TELL US ABOUT THE SONG CANNON BALL, WHY IT IS THE PERFECT SONG TO DEBUT ON YOUR FIRST ALBUM?
“This song was written by SIA, who is incredible. I was working on another song with her, we were writing together and you know we were chatting and she said, ‘Oh I have this song I think you would like it,’ and she left the room and played it for me and when she came back in I was like, ‘Please give me this song it’s so amazing.’ It’s been such an inspiration for me personally, and it was unbelievable how it just happened to, you know, come into my life and I thank her so much for it. But it wasn’t supposed to happen, it was just… you know… it was fate.”
DID YOU WRITE THE SONG? WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
“I love this song so much. I feel like it just… It’s so empowering and I really feel so honoured to be a part of a television show that’s really inspiring and has always been very empowering for our young fans, and I feel like although this song is Lea Michelle and not Rachel Berry, it really does have the same message of really being a powerful, empowering song, and that’s who I try to be for my fans and the people that watch my show. It just feels like me, and I love singing it and I love singing, you know the message.”
WE ARE THE SET OF YOUR FIRST MUSIC VIDEO, WHAT IS THE THEME BEHIND THE VIDEO? HOW INVOLVED WERE YOU IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS FOR THE VIDEO?
“My dream job is to be a music video director concept-ish person. I always am listening to songs and like coming up with the concepts for the videos. It’s like my favourite thing to do so I was really excited to get to shoot this video and come up with some ideas. And our director Robert is so amazing and we came up with this idea of just being in this sort of in a very uncomfortable space feeling very trapped and claustrophobic, and finally finding the freedom and the strength within yourself to bring yourself to a place of enlightenment and freedom and strength in the end. So I think that using the two locations of the broken down warehouse into the clear, white walls open space is our way of sort of illustrating going from that really dark place into the light, literally.”
DOING A MUSIC VIDEO MEANS LONG DAYS, BREAKDOWN THE VIDEO SET BY THE NUMBERS FOR ME, HOW MANY DAYS/ HOURS TO SHOOT, HOW MANY WARDROBE CHANGES, HOW MANY EXTRAS ON SET ETC….
“Well when we’re shooting ‘Glee’, we basically have like two minutes to do everything. It’s like ‘run to the recording studio and quickly sing this song and then sing that song!’ and then it’s like ‘Oh no we have to shoot this tomorrow and so let’s get it done!’ and we rarely have the time because we have so much that we have to accomplish. We’re always shooting like three episodes at once. So it’s like ‘oh today you’re singing the Christmas song for three episodes away’ which is now it’s September and we’re singing, you know, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ So we just try to do our best. With this, you know with recording an album, you get to really take the time. It was weird for me at the beginning, I would go into the studio and I would be like, ‘We’ve got to get it done!!’ and then he’d be like ‘We have all the time in the world.’ So then by the end I was like having lunch, and then going in and singing some more, and it was so nice to get to just relax and find the creativity, you know within the whole process.”
TELL ME ABOUT THE RECORDING PROCESS, HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN PUTTING TOGETHER THE ALBUMS FOR GLEE?? HOW CREATIVELY INVOLVED WERE YOU IN THE STUDIO? E.I. WRITING MUSIC, PRODUCING ETC…
“It’s really funny because when I was thinking about making this album everyone was asking me, ‘well are you doing original songs?’ and ‘are you doing covers?’ and I was like I don’t think there’s any covers left for me to do on an album, I’ve done them all on ‘Glee’ (laughs). But no they’re all original songs and you know my inspirations were definitely I love Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry and Adele. But, and I don’t know how it happened, but in the end I really feel like this sounds like me. It sounds like Lea Michelle, and I think that’s really awesome. It’s definitely a pop record but it sort of comes with the sort of drama and emotion that I feel that I sort of exude as a performer. But it’s also really fun.”
WHAT MAJOR COLLABORATIONS CAN WE EXPECT ON YOUR DEBUT ALBUM? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?
“Well I got to work with SIA so much on this album which was so incredible, and Bonnie McKee who I love and adore. As well as Christina Perry, who I think is like, the jam. Um, I wanted to say a curse word (laughs) so I said ‘jam’ and then it sounded really corny (laughs). But I mean I’m such a fan of music, I love you know finding new artists and stuff like that, but I think my god that I praise is Alanis Morisette so to just lock myself in a room with her you know… Of course Barbara Streisand but that’s, you know, that’s another level.”
WE SAW YOU RECENTLY POST SOME PHOTOS FROM YOUR ALBUM PHOTO SHOOT, HOW DID THAT GO? DID YOU CHOOSE THE FINAL LOOKS?
“We did the album cover shoot a couple weeks ago, Peggy Sarota shot it, she’s really awesome. It was just, I wanted to go with lots of blacks and whites and very you know like edgy. The album is very emotional and it deals with a lot of, you know pretty intense subject matter so I thought that the shoot needed to kind of illustrate the same feel and vibe. So we went for really kind of edgy and emotional, using darks blacks and whites and browns and stuff like that. And again I feel like in the end it just totally like… it just… everything just fell into place so well. I’m really lucky.”
DO YOU PREFER SINGING VERSES ACTING? CAN YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO?
“I get asked that question all the time – which I prefer more. You know, I get to be on ‘Glee’ and do both at the same time so I’m sort of spoiled right now. But you know right now I’m really loving exploring the world of being a performer, a musician, an artist. So this is really fun right now. But then of course, you know, I just don’t ever want to have to pick. I want to do both.”
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CAN SOMETIMES PRESSURE ARTISTS TO BE SOMETHING THEIR NOT, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO STAY TRUE TO YOUR ARTISTRY? WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN SOME MUSICIANS FOCUS MORE ON THEIR IMAGE THAN THEIR MUSIC?
“In picking the songs and in working on this album, I really you know, I made sure that everything we chose to sing and the songs that we wrote – everything fit and blended well together to have a really good cohesive feel here. It’s been such an incredible, incredible journey. It’s taken over a year to complete this album, but it’s come together as something that is incredibly personal and means so much to me. It’s the story of a period of my life that also means a lot to me, so I’m really glad that I have it for the rest of my life now.”
Lea Michele’s debut single ‘Cannonball’ is out on 9th March 2014, with the debut album ‘Louder’ following on 17th March 2014.