Gwen gave a new intimate interview (literally, from her bathroom!) to Time magazine shortly before hitting the KISS FM Jingle Ball stage last Friday about how she manages it all, working with No Doubt and how she still has no regrets about the Harajuku Girls.
She says that this new record came out very spontaneously and said it was a no-brainer putting out a third solo album while being on The Voice. “This time, that wasnâ€™t even a option. It was either no new music and do The Voice or do some more dance music and just be free and see what happens. It wouldnâ€™t be an option to do No Doubt because there was was no time!” On Push and Shove, she credits the album taking so long due to “parental commitments and lifestyles” and how they work (they are notable perfectionists). She blames herself again and finds herself lazy when hanging around the boys in the studio.
No Doubt decided to head back into the the studio after returning home from Europe in late 2012. After being in the studio for about six months on their own (with no collaborators), one of their last sessions was with Pharrell Williams. She calls it “six months of struggle” and says it wasn’t coming “really naturally”. After becoming pregnant unexpectedly, the band decided it was a good time to take another break. Gwen shares that she had a really tough time during her last pregnancy (with third son Apollo) and was very sick.
Pharrell invited Gwen onstage with him during the Coachella Festival earlier this year and was her first time out of the house since giving birth. She called the performance “magical” and found herself signing on to The Voice one week later and says she had no idea what would be happening next for her.
After signing on, she realized that she must either put out another dance record while on The Voice or nothing at all. No Doubt wouldn’t have the time to put out new material while she was on the show so it was obvious another solo record was on the horizon for her. Gwen says that Pharrell kept pushing her to perform “Hollaback Girl” again, but Gwen was pretty resistant. “I’m not going to keep doing the same song from 10 years ago!” She kept an open mind while heading back into the studio, most notably hooking up with “Baby Don’t Lie” producer Benny Blanco. Gwen shares that No Doubt were in talks to work with him while in the studio earlier last year. Benny also had Gwen team up with Calvin Harris, Ryan Tedder (co-writer for “Baby Don’t Lie”) and Charli XCX.
Gwen’s first idea was just to get her new album out quickly and not think about it but she’s finding herself slowing down and taking her time (the album was said to be out by this holiday season but has now been pushed back for an early 2015 release). She is still writing at this time and says that everything now is “open-ended”. “I went in and did mood boards, a visual mood board of what it would be and started that way. With music, you sometimes just canâ€™t really predict it.”
When asked if she’s felt guilty over the years, Gwen says there has always been a little guilt with everything she’s done, especially going out on her own. After releasing her second solo album, The Sweet Escape in 2006, even after stating on several occasions that she would be putting out “only one solo” album, she knew it was the right move. “When I did The Sweet Escape, I knew that I needed to do that. If youâ€™re not inspired to do something, nothing comes. When I was about to do that second record, I did feel, â€œShould I go back and do another No Doubt record?â€ Everybody was waiting for me to do that, meaning my band. I just didnâ€™t feel ready to do that music-wise, because I still wanted to do quirky dance music.”
No Doubt “has a bunch of stuff” done and they are waiting to see where they go next. The band is confirmed to playing this summer at music festivals (including Rock in Rio USA). Gwen says it’s interesting this time around because it’s not one or the other (meaning she is focusing on both solo and new material for the band). “No Doubt doesnâ€™t have to be on a complete hiatus for me to do new music on my own. It can happen simultaneously.”
Gwen also responds to the criticism on the Harajuku Girls and says she has no regrets. “For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. You canâ€™t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? Of course you can. Of course you can celebrate other cultures. Thatâ€™s what Japanese culture and American culture have done… I donâ€™t feel like I did anything but share that love. You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud. Because, seriously, that was all meant out of love.”
Photo courtesy of AP.