Posted April 2017
In my first interview with Beth Hart back in 2013, I said that she wasn’t yet a household name but she would be eventually.
I still hold to that statement.
In my second interview with her in 2015, I said that to say that she “is one of the most amazing new female singer/songwriters of the new millennia would be an understatement.”
I still hold to that statement, as well.
I recently spoke with Beth Hart for a third time. She is one of those people who, when you first chat with her, you feel as if you’ve known her all your life. Warm. Embracing. Open. I’ve since learned that she is all of that and much more.
This recent chat was to discuss her new CD, Fire On The Floor. But, of course, as was the case in our previous two chats, we talked about a bunch of other stuff, too.
When she answered the phone and I asked how she had been, she was efferve
scent in answering.
“I’m doing so awesome! I’m just loving life these days! I’m really having fun. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good as I do right now.”
And what does she attribute that too?
“I couldn’t agree with you more! I wouldn’t even be surprised if, through gratitude, it actually re-
wires your brain and it makes you see more and more goodness. When you speak about light and you speak about joy, it’s almost like it does something to where you’re able to receive even more of it, you know what I mean? Kinda like that old saying, ‘Them that got shall get and them that not shall lose.’ Kinda like that!”When I commented about the truly positive impact gratitude has on our lives, Beth chimed back in.“I think, you know, being older and surviving some of the funk. God. My marriage. Music. I feel really, really blessed and really lucky, you know? I think it’s just gratitude. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for.”
In our last chat – which was about her last album, Better Than Home - we talked about it being very introspective and even “ministering”. I asked her how she would describe “Fire On The Floor”?
“I couldn’t tell you this the last time I talked to you because Michael Stevens – who was one of the producers – didn’t want me to go on and make another record because I wanted to make another record right away. So, this album, Fire On The Floor, has been done way before my last talk with you. So, when I did New York for that week for Better Than Home, as soon as I got home – before Better Than Home was even mixed – I called Ed at the label and I said, ‘You gotta let me make another record right now or I’m probably never going to go back into the studio.’
“And he’s like, ‘Why? What’s wrong? Is Better Than Home shit?’ and I said, “I don’t know. I think I did a good job with the writing and I know that the producers put everything they could into it. It seemed to go pretty nicely in New York. Who knows? You never know until a record’s mixed. But that’s not why I’m calling you. The reason that I’m calling you is that it was such a painful experience watching Michael be so sick for all that time.’ You know, he ended up dying? And he was only forty-seven when he died. All that time seeing him go through that – that poor man! You know me, I’m overly sensitive anyway. My brain is wired a little funny and I just couldn’t take it. I ended up going to the hospital a couple of times during making that record just to get my shit balanced and it was just rough.
“So, Ed let me immediately call Oliver (Leiber, the CD’s producer). I called Oliver and Oliver is, like, ‘Come on over to my house.’ I came over to his house and I said, ‘I have a shit load of songs. I don’t want it over produced. I want it to be a live band. That’s all I have to say. I’m going to send you the songs.’ He’s like, ‘****, yeah! I love you! Let’s make this record!’
“I sent him a ton of songs just like I did Rob and Michael for Better Than Home and he immediately got back to me and said, ‘Boom! I’ve got the players. Come to my house!’ Whenever it was – two more weeks or something.
“So, we go the whole thing done in, like, three weeks! I went over there and made Fire On The Floor in three days and we didn’t have to do any mixing because we hadn’t even finished mixing Better Than Home! So we had all this time to let it sit there and relax and let me focus on what I had to do for Better Than Home. I’m so happy that I got to get this record out of me because I was tripping – tripping out! This was so healing for me. It really helped me get through that.”
I commented that I could tell that she had reached deep within to write and record Better Than Home to cover negative things for a positive outcome.
“Thank you for saying that! I agree with you, by the way. You can really hear that difference. Better Than Home was such a vulnerable, confessional album. I gotta give props to Michael Stevens and Ron Mathis because, you know I everything in so that passed over a lot of songs that they didn’t feel was going in that direction. So, Better Than Home wasn’t like I wrote that record. I did write the record but I also wrote a shit load of other songs that I turned in but they passed on. It’s funny. It ended up in the right producer’s hands because that’s the kind of record they wanted to make and this was the kind of record that I wanted to make. It ends up working out perfect!”
Were the songs on Fire On The Floor some of the songs passed on or did she write these songs specifically for the album?
“Yeah! Just like on Better Than Home a couple of songs on there were passed over by Kevin Shirley when I did Bang Bang Boom Boom with him. For instance, Kevin passed on St. Teresa. He passed on Mama This One’s For You. There was a collection of songs there because I’m always working on stuff. I always turn them into whatever to whatever ‘priest’ I’m with and I don’t care which songs they choose and which ones they don’t. Because if I didn’t love the songs, I’d never turn them in. I really have this belief that when a producer likes a song or doesn’t like a song, it always boils down to basically the same thing. They either think they can get it or they think they can’t. So I know not to ever take it personal if they don’t like the song – even though they may say, ‘I don’t like the song,’ it’s not really what it is. It’s that they think they can get this one phenomenal and maybe that one they can’t.”
As for which song she would point to as a drawing card to entice people to purchase the album, Beth said, “Yeah, that’s a great question! It’s hard for me because it is so broad-based, genre-wise. I love Jazzman very much but I also love Fat Man. Then, I adore No Place Like Home and A Good Day To Cry. But then I turn around and love Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of. So it would be really hard for me to have one song. But, if someone put a gun to my head and said, ‘Okay, you have to pick one song,’ I would pick Fire On The Floor. That would be the one that I would pick.”
When asked which song seems to resonate with fans the most, Ms. Hart shared:
“Good Day To Cry and Fire On The Floor, so far. But, also, all the promoters and the radio people really love Jazzman. But it seems that with the audience, they’re really responding to Jazzman but the most to Fire On The Floor. Definitely number one – and Good Day To Cry.”
The last time we talked Beth had indicated that she wanted to be on the road a lot less and focus on living healthier. When I asked how that worked out for her, she laughed and said, “It’s so funny. As soon as I put my foot down and said, ‘Okay. Seven months on the road, max, so that I can have more time at home, be a wife to my husband’ – like I told you about the last time we talked – so I can write more and all that. As soon as I laid that boundary, now I want to be on the road more. I can’t keep up with my own ****ing head. I can’t! As soon as I make a decision that I want to do something, my head says, ‘Oh! I want to do something else! I just can’t even keep up with myself! So, it’s so funny. It’s so weird. I’m so weird.”
With all the people in the music world who died last year, I asked Beth to share her thoughts about those who passed. Her response wasn’t at all what I expected.
“You know, of course, I’m sad for anyone that’s sad who lost them. But they have moved on to another form. I don’t look at death as a bad thing at all. I look at death as a graduation to another life form. Who knows? Maybe they’re on some other planet living a whole other life? Maybe they’ve come back here in the form of an awesome butterfly or a bee? Who the **** knows? But I do believe that death is just like graduating. You get to graduate to another plain. So, for them, they’re probably having a ball but it’s the people that loses them – those are who are sad.
“So, of course, I mourn for those that are here who had to lose people that they loved. But, for them, they’re off somewhere else. I think it just continues to get better. I really do. I think that time we get to live, our consciousness grows deeper. Our hearts grow bigger. It has to! We go on to a new plane. That’s what I believe. So, I think of the people who passed away, they’re just happy as shit right now because they’re doing something else.”
And what is on Beth Hart’s radar for the rest of the year?
“You know, what I’m really into right now is speaking. I’m having so much fun and so passionate about it. I’m having a lot of ideas with that. I’m putting a lot of effort into that. I’ve really, really been studying a lot with my vocal coach, Bob. I’m with him off and on since I was sixteen. So, I really feel like this past year I’ve grown a lot as a singer. I’m looking forward to doing that live and use some of the techniques that he’s taught me. Things just to be stronger and healthier and trying new ways of approaching songs. I’m also really looking forward to us doing more work here in the States, which is really exciting for me. And, then, we’re also going to India for the first time. We’re going to do a couple of shows there so I’m looking forward to that.
“Then, you know what’s so funny, I’m here at the house. We had a major flood. We have a three story house. On the bottom floor is my studio and that all got flooded out. I’m such an anal person. The most anal person you’ve ever met in your life. It flooded out and I’m like, ‘Oh my god! I can’t take it!’ But, now – because of homeowners insurance – we’re going to get to re-paint it and do new carpet and stuff. That’s just a fun project for me. I’m a woman who really nests in her home.
“Also, a wall on the side of our house in the backyard – the other person’s studio who’s next door is going to slide into our property so they’re rebuilding the whole wall. We get to plant roses and a tangerine tree! What it represents to me and why I’m bringing it up with you is it just represents to me that every time life – you think; you’re perceiving is, ‘It’s killing me again! A horrible thing has just happened!’ Something amazing is going to come from it. Something better is going to happen because of that horror or that catastrophe or whatever you want to view it as. It’s just another reminder.
“I know that it seems like a stupid thing to compare a wall in the yard or a flood in the basement but it’s just like another one of those signs. It’s like no matter what goes in your mind quote/unquote wrong, it’s not wrong. It’s a new beginning that’s about to happen. I love that about life! It’s so neat!”
After wrapping up my conversation with Beth, I was once again reminded of how we all should embrace life; remind ourselves to tell our loved ones that we love them; to stop and smell the roses and to not let the trials of life hold us back from living and love life to the fullest.
Thank you, Beth.