Jeremy Lister, the son of a preacher, relocated to Nashville in 2003. Since then, he has put out three EPs, including Just One Day, which Warner Bros. released in 2007. Lister’s music has appeared in MTV’s “The Hills,” and he is currently touring with Nashville collective Ten Out of Tenn. Be sure to check out his profile on American Songspace.
We’re in Nashville for the Next Big Nashville festival, in the back of the beautiful Gibson tour bus, along with American Songwriter Magazine. My name is Mike from woxy.com; hanging out with Jeremy Lister. How are you doing?
Hey guys. I’m doing quite well; thanks for having me here.
Thanks for coming in. How do you like this set up we’ve got here?
It’s pretty impressive. You know, I have seen a few shares of tour buses and I think this may be one of the most impressive I’ve seen.
Gibson does it right.
Thanks for taking out a little bit of your time. I hear you’re going to play a little later on tonight inside the venue, but how about a song for us?
Sure, this is Hostage. Actually, this is Hostage Number Five because this is my 5th version of the song. Well, not this because this is acoustic, but I have just finished recorded my 5th version of this song and this will be it.
Nice, I think I heard a little bit of Jeff Buckley in there.
Well, definitely it was a big influence. We actually just did a tribute to the album Grace, me and several friends about a month ago here, at Mercy. It was fun night.
Did anybody record that?
No. I think you are one of 50 people to ask that. I really wish we would have because it was a really magical night.
Want to sing another one?
Yeah! I’m going to switch up guitars. Gibson. It’s a good guitar for you. It’s kind of loud in here but I will try to play a soft song. This is track 2 on my new album called The Bed You Made.
Super pretty. Super Pretty. What was the inspiration for that song?
Thank you. It was a bad point in my life. It was on many levels – on relationship levels, on financial levels. I was in a really tough spot. This may sound trivial, but I think what sparked the flood from that song was a lot of things happening; a relationship going south and as I said before, just being in a very difficult place. Also, going through the transition of just starting to get acclimated with music industry and finding myself just in a rough spot, I would do things to be destructive. This small thing happened. I got three traffic tickets within the period of about three days. It was brutal for me at the time. It was just the tipping point. I was like that’s it. I can’t handle anymore of this and I just beat the hell out of the steering wheel. I had no money to pay for a ticket and just the fact of everything else. It was just ‘that’s it!’ I guess music is my drug of choice. The best way to release things for me is to just sit and write. I just sat down with the guitar and it came out within about twenty minutes, the whole song. It’s still, today, one of my favorite and most close to the heart songs I’ve written.
We heard the stripped sound version here. How will that sound with full production in the studio?
It’ll sound just like that. We’re going to do it just acoustic and vocals. Tomorrow is my last day in the studio and that will be the last song we do.
Well, tell us about the album because that has been a long in the works hasn’t it?
It really has. I have been with Warner Brothers now for three and a half years. It’s been a long road. I have been working with some amazing people and sort of juggling around with what they wanted me to do. Going to L.A. to work with people or New York or London, which has been amazing, but I guess nothing has really come to fruition. No real plan and no next steps have been happening, until what I thought would be the death of my relationship with them. Before that, I was like, “Hey, can you give us a small budget and can I work with some friends in town that have their heart in this and they’re brilliant. We did four tracks several months ago and submitted it to them and they were like, “This is best thing we’ve heard you do yet. This is amazing.” I was like, “Thanks, ya, they have always been amazing.”
They need to listen to you more often.
Ha, yeah. I’ve been working with Ian Fitrick and Justin Lowkes. I am blown away. As of tomorrow, we will have 13 songs finished. It is, by far, the most excited I have been about anything I have worked on.
What’s the timeline for eventually getting out into peoples’ hands?
That’s the next step. Go through the process with Warner and figure out what would be a suitable date. I’m hoping maybe early next year, whether late winter or early spring; keep them crossed.
You had a real great post on your MySpace blog I have to ask you about. It’s an old one, from last year when you were over in London and you can just tell from the text you were having the time of your life. Tell us what that was like and how long you were over there.
I was there for two weeks. I felt so natural over there. I do here, too. I love, love, love Nashville. I was working with a producer there named Martin Theruff. The writing experience and the recording it was amazing. It was kind of interesting being in the studio with a mix of Swedish and Danish people. The festive spirits and that whole crew; his studio is this huge factory – like three stories. We’ll go record a track and then I’ll write for a while and these random people will be just passing in and out. They’ll be like, “How about if we do this?” I’m like, “Okay.” They sit down and write with you for a while. It’s like a big creative commune, in a great way. I had the time of my life.
I think three of the songs that I wrote are going to be on this album.
What was the name of the album again?
The Bed You Made. Same as the song I just played.
Well, thanks for coming in. It has been a treat. I really enjoyed it. It was really a pleasure to meet you.
Likewise, thank you. Thank you very much. Cheers.