Neilson Hubbard

Neilson Hubbard

 by Brent

Give us an idea of who you are.

I am from the south (Mississippi)  I’ve been living here all my life.  My family is from here and so is my wife’s.  However, we are about to move to Nashville, TN in about a month.  It is still the south though. I just turned 30 years old.  Very strange.

How did you get your start in music?

I have always been around music as long as I can remember.  My parents were huge music fans.  They named me after Harry Nilsson and named my sister after a Bread song, “Aubrey.”  My mom was also in a band, so I remember going to her band practices and thinking how cool all of that equipment looked and how great I thought they sounded.  I was always singing in little school talent shows and musicals.  Then I got in to bands after I reached high school. (some good-some not so good) After that it just progressed from a hobby into my career.

Describe for us the various projects you were involved in before you launched your solo career?

Like I said, there were some high school bands to start it off.  I was in one with my friend Clay Jones.  This is the guy who I started This Living Hand with in college.  We played in that band for about 3 years and got signed to Adam Duritz’s (Counting Crows) label.  They released one of our records entitled Consolation Prize.  After we made our second record it got shelved and Clay went on to produce our friend Garrison Starr’s record.  I needed something to do, so a solo project seemed like a good idea.  I never thought that it would turn into a solo career.

Describe for us why you chose to go for such a different vibe on Sing Into Me, compared to the sound you established on “Why Men Fail”.

The first solo record I did, The Slide Project, was a very fun poppy record that was a reaction to the slow moody stuff of This Living Hand.  I only thought it was going to be a side project.  So when I made Why Men Fail there was a huge effort made to try and define my work as a whole on that record.  The lush atmosphere’s and the return to the slower tempo’s were to show that that was were my heart really was.  I felt like that record did it’s job, so I wanted to branch out a little on Sing Into Me.  It is a record that I’ve actually wanted to do for a long time.  It is a spiritual record about faith and love and is “mellow as a freak”.  I wanted to create a record with that mellow beauty that was not sad, but filled with hope.

Give us your feelings about your most recently released cd, Sing into Me.

I made this record for such personal reasons, and I feel like it is the most honest and vulnerable that I have ever been.  In turn, it has been wonderful to hear people react to it in a positive way.  I didn’t really know how people would take it.

Who are some musicians that you respect, or you think have had an influence on your playing and songwriting?

I love Bjork!  She is my favorite artist.  I don’t think I sound anything like her, but I feel like the spirit of her music has an influence on my stuff.  I love the way she says exactly what she means, and her melodies slaughter me.  The album by Van Morrison, Veedon Fleece, done in the mid 70’s had a lot of influence on how I recorded the record.  It is focused around him and a guitar.  All the other instruments are brought in after he did his stuff.  That’s how we did Sing Into Me.

Over all I like great singers with great melodies.

How do you write songs? Describe that process to us.

That’s a hard one.  I guess I just sit down with an instrument and find a melody that I like.  I then start working on fitting lyrics to it.  I will say that I am very melody driven, so I usually write lyrics last.  Every now and then I’ll have a lyric idea first, but that is rare.

In “Sing Into Me”, you make obvious references to your faith. What affect does your faith have on your lyric writing?.

My faith is the most important thing in my life.  So I feel like it has been a part of my music always in some form.  However, on this record I really made a conscious effort to try and be a little more concrete and open about.  In the end, they are still songs about love and hope- (something I know everyone can understand)

How has bringing the songs into the live format gone? Do you have any upcoming touring plans?

It has been interesting.  I played so much by myself on Why Men Fail that it got very boring to me.  I have bought a sampler recently, and take one guy on the road with me.  He plays the sampler which has some of the loops, percussion, and ambient sounds in it.  He then plays key boards, guitar, or bass as well.  Whatever is needed.  It works out really nice. I have plans for touring in about a week.  I am doing some southeast dates and then a couple of Midwest shows.  I will then be home for the move and go back out in June.

What albums are you listening to these days?

I’ve listened a lot to the Beck album, Sea Change.  I don’t really listen to too much.  I have been producing so much lately that what I am working on is what I’m listening to.  So when I’m not working, I just read or watch TV and movies.

What is in the future for Neilson Hubbard? Any other comments?

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been really getting a lot of producer work.  I feel like I will be spending a good deal of time with that in the future.  I’m hoping that this new phase in my career will take off.  I will probably try and start another solo record by the end of this year or early next year. (record label) (publicist)

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