Last month, singer-songwriter Louise Page released her second album, Silver Daughter, after much anticipation. Her vocal styling is emotive and full-bodied, riding the line between storytelling and musicality in a way reminiscent of show tunes but with the lilt and vocal control of 1960’s lounge. Comparable to performers such as Fiona Apple, Amanda Palmer, and even perhaps Dead Man’s Bones (sans a children’s choir,) Page blends elements of multiple genres into something fresh and new. Her voice takes on an almost show tune quality, with clear annunciation that draws the listener into her lyrical content, and it pairs beautifully with her piano accompaniment and the virtuosity her band brings to the table.
Future Runaway Bride and Snakeskin are the primary bops on Silver Daughter and have a lot of mainstream appeal without coming off corny or repetitive, both are infectiously catchy and danceable tunes with an empowering edge. Snakeskin especially serves as a self-love anthem and reclamation of power, as Page asserts in her lyrics, “I’m a work of art, honey, do not touch; You are what you drink, and I’m strong stuff,” before diving into the hook.
Even aside from these highlights, her versatility is apparent. Other tracks, such as Dirty Mirror have a stark theatrical flair, like something you would hear in a stage play, and there are a number of emotional ballads throughout the album such as Paw in the Honey, or my personal favorite – Uncanny Valley.
I had the pleasure of asking Louise Page a few questions recently, and getting a more personal look into her musical journey thus far.
When did you decide to make your debut as a musician and how did you get into music?
When I was 5 years old my parents brought home a piano for my 2 older siblings to take lessons. I had always been fascinated with things like toy cash registers, remote controls- anything with buttons that made noise when you pressed them! So the piano seemed like the ultimate “noisy buttons” to tiny me. I was completely fascinated with it- so I started taking lessons at that very young age and continued to do so throughout my childhood.
My start in piano was classical. I was a big music kid all throughout school- I was in every single concert band & choir that I could get into- I played the oboe and was on the drum line in my high school marching band. I always wrote little songs on the piano – but they were really just for me.
I moved to Memphis in 2012 and went to college for creative writing- and music became even more of a personal creative exercise. Most of my Memphis friends didn’t even know I sang or played the piano. In 2016 I was working at Urban Outfitters, they were having a pop up event, and the musical act that was supposed to perform ended up being unable to do so- so my manager, who knew I played a bit privately, asked me to sing some originals as a favor. That little event led to booking another event the next month- and I was completely hooked.
I’ve always been a performer, I’ve always enjoyed being in front of an audience, but it took years & a little push from fate for me to gain the confidence to become a solo act & perform my original songs.
What were some of your inspirations for this album?
I’m really inspired by Fiona Apple- she’s not afraid to be weird, she’s not afraid to be grating, but she’s also not afraid to be incredibly delicate and tender. Mitski’s album release last year “Be the Cowboy” had a huge influence on me as well- many of the songs on that album lyrically read almost more like poems and lack a lot of the repetition and a traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure. That coupled with her genre mixing really inspired me to push myself out of the box creatively. I’m always inspired by artists that include theatrics & narrative structure into their work: Amanda Palmer, Freddy Mercury, St. Vincent, Lizzo.
Your stage presence is vivacious, how do you channel that energy and what performers do you look up to in that area?
Thank you!! I honestly really look up to lady Gaga. She is completely committed to her state presence and persona, and I’m inspired by her determination. I really genuinely enjoy being in front of a crowd. I like making people feel something, I like connecting to people. I genuinely feed off of a crowd’s energy. I can be completely exhausted and at the end of my rope and the second I get behind a keyboard and in front of a crowd that disappears completely, and I’m lost in the patterns on the keys and the words in my throat.
With performance- half assing anything is going to make an audience uncomfortable and unsure. If you aren’t sold on yourself, nobody else is going to be. So I don’t second guess myself, my lyrics, or my art, and I perform it with as much emotion as I possibly can- be it to an audience of 1 or 100.
I’m also really inspired by Elton John! Elton started wearing super flamboyant jackets and glasses to capture an audience’s attention & compensate for the fact that he’s stuck behind a piano on stage. I definitely have taken that theory of performance and run with it! Costume is important! I like to wear exuberant exaggerated sparkling interesting clothing on stage. Not only does it help me get more into a performance mindset, I think it’s far more exciting for an audience to see a performer wearing something a touch more surreal than your everyday street wear. (Thrift stores & Michaels craft store are my friends here.)
If you could collaborate with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be and why?
That is an incredibly difficult question and my little inner music nerd’s gut reaction is to say Beethoven LOL. I’m incredibly torn between St. Vincent, Freddy Mercury, and Lizzo.
St Vincent has been an idol of mine for a while- she is an absolutely incredible guitarist and lyricist. Freddy Mercury is an absolute legend- his performance style, his drama, the sheer number of layers to his music- would be so fun to explore. Lizzo- self declared bop star- has been a favorite of mine for years. I think the message of her music is similar to mine – LOVE YOURSELF & CHOOSE YOURSELF- so it would be fun to infuse some of her incomparable energy into a collab.
Your songs are emotionally gripping and storytelling in many ways, what is your writing process for them like?
I really appreciate you using the word storytelling! Literature and writing are the second great love of my life after music- and being able to combine the two with songwriting is an absolute dream. Most songs start as words- they feel very emotional because they are very personal. I rarely force myself to write- I write when I am feeling something- anger, pain, fear, joy, defiance- so strongly that I absolutely need to find a way to let it out. Writing is my outlet for that.
Most of the songs on silver daughter started out as pretty long poems. The next step is the “skeleton” of the song- if I’ve written something that I think could be a successful song, I’ll sit down at the piano a few days later and noodle around until I come up with a chord progression that I feel fits the mood of the poem. From there, I usually have to edit the poems pretty extremely to transform them into lyrics.
Lyrics are different than poetry & prose- you have an additional emotional element (the music) so lyrics tend to be more repetitive and less verbose than poetry or prose. Additionally, once I start to come up with a melody within the chord structure, syllabic restrictions start to emerge. It generally sounds awkward in a song if you try to shove too many syllables into a melody, so words need to get cut or changed. Here’s an example of an original poetry stanza, and the lyrical verse it was turned into: “Now i know that you’ll never love me I don’t think that you ever could But i can’t help hoping One day you’ll be reminiscing And know my intentions were good “ Became: “You’ll never love her You never could But your intentions were good Your intentions were good” (from Future Runaway Bride)
You perform at the Zebra lounge every some nights, contrasting performing your own music and performing in a lounge environment – what would you say are the biggest differences between the two, and what sort of challenges did you face respectively?
Zebra Lounge doesn’t have a regular schedule- since everyone who performs there is a musician with an irregular show schedule, we all send Zebra our availability at the beginning of the month & they post a schedule online. (link)
Zebra Lounge is an interesting experience because I’m playing covers for tips, and I take requests. I absolutely love Zebra Lounge, I love working there, and I’ve met some really sweet people who may not have ever heard me sing otherwise. The element of alcohol being served + taking requests and tipping does sometimes add an element of entitlement to customers, especially cishet men.
I’ve had men yell at me to look at them, I’ve had men get angry at me for not performing a song the way they wanted me to, I’ve had them intentionally request songs they think will be difficult for me to sing to try to get me to flub- All of my lounge gigs are more of a grind than my band gigs. I’ve also had people tip me 100s of dollars for putting up with their fuckery! I’m definitely singing for my supper there, and I have to have thick skin and a calm exterior.
The gigs with my band are, first of all, shorter- generally a 30-45 minute long set verses the 3 to 5 hour long sets I’ll play at lounge gigs. At a band gig- everyone there has paid a cover specifically to hear my originals, so there’s more of a supportive community energy (that I absolutely love)! The lounge gigs are more of a hustle.
It’s very exciting to imagine where such a talented and ambitious musician will go in the next few years, as Louise Page quickly rises among the local scene and begins to tour regularly. You can find more of her work in the meantime below.