Gwen Stefani has had a tumultuous year, starting with her 2014 appearance on The Voice and the release of two singles, “Baby Don’t Lie” and “Spark The Fire.” By early 2015 though, issues in her relationship with Gavin Rossdale were growing. The couple, who had been together since the ’90s and married since 2002, announced their divorce in August. While it is a tough time for Gwen, it has also given her some serious musical inspiration. The first new single we’ve gotten from her 2015 sessions is the emotional “Used To Love You.”
On Monday, Gwen had a couple of interviews in which she revealed a lot about her new solo music. She had an interview with Carson Daly on 97.1 AMP Radio and a longer interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1.
Gwen confirmed that the material she worked on in 2014 didn’t feel authentic. She was not satisfied with the songs and felt fake. Gwen wrote with many top-notch songwriters – Sia, Charli XCX, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Pharrell – but her own involvement was minimal. She didn’t feel confident or inspired to write, but soon discovered that this popular songwriting method wouldn’t work for her either. So she waited until she was inspired to write in summer 2015. This time, the songs have been pouring out of her.
Between the two interviews, Gwen revealed six new song titles: She wrote “You Don’t Know Me” to piano with Rick Nowels. As Gwen describes it, that was “the first opening of the channel” of her songwriting inspiration, and a hint that this record could really happen. She felt like she really could write good songs about what she was going through.
Gwen also started writing with Linda Perry again (they had collaborated on her first solo album back in 2004). On a plane ride to New Orleans, Gwen had her headphones on and wrote ideas for a song. She went into the studio with Linda, and that ended up becoming a song called “Medicine Man.”
“Red Flags” is the first song she wrote with the group of writers she refers to as the Breakfast Club (Justin Tranter, JR Rotem, and Raja Kumari). She says it’s a “work of art” and clearly expresses where she was at at that time. The second song they wrote together was a tune called “Naughty.”
They also wrote a song called “Make Me Like You,” and that led to another idea for Gwen. The next day, they wrote happier song called “Misery,” which Gwen thinks may be the second single for her new album. Gwen has written about 15 songs with the Breakfast Club, and around 25 new songs total.
Gwen said that most of her many songs came to her within 8 weeks of working on the album, starting in June. Understandably, Gwen has been going through a roller coaster of emotions, and that is reflected in the new music. She described how the songs she wrote earlier this summer were more sarcastic, dark humor, but then her style became more serious. Her more recent songs sound more joyful. At this point, she has over 25 songs and enough material for two albums, though she wants to keep writing since she still has so much inspiration. Gwen expects the album will be out early next year.
Listen to the whole interview with Carson Daly below:
You can listen to the Beats 1 Radio interview with Zane Lowe below:
You can get Gwen’s latest single, “Used To Love You,” on iTunes now. Catch up on all we know about Gwen’s upcoming solo album, as well as known song titles. (Most of the earlier songs, from 2014, have likely been scrapped.) Keep checking back here for all the latest Gwen Stefani music news.