Kasey Lansdale

An interview with singer/songwriter Kasey Lansdale
by Tina Hall
January 2011

Kasey Lansdale

Kasey Lansdale

Native Texan Kasey Lansdale is not just the daughter of legendary author Joe R. Lansdale (she herself was published at Random House by the age of 8, the story which has been formed into a screenplay) she is also a well established country artist who can be found on the road most of the time. When not touring internationally, she works as the newest staff writer at Music Row Publishing House. Her third EP is tentatively titled ‘Never Say Never” and was produced by Mike Clute who has worked with artists like Faith Hill and Diamond Rio. Some of the best writers in Nashville show up for the tracks on this one with Bob DiPiero, Roxie Dean, and Victoria Banks lending their various styles to the mix. Lansdale joins forces co-writing with Arlos Smith and Clute on one of the five tracks as well.

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in Texas in the Lansdale household? Do you think some of the determination you have now is the result of your supportive upbringing? Did you look up to your father as writer growing up? What about your mother Karen do you find it helpful to have had such a strong female role model?
Kasey Lansdale: I think growing up in Texas at the Lansdale house was like growing up at any house. Normal, except the artwork depicting dead people on the walls. I do think my determination is from seeing my parents create and build their own business in a sense. I also think though, that you can’t teach that, you either have it or you don’t. But you have to learn the idea from somewhere. I know I couldn’t do this if I didn’t have their support. You get knocked down too many times to not have a support system of some sort. I look up still to both my parents. To me, dad wasn’t a writer, he was dad, and mom was mom. And they did their roles as such above and beyond.

MI: Have you always enjoyed country music? If you are like most of us who were raised country you remember your first favorite country song very well. What would you say was yours? Why do you think the roots of country music run so deep for most people with many favorite artists being passed from generation to generation?
KL: I have always enjoyed country music. I don’t remember my first CD, but I remember the two I would listen to over and over again was Reba, the greatest hits album with Fancy on it, Track 3, I think, and a Loretta/Patsy CD. I would play them on repeat and walk in circles around the fireplace with my dog on my heels. (He also likes country music.) I think country runs deep because the songs are about people. People in life, love, happiness, hardship. Things that everyone can relate to.

MI: Do you think the whole country genre has changed much since it’s early days? 
KL: I do think the genre has changed. In some ways, good, others, not so much. The soul of country is the same, but the delivery has changed.

MI: What did it feel like to published a story at Random House when you were 8? Were you surprised when it was made into a screenplay?
KL: It felt good, but to be honest, it didn’t seem all that spectacular until I was older. I just thought, this is what we do. I wasn’t surprised about the screenplay, only because this business, really any creative business, works in mysterious ways.

MI: How are you liking being the newest staff writer over on Music Row Publishing House?
KL: I love that I can make my own schedule and do what I love. That is the dream isn’t it?

MI: What was it like to work with Arlos Smith and the other great songwriters that you got for this EP?
KL: Working with these people was great. You can really see where the craft of songwriting can take you and how in time, it will evolve.

MI:  What is the most important thing you have learned with all your time on the road?
KL: I think I have learned a lot of important things. Like, don’t take the time you have for granted. Especially the “home/family” time.

MI: What do you love most about performing? Do your nerves ever get the best of you? If so how do you deal with that?
KL: I love so many things about it. I love connecting with someone over the music. Especially when it is a song I wrote and it touches someone. I love the kindness people show when they appreciate what you are doing. I don’t feel nervous like I used to, but I have moments, but when I start singing, I don’t have time to remember words, step here, que this, and be nervous. The trick is to try to get out of your own head about it. Easier said then done sometimes, but that is it.

MI: How does this EP differ from you past work?
KL: This EP has more of a bluesy feel, whereas my older work was more old style country. I love both, but I also like seeing where I evolve and grow as an artist.

MI: Other than music what other things do you enjoy?
KL: I love to travel, and therefore, I love scrapbooking. I like to put everything on a page, glitter stick in hand. I also love animals, and movies, and just being with friends and family.

MI: Where would you like to see your career go next?
KL: This is a tough one. I would like to release a full CD and then the details that come with that. Radio tour, live shows, etc.

MI: Do you have any amusing stories from all your experiences that you might be at liberty to share with our readers?
KL: Well, One of my favorite things was the first time I wrote with Arlos. I hadn’t done too many co-writes, and here you have this guy who has had number ones, and is legit. We were sitting around throwing out ideas back and forth, my producer at the time was with us too. We would get going on an idea and then stop and try to make sure we were saying what we wanted to say, and Arlos, (I don’t think he would mind my saying this, Arlos is very funny) would throw down his pen halfway through and say “man, this writing shit’s hard.” And that stuck with me. Now, every time I write and I have a “stuck” moment, I think of that. And yes, it is. But it was comforting to know that even guys like him still had moments of alright, lemme see now.

MI: What projects do you have in the works for 2011?
KL: I of course have live shows around the US and will be doing two separate runs in Europe this summer, but I have also created the Songwriter Workshop in East Texas. I bring down talented guest to talk to aspiring artists. I love doing that, because the people get easy access to the greats right in their area. I also hope to finish the EP, so I am doing a lot of writing. I also just sold my first anthology so I will be working on that throughout the year and it should appear in 2012.

MI: What do you hope people take away from your music? Anything you’d like to say to your fans in closing?
KL: I hope they take something that moves them and really touches and means something to them. I just want to say, Thank you. Without you, there is only a little girl hoping her dreams come true.

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