Details: Between your modeling career and your husband, do you feel you have more to prove than the average singer-songwriter?
Karen Elson: My hope is that if people come out saying, "Let's see if it's as horrible as we think," they'll see this isn't just a random thing a pretty girl thought up one day. This is a passion.
Details: What influence did Nashville, where you live, have on this record?
Karen Elson: I listened to a lot of old-school country: Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson. There are so many country stations and a few old-timey ones. Modern country music—I don't feel particularly connected to it. Taylor Swift is an exception.
Details: What's the difference between performing for a camera and performing live for a crowd?
Karen Elson: Performing for an audience is the most vulnerable and terrifying experience I've had. I found myself looking at random people, studying their faces for reactions. I had to tell myself to stop. I've probably weirded some people out.
Details: Jack produced the record, and it probably helped that you two have similar tastes. What would he have done if you set out to make a rap or a disco album?
Karen Elson: He probably would have said, "Do you really love disco music?" And if I was all about disco, sure! I've never tried rapping. I could be amazing. But I kind of think I'm not.
Details: Can you tell us your first musical obsession?
Karen Elson: Remember Shakespears Sister? That rocked my world. Pop-goth girls! I was into that teenage darkness.
Details: What was Jack's producing style in the studio?
Karen Elson: Get in there, pick up your guitar, and sing. He's not going to waste time on me being overly insecure. Not like he manhandled me—"Perform, woman!"—but he'd say, "If you don't do this now, you never will."
Details: Like Jack, you've got your own color scheme. Why peach and black?
Karen Elson: My friend Tabitha Simmons, an editor at Vogue, named a pair of peach-and-black suede shoes after me. On a deeper level, I like having a character to play. When I put on the peach-and-black dress, it brings me closer to the soul of the record. I feel like a forlorn and haunted southern lady.
Details: So what's more soulless, the modeling biz or the music biz?
Karen Elson: I'm just getting started with music, so it's not too soulless yet. And with modeling, I paid my dues years ago... but I'm not going to dig an early grave!
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