BWW Interviews: SETH GLIER Talks New CD 'If I Could Change One Thing'
Seth Glier is a seasoned singer who has been sharing his music for many years. At the young age of 26, Glier is preparing to release his fourth CD on MPress Records called "If I Could Change One Thing." BWW had a chance to chat with Glier about his upcoming release and how he connects to the songs he wrote for this CD.
Good to catch up with you. I know you have been very busy recording your new album. Tell us a little about it.
The album is called "If I Could Change One Thing" and it's a different album for me in a few things. One I enlisted this producer named Bill Lefler who is out in Los Angeles. He's done records for Ingrid Michaelson and Dashboard Confessional more poppy people which is the direction that I wanted to take this album. I wanted to have a radio friendly album but filled with story-telling. The other thing that made it different was that I didn't know how to stop writing. I wrote about a hundred songs in preparation for the record. I would say about 80 of those songs suck a lot. But, the ones that we ended up keeping, the 12 that made it onto the CD, they really had to earn their place there. Normally, I'll write maybe 15 songs and pick which 12 I want to record, but we put the brakes on moving forward until we had the right songs. It was pretty labor intensive for me but also a lot of fun.
I know you worked with some great people throughout the creation process, tell us more about that.
I started with doing a lot of research and the singer/songwriter community is an amazing community to be a part of. The folk tradition is the tradition that I came out of. This record marks turning a page into a mainstream direction. But, I wrote with a lot of those people that I met along the way in the folk path, people like Steve Seskin, who is an incredible songwriter with a hit making resume. He wrote Tim McGraw's "Grown Men Don't Cry." He also wrote "Don't Laugh at Me" by Peter, Paul and Mary. He has that kind of integrity that I was looking for and we met at Kerrville Folk Festival actually and we ended up writing six songs for this album. I also wrote a song with Trent Das. Trent wrote Ingrid Michaelson's "Girls Chase Boys." I wrote the title track with my friend Liz Longley. It was pretty eclectic and I wrote a handful of songs on my own as well. Ultimately, it's finding the people who I was comfortable with and luckily they happen to be songwriters. It would start where I would walk in the room and explain what's on my heart that day. Sometimes it'd work and sometimes it wouldn't. I would say the 20 percent of the time it did and that's what we ended up recording.
And you have Crystal Bowersox from American Idol on this album with you. You also did a little touring with her too.
Crystal is amazing. She's such a powerhouse. We have the same agent and we ended up getting put on a bill together in California and by the end of the tour, we ended up really hitting it off and stayed in touch. We did a couple more tours together. We are just a part of each other's mutual admiration society. I got to go to Malaysia and play with her and she is so generous and fearless with offering opportunities and sharing the spotlight. For me, it's been such a privilege. I've been writing a lot with her for her record on my time off the road. We wanted someone to do a duet on the title track and she was a totally natural pick.
"If I Could Change One Thing" is probably one of my favorite songs on the album.
Cool. It makes sense that you would think that song has some of the more theatrical elements that just in the writing is has a little bit more of the theatrics where some of the newer songs in the production of "Love is a Language" or "Proof," those are more rhymically driven songs. They're more like the drums that's leading from one section to another. But, on "If I Could Change One Thing" that's the wheelhouse that some of my other albums were coming from. They were more emotionally driven.
Tell us about your pledgemusic.com campaign.
Pledge is this pretty cool platform that allows people to order the record and order all these different perks. One of the things that they can get is my acoustic guitar that I ended up writing a bunch of these songs on. Or they can come to a sound check, they can get handwritten lyrics and all these different kinds of things. And you can also order it in the traditional places, but Pledge is more of an intimate way to exchange something. One of the things I'm pumped about on the Pledge campaign is that because I wrote so many songs, it was necessary for me to demo in the same way that I'm working on a song right now, like put up a drum machine pad and record it and get some harmonies. I did it out of necessity to remember what I wrote because there were so many songs. At the end of the process, I went back to some of these demos and it's interesting for me that there are some songs that capture more. Sometimes I'll think a really good song has the ability to wear a lot of different clothes and a lot of production, which is the reason I hired Bill Lefler, is I like the style which he dresses the songs. But, what's interesting when you go back to some of these demos, there are some songs that changed a lot, almost unrecognizable. The keys are totally different. And then there's a few songs that didn't have to evolve into anything other than the moment in which they were created. So, Pledge is this platform that allows me to share that with superfans and decide for themselves whether I made the right choice or not.<
What are some of the standout songs for you on this album?
I think one of my favorites on the album; I love the way "Lift You Up" came out. That was a real collaboration between Bill and me and we really tipped at hats to Elton John on that song. That song still kind of comes from a tender place every time I sing it. That emotion is still raw and guess I really am a fan of that song. I also love "Standing Still" and again because of the song. In my shows I'm always pretty socially active but I've never been able to translate that to the music. The music has always been a pivot point to social activism but not in action so that, I'm really excited about with "Standing Still." And also, "Love is a Language" because it's my story and it's the first time I feel like I was able to actually write honestly about it. That song took me probably about three years to finish. It's not that complicated. It's that I kept trying to write about other people and every time I'd play it for someone, like Ellis Paul, I played if for Ellis Paul, one version of the song. I think I was doing some Springsteen thing where I was singing about a couple in the Midwest trying to make ends meet and Ellis was just like, "Just write about you. Tell your story." It's easier said than done. The interesting thing is that when you're good at craftsmanship, it also allows a place to hide. You can hide behind craftsmanship. That's partly why I had to write so much. It wasn't just to have the quantity, but it was to chip away at some of the crap and get to the artistry; to get to what I was actually trying to say. And another favorite song, it's probably gonna be the least popular song, is "You Wear it Well." I recorded it in the same way that Elvis did some of the recordings. It's just one microphone put in the right place and just playing guitar and singing. You only get one take. There's no overdubbing, there's no auto tuning. And that's really hard. It took a day. It was very hard to pull off. But, I remember writing that song, a perfect example about how good people happen to be songwriters. I was in Nashville. I went over to my friend Andy Gullahorn's house and his wife comes in and she had made banana bread. I'm talking with Andy about the past year of my life which was when my folks split up as you know. That song came out not out of writing but out of a conversation. Andy and I talked for probably about two hours and we finished our banana bread and picked up a guitar and the song was written in 20 minutes. I didn't wake up that day thinking that's what I was going to write, it was on my heart and it was two people moving through something. I think I like that song because when I go back to it, I was really angry when I wrote it. I had to be or I just wouldn't have had any reason to write it. When I go back to it, I hear the anger but both my parents' characters are still preserved. And it protects the innocent and it protects the guilty in all of that and I think it could have easily gone the other way. There's a part of that song that haunts me because it's a way better version of myself.
Seth Glier's new album, "If I Could Change One Thing" will be released on April 7, 2015. Go to sethglier.com to find out how to pre-order it. Also, check out his pledge.com campaign and get the chance to own Seth's Martin guitar or attend sound check and meet Seth Glier. Seth will be touring throughout the United States as well. Check out they tour dates and see if he is coming close to you.
PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez