The Herald talks Benefit Of The Doubt, immersive songwriting and stepping outside of
comfort zones with singer-songwriter Kellie Loder in our latest Q&A
Kellie, the last time we spoke, you were heading to Los Angeles to work with producer Justin Gray. Now you have this fantastic record, Benefit Of The Doubt. What was the experience like recording down in California?
It was incredible. At first I was a little nervous because I had never experienced anything quite like that. I had been to Nashville before, but I was really outside my comfort zone. Justin made me feel really comfortable and brought me back to a place where I could just be an artist, be myself.
Take me through some of the songwriting on this record. Where did you tend to go, or draw from, thematically?
The song Playground was written 10 years ago about a best friend that I really loved, but couldn’t have them. I always wanted to tell them how I felt but really didn’t, so I wrote a song about that. There’s songs that have been put on the back-burner for a long time, and when I knew I was going to make another album, it was like ‘let’s do this.’
Drawing from personal experiences in that sense, do you find songwriting to be cathartic?
Sometimes it is. It definitely is an outlet. When you write a song about what you’re going through it sort of makes you stay in that place a little longer than you hoped. It does get it out, but if you keep writing songs about the same thing it’s harder to let go of what you’re going through.
Is it a double-edged sword in the sense that it allows you to vent on certain feelings, but also relive them every time you hear or perform the song?
It’s the best distraction, writing songs. When your heart is hurting and you just want something to take the pain away, it’s easy to resort to other things. If you resort to songwriting, time just passes and you don’t even know what’s happening; you’re so engaged in your song and you know exactly what you want to say. You can sit there and say it in all kinds of ways.
It’s sort of keeping your mind off of it, but keeping your mind engaged with it. It’s a healthy outlet, if you use it the right way. Like anything I guess.
It’s been seven years since your last album Imperfections & Directions, which fell pretty strictly under the Christian/Gospel genre. Do you feel less constricted by what you can and can’t write with this new record?
I have more freedom to express myself. If I want to write a song about my spirituality I don’t have to call it a Christian song, it can just be a song. It can still be on a record that’s not under a Christian label. So many artists that write songs about their faith don’t necessarily call them Christian songs. You can let people interpret it for themselves and if it affects them in a way that is spiritual then fine; if not then fine.
What do you think the album Benefit Of The Doubt says about Kellie Loder?
I think this record says that I’m serious about what I’m doing. I think this record says that I’m not just here to be producing a record and let it sit on a shelf. I feel like this record is going to open a lot of people’s minds to maybe becoming my fans or becoming a follower of mine. It’s probably the most authentic version I’ve put out of myself. I say that because I’ve grown as a person. When I put out the last record that was more of me. I always say wherever I am in my life and wherever my life is that’s what my music is, and that’s what this is. I think people will see a reflection of themselves in this record. That’s what I’ve been told. I say that if you can find yourself in one of these songs then I’ve done what I wanted to do with this recording.
For more on Kellie Loder, including album information and tour dates visit kellieloder.com. ‘Benefit Of The Doubt’ is available now.