Singer, songwriter and guitarist Michelle Branch represents the new breed of young female artists who have recently been dominating the music charts. Like her contemporaries Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne, Michelle writes her own songs, and doesn't depend on choreography or special effects when she performs live. VOA's Bernie Bernard tells us about the second and latest album from Michelle Branch, Hotel Paper.
In 2001, Michelle Branch earned a hit with her debut album The Spirit Room, which is approaching the two million mark in sales. She also scored on the charts this past year with Game Of Love, her duet with Santana.
Now 20 years old, Michelle records for Maverick Records, the label founded by Madonna. "Sometimes people write off younger artists as being a novelty," she remarks. " People forget that George Harrison was 17 when he was in The Beatles. And, when they started, The Rolling Stones and U2 were my age."
The title track from her album Hotel Paper speaks of the loneliness that comes with traveling around the country and writing down her thoughts in those rare, quiet moments when she returns to her hotel. "I spent the last two years of my life traveling," Michelle says, "so when it was time to begin work on a new record, I realize it has already been written in hotel rooms around the world."
Michelle Branch admits she felt a bit of pressure when she went into the studio to record Hotel Paper, but tried to relax. "A lot of people making their second record, especially after a successful first record, start second-guessing," she says. "You forget to trust your gut and follow your instincts on songs, which is a huge part in writing music and being creative. I just went in without thinking and watched what happened."
The young star doesn't feel like she's started a new movement in music, commenting, "Comparisons are always going to be made, and no one can change that. But just because other young females release records after mine does not create a movement. Just start with Stevie Nicks, throw in Sheryl Crow and put me somewhere at the bottom."
Acknowledging her experiences of the past two years, Michelle says, "I feel like I've grown so much as an artist, as a writer, as a musician, and as a vocalist. Just being on the road with people like Carlos Santana and Sheryl Crow, I've learned so much and I really think my writing has gotten so much better." Michelle will be featured in the July issue of In Style magazine, along with legendary Fleetwood Mac vocalist, Stevie Nicks. And her friend Sheryl Crow makes a guest appearance on her new album.
Through August 4, Michelle will open shows for country and pop group, the Dixie Chicks.