In a new interview with EW this past weekend in New York, Gwen revealed that she scrapped an album worth’s of material because “it didn’t feel right.”
Gwen is referring to the collection of songs she had wrote with Benny Blanco (behind last year’s “Baby Don’t Lie”) saying she didn’t feel fulfilled by the material. “That record with Benny was done that way because I had just given birth and had just started on The Voice and felt like I should do something in music, but what was I going to do? There wasnâ€™t enough time. So I tried to make a record where I was just kind of involved â€” which is how a lot of people do it, but it didnâ€™t work for me.” (Side note: it’s really refreshing to hear Gwen say she backed out on the material mostly because it wasn’t enough hands-on for her. We knew a lot of fans were hesitant with so many big names being involved in the project. We’re not sure if the batch of songs she’s moving on from included her hyped collaborations with Charli XCX and Pharrell Williams.)
Though Gwen doesn’t directly reference it, she credits the events this past summer in her personal life for her recent inspiration to write. “I needed to go through what I needed to go through to write the record that I needed to write. There was a lot of prayer and meditating in the sense of trying to be open and grateful with this record. These songs are really natural â€” theyâ€™re from not worrying about what happened or whatâ€™s going to happen but about living in the moment, from trying to be present and trying to feel.”
Gwen started writing again in June and she shared that she an album’s worth of material done. She says that it happened “really fast” and finds her recent inspiration such a gift. Gwen says that when she finishes a song she likes to listen to it over and over because “you learn things about yourself that you didnâ€™t even know you were saying, or needed to say.”
Gwen admits that after writing Tragic Kingdom, she sometimes felt pressure as a songwriter to recapture her spark which she found “a huge burden” at times. After touring wrapped up in 1997 for her, she says that “everything changed”. “I felt like then I had to prove I was a good songwriter.” Gwen also talks about No Doubt’s last album Push and Shove saying it was “really hard… it was no oneâ€™s fault, it just was what it was.”
In another new candid interview with Yahoo, Gwen says that she feels like she’s in the same place mentally as when she was writing Tragic Kingdom. “Whatâ€™s so cool about right now is that I feel, like, weirdly with Tragic Kingdom, I feel like Iâ€™m almost in the exact same place that I was. I have an album that documents where Iâ€™m at and itâ€™s so pure and itâ€™s so real and itâ€™s soâ€¦ not about anybody else.”
When asked when we would be able to expect a new single, Gwen said, “very, very, very soon”, and surprise! Fans are eagerly awaiting the official release of “Used To Love You” tonight! In regards to her new album, Gwen doesn’t have a tentative date yet but says more than likely a 2016 release. She reiterates again that she’s moving on from her past work that she had worked on previously (with Benny Blanco, etc.) because it “didnâ€™t feel genuine”.
Gwen pushed herself these past couple months and was tired of giving the excuse of songwriting being hard for her. “I was doing a lot of like excuses in my mind like I always do, like, ‘Oh writing is so scary, and you donâ€™t know what youâ€™re doing, and I canâ€™t write.â€™ Like all the stuff that I always do. And then I just was kind of, like, I got to a point where I had to go through all these things to be to the point where I was like, ‘Fâ€“k that, I have a gift, Iâ€™m going to use it, Iâ€™m going to do this, like, stop. You need to go write a record.'”
Gwen says that these recent recording and writing sessions for her have been the most fulfilling and fruitful for her. “We wrote a song and it was like, ‘Holy sâ€“t.â€™ Not just a song but, for me, outside of other people hearing it, for me itâ€™s a masterpiece. It has everything I love, I donâ€™t care if you donâ€™t like it, itâ€™s what I love. So then it was like one after another and within eight weeks we had a whole record.” Gwen has stated several times that she feels like she’s writing this album for herself.
She expresses how grateful she is to still be making music that people love and enjoy. “I canâ€™t believe I get to do music, like thereâ€™s nothing else in this world. Just listening to it is a blessing, but to be able to write it and share it and have people support me and relate to meâ€¦ It makes me feel so comforted.”
Vulture has shared another interview with Gwen that features quotes on how her frame of mind has changed since writing last year and finds herself not caring about what’s on the radio currently.
“The first season I was on The Voice, I think there was something in me that was a little bit more open to caring about stuff like that, but Iâ€™m not there right now. Iâ€™m not really thinking about that. All Iâ€™m thinking about is that I made a record that is literally pure and honest and reflects exactly that I wanted to reflect. I havenâ€™t even considered whatâ€™s out there or whatâ€™s happening. Itâ€™s weird to even think about that right now. I donâ€™t even know whatâ€™s out there, I donâ€™t even care. Itâ€™s fine. Whateverâ€™s happening, I just want to share the music and feel good about it.”
Gwen also talks about her relationship with Pharrell Williams which has grown much more than just a collaboration. She calls the songs that they’ve done together “huge moments” and says that he’s more than likely her favorite person she’s ever collaborated with. “He has so much wisdom and so much positive energy and goodness, and he has a way of saying things where he really makes you think. So for me, he was definitely an angel sent to me to make me think. I love him.”
Speaking of collaborations, they asked her why she hasn’t collaborated with fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton and points to the obvious… he makes country music. Gwen does say that anything is possible, however, and found it surprising that they have very similar tastes music and in artists on the show.
The article also brings up how vague Gwen is about making another record with No Doubt in the near future. She says, “Iâ€™m doing this thing where Iâ€™m in the moment, not thinking ahead, because if you do live in the past or the future, then youâ€™re not experiencing this right here. I donâ€™t have plans for anything. I just know where Iâ€™m at right now, which is I just wrote a record unexpectedly, magically, like a blessing from God. Iâ€™m so grateful to be right where Iâ€™m at.”
When speaking to AOL about her upcoming album, Gwen says that it will be full of collaborations but credits all of them for helping her come out of her shell. She admits that these individuals helped her regain confidence which she hasn’t had “in a long time”. “I think this record is full collaboration with other talented people that have just made me blossom in the sense that they brought my confidence out and supported me in such a way that the ideas were just coming. I haven’t had that in a long time. I’m so grateful for that feeling and that confidence. If you don’t have that, you just dont have anything.”
She also says she’s reflected a lot over the last few years over herself and has grown in so many ways. “Honestly, I have changed loads because I think I used to be naive, innocent and kind of passive and now I feel like I’m not any of those things really. Which is fun, it’s fun to evolve and grow and you can only do that through tragedies and heartache and hard times and looking back its a journey that you have to go through.”