This week marked the release of Jennifer O’Connor’s latest album “I Want What You Want.” The album explores themes of finding one’s own path, and figuring out how to move forward, all of which were present in the Brooklyn songwriter’s creation of the release. Read on to learn about how this album almost didn’t come to be, and why O’Connor chose to release it on her own label.
Without using the words “singer/songwriter,” “folk,“ “rock,” or “alternative,” describe your sound.
My sound is kind of all over the place and it always has been, which is why none of those terms have ever been appropriate I don’t think.
Let’s talk about your new album, I Want What You Want, which just hit stores this week. I read that this album almost didn’t come to be. What was it that you think prompted the songwriting which got the album going?
I had been writing songs the whole time, but I was having a tough time financially and wasn’t really sure if continuing with music in a professional way was economically viable for me. I had the opportunity to submit a song for the Twilight movie so that kind of forced me into the studio. Once I got back in the studio, I knew that I wanted to make a new record.
When the songwriting kept flowing, was there a theme that naturally came about, tying the songs together?
I think the songs on this record are really about trying to find your way. Enduring tough times, figuring out what you really want, figuring out how to make things happen in new ways, etc…
Tell us about your recording process. Did you have the arrangements all set before you hit the studio? Or did they fall into place at the studio?
I recorded in Hoboken, NJ with Tom Beaujour at Nuthouse Recording over the course of almost a year. Some of the arrangements were done beforehand but there were a great deal of additional overdubs done late in the recording process that I think really color how the album sounds, in a cool way. Spending more time than I usually do recording on this record had a great deal to do with how this record sounds, I think. Also, Tom is really great and I can’t wait to work with him again.
This is your 5th album. Do you think it has a different sound than your others?
I do. I think it sounds the most like me.
Did you design a a marketing plan for the release of this album?
Yes and no. I have a label (Kiam) and I have put out a few other LPs by other artists as well as my first record in 2002. I thought about shopping this record around (my last couple of records were on Matador) but kind of at the last minute, I just decided to put it out on Kiam. I really wanted the record out there quickly, and with TuneCore, I’m able to do that. So the record is out digitally to start (with a limited edition CD available by mail for Christmas). I’m going to see how it does and then possibly do a larger CD run next year and vinyl as well.
You mentioned that you released this album on Kiam Records, your own label. Have you faced any challenges releasing music on you own label?
It’s more challenging when it is your own record. But it’s also more exciting. I really want the label to grow, so I feel like releasing my own music on the label is a good way to move in that direction. And I enjoy the label side. I’d like to be able to continue putting out records by other bands that I like.
What’s next? Are you thinking toward your next projects? Or are you just taking each day as it comes?
Well, a little of both. I’m going to do some touring next year and go to SXSW for the first time in a few years. I’m hoping to press vinyl of the record as I previously mentioned. Other than that, I’m just going to keep writing songs and making music and see where it all takes me.