On the Move

Terri Hendrix recently released her first album in Project 5, a series of four albums and one book that will be released through 2016. The album Love You Strong features a unique mix of songs that promises great things from the rest of Project 5. Hendrix has released many albums since the mid 1990’s, and has worked with artists such as Lloyd Maines and Eliza Gilkyson. As a veteran to the music industry of Austin, Hendrix has a lot to say about her music-making and her upcoming albums.

Caroline LaMotta: You have an impressive discography; what is your main inspiration when writing and recording your albums?
Terri Hendrix: I’m a big music fan. I consume as much music as I can at all times. I strive to remain inspired and this makes me want to keep on writing. That said, it’s been five years since I’ve released a record. It felt good to finally get “Love You Strong” out there.

Was there any inspiration that was specific to Love You Strong?
The songs build on each other. “Love You Strong” is a concept album. It’s best explained here. I went into details on the inspiration in the songs.

How would you describe your style in Love You Strong, and overall?
On my new album… I think it’s a folk record. Overall?… I still think I’m a folk artist. I like storytelling. I also like rap. It’s all folk music.

Your current musical project, Project 5, includes four albums, three of which haven’t been released yet. Will these albums be similar in nature to Love You Strong, or will they all vary in style?
Every album is different. My project is hard to explain. It’s actually a concept eat explained here.

Why did you choose to release Love You Strong as the first installment of Project 5?
It sets up the themes. It’s about the nitty gritty of love.

What made you want to use this as the representation of the rest of the project?
I think it takes great courage to love. Courage to be a friend. A family member. A constant in the lives of someone else - in sickness and in health. Be it self love or love for another, “Love You Strong” seemed like the logical place to start.

How long have you been planning to do something like Project 5?
I’ve been wanting to release a focused album for a long time. On all of my albums I’ve danced genres. Part of the reason why it’s Project 5 is to keep the music and collective thoughts focused.

Was it something you have wanted to do for a while, or was it a recent realization?
I’ve been actually working on the project for two years. Songs like “Earth-Kind Rose” or “Texas Star” took about seven years to write though.

How would you describe your writing process? How often do you write songs?
I write a whole lot and then sew songs together. I hardly ever sit down and complete a song at once. It seems I write in ideas and then see where things go. I don’t really have a process. What I do have is weird. I’ll record several versions on my gear and then garden. I’ll listen to the versions on shuffle and repeat while I do yard work. That’s how I’ll stumble on the right arrangement. Same thing with poetry and spoken word songs. I’ll just talk them through and see how the words sound.

How long have you been making music?
I started writing songs when I was 8.

At what age did you know that you wanted to become a professional singer/songwriter?
I’m not sure. It happened because I wanted to be self-employed. I love to write. I hate to write. It’s grueling. It’s easy. It’s hard. It hurts. It feels good. It’s odd. The whole profession is really odd. That said, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I’ve been really fortunate to have this opportunity. Doing this has enabled me to help others and reach others in a way I would have perhaps never been able to do otherwise.

Would you like to add anything else about what you have already said? (Or about your fans?)
I really appreciate your support. Thanks for listening to my music all these years and for supporting grassroots music the way you do. As for fans … I call it a friend-base. After all these years, it’s a gathering of friends at my shows. “Our” shows. It’s an honor to have the support of such good people.

by Caroline LaMotta