10 Questions with ... Minnie Driver
October 6, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Actress, singer-songwriter Minnie Driver has starred in several movies and television shows. She was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for her work in the film "Good Will Hunting." She was also nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for her work in the television series "The Riches."
She released her first album "Everything I've Got In My Pocket" in 2004 which charted at #43 on the Billboard US Heat Seekers Chart, and her 2007 release "Seastories" charted at #25.
Her third studio album is entitled "Ask Me To Dance," and is a collection of covers by some of her favorite artists ranging from Elliott Smith, The Killers, and The Cure; to Elton John and Frank Sinatra. Her new single "Love Song" is currently impacting Mainstream AC.
1) Hi Minnie! Where does this interview find and what else is on the agenda today besides our interview?
Today I am shooting my show "About A Boy," but I have my guitar with me so I'm writing in between scenes!
2) On your new album, "Ask Me To Dance" you take a different approach to covering a variety of songs and styles from The Cure, to Frank Sinatra. What inspired this approach and what are some of the tracks off the album that have a special significance to you?
I figured I could only make a covers record if I had a point of view about all the songs that connected to something personal. Rather than just re-creating songs that were already great, I found ones that had varied significance for me. Songs that had been the soundtrack to my life so far. "Waltz#2" is very special to me because Elliot was a friend of mine, and I happened to be in the studio with him at Sunset Sound when he was doing vocals on it many years ago.
3) Please tell us about your new single "Love Song" which is currently being released to AC radio?
"Love Song" has some of the most beautiful lyrics Elton John ever recorded (in my opinion). I think it is one of the simplest most powerful melodies too and while Tumbleweed Connection might not have been one of his biggest selling records, but I wore it out on my turntable as a kid.
4) You grew up in both London and Barbados. How do you think those locations influenced your life?
Music was always everywhere for me as a kid. In Barbados, Soca and Calypso were where I FELT music for the first time. Then back in London in the grey and the cold, that's where I really started listening.
5) Can you share with our readers the early years of your musical career when you were supplementing your income as a Jazz singer and guitarist? Please tell us about your experience with the Milo Roth Band who were signed to Island Records?
I sang in restaurants and clubs when I was younger because I was a terrible waitress, and I couldn't get a job doing that! Singing with a combo to a room full of people who could not have been less interested in hearing me sing, was where I really learned to sing! I got to be bad in public when no one cared and it's how I got better.
Signing a development deal with Island when I was 19 was fun and folly. We had no idea what we were doing in the band I was in, and we didn't have much guidance. It was really like throwing mud at the wall back then and seeing what stuck! We were dropped pretty quickly and I was about to sign another record deal as a solo artist when I was cast in the film "Circle of Friends," and my life sort of took a turn.
6) You began acting in comedy clubs about this time as well. Did your musical and acting careers develop simultaneously? Or were you pursuing one direction more aggressively than the other?
I have always been a musician and an actor, I cant really separate them. I have never really understood the notion of "but if you had to choose one ... " I'm an artist, there are multiple mediums for expressing that, and everything always developed as one big endeavor as opposed to one coming first or second.
7) What bands/artists are you currently listening to and inspired by?
I'm listening to a lot of Hozier and Moses Sumney at the moment, both of whom I think are fierce, amazing talents. I'm also never far from Father John Misty's last record, "Fear Fun and A Letter Home" the Jack White produced Neil Young.
8) If you had the opportunity to work with anyone from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?
I would like to sing with Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, Roy Orbison, Jeff Buckley, and I would like T-Bone Burnett to produce it. If I could play anywhere, it would be The Hollywood Bowl, closely followed by the Greek Theatre here in Los Angeles.
9) I have followed your career for quite sometime, but like many, it really started with seeing you in the sweet movie, "Circle of Friends." Then and of course "Good Will Hunting," which is one of my all time favorite movies. Would you mind sharing a memorable story with our readers from having the pleasure to work with the late, great Robin Williams?
Robin was a kind sweet soul and everyone who knew him and those who didn't (but loved him anyway) will miss him greatly. He was a really good listener and taught me a lot about timing and patience in acting.
10) For your album, "Everything I've Got in My Pocket" you collaborated with some awesome people, including Ryan Adams, Liz Phair, members of Wallflowers and Pete Yorn's band. How was that collaborative experience? Is there anyone you wish to collaborate with in the future?
I'm in a band called Tired Pony with Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and Peter Buck from REM (among others). Playing with both of them has fulfilled a lot of dreams! And writing with Gary subsequently has taught me more about songwriting than I could have imagined. I hope to collaborate with a lot of other musicians on my next record.
What's on tap next for you Minnie? What are you most excited about for this year?
I am very excited about this record ["Ask Me To Dance"] to come out, and I am sooooo looking forward to playing more shows. I have a musical movie called "Beyond The Lights" coming out in the fall, and my show "About A Boy" goes back on the air in October. All in all, it's a pretty busy creative time, which is just how I like it!