For the debut episode of the Sound Words STL Podcast, Grammy-winning artist Michelle Branch joins host John Fleming on location at Delmar Hall.
Her latest album, "Hopeless Romantic," is available now.
It’s an offering that might seem like it’s by a whole new Michelle Branch. But maybe it shouldn’t.
“When you strip down the songs at the end of the day … it’s very much Michelle Branch music,” she said.
And though she saw early success as an adult contemporary artist, Branch has always been a rocker at heart.
“I always loved and wanted to make a rock record like this,” she said. “Paper Pieces” -- that was on my demo [2000’s "Broken Bracelet"] -- and it was literally garage rock.”
Branch continues to sing about her favorite topic, but this time it’s from a place of deeper understanding.
“I love writing about relationships, and a lot of my early stuff was love songs and songs about relationships, but this record is that with some actual life experience under my belt,” Branch said.
“These songs are so, so personal compared to songs off my first record. Some of those songs I wrote when I was 14 or 15, and it was about what I thought grown-up love was.”
“I started writing this album at a very strange time in my life," she said. “I was newly 30, and had just been finally dropped from my record label, from Warner Brothers, which I had been on since I was 16. And then I was newly divorced.”
As was reported by multiple outlets, the 34-year-old became engaged to Black Keys drummer, Patrick Carney, earlier this month. Carney, among other credits, produced “Hopeless Romantic,” along with Gus Seyffert.
“I was really excited that I finally got to work with Patrick and do something that was closer to something I listen to on my own,” she said, calling the experience “incredibly inspiring.”
Her artistic freedom has evolved since she first entered the music industry as a teenager.
“The record business is a very tricky place to navigate as a young female,” she recalled.
Those within the industry encouraged Branch to trade her guitar for choreographed dance steps, the singer/songwriter said.
Branch “had a rebellious streak of, ‘No, I’m not going to do that. This isn’t what I want to do.’” she said. "Fortunately that served me well."
That refusal to compromise has led the Sedona, Ariz. native to this point in her very compelling and eclectic career.
Podcast Music: "Back Around" by A.P.S.