HomeAn Interview With Jeremy Lister

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After many adventures in the music industry, Southern singer-songwriter Jeremy Lister is back with The Bed You Made. His most personal album yet, it features guest vocals from bluegrass great Alison Krauss. We talked to the independent artist about moving to Nashville, being briefly signed to Warner Bros., competing on the a capella tournament show The Sing-Off, and the “meat and potatoes” of songwriting. “Sometimes my heart comes straight out of the pen,” says Lister, “and sometimes I have to fight for it.”

Take us through the arc of your career so far.

I moved to Nashville eight years ago from Jackson, Mississippi. Originally I was going to move to NYC. I had quite the common misconception that Nashville was strictly a country music town. I was offered a job tending bar at Amerigo Italian Restaurant and decided to make the move. The plan was to be here for six months to a year, but I fell in love with Nashville and dropped my anchor. From 2003-05 I released two independent EPs (Shooting Star and So Far). They were produced by the brilliant Neilson Hubbard.

In 2006 I signed a record deal with Warner Brothers Records LA. They told me they loved my voice, but I didn’t have the right songs for an album yet. So, I wrote over 200 new songs the first year I was signed. They released a four-song digital EP in late 2007 called  Just One Day . I was hoping this was the prelude to a full-length album, but that wasn’t the case, so I went back to writing my ass off.

By the beginning of 2009, I was burned out on writing and dying to get into the studio. I’d been recording great demos with my friends Justin Loucks and Ian Fitchuk for years, and after fighting tooth and nail, WB gave us a small budget to record my first full-length album. We finished it the following Fall, and all of the feedback from WB was really positive. They flew me and a band to LA to play for the higher-ups and the president of the company. Once again, we had an equally positive response to the way the music from the album was conveyed live. I came back home optimistic that I was finally going to be able to release an LP. I’d been patient for far too long.

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