Keren Ann on Her Latest Album Nolita

By YourTango

Keren Ann on Her Latest Album Nolita
Keren Ann discusses how her music is inspired by love.


Is your song "One Day Without" autobiographical?


Partly, sure, because I have to be familiar with the emotion to be able to write it. Yeah, this song is for somebody in particular.

Would he know that you were singing to him?

[Laughs] I think so.

Are you actively searching for love?

Being a singer means you're always in a vicious circle. The feeling of lonesomeness is the one you're most familiar with. You're mostly in hotel rooms on your own. I think, though, when you make the choice to make music, you have to make the choice to be constantly searching for love. When you're writing, you don't think about who's going to love you after this song. But once it's written, you can't live with the fact that someone won't love you back for what you've written.

I haven't met people who aren't constantly searching for love. But [as a musician] you're also constantly searching to be left alone, to do what you have to do. You want the love, you want to know it's there when you need it, but you want to know that the love is still there if you need to be on your own. And you can't love fully if you can't do what you love doing.

Tell me about the relationship you have with your audience, on stage.

I just had this conversation with my manager the other day, and he told me that sometimes there could be wall between us. It was the worst thing that anybody ever told me, but I'm happy he did.

Do you feel that way at the time?

No, not at all. I feel very privileged. I love the relationship I have with [my audience]. I like that they're a part of the ingredients that make the show. In the end, it's all about them because they've come to see you play. It's like having a date at night with so many people. I feel a real closeness with my audience—they allow me to be cranky, or sassy, or in a bad mood if I had a bad day, as long as I'm there with them.

Sounds like the traits of a good relationship.

It is. Closeness inspires the best relationships, and also the most dangerous. Some couples are very close, but they're against everyone else. But I do have this with my audience. They're with me. If someone writes something in the press, they'll say, "How the hell could they write this!" That's the closeness I'm talking about. It's the Bonnie and Clyde complicity. They're my partners in crime for the night.

Who do you think about when you write your music?

Usually, it's all about love. It comes from the person you love. But then it travels, and it goes to other stories. Old stories. It starts with love or longing, whether it's a place, or a person, or a detachment, or being overwhelmed. But then it can evolve into something else. Everything memory-related kills me. I'm obsessed. Like Lola in Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." Lola lost her love because she lost her youth. Ultimately, so many songs come back to love.

So is Nolita an album of "love songs?"

No. But even if they're not explicitly about love, they exist because of love. Too much love, not enough love, the overwhelming nature of love.

But I could see that a lot of people would consider "One Day Without" the consummate love song.

On this album, it's probably the closest. When you long for someone, you accept that they're no longer a part of your life. It doesn't mean that you've stopped loving them. Love is indefinite and I'm one of those people who loves forever—even people from my past.

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