by Tracy Darlington
"As a Christian, I see my music more as just music than Christian music per say, but I don’t say that in an effort to distance myself from an industry that participates in my identity of being Christian." --Plumb
Ever since the release of her first self-titled album in 1997, Plumb has become one of music's favorite rock chicks. Her songs have been featured in many movies, commercials and tv shows. Her latest release, Chaotic Resolve, is Plumb at her best.
Tracy: Has music always been a big part of your life? If so, what music would you say influenced you most as a child?
Plumb: Yes. Originally just a “hobby”, if you will. I spent a lot of time around church music and in the car with my mom listening to Stevie Nicks and Elvis---singing as loudly as I could. However, I’d say my earlier influences came from my older brother’s stash of music since he had a job to buy it, and it was basically all rock n’ roll.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a musician?
Although I had the gift of music, I never planned to be involved in the business professionally. It literally found me. However, very quickly I realized the opportunity to be faithful with my gift was not just incredibly important but was as equally rewarding.
What’s special to you about Chaotic Resolve?
Every part. Songs become like your children and hold a very special place in your heart forever. The moments that came about to bring those songs into existence will live with me forever, so “special” is an understatement. I will add though, that being pregnant with my 1st baby while making the entire project added a whole new level of honesty and truth to the mix, which is why I think it’s my best to date. It’s the most real and vulnerable I’ve been able to be so far.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Hard question. However, I’d have to say “Cut”, a song inspired by a girl involved in self- injury. It encompasses truth and beauty within such a painful subject, which metaphorically suggests the ability for goodness to come out of anguish.
Where do you do most of your song writing?
Most is done at the studio with Matt Bronleewe, my long time co-writing partner and wonderful friend. But I write a lot of places elsewhere as well.
What process do you take in writing a song?
There is no formula. That’s my process. I’ve learned my strengths and weaknesses, and my strength is lyric and melody. I write best when a blank track or empty chord progression is waiting on my pen and ink. “From scratch” happens too, but I’m most inspired, more often than not, by an existing progression of some kind, and so that approach is my preference.
Music can be a powerful influence in a person’s life. Could you talk about some of the bands and songs that have impacted your life?
Bands and artists who have found what makes them unique and are running with passion after that very thing have always earned my respect. Especially when they don’t apologize for it by trying to make it conducive to a time but just make it real and authentically theirs. That makes it timeless. And real art is just that. I think The Cure, U2, Sarah McLachlan, Suzanne Vega, Bonnie Rait, and Stevie Nicks are all several of many I respect for that reason and continue to look up to.
What kind of music would you love to write, but haven’t yet?
I just did. I wrote for a lullaby record I just recorded. Its very ethereal and peaceful and vulnerable . . . very sweet. Not rock at all. It was so refreshing to participate in a different arena musically. I look forward to things in the future different from what I normally record, especially after this experience.
Do you have a new project in the works?
Ha, see my answer above. It’s not due out ‘til spring 2007 (and is still untitled), but it’s best described as “not your ordinary lullaby cd”. Imagine Bjork and Sarah McLachlan making a lullaby cd together, and then you’ll have my upcoming project well described.
Christian music has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Do you have any thoughts on the future of Christian music?
I think its growth, the good part that is, is from artists who have decided that Christian music is just that---music for the church to encourage and inspire the church, not trying to mimic another artist in the mainstream or simply use the market to be “mainstream”. But instead, being authentically truthful and not apologetic for their faith and passion in Jesus. As a Christian, I see my music more as just music than Christian music per say, but I don’t say that in an effort to distance myself from an industry that participates in my identity of being Christian. I’m just calling a spade a spade, and I look forward to making an album of Christian music one day very soon.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you pick and why?
Audrey Hepburn. I’m her biggest fan. Or John Lennon to ask him about all the FBI and government trauma he endured when he stood for peace and not war. I stand for the same.
Have you ever had any unusual or embarrassing moments while you were performing on stage?
Yes. My red velvet vintage pants split wide open on stage once . . . never to happen again. I’ve archived them in a storage tub of Plumb memorabilia to reflect on one day when I’m old. I played the rest of my set sitting on the drum riser til Mac Powell brought me a towel to walk off of stage with.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I can go weeks without washing my hair, and I think gross stuff is funny; I’m a bit of a tomboy, to be honest.
A lot of your songs deal with tough issues. What drives you to write about subjects like abuse, cutting, etc.?
Because they are real, and real is relevant. Truth is painful, but still truth . . . still healthy to hear. I believe that and plan to continue to honor the fans and moments that inspire me to be just that. Any other use of the stage is vain to me.
Can you tell me a story someone's shared with you about how one of your songs affected their life?
Just recently a girl told me she had planned to commit suicide one evening and heard my song “Cut” on the radio. Suddenly she felt less alone and less afraid of the struggles that were overwhelming her, and so instead of driving home she drove to a record store and bought the album. She listened to it over and over that night and woke the next day . . . still breathing. Hearing a story like that is probably one of the most humbling and important parts of my career. Actually, of my life. I take that very seriously. I’m only a small part of the body. The station playing the song, the store carrying the album, the label releasing it on the cd in the first place . . . they all are such important parts to her hearing the song. Important enough to maybe even have saved her life.
How does your faith come into play in your writing and performing?
It’s what owns me. It’s where my identity is found. So with that said, it comes into play in every area. Writing. Performing. Breathing.
What’s currently in your iPod?
Just recently, The Weepies. My husband bought it for me because of a lyric that reminded him of me. Very sweet. But every song I own is on my iPod, so it’s a priceless little item to me.
Three items always found in your refrigerator:
Organic whole milk my son drinks, bottled water, organic blackberry jelly . . . I eat it at least 3 times a week.
Besides the Bible, what book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? If so, why?
I genuinely wish I was more of a reader and am working on doing so. Right now I’m trying very hard to read and finish Resident Aliens. Its an amazing book . . . more of a theological read, but more or less reminding us that this world is not our home. We are in fact aliens here, and that very thought in and of itself should affect how we deal with things here on earth. Very humbling lessons to be learned, I might add.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.