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Ortega has been working on Faded Gloryville for quite some time -- in fact, the album "has been finished since December or January, so I feel like I’ve been carrying a baby around for nine months – so now it gets to be born," she explains.
The singer recorded three of the songs in Muscle Shoals with White and Tanner producing. Cutting those tracks in the Alabama musical landmark was a thrill. “I had never recorded there before. I had done some co-writing with John Paul White before, and I realized that he had a studio down there. I told my managers about it, and they called him and asked if he was recording people," Ortega explains. "Muscle Shoals has this incredible history with the music, and it's so ingrained in the culture. It really comes through in all the musicians. I feel that it’s in their heart and in their blood. They hired a bunch of musicians that they really seemed to have a good relationship and rapport with. We did some wonderful recordings while we were there.”
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Though the music on Faded Gloryville definitely took on a soulful style, Ortega explains that happened organically. “It wasn’t a concept album, by any means. I just named the record after a song that I really liked. It’s always hard when you’re trying to pick the title for a record, and trying to come up with something interesting and unique. I felt the song was a good name for the record," she says. "I was listening to a lot of soul music at the time, and I’ve found that whatever I’m listening to seems to come out in the songs that I like. When I was allotting songs to the producers, I felt that with the whole Muscle Shoals vibe, Ben and John Paul would be perfect for the songs that had more of a soulful vibe.”
When it comes to writing music, Ortega draws from her own experience, like on the song “Tell It Like It Is.” “It was a song that I wrote about an experience I had where I was being a little strung along, with a cat-and-mouse game romance-wise," she says. "I was getting tired of it, and I had been there a few times, and thought it was ridiculous. I don’t understand how people can be that way. I would much rather just be straight up. It saves yourself a lot of time and heartache. It was basically a plea to tell people that play those games to stop doing that.”