Frazer Harrison, Getty Images With the July 16 release of Philip Anselmo's first…
- Posted on Dec 16th 2009 5:00PM by Melinda Newman
Buoyed by her excitement about her 10th studio album, the Grammy and Academy Award winner told Spinner she's in "an amazing place," both physically and emotionally. Here she talks about her first kiss, her activism and her return to rock.
The first line of 'Fearless Love' is "I was 17, you kissed my lips." What inspired that line?
It was the first time I kissed a girl. I try to put my own experiences in my songs, of course, and yet have them remain universal. It was intense going through that experience and having the fireworks go off: "Oh my God, this is greatest thing ever! This is what all my girlfriends have been talking about when they kiss boys" and stuff. I was like, "Hmmm I don't feel that" and then all of a sudden I felt it and I had to keep it in to myself. It will eat you up. It's horrible to have to put a lid on something.
The song features the line "You are what are afraid of." What do you mean by that?
That's what I'm trying to push forward in this song. I am what I am and we all are. We are exactly what we are: what we look like, we feel, that's what we are. We take that and become whatever we are afraid of. If you take that on and say, "Oh I'm afraid of this" and it stops you from doing, then you become what you are afraid of.
What was the impetus for this song?
When I first sat down in January, I really started working on the songs. I knew I would be recording in July and I wanted to give myself months to really bring this together because the whole concept of the album is just that everything in our lives comes down to fear and love. There are only two vibrations in the world and you're either making a love choice or a fear choice, so the working title of this album was 'Songs of Fear of Love.'
Why did you change it?
As I started writing these songs, my older kids said "Mom, what are you going to call the album?" I said "'Songs of Fear and Love'" and [my daughter, Bailey] said, "It's too many words, mom." I said, "Okay, How about 'Fearless'?" and she said "Taylor Swift album. Why don't you say 'Fearless Love'?" So 'Fearless Love,' that's kind of perfect, but I have to write a song for that now. I think she said that in the morning, I dropped her off at school and I came home and I wrote this song.
What does loving fearlessly mean to you?
It means everything. It means loving myself fearlessly. That's where it starts -- by saying I love myself enough to make the choices that are out of love and not out of fear. I love myself enough to not be fearful, just loving yourself fully and clearly. Once you do that, you understand that you can love fearlessly in the world.
What else can you tell us about the album?
The whole album just rocks and rocks and rocks. It doesn't give up. Every song is very emotional and very intense. There are all kinds of different subjects in it. There's a couple where I sing about other people, situations where I'm the third person observer and I don't do that very often. I decided I want to do that more.
Bruce Springsteen, whom you love, talks about his lifelong conversation with his audience. What's your lifelong conversation with your fans like?
My first album started my lifelong conversation. When I write an album, I know there are layers, I know there are people who will go, that's a nice song, she does that 'Window' song and they listen to it on that level and that's great. Then there are those that go a little deeper and then there are those who are really looking for what I'm trying to say, my intention, the emotional background of where I was coming from when I wrote those songs. What was I questioning? What was I expressing? Sometimes I'll use a phrase that goes back to something early and these fans, they catch it. There are things that I write just for them. There are songs that you'll never hear on the radio, but they'll hear it. They'll take it as when I listen to my Bruce albums. They'll take everything in and listen to it on that level and I wanted to give that.
You, at various points, have been the poster child for breast cancer survivors, gay rights, environmentalism. Do you ever worry that that's all going to overshadow your music?
I don't worry about that. Sometimes it does overshadow. I know there are people who know me as that lesbian who sang bald on the Grammys, the Janis Joplin song, and that's what they know. That's okay and I'm hoping that this album can actually reach those people who know of me, who know that 'Water' song and can go, "Oh that's what's she's doing." Because, yeah, a lot of times the universe puts me on the edge of stuff sometimes and I've agreed to speak about it and here I am.