Me' where the result is excellent. On this album, I find that Rob has successfully produced absolutely all the songs. We couldn't have done it better. Of all the albums I've made, it's the only one I still listen to every day. In general, once the mixing is done, I have already listened to the album many times. Once it is mastered, I listen to it two or three times, and then I stop. It's the same for all my albums, even the ones with Joe (Bonamassa, editor's note). But this album, when it was mastered, the next day I went on tour for 6 weeks, and I listened to it every day. It's probably because Rob did a great job. He let the songs express themselves. He did a very, very good job. He has produced very different albums, and all have been very successful.

On 'Thankful', you give thanks to everyone! Who are the people you'd like to thank?

Everyone! Everyone! God first, my husband, my mother, my father, nature. You go out into nature, you go to see a river, an ocean, you cross a forest, you walk in a garden... There are so many things for which we must be grateful! There are so many things to listen to, to grasp, to taste, to eat, to watch movies, to take a bath, to sleep in a clean, warm and comfortable bed! The list of things for which we have to say thank you is endless.

You too deserve to be thanked for the emotions you bring to your music and stage performances!

That's so sweet of you!

Don't you want to thank yourself for all the work you've done?

No ! (Laughs). No, because I'm aware of all the flaws I have!

But everyone has flaws! You're not the only one! No one is perfect and you are a human being like everyone else! You make us feel emotions through your music. It's not given to everyone!

Don't make me cry! You're so sweet! Everyone has been so kind to me today. Thank you very much!

It doesn't look like that if it wasn't true! That's the truth! You seem to have gained self-confidence since 2015 when we last met.

There have been a lot of changes in recent years. I'm sober for real now, it'll be 5 years in January 2020. It makes a real difference. I have always taken very, very powerful medications. Now it is possible to take cannabis oil. People with schizophrenia are also given pure concentrate of isolated CBD in high doses. It is used for severe mental problems. This is what I take, and it allows me to avoid the drugs I used to take before and which had very harmful side effects on the body. It's poison, but it makes the head work. This is the first time in 12 years that I have stopped taking these drugs, and it makes a real difference to my health.

Maybe that's why you seem to be healthier than before!

Yes, I've heard that before. The sobriety and stopping taking these drugs helped me.

That's why I say thank you!

But it's to God that you should say thank you, not to me! It is thanks to God and good people.        

Thank you very much!

Merci beaucoup !

Thanks to Loloceltic for his contribution...

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NEWF - 11/10/2019 08:40:18
Très belle interview, bravo !
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War In My Mind (2019)
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