Turning it Up with Deep Purple, Turning it Sideways with the Steve Morse Band, and Turning it Down with Angelfire
When you take the pressure off and the commercial need away…
It doesn’t feel like work.
MPc: How did the Angelfire project come about with you and Sarah?
SM: It was almost a textbook scenario. I knew Sarah’s father — we lived in the same town, and he said “You know, I’ve gotta ask you for some advice. My daughter’s been working with these people from overseas and her vocal coach is giving her advice, and everybody is giving her different advice [on getting into the music industry]. It would be great if I could pick your brain and see what you think she should do.” And I said, “Alright, let me hear some stuff.”
I’m no expert at people’s careers, but I’ve done and seen a lot. So I heard her sing, and she sounded extraordinary to me. And I said, “Well, she needs to keep writing and keep developing.” She was young at the time — just sixteen, so you don’t really want to hit the road at this age. To me, you don’t really want to make it big at this age, because the rest of your life could be, you know, stunted if it happens too early. So I’d say just focus the songwriting and do more gigs. But mainly work on the songwriting, because that’s what makes a singer a real entertainer, when they’re telling the story through their own life.
MPc: Yeah, but it’s a whole other thing to decide the kid is so good you want to record an album with her.
SM: Well, it was less pressure than that, though. I said, “Well, I’ve got some stuff, some ideas that I’ve been working on, kind of acoustic-y things, and I think it would go great with her voice, you know? Bring her over sometime and we’ll work and just mess around with some stuff.”
We did, and she came up with some stuff, some great lyrics, and it just sounded perfect. There wasn’t a stitch of pitch correction on anything we recorded. And every first take was fantastic. Just out of habit, I would nitpick, keep on going, give her a little bit of a challenge. But it was over the course of years that we got enough stuff to do an album. I got to the point that I just liked hearing her sing. I said, “Hey, it would be neat, let’s do sort of a choral thing with lyrics that would sound fantastic with your voice, you know?” And we just tried different things, just for fun. When you take the pressure off and the commercial need away from something, and you are a musician, it can be fun again. It doesn’t feel like work. And that’s the way we did it.