Louise Goffin likens the feeling of making her solo album, “Sometimes a Circle” (due Feb. 26 via DreamWorks), to a person who has worn tight clothes his or her entire life, and then suddenly puts on something comfortable.
Goffin, the daughter of legendary songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin, had been expressing her musicality with several experimental bands before finally going solo in the late ’90s. Though she did release several solo projects earlier in her career, including 1979’s “Kid Blue” and 1981’s “Louise Goffin” on Asylum, she considers her latest project to be her real foray into solo endeavors.
“I thought it was cooler to have a band, but I stopped equating cool with four people playing live,” she says. “It was part of my growth experience. It made me understand the mechanics of making music. I got better as an arranger, songwriter, and singer. I began to feel more confident in the fact that my quirkiness and personality would serve me better as a solo artist.”
She began attending songwriting retreats sponsored by Miles Copeland in the south of France. There, Goffin first focused on writing songs for other artists. “I wasn’t terribly good at that,” she says. “At the time, the Christina Aguileras were really happening. I felt that I was leaving so much of myself out when I tried to fit into that. I had all this creative juice [for which] I had to find an outlet. I was writing songs on the side, which ended up making up this album.”
Though she was eight months pregnant and without a record deal, Goffin moved forward with recording her songs with her writer/producer husband Greg Wells. Her demos later fell into the hands of DreamWorks principal Lenny Waronker, who ultimately signed her to the company.
Goffin says, “When DreamWorks was interested, it all changed for me. [Waronker’s] not signing things that he thinks are fast money. He’s going for artists that he feels will have a presence over time. When he heard what we had done, he said, ‘You have a great thing going. Keep doing what you’re doing.’ They did not alter or interfere with what we were doing. It’s a real dream situation.”
The resulting album is one that is steeped in worldly perceptions and personal introspection, and it runs the musical gamut from blues and funk to pop and rock. The title track, for example, contains a catchy chorus and an interesting percussion beat amid lyrics about striving toward personal achievement but getting sidetracked by life along the way.
Other notable songs include “Instant Photo,” which features a continuous blues riff on mandolin; “What If I Were Talking to Me,” a lyrical look at projecting problems onto others; and “Just Bone and Breadth,” whose strong hook links to an exploration of a romantic relationship dominated by a woman.
Goffin describes the project as “a positive look at things, rather than the cynical. I was gravitating toward ideas that had a sense of humor about them, almost in a journalistic way or like looking through the end of a telescope.”
Curiosity about Goffin has already been sparked, says Steve Rosenblatt, marketing director for DreamWorks, due to her appearance in a Gap commercial with King that aired in mid-2001. “A lot of people remember that spot,” he says. “It’s almost like a teaser. It was a nice way to kick her off, publicity-wise.”
The title cut has been sent to triple-A and modern AC radio formats and has been well-received in Boston; Nashville; Tampa, Fla.; St. Louis; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis; and Salt Lake City. Goffin will be making a variety of personal appearances surrounding the set’s release date.