Last modified on 23 July 2011, at 21:50

User:Evan-Amos/Interviews/DebraArlyn

Interview Data
Subject: Debra Arlyn
Date: May 16th, 2011
Place: Portland/Brooklyn
Format: Via Telephone
Recorded: Yes, audio
Length: One hour

Basic QuestionsEdit

Genres - Adult contemporary, pop, R&B mix

Years active - 2006 and on

Instruments - piano and vocals

Descent - Polish, Irish

Interview TranscriptEdit

Evan Amos - Hello Debra, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to me and doing this interview.

Debra Arlyn - No problem.

Amos - I just wanted to start out with some quick, boring questions and just get those out of the way. What's your full name?

Arlyn - Debra Irene Arlyn

Amos - Birthday?

Arlyn - February 27th, 1985

Amos - Where were you born?

Arlyn - Corvallis, Oregon, which is also where I grew up.

Amos - Can you tell me about your parents?

Arlyn - My mom's name is Valerie, and she was a homemaker my whole life. My dad's name is Tony, and he was a professional musician, before going on to own a chain of video stores. After selling the video stores, he became a marketing director of a magazine.

Amos - Okay, can you tell me about growing up in Corvallis?

Arlyn - It's a really family-friendly town, very safe and beautiful. I grew up in a home that you could see three different mountain ranges from.

Amos - I know that you started to play the piano at age 15, but were you doing anything musically before that?

Arlyn - I would write little songs and sing them for my parents and friends at school. There was singing at church, in community or school choirs. I would also just listen to music constantly and make up my own songs.

Amos - Did you do anything like plays or theatre?

Arlyn - I did a few plays, but I had terrible stage fright, so it was hard for me to get up and be in front of a bunch of people and be on display.

Amos - How long did it take you to get over your stage fright?

Arlyn - It was about my senior year in high school, before I really was able to stand on a stage. A lot of it was that I was worried about not being good enough. It took a bit before I realized that I was good enough at singing to do it that it finally let me get up on stage.

Amos - So now that you were able to get up on a stage, did you try to play at coffeeshops?

Arlyn - No, at the time it was more of school things, talent shows, community stuff, church functions.

Amos - Do you still get nervous today?

Arlyn - It depends on how big the venue is, or who's in the audience.

Amos - You started to play the piano at 15, why was it the piano that you started to gravitate toward?

Arlyn - We had a beautiful, baby-grand piano in our living room, in the house that I grew up in. My dad would sit and play for me when I was a kid, and I loved that. When I was around 15 a lot of the music that I was listening to at the time was Fiona Apple, Carole King. If I was ever alone at home, I would just sit down at the piano and tink away, until I started to figure out what chords were, and then singing the songs I'd write over it.

Amos - Did you ask your dad for help at all?

Arlyn - I asked him to get me a few books about how to learn to read music, and he got me a few. After a few months of trying to learn from them, it was like, "This is really boring." So I gave up and just started to learn to play by ear. I tried to read music, but my brian is just not mathematically capable of it, so I just go by feel and what sounds good. To this day, I don't read or write music.

Amos - What was the first song that you really put together?

Arlyn - I had written a couple of songs on piano, and I would go to friend's houses and play them. My friends would always ask me to sing for them in school. The very first song that I remember my friends really liking was called "Give Me You" that I wrote, which they'd keep asking me to sing again. That's the first song I remember that people really liked.

Amos - Was "Oregon Idol" around this time?

Arlyn - That was my senior year of high school, the local radio station was doing a contest, which I heard about and entered. It was on a school night, so a bunch of my friends and family came down to watch. It was two nights, back to back, and I ended up winning. Winning that really started to make me think that I wanted to do music after high school, instead of going to college, really.

Amos - What was the transition from winning Oregon Idol to being on American Idol?

Arlyn - I think that it was only a week after the Oregon Idol that I went down to California to do the American Idol thing. The radio station purchases my tickets and set up a professional photo shoot, then I went to California for maybe two days. Then I came right back [laughs].

Amos - Can you tell me more about the experience?

Arlyn - I was with a big group of people that was under a tent. We were all people who had won radio station contests and they kept us seperate from the people coming in to do the first level of auditions. We all got to go to the second level; we went into a room and the main producer of the show came out and gave a little speech, "We're here to make a show. If you're good, we might not put you through. If you're bad, we could put you through." I remember thinking it was weird that they were all just putting it out there.
From there we went into the hotel, where they would lead you to these different, small rooms. It would be you in a random group of five people. You'd sing, and then they'd hand you either a pink or a blue slip. I eventually got the blue slip, after my second room, and that was it for me. I never got to the point where I'd see Paula, Randy or Simon.

Amos - Did it make sense to you at the time, to see the people who were being cut, who was making it?

Arlyn - It seemed very calculated to me. The year that I went, was the year after Kelly Clarkson won. I kept hearing people there saying, "They're not looking for young girls this year." The group of five that I went in with all got cut, but I was seeing males making it through. That's the year with Clay and Ruben. Every year since then I've seen these different genres win, so I just feel that it's very calculated.

Amos - Do you still watch Idol today?

Arlyn - I don't. Not because of hard feelings. In general I don't like those types of shows. But I did get to speak with Randy Jackson privately a couple of years later. I mentioned that I had auditioned for the show and he just laughed, then we talked about it a little. It was kind of the closure that I needed.

Amos - Do you remember what it felt like, right after getting cut, and going out with your whole family there? Did you cry?

Arlyn - Yeah. You feel like you let everyone down, because they all wanted you to do really well. I remember feeling cheated, that I deserved to at least make it a few rooms further. The people I was in the group with were telling me, "I can't believe you didn't make it through." It was confusing, because I was only 18. It felt like it was going to be my big opportunity, but it didn't work out. I was bummed out for a while after that.

Amos - Did you ever think about going back and reauditioning, for the third season, the fourth season? Would you have done better just because you became better as an artist?

Arlyn - Probably, especially since they let people starting playing their instruments and sing their own songs in the more recent seasons. But when I was doing it, I didn't like the process. You could only sing from a list of songs in a kareoke style, and a lot of the people were strictly singers. I like to write and make my own songs, so it was a different bag for me.

Amos - After Idol, you came back home and you recorded a CD called That Girl Is Me?

Arlyn - Oh god, [laughs] yes. Right after the Idol thing there was a lot of attention in my community from people who had been in the music business and were looking to produce me. Right after high school I went down to Nashville and recorded it. I consider it more a demo than a real album; a collection of songs. I got to meet a bunch of people because of it. But I took that CD and put it out locally, just to give people an idea of what I'd been up to since the contest. That Girl Is Me I think I put out the summer after I graduated high school.

Amos - Did any of the songs that were on that find there way onto other releases?

Arlyn - The main song from that was called "Moving On," which made it onto Thinking Out Load. It was the one that people really seemed to like, and it's something that I even play to this day.

Amos - There was a span of two years from That Girl Is Me to Thinking Out Loud, what were you doing during that time?

Arlyn - I wrote a bunch of songs. I went to one year of college, where I played basketball, to see if that's something that I'd want to do, but I quickly realized that I didn't want to stay in school. I kept writing, trying to make a bunch of different connections/networking. My dad officially became my manager. He had heard about this guy in Eugene, (Oregon) named Justin King. He's an incredible musician and had a studio. We went down there, and it just felt like the right time to record my stuff. We asked him to produce "Thinking Out Loud" and he did.

Amos - Why did quit college?

Arlyn - I felt like I had to to focus on music. I was really passionate about it; my whole life I had dreamed of being a musician, doing shows, recording albums. Both of my parents were incredibly supportive. They could see that I wasn't 100% invested in school, so they told me that they'd help me out and pursue it seriously. I couldn't pass it up, so I jumped in and tried.

Amos - Is it this time that you started to play local shows?

Arlyn - Yeah, we had put together a local band. I played coffeeshops, restuarants, local gigs. I was getting a positive response and making different connections. I could tell that things were slowly starting to build and expand, being able play more shows, get to new places.

Amos - At this time, did you ever feel like you'd have to move to a big music city like LA, Nashville or New York in order to really pursue music?

Arlyn - Definetly. I was having a lot of conversations with my parents, people who were trying to manage me at that point, telling me that I needed to go to the bigger cities. But we decided to go to the approach of being a big fish in a little pond, by staying near Portland, and my parents would send me to Nashville or LA when they needed to, for co-writing or recording sessions. Doing it that way, it didn't seem that I'd need to be there full time.

Amos - You hear a lot of stories, where someone wants to make it in music, so they get on a bus with just a suitcase and take it to Nashville or LA, to pursue music. Then they're a bartender, and the music never really takes off.

Arlyn - Exactly, that's what my parents didn't want for me. They wanted me to stay home and work on my career, and be able to go places if I needed. They didn't want me ending up in some shitty studio apartment with five people, working at a bar. I didn't want that either, so that's why we didn't go with that approach.

Amos - Is there a very strong music community in the Portland area that you can draw from?

Arlyn - Yeah! There's an incredible amount of musicians, songwriters in Portland or up in Seattle. It's a great place for music.

Amos - What happens after you finish Thinking Out Loud?

Arlyn - I slowly started to approach labels, managers. I believe at that point we signed on a few different managers in the LA area, to try and shop it around. Going to meetings. The main feedback that I got was to keep writing, that the songwriting was 100% there yet. My voice and the look were good, just work on the songs. I did a few co-writing sessions. I ended up recording my next album "Complicated Mess" for shopping around, purposefully.

Amos - What do you get out of a co-writing session, as opposed to writing songs on your own?

Arlyn - At first I struggled with it, because I had only written songs by myself for a really long time. The first big cowriting session that I did was with Tommy Simms, down in Nashville. He was such an awesome guy, I played him songs and he said, "I'm not going to touch those." We didn't end up really writing anything together, he was just really sweet and complimentary.
In LA I did some co-writing sessions with Dapo Torimiro, we wrote the song "Worth the Wait" together. I had to learn to let go of my style, let new people come in and give me new ideas without being so defensive about my songwriting.
As far as the process, you can go in with a piece of song, like a song title, lyric, a riff. You go from there, spend time with each other, throw ideas around. Hopefully something comes out of it naturally.

Amos - Do your songs start from lyrics or melodies?

Arlyn - It's definetly changed over time. When I was younger, it came from chords that I found and thought were cool. I'd take that chord and strutcture a song around that. As I've been writing more and more, I see that my better songs from a melodic idea or a theme. At that point I'll try and find a drum beat, and vocally riff over a drum beat, then full melodies and lyrics over it.

Amos - Did your early songs have a distinct focus?

Arlyn - Yeah, most of the songs that I had written up until 2008 were just love songs. I'm a total romantic. I've had a lot of different relationships in my life. My songs are usually about love or loss, the struggles of a relationship. That what's changed in the past two or three years, I've started to get into a spiritual or mature place for my songwriting, less about romantic love and more about life in general.

Amos - Did getting married bring that change?

Arlyn - Definitly, being married, I wrote a lot of romantic songs in the beginning about my husband. Now it's more about commitment, and I just had a baby, so there's that change, as well.

Amos - What kind of relationships were you having before you husband?

Arlyn - I had a serious boyfriend in high school, which was very traumatic when that ended for me. Post high school I had a very serious relationship with a guy for about a year and a half, which was also another big deal when that ended. Shortly after that, I met my husband, and we've been together since.

Amos - Was the second boyfriend a musician?

Arlyn - No, he was a filmmaker and a director. We both felt very connected, because we were both very creative and pursuing professional careers based on our passions.

Amos - You had a song called "New Favorite Song" that was based on a musician boyfriend, so is a real guy in there somewhere?

Arlyn - Oh, no, that didn't come from anyone. It was just based around this funny idea that I had if I had been dating another songwriter and we broke up, and just wrote crappy songs about each other.

Amos - Can you talk more about Complicated Mess?

Arlyn - We recorded that album at my parent's house in a homemade studio, completely homegrown. I think it turned out so wonderful. At that point I had learned so much about songwriting, producing and how to put a song together. That record got a lot of great response from labels. I got to play for Capital Records, Epic Records and Interscope Records because of the album.

Amos - When you played for Capital, that must have been around the time of their major shake up?

Arlyn - Oh yeah. At Capital, I played for their CEO Andy Slater. Right after that, he got fired. I basically got lost in that big shuffle. But I went in and played three songs, after the first song he told me "That's not something you hear every day. You're great, play me another one." There were also 7 or 8 other people in this room, but they had to go to another meeting, so they told me "We're going to talk about it." That was it. But he liked it, it seemed like.

Amos - What's the common process for auditioning for a major record label?

Arlyn - It's changed over time. It used to be that they'd send A&R people to go scout talent, and trust that the A&R would bring them the best of the best. They would give them a one-record deal and see how it went. The process that I went through was I networked through LA, where I had some of my own success independently. I had some songs placed on a television show, Related, and I had met with Randy Jackson. That created a lot of buzz. Because of that buzz, one of the lower A&R guys brought me in. He didn't have a lot of weight in the label, so that probably didn't help me. He brought me in and said, "Hey, she's got a lot going on, you should hear her sing."

Amos - How many labels do you think you ended up showcasing for?

Arlyn - I had done a show in The Knitting Factory in LA. From what I heard there were people from Columbia Records, Interscope, Epic and Capitol. Later I sent demos to Blue Note Records.

Amos - In my research, I noticed a reference to "skeevy managers" when you talked about your time in LA. Can you go more into that?

Arlyn - First of all, my dad has always been my main manager, and he's kept a lot of that stuff at bay for me; I haven't had to experienc a ton of it. But there's definetly been people that I've run into that haven't had the best intentions, for sure.

Amos - Seeing that, does it make you still feel that you can get by on just talent alone?

Arlyn - I used to think that in the beginning, but the more that I've learned about the industry, the more I think you have to sell yourself at some point, whether it's a skeezy manager or producer, or if it's giving up a part of your artistic vision. It really feels that you have to give up a little piece of your soul to make it, unfortunately.

Amos - What kind of feedback were you getting during your auditioning?

Arlyn - All of the A&R people and the managers that I met with, they all had something to say. "Your voice doesn't sound good here." "The song's really close, but it needs a different chord." "You need to change up your look." "You need to dye your hair a certain color." There's always an opinion from somewhere being thrown at you.

Amos - Were the opinoins every contradictory?

Arlyn - Yeah, some people wanted me to go the jazzy, R&B way. Norah Jones was really popular at the time, so people wanted me to be the next Norah Jones. Some people wanted me to be a Kelly Clarkson, but who played the piano. The advice that I got from Randy Jackson was that he wanted me to be an awesome singer like Carrie Underwood, but who also played piano.

Amos - When I listened to Complicated Mess for the first time, I was surprised that it was an indie record, because it sounded very commercial. Was that the goal?

Arlyn - That was the goal. We wanted it to sound like everything that was on the radio, totally polished. One of the great things about doing it at home was that we had all of the time in the world; we could really work on it until it was right.

Amos - How did you record it at your house?

Arlyn - My parents have this huge, second building on our property, which was a giant office. My bass player at the time just brought in his Pro Tools and his mixer board. We recorded things in the RV garage, my vocals, we did everything there. We put up mattresses and egg cartons up on the walls.
It's gotten so easy to record at home now, with software and computers. If you want to learn how to do it, you can do it in your apartment, your garage. People are getting really savy about buying mics and guitars, vintage equipment. I only see it growing, that it's going to become more and more accessible.

Amos - What kind of equipment do you use? Any specific brands?

Arlyn - Oh gosh, I've used several different brands, but I'm the least techie person in the world. I have no idea. Whoever is producing or working with me, we go through three or four mics. I'll sing a little bit into each, and just go with whatever sounds the best to me. I'm not really impressed with names or figures, just whatever sounds good.

Amos - So when you produce for yourself, are you handling things on the computer as well? Mixing?

Arlyn - I usually have an engineer who can handle the technical things for me. To me, producing is just about ideas, getting what I want out of the different musicians in the session. Crafting the song. Going back and editing. But for the technical side, I just have an engineer that can handle those things for me.

Amos - In 2006, were you just mostly going to LA for showcasing? Was Nashville apart of that tour?

Arlyn - At that time, it was mostly just LA. I would go four or five times a year. I would fly, and I had a person who was co-managing me who I'd stay with and he'd drive me to all of my appointments.

Amos - What did you think about the city LA when you were there?

Arlyn - It scares me! [laughs] When I went there and I was younger, I was totally bright-eyed and thought it was the coolest thing ever. But it can be a sad place, especially when I think back now. Everybody's going after the same thing, they're all thrown together, trying to find their own identity. The music industry in general is kind of sad to me now. I don't think that I'll be spending a lot of time there in the future, if I can help it.

Amos - Would you try to play shows while you were down there?

Arlyn - I've played at a couple down there: The Knitting Factory, The Mint, The Hotel Cafe and some county fairs in the area.

Amos - What the differences to you, between the major music cities in America? Los Angeles, Nashville and New York?

Arlyn - Each of the areas has their own unique sound. LA is very poppy, while Nashville has a bigger singer/songwriter focus, which is what I'm gravitating more to now. New York is a lot of jazz and a lot of rock. Nashville is so much more laid back, where LA is very fast-paced and edgy. What I like about Nashville is it feels like it's really about songwriting. People go there to write songs, or to discover people who are interested in writing their own songs.

Amos - After Complicated Mess, how long did you spend shopping for record labels?

Arlyn - Probably all the way until 2009. I was always talking to labels, or people who knew an A&R guy. I was always shopping music to television shows, trying to get exposure, so someone higher up in the industry would hear me.

Amos - How does an artist sell their music to a TV show or movie?

Arlyn - The first song that I got put onto a TV show, Related, I had done an interview in a magazine called Music Connection Magazine, the music supervisor of the show had read that article and called my manager. "This girl sounds interesting, we want to put her songs in the show. She should come down here and meet with us." The lady that was producing the show was Marta Kaufmann, who was the producer on the show Friends. I talked to her, played her some songs, and that's how that deal came about.
After that, I got a song on the show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and I also scored a documentary that aired on the Sundance channel.

Amos - Between Complicated Mess and Tomorrow Another Day were there any major events that occured?

Arlyn - During that time was when I was shopping around for labels, and when none of those deals came through, I really decided to just focus on the music scene locally, focusing on my own indepent label.

Amos - Did you ever get into a funk because of being essentially rejected by record labels?

Arlyn - Not really. I just kept writing and focusing on making music, then moving onto the idea of being an independent artist. At the time I was friends with some people who were on signed onto major labels but their deals fell through; their lives were just a wreck, and I was thankful that didn't happen to me.

Amos - What happened to your friends?

Arlyn - One got signed, then their label president was fired, and the new president didn't like them so they got dropped. But then they couldn't access their songs they worked on and recorded, the label still owned them, so there was a big legal battle. Another friend of mine, she had gotten a really big advance, to have her song placed in a movie, and see if she could write some songs. They ended up not liking any of the songs that she wrote, so she had to give all of that money back. It was pretty horrible stuff.

Amos - How long was the songwriting session for Tomorrow Another Day?

Arlyn - About six months of heavy songwriting. I would work out the songs with my band, who I was playing shows with at the time. I'd play the new songs at shows and tried to see what did and what didn't work. I looked for a producer. I met Rob Stroup in Portland. We had a similar vision, so I decided to record the album there.
At the time I had just moved out of my parent's house and gotten my own apartment, so I had a lot of free time to just sit and work on songs. It was around this time that I met my future husband, so that relationship worked its way into becoming material.

Amos - How did you meet your husband?

Arlyn - He was living with one of my friends from high school that I would go and hang out with. He would be there, so we started hanging out, too. It's pretty simple. [laughs] He was very sweet, very different from any other guy that I had met. He plays guitar and sings, so we'd hang out and sing, play together. He was just very sweet.

Amos - Were your past boyfriends jerks?

Arlyn - Yes. [laughs] No, they weren't jerks. They just weren't romantic. I need a romantic person.

Amos - How long did you guys date before getting engaged?

Arlyn - Seven months? It was really quick. We both knew that we wanted to be done with dating, be done with the game, just settle done and be in a committed relationship and start a life together.

Amos - Was the wedding quick, too?

Arlyn - We were engaged for little over a year. Our wedding was around our two year anniversary. Planning the wedding was really stressful, but also fun. As someone who's been doing a lot of her own career planning, it felt natural to slip into that role and put all of the pieces together. It was a fairly small wedding, but it was a lot of friends and family. We did everything ourselves.
We got married in a theatre in downtown Corvallis called The Majestic Theatre. The ceremony was up on the stage of the theatre. After the wedding it was a lot of touring and he was in school, so we really didn't see each that much for the first year. [laughs] But he's cool with it, he's very understanding of what I do.

Amos - How has your gigging changed since having the baby?

Arlyn - I've gotten much more selective about where I play, and when I play. I'm hoping that as she gets older, it'll give me more freedom about the shows I can play. But she's come with me so far, she's done some serious road trips with me. She's amazing. But it definately has to be planned out.

Amos - The band that you go around and tour with, is it the same guys that you've had for a while now?

Arlyn - It's changed over the years, but since Tomorrow Another Day I've had a group of musicians from Portland that I draw from. My guitar player still plays with me today, Bob Dunham, but it changes every so often.

Amos -- How big of a band do you usually tour with?

Arlyn - Currently, I'm playing as a duo with just my guitar player. When I do a full band show, I usually have two horns, bass, guitar, drums, possibly an organ player that accompanies us.

Amos - Do you tour all the time or just to support albums?

Arlyn - I toured all of the time until I got pregnant. From 2007 to 2009 I played all of the time, six or seven shows a month, going out for a week or so, just playing as many places as possible.

Amos - Do you have a radius around Portland that you stick to when you tour?

Arlyn - We've been to places like Alaska, Montana, as far down south as San Diego. Anywhere that I could get finicially, I would go. It's mostly around the west coast, but we've gone into the midwest as well.

Amos - To get to your The Get Ready EP, what made you decide to do an EP rather than a full album?

Arlyn - I had gotten a resurgence of interest from a few labels and people, I had some new songs that I thought would work well for that. I had just a couple of new songs at the time, not enough for a whole album, but I wanted to put something out there.

Amos - How big of a catalog of songs do you go in with when you're recording a full-length album?

Arlyn - For albums, it's only around 15 songs, and I might cut two or three songs out. I've very picky about my song-writing, especially now, I don't just throw anything out. I'm very calculated with the songs, work on them for a long time. I don't really half-ass on songs that are ideas, it'll be a lot of focus on just songs that I get to the end with.

Amos - So you don't have a notebook that's just full of pieces of songs?

Arlyn - I used to, but now it's either all in my head, or all on my computer. I have little demos for songs that are recorded in my little home studio. There are tons of songs recorded on my computer that I don't even remember. I can listen to a random one and never even remember recording it.

Amos - When did you put out your EP? How long after the release of your EP did you have your baby?

Arlyn - Late 2009, then I found out I was pregnant in February of 2010.

Amos - It was a surprise?

Arlyn - Sort of. [laughs] I was actually on a cruise with my husband in the Carribean. The day that we flew out, I was just vomiting and out of it. The whole cruise, I was stuck in the cabin, barfing my brains out and feeling horrible. At that point, I had obviously missed my time of the month, I remember thinking, "This could be a baby on board."
So a couple months later I had a girl, Evie.

Amos - How did you pick that name?

Arlyn - I don't know, we just really liked short, cute names. We both knew an Evie that be both really liked, we thought that was a cool name.

Amos - Is it going to be difficult to work your career around the baby?

Arlyn - At first I thought so, "There's no way that I'm going to be able to do music and be a mom." I'm really optomistic now that it can work. I"m really excited now about the new songs that i've been writing. The new direction that I want to take my music and my career. I have a few people on board to do a new record. There's going to be a way to do all of this together, I'm sure.
I have a new record that I'm going to be recording this summer. I have a lot of the songs ready for it, about 10 or 12. I have a co-writing session in Nashville scheduled. From the last album, the theme of the songs has definetly transitioned since the last album. It's gone from love and romance to motherhood and marriage. It's also more about a spiritual theme and journey that I've been on, being in touch with my faith, there's elements of that as well. Musically, it's a lot more natural and a lot less poppy and less R&B, more singer-songwriter.

Amos - What dictates a style change in your music?

Arlyn - A lot of it has to do with influences. When I was gigging a lot with my band, we always had to have horns, have that groove for the drummer and the bass player, a lot of the songs were written with a band in mind. Since I've been pregnant and had the baby, a lot of songs have just been about me and my piano. So that's where the direction of this album was born from, from that organic method and being more singer-songwriter-ish.

Amos - Have you ever thought about doing a real studio album? With a lot of production?

Arlyn - Oh yeah, I would love to do that. I love all kinds of music, and someone who I really love is Lily Allen. Her songs are very production-oriented and I would love to try that. I like the synthesizers, the drum beats, or messing with the vocals. The idea of taking my music to different places.
I'm really excited about this upcoming co-writing session that I'm going to have in Nashville. I'm possibly going to work with Cindy Morgan, she's a Christian artist who's won Grammies and Dove awards. She's written with a lot of major artists in Nashville.

Amos - Do you think that your next record could steer toward being a Christian album?

Arlyn - It could cross over into that market. They're not overtly Christian or worship songs, but they touch a lot on faith and motherhood. I mean, Lady Gaga isn't singing songs about motherhood. [laughs]
My song "Hush," that I'm going to be recording for the new record, was entered in a contest and won for the gospel category. That peaked my interest in crossing over, because if I can win a contest with it, that's what got me thinking along those lines.

Amos - Are you very active in contests?

Arlyn - My dad as my manager always felt my strength was my songwriting. He always incouraged me to get them out into contests, because there's prizes to be won or major exposure. A lot of the contests that I've won have been international or national contests. I've gotten some cool prizes: cash, gear, stuff like that.

Amos - Have you ever thought about being a producer or a songwriter for another artist?

Arlyn - I would love to write songs for other artists. I love to sing and perform, but if I could get my hands on a publishing deal and write songs for established artists, that would be totally fulfilling. It seems to require a different path, though, and the person that'll be producing my new album will be helping me show to publishing or record companies, to promote the record as a collection of songs that maybe another artist could record. We're going to pursue both avenues.

Amos - Well, I wish you luck with all of that. I also think that about covers it for this, so I wanted to go ahead and thank you for your time today. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Arlyn - As well, thank you.