We were lucky enough to be front and centre during the press conferences at the recent C2C Festival in London. Miranda Lambert stopped by to talk to the media about coming to the UK for the first time, the Pistol Annies, her last record ‘Platinum’, the progress on her upcoming record, women on country radio, the MuttNation foundation, and collaborating. You can read what went down below.
Think Country: You’ve been top of our list [to play the festival] since C2C started. What made it now? Why is now the right time for you to make your first trip over to the UK and Europe?
Miranda: I don’t know. I mean, we weren’t avoiding it by any stretch! We just kinda had our head down and been working the last decade in the States. This feels great, though. It’s the fourth year of this festival, so I just felt like it’s sort of a platform for all of us to not feel alone, to come over here and just be like “What’s going on?” You know. We’ve run into all of our friends… from last night I sang with Ashley, Little Big Town, and Carrie… it feels sort of like a festival we do at home but we’re all here together. I don’t know, maybe that’s what made me feel like “Alright, it’s time to do it.”
RW Publicity: You’ve been more and more play on the radio – ‘Automatic’ was playlisted on this station where you were sitting alongside Coldplay.
Miranda: That’s crazy.
2Country Radio: When the ‘Platinum’ album came out I absolutely loved it. It’s got something for everyone; it’s got something for traditional fans, new country fans… was that conscious thing or was it just your love of all types of country that brought that together?
Miranda: A little of both. ‘Platinum’ was one of the records I really took the most time and stressed out about the most in my career so far. I wanted there to be something for everybody so I’m glad that you think that. Just being influenced by all different… you know, even in the country genre we have all different kinds of country, so I wanted to make sure that I put a song for everybody on there.
RW Publicity: ‘All That’s Left’ is very popular, can you tell us a little bit about the people that were on that track with you?
Miranda: I was actually driving home from a Beyonce concert in Dallas, Texas. I had it on the bluegrass station on XM, and I heard that song and I pulled over and Googled who it was. Then I asked the Time Jumpers to be on it with me. It was so intimidating to perform with the Time Jumpers, they’re so great! (laughs)
For The Country Record: You have a highly anticipated new album due this year. What can we expect from it, sonically, lyrically?
Miranda: You know, I’ve spent more time writing this time than I ever have. I was doing one-off shows in the summer so I spent basically five days a week writing songs. I think lyrically it will definitely be my best, my best work that I’ve done so far. I’m not really sure yet [sonically], I’m still exploring the direction of where it’s gonna go, but mainly I’m driven by the songs and the words of this next record. So that’s my focus, is the lyrics.
UKcountrymusic.net: Obviously it’s your first time here in the UK, and you’ve not yet performed on the main stage tonight, but do you know if there’s any plans to come back yet? (laughter)
Miranda: I don’t know! Everybody’s been so nice. I’m a little nervous about the show tonight, I just don’t know what to expect, but last night watching the Songwriter Series, hearing how people were very responsive but very polite, and really care about what you’re saying up there… I’m looking forward to it. Yes, Ashley Monroe and I decided we will come back but we have to come together. (laughs)
2Country Radio: Is there a song when you’re on stage, a song that’s so emotional for you that it’s really tough to actually get through and perform?
Miranda: Um… here and there. There’s two – ‘House That Built Me’ and ‘Over You’ are both very emotional. So about once a weekend I probably cry on one of those songs! Especially when I see somebody in the crowd that’s really… like when they start crying, I start crying. And then it just goes from there! But sometimes somebody will hold up a poster or picture of someone during ‘Over You’ and it gets me every time.
Roma Country Radio: You mentioned that if you came back, you’d come back with Ashley. Can we expect anything in the future from the Pistol Annies?
Miranda: I was gonna say that! I was gonna say, we’ve already been cookin’ up a plan with our manager this whole time where we bring Ang, Ash and myself and we can do solo stuff and Annie stuff. So yes. We started that band to have another creative outlet and always have fun, and you know, sometimes you can’t have fun, you gotta go do your business. So each one of us had a solo record out in the last year and a half. Angaleena’s been touring everywhere on her own, and Ashley as well. Definitely starting to feel the pull – like, we miss each other! So hopefully soon.
Up Country Magazine: Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to interview Loretta Lynn, and I asked her who she admired of current artists. She said “One word: Miranda. She’s wild!” (laughter) What do you think to that and do you regard yourself as wild?
Miranda: I think that’s amazing that she said my name and that she likes what I do. I have a wild side definitely, but that’s probably why she likes me. She does too!
RW Publicity: The song ‘Another Sunday In The South’ has been added to Radio 2 playlist. It’s a song they particularly liked, it’s not an American single. But that’s quite personal – it’s not necessarily an emotional song. Did you write that with Ashley?
Miranda: Ashley and Jessi Alexander, who I think’s doing the songwriters thing tonight [Bluebird Café and pop-up stages]. We wrote that together and it’s funny that that’s one that you guys like because it’s all about like 90s country titles. That’s the whole song, and we were just listening to 90s country for two days, that’s how we wrote the song. I love that song.
[Miranda says to me “I like your shirt, oh my gosh. It’s so great! I love it,” after seeing my ‘tomato’ shirt and host Richard Wootton asks me to turn around and show the room. Laughter ensues, the fangirl in me is dying inside]
For The Country Record: You’ve been quite vocal for your support for women in the industry, and on radio. Do you think the tides are finally turning, or is there still a way to go?
Miranda: I don’t know about on radio honestly, I’ve kind of been hunkered down writing songs. So I’m not sure it’s turning towards playing more women or not, but I think that the audience is opening their mind to not worrying about what’s just on the radio. There’s so many others ways to hear music, so while radio’s still super important – I’m always gonna fight for women to be played on radio – but I think people are looking for records and more music, and kinda more open-minded than before. I mean the fact that there’s a country music festival here, just shows you and there’s women on the bill.
Sounds Like Nashville: It’s my first time over here too, and a lot of the feedback I’m getting is that they still think country is cowboy hats and line-dancing and stuff, so I always like to ask what is country to you, and what do you want them to know about country music?
Miranda: I think the common thread is storytelling. I think country music has the most truth in it from any other genre that there is, because it’s telling your story. Telling stories that people can relate to, and talking about how you grew up, and talking about love, and love gone wrong, cheatin’ and drinkin’. That’s what country started as. People wanna know that they’re not alone in their feelings, whatever it is – joy or sadness or anything in between.
RW Publicity: Can you tell us a little bit about [MuttNation]?
Miranda: Yeah, I started the foundation in 2009, and there’s five girls on the board. We basically just help fund shelters, we give money to rescue organisations, we do anything from buy a dog that needs a surgery or give shelters quite a bit of money to do renovations and house more animals… it’s just a passion of mine. Music and animals are kind of my only two things I do, so getting to mix the two sometimes really is great.
2Country Radio: Being the biggest female artist in the genre right now, people must be knocking at your door continuously to collaborate. How do you pick and choose who to collaborate with?
Miranda: Um… well I think collaborating is really important. I have made a lot of great friends in the business. I like to have relationships with people – sometimes when ideas are thrown out there of collaborations, it has to make sense relationship-wise. Even if you haven’t met someone, but you feel a connection to them. So I sing a lot with my friends, but I do a lot of co-writing. That’s the most vulnerable collaboration you can do, you’re sort of walking in a room and reading your diary to someone. I’m a creature of habit, and stick with people I have built a relationship with, cause it’s scary otherwise! (laughs)