Andy Klemm Interviews: Tracy Lipp
Indica-Fans.net: You are a dedicated musician, guitarist, vocal coach and involved in so many music projects, it´s amazing you can manage to find the time to do all these things at once. Would you like to tell us, how you came into music and the business you´re so successful in?
Tracy Lipp: My father is a musician. He was very successful. He was a singer/dancer on a popular TV show, called The Smothers Brothers, in the 60’s. After that show was over he played keyboards in a Band called Clymax, who had a Billboard hit with the song “Precious and Few” in 1972. That followed with him playing keyboards for the superstar singer/songwriter/actor Mac Davis. So I grew up around music. In high school I decided to play guitar, since I thought it was a good way to meet girls. Guitar playing is so amazing. I was hooked. On my dad’s advice, I decided to play guitar instead of finishing college. Because of being in LA, I got great opportunities to work with amazing musicians. I had the best teachers too. My vocal coaches were the top in the business. I went to Ron Anderson and Bob Rose. If you google them you can see what they’ve done. I remember going to my lesson at Bob’s and seeing his other student finishing up her lesson every week. She had an Oscar for best Actress in a supporting role. Mary Stewart Masterson is her name.
As a musician, I worked with great players too. For example, I was in a blues band that had a drummer named John Wackerman playing. John was on the cover of Modern Drummer that year we were doing the band. He’s just one example of the high quality players I worked with. When you’ve had these kind of players it’s easy to get really good at what you do. I try to bring those experiences into my work here. Jonsu embraced the high work ethics I learned in Hollywood. She’s one of the hardest working singers I know.
Indica-Fans.net: Alongside Indica – the band which we´ll focus on – you´ve been working with many acts from the music business. If you were to name you most favorite acts to work with, which ones would that be?
Tracy Lipp: I love working with Lordi. Writing lyrics with them is really fun!!!! We always have a good time. Some of the sickest lyrics are mine! Haha. I’ve also had a great time working with a Finnish girl band named Tik Tak. They were my first students. We released record in America and the girls toured there in the early 2000s. I’ve also enjoyed working with a girl named Niki Rock, who is the singer in a Finnish band called Barbe-que-barbies. I taught her to sing when she was just 18. We made a solo record for her before she joined her current band. It’s available on iTunes if anyone is interested. If you search for Niki Out of control on iTunes it’s there. It may be on Spotify too.
Indica-Fans.net: You also work as a talented lyricist. How did you discover your talent to write lyrics?
Tracy Lipp: I’ve always enjoyed messing with sounds, the way words fall in time and how they fit together. I wrote some songs when I lived in LA, but I never really took it too seriously as a profession because of the competition in LA. When I came to Finland to be with the Finnish girl I met I got a chance to write a lyric for Tik Tak. There were 4 other writers trying to write lyrics. They chose mine! That started the whole thing. Universal offered me a publishing deal and that allowed me to stay in Finland.
Indica-Fans.net: In the same vein, many lyricists prefer a certain style of writing their words. Do you have a preferred technique to write?
Tracy Lipp: There are basically only two kinds of songs - Story songs or list songs. I write one or the other, depending on what the music sounds like. I like starting with a melody and then putting words to the melody.
Indica-Fans.net: Talking Indica: How did you meet the Ladies and become a vital part to the process of creating the new Shine album?
Tracy Lipp: I met the ladies when they were just starting out. They had the same manager as Tik Tak and he brought the girls to meet me. I started giving Jonsu lessons at that time. She was just 17 or 18 at the time. I got involved in the Shine album when the producer wanted Jonsu to sing in english with less of an accent. We’d kept in touch over the years, but I hadn’t given her intensive lessons. I listened to her sing, and we made a very aggressive plan for her to become the amazing singer you hear on the record. It was so fun, because she took it so seriously. The harder she worked, the more I wanted to work hard. Her work ethic was great! She trained very hard. I think the thing that was the most fun was probably winning over the producer, Roland. Most producers who’ve never worked with a vocal coach don’t understand how much time and effort is saved by having someone like me in the room with them. We had a great time.
Indica-Fans.net: How would you describe the time you´ve spend with the girls? Were there any moments you memorize the most?
Tracy Lipp: There are a couple of moments that are very memorable. The first one is probably seeing the girls perform Wuthering Heights. Jonsu was outstanding on that! I think the time I saw them play in a small bar in Helsinki was also very memorable. They were all so happy! I could tell they really loved being a band. Recording Jonsu, late at night in Germany was really great. We had the lights dimmed and she was singing Hummingbird. Wow. I’ve also enjoyed getting together with Jenni and talking about the guitar. She’s a super talented girl and it was fun seeing her use her training and love of the guitar to play the songs. There are some really tricky and intricate guitar parts on this record. I’ve got to say I’m a little jealous that I don’t get to go up on stage and play some of this guitar stuff with her.
Indica-Fans.net: Regarding the Shine Album of Indica, is there a song you´d call your favorite one and if so, why?
Tracy Lipp: I have two favorites. One of them is Shine. I like the way the chorus lifts and the how the bass part fits in with it. I also really like Lucid a lot. The strings are great on that song.
Indica-Fans.net: You´ve been involved with many bands from Finland (such as Lordi, i.e.). It´s a personal opinion to myself since long, that Finland has the most successful acts and bands when it comes to the rock and metal genre. What is your opinion on this behalf? Does the best music usually come from Finland?
Tracy Lipp: Rock and Metal are really favorites for musicians here. The funny thing is that though there are great bands that are really successful outside of Finland, they don’t get much recognition in Finland. The Rock and Metal players have really found a nitch in the world market and are highly regarded amongst their peers. I’m friends with the guitarist from the band The Faceless. He says that Finland is it for metal. He loves coming here.
Andy Klemm: This naturally leads to the question: Why Finland?
Tracy Lipp: The normal question. The normal answer is: I met a Finnish girl. I was on tour, playing guitar and we came to Finland. After that I started coming back to Helsinki to see her as often as I could. When I got the publishing deal with Universal, I just stayed.
Indica-Fans.net: Diggin´a little deeper into “the Man, Tracy Lipp”. What kind of music or band do you like listening to in your spare time?
Tracy Lipp: I listen to a lot of different music in many genres. For example, I love baroque guitar music and spanish flamenco. I listen to modern pop, like Britney and Demi Lovato, I’m really into bands like Alice and Chains. Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith are huge favs. I also really like bands like Styx and Journey. Pat Benatar is another fav.
Indica-Fans.net: Talking spare time: Many musicians say, even in their spare time music is there greatest hobby. Do you have any other hobbies you like to relax with?
Tracy Lipp: Because of how the technology has changed, it’s starting to get hard to see when I’m not working on something that’s at least indirectly related to music. I’ve interested in computers, and spend time doing geeky things, like learning how to write programs for iOS devices and keeping up on security issues. This knowledge ends up being useful at work in the studio. My deep understanding of computers keeps our systems running smoothly in our studio. I also run and bike a lot, but that’s related to singing. Singing is an athletic event, and staying in great shape makes it easy to sing.
Indica-Fans.net: Getting back to “business”. What current projects are you working on, if you like to share these with us?
Tracy Lipp: I just got done recording an American/Finnish girl in the States named Emma. That was really fun. There was also a couple of writing/recording sessions with an actress who sings great named Jenny Kennedy. She’s going to be doing a record soon. We are making plans for the next Lordi record now too. That should be tracked over the summer.
Indica-Fans.net: Imagine a rookie asking you what it takes to settle in the music business, what advice would you give him or her?
Tracy Lipp: I’d say that the only reason to get into this business is because you HAVE TO! If you burn for music, then do it! Just don’t do it to become famous or rich. Do it for the love of it. Then the hard work is easy to do.
Indica-Fans.net: Last but not least, my favorite “final question” to every interview. What would you like to say to our fans and readers?
Tracy Lipp: I hope you enjoy the new record as much as I enjoyed working o it. The girls are a lot of fun and the songs are really great. Put it on and turn it up!
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