EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Amy Dalley
To say that Amy Dalley is back, wouldn’t be quite right. That’s because the talented singer/songwriter has never really been gone. She hasn’t had the type of career that generates huge headlines — at least not yet. But the story of her passion for making music would be in the biggest, boldest font imaginable.
The Kingsport, TN native started her professional music career by performing at Dollywood. In 1994 she moved to Nashville, where she eventually landed a deal with Curb Records. During her time with Curb she charted with several singles (including “Love’s Got an Attitude (It Is What It Is)” and “Men Don’t Change”), but for some unknown reason Curb never released a full-length Amy Dalley album.
It took becoming an independent artist to get that done. In 2009 Amy and her husband, Jack Sizemore, released her debut It’s Time on her own label, Madjack Records.
Now it’s time for her second album. Coming Out of the Pain hits the market on March 27th, this time with Rock Ridge Music. But just like with her first release, her husband Jack plays a major role in the recording. Her two children even play a part this time around, inspiring songs and more.
Amy heads into the release of her new 12-track album feeling confident and in control. Just as it was back in her days at Dollywood, her career is powered by passion. We still don’t know if that passion will find her headlines. But more importantly, we do know it’s already found her happiness.
Continue reading for our exclusive interview where Amy discusses the album, enjoying her independence, a special release party everyone can attend and one song in particular that will lead to a lot of “bird” watching.
Your new album, Coming Out Of The Pain, comes out on Tuesday, March 27th. What are your emotions heading into your release day?
I’m mostly excited. I kinda have that knee-jerk kinda thing where I’m like, “Oh, gosh! I hope everybody likes it!” But I think I’ve gotten enough reviews and response that people are liking the album.
So there’s excitement about new people being involved and helping me and being able to tour more with it. I’m just really looking forward to this summer. We’ve got lots of really great gigs booked.
So I’m very happy!
You’re again releasing as an independent artist. Does that given you more freedom?
I’ve always pictured myself making music and putting out albums. In the past there was always somebody to answer to or ask permission from to see if I could do that. Now it just seems I can record an album and release it and there’s not a lot to go through.
I think what people who listen to music want is for musicians to put out albums so they can hear more of it. I don’t think people listen to music the same anymore. I don’t think they listen to records 500 times in a row. Now they’ve heard it, they want to hear it again, but after a few times they want to hear something more.
It’s cool to be able to put out more and more music instead just making it last for years and years on one album.
You had a hand in writing all 12 of the album’s tracks. How important was it for the words you’re singing to truly be yours?
I have in the past cut a few songs that I didn’t write and I loved them. And I do hear songs sometimes that I have such songwriter envy over that I’m like, “Oh! I wish I would’ve thought of that!”
Each song of mine on Coming Out Of The Pain has its owns special, little story. Every time I sing them I think about when I was writing it. So I think it is a different or deeper connection when you sing songs that you write.
Let’s talk about a few of the songs. The one that most likely will have tongues wagging and a certain finger waving is “Peace Sign.” How did that song come about?
(Laughs) Well, I had in a notebook — I know everybody’s on to the whole digital thing now and I do write with a computer and I write stuff into my phone. But I’m also very organic in that I like to have pencil and paper. So I had written in my notebook “one finger shy of the peace sign” and I had that circled like 13 times. I kept coming back to it and tried to write it several times.
Then I had a writing appointment with these two people. We were just talking and I threw the line out there and the girl who was there, she was like, “That sounds like something that I wanna say right now!” Then it just kinda happened. It was just a conversation. She and her ex-boyfriend had just broken up. He had sent it in an email! It was seriously just a conversation we were having and we put it to music.
It just became funny and we laughed the entire time that we were writing it. I mean, who doesn’t want to say that? It’s kinda a sweet, Southern thing. You want to be all smiley when you’re sayin’ it, but you still want to make the gesture! (Laughs)
When you’ve performed it live, has there some special “one-fingered” audience participation?
Yeah, and it usually doesn’t happen until the second chorus. Because in the first chorus people are like, “I can’t believe she just said that!” But by the second one they’re definitely into it! It’s kinda funny. I’m like, “It’s okay! You can do it! Everybody flip me the bird!” (Laughs)
“Damage Is Done” deals with realizing that sometimes relationships reach a breaking point. You’re a happily married woman, so where did this song come from?
I wrote that with my happily married husband! (Laughs) It’s easier to write about hurt and heartbreak than it is to write about happiness. Sometimes when you write about being happy it ends up being cheesy and people are like, “Ug! Who cares?”
On that song he had a cool melody and I had words written down. We just kinda put it all together. It’s just another one of those songs that kinda fell out. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album.
“Bottle It Up” is a sweet one that certainly will play well with parents. Is this basically an ode to your own kids?
Yes! I have two beautiful kids and I was thinking about them when I wrote it. My son Jackson is three and my daughter Madeline is 13. There’s a big age gap in there. A lot of time I’ll say, “I can’t believe Madeline’s already 13! It seems like yesterday she was just a baby…like Jackson’s size!” I don’t know what happened in that 10-year span there, but she grew up!
So I was looking at him one day and thinking, “I know it’s gonna go by fast and I wish I could keep him this little and this cute.” So that’s kinda where all that came from.
At the same time, some friends were getting married and they were going to Hawaii. It was going to be just them and their parents. It would be time you could never return to. Even if you went there a million times, it would never be like your wedding day. I was thinking they need to kind of bottle up all that time, too.
It’s cool because Jack and I have been doing a lot of acoustic shows. Playing songs acoustically is different than the record, but kinda the same. And he sings a really cool part on there, too. It’s become even more special than when we first wrote it. So it’s one of my favorites.
You’ve got so much going on: You’re a singer, a songwriter, a producer and a mother. You have all of these things going on. Is there enough time in the day?
No! (Laughs) There really isn’t! Plus, my children are busy, too. So I run them around everywhere. Finding balance is one of the trickiest things. I feel like if I’m out on the road doing what I love, then I’m missing out on everything that’s happening at home. But if I’m at home, trying to dedicate “mom time” and doing everything here, then I feel like I should be out doing something. I think that’s every working mother’s kinda curse that you have.
I try to put myself 100% into what I’m doing when I’m doing it. That way I don’t feel like I’m halfway doing everything. So I feel like I can really dedicate my time wisely. At least that’s what I try to do. I have to be a little bit smarter with what I’m doing when I’m doing it.
Have you had any thoughts of taking the kids out with you on a summer road tour?
We do take them sometimes when it’s like a fun place. Like when we go to Florida we take them. My Mom and Dad are really cool and either one or both of them will come with us and watch us while we gig. So we do lots of things like that.
They’ve gotten to see and do lots of things that they probably wouldn’t have been able to do (if not for touring). We try to involve them as much as we can.
You’re one artist who certainly is embracing all things Internet, diving into the world of Facebook and Twitter. How big is social media for not just an independent artist like you, but for any artist?
I think it’s a great idea and a great concept. I’ve recently gotten super-involved in it because it’s a way to reach people all at once. I wish it would’ve been around a few years ago when I had singles on the radio. I could’ve used it to launch them more.
I think it’s really good because I feel more connected. People can hear a song and immediately write to me and say “Hey! That was cool!” or “I read that interview and it was awesome!” You get automatic feedback. So I think it helps me, personally, a lot.
You’ll even be having an online album release party this Monday the 26th (8pm Central at www.stickam.com/amydalley). Along with performing and answering fan questions, do you have any surprises up your sleeves?
We’re gonna do like a party atmosphere. We’re inviting some friends over and I’m going to be playing songs for them while people are watching me play songs for them. It’ll be like I’m doing a gig, but on the Internet, too. It’ll be in my music room (at home) as opposed to doing it in a bar. I think it’s gonna be fun!
I’ve not done it too much, like the live webcast thing, but it’s really cool. I travel all over the country and sometimes they’ll be 300 people there and 2,000 can watch you while you’re sitting in your music room. That’s a pretty awesome thing!
By the way, has your Mother figured out how to view things on Stickam?
I think she has finally! (Laughs) It was funny: She was texting me during the first show we did last week and she was like, “I can’t do it! I still can’t get on there!” And I was like, “I can’t help you right now! You’ll have to wait for the next one!” She eventually did get on, but it was funny! (Laughs))
Is it safe to say you’ll be out touring to promote the album?
I plan on doing a lot of shows this summer and just today got word that I’m going to be doing the “Sister Hazelnut Hang” at the Windjammer at the Isle of Palms (in South Carolina) on June 1st and 2nd. It’s really cool because I’ve been a Sister Hazel nut for a long time. I’ll be opening for them. So I’m pretty excited about that!
You might be able to get some superstar support in promoting your album. Your husband, Jack Sizemore, plays in Jason Aldean’s band. Any temptation to get him to give Jason and nudge and say, “You know my wife has a new album coming out…?”
He knows my album is coming out. We’ve all been friends for quite a long time. Jack played on his very first album and then went out to do his own thing. So we’ve been knowing him for a long time.
I think there might be a mention of it on his website or he’s gonna tweet about it. He’s real supportive. He’s really good to all of the guys in his band. They have a production company – New Voice Entertainment. Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy and Kurt Allison are three of the players in his band. Along with Jack (and another New Voice member, David Fanning) we produced the album, so he’s all for it!
Finally, is anything you’d like to say your fans as you prepare to release Coming Out Of The Pain?
I’m really excited about my new album, Coming Out Of The Pain. I’m excited to work with Rock Ridge and have it distributed everywhere. I have worked really hard in writing and producing this album. I really hope you like it as well! Please feel free to contact me at any of my sites and let me know you like it!
Pre-order Coming Out Of The Pain on iTunes by clicking HERE.