A Chat with Lindsey Ferguson (12.01.2022)

As we travel down the years of life, we face many different challenges and experiences with some being happier than others. Lindsey Ferguson is unleashing her musical diary covering three and a half years of her life. Her album Being A Girl draws on intimate moments and the struggles she has faced over this period while drawing us into the evolving journey of life. The relatable tracks make use of her acapella skills and blend them with folk and rock instrumentation. We had the chance to talk with Lindsey Ferguson about the album, sharing intimate moments, musical influences and much more.

OSR: You have been writing music since age 11, but what made you commit to releasing your own songs?

Ferguson: Well, the very first time that I released music through a real distributor (sent songs to streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, etc.), I was actually encouraged by my mom. It took me a few more years of writing and living in a major music city like New York to build my own confidence in my music. I used to think my mom was biased (for the most part), but by this point, I take real pride in my skills as a songwriter and the time and effort that has gone into honing my craft. I want to share that with as many people as I can.

OSR: You have recently completed a Master’s in Music Business from NYU Steinhardt. How do you feel this formal education has shaped the music you make?

Ferguson: I think that, more than anything, the atmosphere of the programme and my peers have influenced my sound and subjects. Being a single, sensitive, big-eyed young woman in New York City brought me into circumstances that ranged from awe-inspiring to frankly terrifying. I never ran out of things to write about, and I was fortunate enough to be in a Master’s programme that draws a lot of musicians, so my main community and closest friends were almost all singer-songwriters like myself. We motivated each other by collaborating on projects, going to each other’s East Village bar concerts, and on Thursdays, drinking wine and playing our original songs.

OSR: Being a Girl has just been released, can you tell us more about the album? Is there a backstory or theme?

Ferguson: For the past nearly four years, I’ve been writing songs, working with several awesome producers (one of whom I’m set to marry within the next year or so), and learning how to produce my own music as well. In that time, I’ve also been living. I’ve found unexpected communities, connected with artists, travelled abroad. I also had my heart broken, was diagnosed with Genital Herpes, moved back home to Pennsylvania to live with my parents in quarantine, and somehow fell in love with a musician in Los Angeles who I’d never met in person, signed a lease on a house with him in Los Feliz, moved across the country and got engaged! I’d been collecting these finished songs throughout it all, unsure of how to release them. I think I was waiting for some resolution in my personal life before putting out my collected works.

OSR: The tracks of the album are very intimate and personal, did you find it difficult to share these moments with the world?

Ferguson: When I wrote and sang them, I didn’t feel the pressure of sharing anything with anyone but myself; even my final track is called ‘For Myself’ and they all are, really. Music’s been a coping mechanism for me as well as a way to celebrate life. I suppose I feel the responsibility of sharing these intimate pieces with the public now, but I’m in a much different place today than I was when I wrote those songs. I think the music that I release will always be a bit distant from where I am at the moment of release, but oftentimes these feelings cycle back, so maybe in a few months I’ll feel suddenly exposed!

OSR: The album covers moments across a number of years, what was your creative process for bringing all these moments together?

Ferguson: I have an overflowing Soundcloud account with hundreds of songs that date back to 2015. I decided to start the album from the period in which I had just moved to New York. I listened through all of my songs from that point up to today, chose the ones that I wanted to share, and arranged them by time and location. After I arranged the songs, I listened through the set and felt almost as if I was listening to the Broadway musical performance of my early twenties. I decided then to add a few sections of dialogue to bring the whole story together in a narrative structure.

OSR: At 20 tracks, the album is on the longer side. What prompted you to release such a large album and not break it down into smaller releases?

Ferguson: Well, the album contains all of the music that I wish to release from the time that I graduated college until the moment of my engagement. It is essentially the period of my life in which I was most alone, not in a bad sense, just very much independent. My fiancé and I have formed a band of our own and are preparing to release our debut album. I felt that I was reaching the end of an epic chapter and wanted to move on to the next knowing that I’d put out a truly epic album.

Lindsey Ferguson
Photo Credit: John Chirikjian

OSR: There is a lot of emotion woven into the tracks, but what is the one emotion you would like people to feel after listening to the album?

Ferguson: I think hopeful is what I’m going for. I want people to finish this album with a sense of belief in their own journeys and awe for the beautiful complexities of life. I chose the title of the album because I think that it represents life well. “Being a girl” sounds simple, young, maybe naive, but you could replace it with “being alive” and it would, at its essence, mean the same thing. I want us all to feel hopeful about being alive.

OSR: The album includes songs in varying states, what do you feel adding first demos and fully realised tracks adds to the whole?

Ferguson: I think that it represents the journey that I was on as I wrote the songs. I wanted this album to be a genuine extension of myself, and I’m certainly not always “fully realised”. Perhaps, knowing that I’m going to be married soon, want to have a family someday, and am already living a life that is no longer just my own, I hoped that this album could keep the fierce, troubled, and rough around the edges girl who I love so much alive. Like maybe now we can be friends who catch up from time to time.

OSR: What do you feel has had the biggest influence on your sound?

Ferguson: Words I think. I fancy myself a storyteller, or maybe a story setting teller. I’m great at starting stories but I can never seem to end them, so instead, I like to find a cosy little piece of a story and use whatever words I can to really take my listeners there. It’s a very visual experience for me, so the melodies and arrangements that I lean towards are often on the cinematic side. I want to build worlds with my songs.

OSR: If people could listen to only one track from the album, which would you recommend and why?

Ferguson: I think that today, at least, I’ll go with ‘When I Feel’. I actually made that song up on the spot and the recording that you hear is the first and last time that I ever performed the song. I produced it myself and I mean it’s not perfect by so many standards, but I’m very proud of it. I think that because the lyrics are improvised and meditative, they come out very clear and simple, and I think that they capture a truth about myself very well: “when I feel good, I feel great, but when I feel bad, it’s hard to have faith.” That’s something that I struggled with my whole life – the highs and lows. Only recently did I realise that chronic depression and anxiety play a major role in that.

OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?

Ferguson: A lot. Lol. For the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing at least three new music videos for tracks on the album (possibly more). The band that my fiancé and I formed, Ned and Wendy the Band!, are planning to release our debut album Alive in Los Feliz around Valentine’s Day. I’ve got a few new songs that I’ve started working on, many more that I’m sure I’ll write, and aside from music, I’m working on a documentary musical about my Covid love story and the formation of Ned and Wendy the Band!. I paint and I’m really hoping to get a dog this year, so keep an eye out for exclusive new puppy video content.

Thanks to Lindsey Ferguson for chatting with us! You can find more about her on her website, Instagram and Spotify.

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