INTERVIEW: Getting to Know AMOS LEE
When i got an e-mail requesting me to interview critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Amos Lee, first I had to make sure I didn’t swerve off the road. Secondly, I had to check the credentials to make sure said e-mailer was legit. She was. I have no idea how she found me but I wasn’t asking any questions. Amos Lee has been one of my favorite musicians for a long time. A soulful and well-respected artist known for his stirring lyrics, a uniquely versatile voice, and is the de facto poster boy for the soul-searching.
Releasing his fourth studio album Mission Bell (Blue Note Records) this past January, Philadelphia-born Amos Lee held anchor at #1 on the iTunes and Billboard charts, hitting career highs in album sales. With contributions by Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Priscilla Ahn, Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine), and produced by Joey Burns and his band members from Calexico, Mission Bell has an inventively richer sound than his previously well-received albums. Recently nominated and open for voting by NPR Music as one of 2011’s Favorite Albums (so far), Mission Bell has catapulted Lee into legendary company.
Discovering the former elementary school teacher is very private about his personal life, I had to scrap all of my TMZ-style questions and start over. When you’re interviewing people, you want one of two results. One is to reveal something NOBODY else has uncovered. The second, is just to get them talking about what they’re passionate about and the audience can draw their own conclusions. I picked the latter and what I realized is that the interview turned into less of a Q&A and more of a thought-provoking conversation.
When I walked into the Nashville hotel room, Amos was sitting on the swivel chair by the desk. He was gracious, handsome, and greeted me with a friendly handshake. After some polite chit-chat, he sat back down on the swivel chair, leaned back, kicked his feet up on the desk, and I started recording. Feeling mildly embarassed by an old tweet I sent that Amos Lee is Ray LaMontagne-lite onstage, I decided not to mention it and started anyway.
Lee has toured with Norah Jones, John Prine, Adele, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, and countless others. I asked Lee about touring with some of his all-time favorite artists and he said that he doesn’t really get starstruck…but he just wants to relate to them as people. What I realized is that the real brilliance of Amos Lee is how much he reveals and what he holds close.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL INTERVIEW—> iTUNES
STREAM IT UNDER PODCASTS (26:37)
And check out short clips below:
AMOS LIT (3:00):
TOURING WITH HEROES…COMING UP NEXT (2:50):
THE BATTLE FOR 5 LITTLE KNOWN THINGS (:52):
OUTTAKES: BIEBER FEVER (1:41):
A sweet simple song written in a rough time in his life, Amos Lee’ just released this stop-motion video for “Flower” that takes place in a world made entirely out of paper. Directed by //kneeon.