INTERVIEW: Eden Espinosa on Revelation, A Lethal Combination

Sometimes you don’t know where to begin with an album.

Eden Espinosa’s latest release, Revelation, causes just that problem. You see, each song is distinctly different, yet each one seamlessly flows with the next.

The album’s ten tracks converse with themselves. Every time I listen to this album in its entirety, I walk away with a different favorite song. Although once I start thinking of a particular song my mind links the piece to another song.

Revelation is built upon fear, vulnerability, and self-acceptance. Out of the record’s ten tracks, Espinosa wrote 8. She quickly proved that she has a distinct talent for crafting a lyric and to my surprise, these are the first songs she wrote.

So this album has tricked me and left me in quite the quarry. There was only one solution. I had to talk with Ms. Espinosa and have her explain this masterpiece.

This album is a vast departure from the style of your previous record, and very different than the form you use on stage. What inspired this style shift for you?

I’ve always had the desire to write songs. I was too afraid, to be honest. I was just afraid to try it and put myself out there. I heard an album of a friend of mine, and I just loved the production, and I loved the way it sounded. I asked her who produced it, and she put me in touch with the producer. I was talking to him about doing my second album, which I was planning to do like my first one, which was musical theater songs taken out of context to make them sound as if they were on the radio if you will.

Blaine Stark, the producer, is not from the theater world at all. He asked me, why don’t you do an album of originals? I said I’ve always wanted to and I have a lot of content written down. They’re not necessarily songs, but I do write a lot. He said why don’t you try writing and see what comes out of you and see if you like it. So that’s how I got started.

I contacted a few friends of mine who I know to be amazing songwriters and who I know would create a safe space for me to share my thoughts and my feelings. I just started dipping my toe into this art form.

That’s how this album came about. It was a beautiful collaboration with the producer Blaine and I and the songwriters and me too.

What is the inspiration behind Revelation? I feel like it is a break-up album mixed with self-discovery.

Yeah. I think that this is a little bit of both even though some of the songs that sound like they’re about a man, a significant other, or a breakup, are actually about fear. You know, that negative side of your mind or personality — that self-sabotaging place, which I’ve struggled with a whole lot.

I did go through some heartache recently, so some of the songs are coming from that place. I know that “Deadly Sin” originally was written about that dark fear, self-sabotaging place. I wrote “Master of my Life” about fear and taking control…That one’s about fear just trying to take over, and then you reclaiming your power.

Some of them can be taken as love songs or break up songs, but a lot of them are about me and breaking up with the negative habits or negative voices in my mind. It is indeed both; it’s a lot of layers I guess.

The songs flow flawlessly. What can you say about the order of the songs? 

The order was super important to me, and I actually left that to Blaine. I felt I was too close to the songs and a lot of them had been written a while ago. I had kind of moved past where I was when I wrote the songs, and it was hard for me to be objective because I started to judge the material, you know what I mean?

I started to be like, “This song is dumb.” There were so many times that I wanted to cut several songs that I had written long ago and I didn’t feel that way anymore. So I told Blaine I need you to do the order. I made one change to the order that he originally made and then “Fireworks and Stars” was a very last minute song. We added it on the very last day of recording.

So that was an afterthought. It was the most recent song I wrote, and it is from a completely different perspective than the rest of the album. But we knew that once I wrote it and once I heard what was going to be done with it, we knew that we wanted it to be the last song.

What are the messages you want to convey with Revelation? What message do you want listeners to walk away with?

Over the past few years and just personally in my life and then in writing this album there were several revelations. I knew I wanted the title of it to be a word encompassing the entire journey not only artistically, but emotionally and spiritually. I think the big revelation that I want people to have and be left with is that you are the most important thing and not in a selfish way. You have to take care of yourself and not lose yourself or choose somebody else to know your worth…We can’t completely give to somebody else until you know that you are a king or queen, you know.

I think it’s about self-worth. I want people to leave with finding their self-worth and their self-value and not to compromise that for anything or anyone.

Why did it take seven years between your two albums?

It had to do a lot with personal stuff… and fortunately, I kept getting work. A lot of people in my position who started in theater and musical theater – once they start writing songs, think I want to be a singer/songwriter now, and I want this is my music, they’ll decide to leave musical theater for a while and take a break and pursue music. I always wanted to do both equally.

I wasn’t in the position to turn down work to just focus on the album. And so it had to be done in little spurts. It took way longer than I anticipated but in hindsight looking back I didn’t know that it was supposed to be that way for me to find the strength, the freedom and the courage to write and to share with people my point of view and my perspective and my feelings.

And here’s a few just for fun…

If you could collaborate with anybody musically who would it be?

It’d probably be Jeff Buckley, who’s no longer with us, or Eva Cassidy.

When you are in the studio, or you are performing what are your necessities?

I’m very big into lighting. If it’s not the right lighting, it’s going to affect my mood. I like candles, and in a dressing room, I need my essential oil diffuser or a humidifier.

Which Spice Girl would you be and why?

I’d be Scary or Sporty. I just liked their attitudes. I think they were both fun, but confident. They both stuck out to me. It is a tie between Scary or Sporty; Scary’s style but Sporty’s voice.

As I looked over the transcript of this interview and listened to Revelation again, I realized why I am at such a loss for words.

Revelation lives and breathes. It may sound strange, but Espinosa’s vocal stylings mixed with her vulnerability are simply relevant. No matter your situation in life, this album can, and will, speak to you. Espinosa is a real singer who can hit any high note, yet she is also a real artist who can dig into emotions you didn’t even know you had. That’s a lethal combination for any listener.

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CONCERT: Jimmy Webb at The Iridium

Friday evening I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the legendary songwriter and performer Jimmy Webb. He has been a long time hero of mine, from being an Okie myself to his immense musical talent. He performed a small and intimate show at the Iridium in the heart of NYC.

He opened the show with “Wichita Lineman,” a song later recorded by his good friend Glen Campbell. He also performed the Campbell classic “Galveston” that he also penned. Webb went on to touch on every aspect of his career ending the show with a piano-driven, emotion-filled, and dramatic “MacArthur Park.” The show lasted a little over an hour.

Now Webb is not known as a vocal virtuoso, although he shouldn’t be sold short. He jokingly said he would hit specific notes the “next time,” yet that was never a problem. Every crack, riff, and perceived “mistake” just added to Webb’s brilliant narrative.

This show was not for entertainment value; it was a history lesson in Webb’s award-winning career, and the difference music makes. He told stories of those he had worked with from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to The Fifth Dimension and Glenn Campbell. It wasn’t just the stories; it was the way he told them. Through each narrative, Webb painted complete interactive pictures, down to the exact detail of what these legendary artists were wearing.

A real highlight was his time he worked with Frank Sinatra. Webb acknowledged all the negative words that have been written about who Sinatra was as a person, but he expressed stories of a different man. He told of the afternoons that he would sit and play for Sinatra in his New York apartment and the comments he would make over Webb’s compositions. He spoke about where Sinatra performed his pieces live and his experience as an audience member and the songwriter. This was just one of the many striking exchanges and relationships Webb has in is diverse and dignified career.

Although, the most profound moment of the night had nothing to do with stories of famed musicians or experiences, but of what music meant to Webb. He explained how the piano is his alter ego that he hides behind while explaining the universal meaning of music. In his words, it is the language of hearts and is something we need today.

Throughout the show I found myself laughing, on the verge of tears, and grabbing my chest because of Webb’s emotion. His presentation was profound in every sense from his pristine vocals and musical interpretation to the stories and wisdom he portrayed to his audience. Jimmy Webb represented what a real musician looks like

He is proof that a little music can change the world and that it will continue to do so, we just need to listen.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Judds, ‘Christmas Time with The Judds’

Every year I have a tradition. I’ll be honest and say I do love Christmas music but there is one album, in particular, I can’t go a year without listening to. That album is Christmas Time with The Judds.

I’m a big fan of The Judds — and I always have been. I listen to them throughout the year, every year. In December, though, I dedicate my ears to this classic country Christmas album…

Read the full article here on Nashville Noise.

ALBUM REVIEW: Believe Again, 20 Years of Cher’s “Believe”

Some hits are timeless, while others eventually fall to the wayside. It’s safe to say that Cher’s 1998 hit, “Believe,” is here for good.

It has been 20 years since Cher released this iconic single, accompanied by its equally trailblazing album. The album Believe comes off the heels of Cher’s 1995 album, It’s A Man’s World. Although It’s A Man’s World truly shows the scope of Cher’s vocals, it was a commercial failure, only selling 700,000 copies worldwide to this day.  Believe came at a “do or die” moment in Cher’s career…..

Read the full article here on VENTS Magazine.

PLAYLIST: Reba McEntire, The Deep Cuts

Being from Oklahoma, Reba McEntire‘s music is almost a daily occurrence for me. I’ve been a McEntire fan for most of my life. My mom bought one of her concerts on VHS when I was six and I’ve been smitten with her music ever since. I listened to everything I could get a hold of and now I own every album she’s ever recorded. I’m not obsessed; I just have a deep respect.

Each McEntire album is a meticulous painting. Some are blue while others are red hot. Each is carefully curated, especially after she signed with MCA and took musical control of her career. She is known for her 26 Billboard No. 1 hits but there are so many hidden gems within these records…

Check out Nashville Noise for the full list!

INTERVIEW: Dave Barnes Chats Christmas Traditions + Big Goals for 2019

It’s almost Christmas! That means it’s almost time for A Very Merry Christmas with Dave Barnes. The annual Schermerhorn Symphony Center show has become a tradition for Music City. 

Recently, Nashville Noise sat down with Barnes to talk about this show, some of his favorite Christmas destinations and his goals for 2019…

Check out Nashville Noise for the full interview with Dave Barnes.

PLAYLIST: 5 Songs The Spice Girls Must Perform, From A Spice Boy’s Perspective

May 31st 1998 was one of the darkest days in the history of history. Millions of people lost what they wanted, what they really really wanted. Those dark times are now over. All you need is a passport, airfare, and directions to Wembley Stadium.

As we know from every 90’s kid, teenager, mom, and dad rejoicing, the Spice Girls are reuniting. Although Posh will not be joining, four is better than none, and hell, Sporty was always my favorite. For me, just seeing them sitting together again is surreal.

Now I was a fan when I was a child, but I wouldn’t say obsessed, I just highly respected them. I’ll just say it; I’m an unashamed Spice boy. They’re still on my Spotify playlist and I might still watch Spiceworld from time to time. I may also have a detailed ranking of each lady, but let’s save that for another article. And yes, there may have been a poster or two…..

Check out the full article on Vents Magazine.