Fans of One Tree Hill already know that Bethany Joy Lenz is a phenomenal singer, even though the rest of the world doesn’t. But fortunately for the masses Lenz is trying to change that with the release of a new album, Get Back To Gold. While Lenz has some acting/producing projects in the works, it seems like music, besides motherhood that is, is her main focus. In addition to her music and acting career, the multidimensional creator also spends a lot of time on her modern vintage lifestyle blog Wish You Were Here where she curates and share thoughts on topics from family to beauty and fashion.
Check out our interview below as Bethany Joy Lenz talks about all her endeavors; from giving a sneak peek of what her new album’s going to sound like to how she feels about Disney’s hit animated film Frozen, feminism, motherhood, her music tastes and the fact that she is a low-key adrenaline junkie (who would have imagined, right?!) but one thing is clear, Lenz is looking to make an even bigger impact than she already has.
Tell us about the album and how it came about.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Well I was going through a really rough time in my life in about 2012-2013. I’d spent a lot of time in my life feeling kind of caged up and trapped. And I started to only listen to dance music and reached this point where I just like I can’t listen to anything else except something that makes me happy and just wanna dance and feel thankful that I feel free and like myself. So I started feeling like, you know this is really in me. I think I wanna do some music like this. I got ahold of a great producer and a good manager that was connecting me with some people and Drew Decaro who is Miguel’s producer, worked on this EP and album with me. I sat down with Drew and writing, I had most of the songs written and brought him a couple of them to like throw his master genius production spin on a couple of them. I also did some co-writes with Mark Sanderlin and Raycee Jones. Then we ended up with this Get Back to Gold EP. I had a lot of fun and it just feels really good, sort of like this throwback to 80’s pop but with some modern inspirations by bands like Broken Bells and Poliça and that’s what it is!
Have you been singing for all your life?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yeah, I mean the tale in my family goes that I was singing before I could talk. It’s something that’s really engrained in me. I feel very connected to story-telling through music which is why no matter how fun modern pop music is, I will always be most affected by story-tellers like Patty Griffin, Billy Joel, James Taylor and Carol King. You know those people from that day when that’s what music was really about and it’s evolved into, music’s evolved in so many ways obviously since then but I always try and keep the core of that story-telling element at the heart of all of my music.
I’ve come across a lot of musicians that say when they hear music, they see colors. Now, I quite haven’t you know grasped that, is that true in your case?
Bethany Joy Lenz: No, but I see shapes. I feel like I see shapes, not colors if that makes sense; or layers, I see patterns and layers. If I want to hear more grit in a song and I don’t know how else to explain it other than like to say that I just want to see more, feel more dirt on it.
How personal would you say this project is to you?
Bethany Joy Lenz: It’s super personal, because I feel like I’m just really getting to be me and explore a side of me that I’ve never had the opportunity to explore. Every song has a significance and meaning, but there’s also songs on there and elements in the music that it’s just about having fun which is something that I was desperately in need of in my life for a long time. So in that way, it feels very personal.
How dangerous would you say it is to allow the public to see your personal life like that?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yeah, it’s tricky. It’s really tricky. I have been through a lot in my life, life is really hard. If there’s anything I know, it is that things don’t turn out the way you want them to all the time and life really kicks the shit out of you sometimes. And if there’s a way that I can offer help or encouragement to people, since the majority of my fanbase seems to feel connected to me in that emotional way, because my music and the show, I wanna be able to offer whatever I can. I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m literally just a person going through life just like everybody else. I have been through a lot so you know in the same ways I offer advice to my friends, I like to be able to share my experiences within reason.
How do you balance your talent and motherhood?
Bethany Joy Lenz: I get asked this question a lot. I have to say it has not been incredibly difficult for me, yet. I’ve been really blessed or lucky or whatever you want to call it, to be able to be with my daughter most of the time. I haven’t had an experience where then my schedule changes. But when that happens, I will be working more on a continuous basis and it’ll morph into something else, but you know, she’s 4 now and a great kid. She kind of makes motherhood easy. She’s just really fun and super smart and I find it not too much of a challenge to be doing both at the same time. I think the only real challenge for me is the blog stuff, like really keeping up with blog. I really love it, but I mean anybody who runs a real blog will tell you that it’s a full-time job, it’s all consuming. So, really trying to balance out, you know, that kind of stuff can be tricky, but we work it out.
So, when it comes to your music or your film projects, is there any relation to your passion for like women’s rights?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yes absolutely. It’s a topic that’s so curious for me and I think it’s especially hard for me to express it artistically, because I feel so much passion around it. It’s kind of like I put a lot of pressure on myself as an artist that I would never wanna do anything or a project in that realm that wasn’t effective and strong and completely encompassing of exactly what I want to say and how I feel which is a lot of pressure. I just haven’t really figured it out how yet. I’m still gaining my bearings on a lot of that. It also affects the way I look at projects that come my way, because there were a lot of pilots that came across my desk this year that I just passed on, because the female character was two-dimensional or stereotypical or archaic and I just felt like it wasn’t something I could support, there’s just no way I could go to work every day and support this perspective of a woman. I do feel really passionate about the progression for women, it’s just we’re so overdue. We’re so overdue for interesting female characters and I just don’t have the patience or the energy anymore to see stereotypical female characters continue to be portrayed, especially not to participate in that myself.
What’s a project that you would say would be perfect for you?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Some kind of action movie; that would be really great for me and a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I’m super athletic and strong and really flexible. I’ve trained kickboxing, I’m trained with riding horses and I’m a very physical person and I haven’t gotten the chance to do that a lot. I’d really love to do a movie where I got to be athletic and really challenge myself in that way.
Who are you currently listening to, music-wise?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh. I really like that song by Chet Faker, Gold. I do listen to Polica a lot, but sometimes it gets a little too moody for me. I have Robyn on ready at any given moment that I need her. I love Robyn, I saw her live in concert and it was the best thing I’ve ever seen. She’s incredible, so much energy. I’ve never seen a woman be so like androgynous and so completely sexy at the same time. It’s really bizarre. She was like standing there and had this outfit on like she looked like David Bowie and then she started moving like Marilyn Monroe with this breathy little voice, and said, “Hello Los Angeles”. I was like what is happening right now? And of course, I listen to a lot of Disney music because I have a 4 year old so it’s constantly dealing with The Lion King and Tangled and all that kind of stuff.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh god no. No, I just can’t, I don’t allow it in the house. I’m sorry, I honestly I think a lot of people are gonna be mad at me for saying this, but I think it’s really mediocre and it bums me out. I think the acting’s great, the voices are beautiful and the animation was beautiful but I was just really bummed out by the music and the story and also do we really need to have a powerful woman who doesn’t get powerful until all the sudden, she’s in like the slinkiest sexiest dress ever, you know walking, swinging her hips and now 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 year old girls look at and think oh so that’s what it means to be powerful? Ugh I can’t, I hate it. I cannot stand that movie, sorry.
What’s the next project you have up?
Bethany Joy Lenz: I’m working on a deal with a movie that looks like it’s going to shoot in Puerto Rico. I’m continuing to make music and I have a pilot, a period piece I’ve been working on for 3 years. I’ve done a lot of research for it and had a lot of really nice interest. I’m really enjoying my blog and I’m hoping to get it going enough to where I can grab guest bloggers and not sort of be the focus of it so much. I wanted to make it mine and add my name to it and my brand to it to get it started, but I’d like for it to develop into its own thing, not just all about me.
Will there ever be a project that we will see you direct, write, produce, star in as well as do the soundtrack for?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Most of my friends would tell you yes. I feel it’s just complicated for me. I don’t like it. I’d rather be completely in the moment with the actors I’m working with and not you know analyzing their performance and my performance and imagining, wait why is the camera over there, what’s going on, I don’t feel my light. You never know. But I’m gonna say never say never.