Sep 2, 2014
03:15 PMArts & Entertainment
Coming to Infinity Hall, Mary Fahl Talks About Singing on Anne Rice’s Audio Book
For Mary Fahl (left) singing came naturally.
“My mother always said I could sing before I could talk,” says Fahl, whose robust vocals helped power the intense and moving sound of the mid-90s pop-chamber group October Project, a band that remains an indie music favorite.
Since leaving October Project Fahl has achieved success as a solo artist, releasing the album “The Other Side of Time” with Sony Classical in 2003 and contributing the song “Going Home” to the soundtrack of the film “Gods and Generals” that same year.
Earlier this year, she released a new live album and studio album, the latter of which features the bonus track “Exiles” (see YouTube video below), a song written and performed by Fahl as the theme song for the audio book version of Anne Rice’s new novel “The Wolves of Midwinter” (Fahl’s music is also alluded to throughout the book).
We recently caught up with her to chat about the show, her new live album and writing the wolf-inspired music for Rice’s new novel.
Q: What can fans expect at your Infinity Hall show in Norfolk?
A: When I play with a full band it’s a real panorama of my career, so they can expect to hear a nice chunk of October Project songs. They will hear things from my Sony Classical record“The Other Side of Time” and my new albums. It’s a very eclectic mix of songs from my whole career.
Q: Your album “Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House” was just released. Can you tell me how you decided to record a live album?
A: I was scheduled to play at the Mauch Chunk Opera House. It’s a beautiful old vaudeville theater, really gorgeous, basically in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. It’s sort of this beautiful odd place and the Wailin’ Jennys had done a live record there—they have a state-of- the-art recording studio within the building. I loved the Wailin’ Jennys record and I thought “what the heck, as long as I’m here, and I have this very well-rehearsed full band with me, I may as well record the show, and we did and the audience was incredible that night.
Q: What makes live albums so special?
A: A lot of what makes for a great live show is that communion between a performer and the audience and that was there in spades that night. One of the things I love about the record is you can feel that excitement, it’s palpable. It’s very difficult to get that on a studio record, as hard as you try there’s nothing like having that live audience there.
Q: Your latest studio album is “Love & Gravity,” can you tell me a little about that?
A: I released it in February of 2014 and those were songs that I had written over the past four or five years and songs that came from my life basically. I wanted to make a record with John Lissauer—who’s a dear friend of mine—for a long time. John is best known for the work he’s done with Leonard Cohen. He produced the original Leonard Cohen version of “Hallelujah,” and had worked with Leonard for years and years, was his music director and producer, etc. John had done all the orchestral arrangements for my Sony Record and we just work together really well and he doesn’t live that far from me, which means I can be home for dinner. We had a beautiful time working together and the rest is history.
Q: How did your song appear on the audio version of Anne Rice’s book?
A: That was very serendipitous. About two years ago I got an email out of the blue from Anne, who had just discovered that way back in the day when I was with October Project (I was the lead singer for those first two records that sort of put us on the map), we had hoped to get a song into the film version of “Interview with the Vampire,” but it didn’t happen, we didn’t have quite the star power at the time to make it onto that soundtrack. But someone turned Anne onto that fact, so she listened to some of the songs and started going back into my career and spent an entire rainy Sunday posting YouTube videos of everything I had ever done and she wrote a beautiful letter to me it was just lovely and we became email friends.
When my record was done (I thought), I wrote her and said, “I know you’re going to be in New York, can I have a friend drop off a copy for you?” She said, “Sure.” [When my friend brought the album to her hotel room] Anne surprised her by saying, ‘Here you give this to Mary’ and it was a galley [an advance copy that usually hasn’t proofread] of her new book that was to come out in October and it was called the “Wolf of Midwinter” and she had inscribed it to me very nicely. And then she said, “Tell Mary she’s in the book.” So on the spot my friend said, “Gosh why doesn’t Mary write a song for the audio book version.” And Anne said, “That would be great.” So the next thing you know I have a week to write produce, execute this whole thing. But I did it.
Q: How did you put the song together so fast?
A: Anne makes it very easy because she’s such a descriptive writer. I like writing for movies and it was very similar to writing for a film. It’s very easy to get inside the mind of her characters. So I wrote the song and pulled it together and delivered it to Random House and Anne loved it, thank God. It was a lot of fun in fact I’m scheduled to perform at the big Lestat Coronation Ball in New Orleans that’s an annual affair that Anne attends every year in New Orleans.
Q: What’s your role in the book?
A: It’s not like I’m a main character. The lead character in the novel is haunted by a ghostly sound and the ghostly sound is my voice singing an old October Project song called “Take Me As I Am.”
Mary Fahl will perform at Infinity Norfolk on Saturday, Sept. 6. Tickets are $30 and $45. To buy tickets visit infinityhall.com.