Liz Longley is still “blown away” over the success of the crowd funding drive for her new album, Funeral For My Past, whose title track is premiering below.
After an amicable parting with Sugar Hill Records, the Nashville singer and songwriter raised $150,000 through Kickstarter to buy the masters from the label (making her the fourth most-funded solo female musician on the platform) and release the album on her own, currently set for Sept. 18.
“It was really incredible to see it take off like that,” Longley tells Billboard. “That people cared enough about my music to come in and help me in that tough time.”
Longley adds that it was nerve-wracking to return to the independent ranks, but in the end adds it’s “been highly rewarding. I’ve been able to build my own team, bring in people who believe in this music, and who I trust.”
Produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, the Weeks, Caitlyn Smith) and featuring musicians who have played with Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Ingrid Michaelson and others, Funeral For My Past is an 11-song stock-taking reflected by its title. “A lot of these songs are about processing things I wanted to process in my life and truly leave behind,” Longley explains. “The overarching theme is how important it is to deal with your demons and then let them go.” And in changing her label situation Longley clearly practiced what she found herself preaching.
“That title has taken on a new meaning for me because when I made this record I was really excited for the future, and that all fell apart,” she says. “So my past started to include this process of having to move on from that chapter and grow from it and become an independent artist again.”
Longley says Funeral For My Past‘s eclectic range — from Americana and gospel-flavored soul to shimmering pop anthems and touches of jazz her father played — was “unintentional” but welcome. “I really try when I’m writing to just be open to whatever comes along, whatever genre it falls under,” she notes. “As long as it feels true to the song and true to me, I just kind of let it happen. That’s been a positive and negative thing in my career. My listeners often say they love how diverse my catalog can feel, but in the music business it’s hard for people to nail down exactly what I do. I play with a lot of flavors, and that inspires me, so I’m going to keep doing that.”
With four singles now out from the album, Longley is looking towards its fall release and hoping she’ll have an opportunity to play live shows by then. In the meantime she’s using her enforced time at home to be creative. “More songs are pouring out, which makes me more excited,” Longley reports. “It kind of comes in waves. At first everyone was like, ‘This is a perfect time to write,’ but there’s almost a pressure to it. So I’m trying to make the most of it without forcing anything, and at the same time I want to take time to focus on Funeral For My Past and give it the attention it deserves after working on it for so long.”