20 Questions is a Q&A interview series with musicians, authors, and everyone in between, celebrating experiences both shared and individual in the messy game of being human.
Lizzie & The Makers’ upcoming sophomore studio album embroiders their potent Southern-tinged rock with art-rock, dream-pop, and ethereal elements to spawn something all their own. Created around the dusky yet soaring timbre of force-of-nature frontwoman Lizzie Edwards, the LP was produced by Grammy winner Mario McNulty (David Bowie, Prince) and Cure guitarist Reeves Gabrels (Tin Machine, Bowie). Their influence, alongside the textured six-string and pedal-steel expressions of Edwards’ writing partner (and Gabrels protégé) Greg McMullen, ensure an intriguingly adventurous, hugely dynamic—and occasionally otherworldly—take on the traditional.
“We’re definitely rock ‘n roll … [But] it’s almost like when we wrote these songs they went through a David Lynch portal, and came out a little bizarre,” says Edwards. “So I think we’ve been on this kind of ethereal tear, but our group is really rooted in Southern rock, and some English rock.” Defying her constant comparisons to Janis Joplin, the classically-trained Edwards summons a heartfelt, nuanced mezzo-soprano shaped by Memphis soul legend Ann Peebles, Heart’s Wilson sisters, and jazz icon Billie Holiday.
I got the chance to get to know Lizzie for this week’s new edition of 20 Questions, where she told me about the group’s new music, her favorite kind of song to write, why music is a universal love language, and more.
What’s one thing that made you fall in love with music?
I love that it is truly a universal language. Middle C is the same note no matter where you come from! It bridges the gap between different people and brings us together.
Which artists did you grow up listening to? Have they influenced your work?
I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and The Allman Brothers. Yes, they have *definitely* influenced my work!
Musically and stylistically, who has inspired you the most?
I would say Billie Holiday. I love her behind-the-beat singing style. I also love that she really has a sound that is all her own. When you hear her voice, you know exactly who it is.
What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a musician?
Age 4 – I was in music theory class for kids and noticed one boy staying after class for piano lessons. I wanted that and was so jealous! I immediately started taking lessons at that point.
What type of song is your favorite to write?
A scorching ballad.
Biggest pet peeve?
People telling me how to be me.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
The last book you finished?
Toni Tennille’s memoir.
Most expensive thing you’ve ever shamelessly splurged on?
One movie that will always make you cry?
What inspired the creative process for your new single “Mermaid”?
The sights and sounds of Williamsburg, specifically Pete’s Candy Store, and the end of a relationship.
Which genre of music would you describe your music as falling into?
Best song you’ve heard in the last year?
“Cuz I Love You” by Lizzo.
You’re stuck on a long flight. Which world-famous musician would you want sitting next to you and why?
Mavis Staples. I love her! She’s performed with so many legendary musicians — I would love to hear her stories about music and life.
The last series you binge-watched?
Favorite song to get your blood moving?
“Live Wire” by AC/DC.
One piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
You don’t have to follow the path that’s been laid out for you.
One thing that’s been keeping you sane throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
What can we expect to hear next from you?
More rock and roll! Have written about 5 songs toward the next album already.
Follow Lizzie & The Makers on Twitter and Instagram, and stream their latest single “Mermaid” wherever you listen to music.