When Lilly Hiatt’s third record Trinity Lane surfaced in 2017, something just seemed to click. Both in my head and in Hiatt’s career. Her songs and the records sound blend so seamlessly. They work so well, it sounds effortless. Even if you know damn well how much effort goes into writing and recording a record. ‘It was a pretty natural thing’, Hiatt remembers: ‘I had a group of people creating that record with me that I really trusted, so it wasn’t very overthought. We just went for it.’
Usually I ask musicians if they grew up in a musical household. Somehow, I skipped that with Lilly Hiatt, whose father John you might know. ‘I remember really having my little socks knocked off by the Breeders album Last Splash. I also fell hard for Lauryn Hill, and down the road became a huge Pearl Jam fan. Which lead me to Neil Young and The Who. Bob Dylan blew my mind with Blonde on Blonde. I think when I was little, I learned to sing from Wynona Judd and Mariah Carey cassettes these twins gave me. And I always forget to say how much I was struck by Melissa Etheridge when she first came out. She was empowering and showed me women can rock. My dad of course too! I could write a book here, but I’ll spare you.’
Don't pander to anyone
‘I look up to artists who march to their own beat and don’t seem to pander to anyone. Artists who are gracious to their fans while remaining true to their muse. I truly admire those who have attained some level of fame or notoriety yet still embody a certain kind of humility and kindness. That’s something I really dig!’ It’s good to note that – based on my experience of filming with her – Hiatt practices what she preaches. Filming this session at the Backstage Hotel in Amsterdam was one of the most fun and energy-filled afternoons of 2018.
‘Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album is a defining one for me. We started playing these two covers on tour to have fun and get a little out of the box. And given our European adventures, 23 Minutes in Brussels seemed like the right vibe. I love Luna because they were always a little weird.’ Those adventures didn’t stop at the end of the European tour, by the looks of it. Hiatt has been touring a lot, played on the roof of Jack White’s Third Man Records and recently released a Record Store Day single with her dad. Asked whether she’s having the time of her life, Hiatt answer: ‘I like your take on things! It’s been a great year. Playing music and meeting all kinds of people are my favorite things and that is now my full time job so I have no complaints.’
There's always something to write about
‘If I feel uninspired I usually find some sort of trouble to get myself into haha. I kid, only kind of. When I’m stuck, I take a break, listen to a lot of music, hang out with friends, do my job, live my life. There is always something to write about, so it comes around eventually.’
‘In terms of books that influenced me, I remember this author Lois Lowry and a book called Number the Stars. It was beautiful and I read it over and over. I even wrote her a letter. JD Salinger’s Catcher in The Rye, which I am currently rereading and adoring every minute, laughing out loud. Holden Caulfield is truly the essential misfit. Michael Chabon is a great writer.’