Amelia Brightman is the youngest sister of the much-adored Sarah Brightman. She recently terminated her partnership with producer Frank Petersen (Sarah's spouse), choosing to leave his platinum-selling Gregorian chant project, Gregorian (as main writer and vocalist). As she was the moneymaking factor for Gregorian I am sure the parting of ways was not mutual, however for an artist that is clearly a unique talent, it has to be the right choice. Gregorian set aside; there are a plethora of tacky recordings available now with well-meaning monks chanting to groovy beats. Take your pick as you can find many of these $4.99 compact discs in any dreadful 'soothing-sounds' section at your local Wal-mart. This particleboard music has become as soul-less as plastic. Yet, it is still churned out by talentless producers as it is gobbled up by the musically ignorant. If Ms. Brightman had indeed stayed with Gregorian it would have eventually turned into a 'circus act' and her talent would languish.
I couldn't make it to the UK as I am at home in Texas making loads of money. I spoke with Amelia instead -
MFM: Amelia, tell us what musicians have influenced and inspired you over time? (And please ignore the cows you may hear in the background.)
AB: Gosh there are so many! Kate Bush, Julie London, Townes Van Zandt, David Bowie, Bjork, Nick Drake, Portishead, Velvet Underground, Eurythmics, Emiliana Torrini. The list could go on and on and on. I love, and have loved anything that truly tells a story, that truly experiments and doesn't take itself too seriously. My intention is to take a little of everything I like to make something that is truly me.
MFM: Which artists would you want to work with?
AB: That depends on what week you ask me. This week I am having a little bit of a Folk obsession so I would want to work with a group called Beirut, but last week it was Trip-Hop and I would have said Tricky. It's just dependent on what I am listening to at the time. I believe that an eclectic view makes for a more creative scope and fortunately I am working with people (Dean James, Glen Scott, Subject 13) that understand the core of what I am trying to achieve, so it always retains a consistent thread.
MFM: What is a typical day for Amelia Brightman?
AB: Since Giving up Gregorian I have had the luxury of being able to just be at home and write my songs for a while. When not in the studio I cover my duties as a mom in the morning, go to the gym or walk my dog then sit down to write. I am aware this will all have to change again when I get into the role of selling my work, so I am really enjoying this time to reflect and build my emotional strength ready for the ridiculous highs and battering anxieties of live performance.
MFM: What are you hoping for upon the release of your solo album (besides success)?
AB: I hope to have created something that I am truly proud to present, to have used all the knowledge I have gathered from previous experience, good and bad, and to have weaved it into something that is accessible and, well, fun to listen to. And of course I am as egotistical as the next artist so I want some recognition for my work.
MFM: Your song ‘Fly’ has a strong emotional core that runs through the entire piece. Will Fly be featured on the album as well as ‘Release Myself’?
AB: I am not sure whether I will put them on the album, as the "emotional core" stems very much from negativity based in my past that is no longer a part of me. I try to take things with a little more of a sense of fun these days so those songs are like looking at a me I have blurred at the edges of my memory. I still may put them in, but in the process of writing I have come up with many more songs I like better.
MFM: Do you have an opinion on American politics? What about Courtney Love? I know she is a big fan of London.
AB: As it stands, I am just glad she (Courtney Love) seems to have found some sort of peace now. Well, like everyone else I was pleased to see Barack Obama take the role as president, but I think at the moment both our countries are in the same shit heap financially, and reacting in the same way (i.e. throw more money at it and it might go away), so its a case of waiting to see whether all these new policies actually work.
MFM: Are you a fan of the cinema? What is a favorite film?
AB: Oh wow, again so many. I love, love, love Black Cat White Cat, Brazil, in fact anything directed by Terry Gilliam, various anime bits,I'm geeky I know, and a secret guilty pleasure in the works of Tim Burton and anything with Bette Davis in it.
MFM: Do you think Paris Hilton is a gifted singer? Just kidding. What do you think of the present Kate Bush versus the 1980’s Kate Bush?
AB: Well she has evolved and grown as anyone would, and as far as subject matter in her lyrics are concerned, she has always been totally honest as an artist, writing about what interests her. So her interests have changed, and the words reflect that. And with the music I think with each album she has worked less to please others and more to experiment and explore her own boundaries. I love both versions, nothing that is truly great as she is can ever stay the same, and her music for me still retains its own elegance with the passing of time.
MFM: What is the projected release date for your album and are you feeling pressure to release something that will be considered flawless?
AB: The intention is to start releasing some singles in late summer, but you can never foresee the holdups that happen, so I can't promise anything. As far as flaws are concerned, I don't think anyone can release a flawless album as tastes differ dramatically from person to person, and those who do not like that particular style will always find gaps. I can only pressure myself to release something honest.
MFM: Regarding your paintings and moldings of mythical creatures, will you ever promote them and may I have one?
AB: Awww your sweet, not quite sure it would survive the postage though! Someday when I have improved my skill at it I would like to perhaps sketch an idea for a video clip for one of my songs, but it is very time consuming, time being something I am going to have little of very soon. But someday, when I take a break again from making music, I will start them up again.
Thanks to you Amelia.