Emily Saliers talks Indigo Girls and the band’s new album, “One Lost Day”

 AE: It does it totally does, and it leads me to my next one too.  My dad’s a retired southern Baptist minister, so I could just be hearing things, but I swear you have Biblical references in your music.  Not in an overt way, preachy way, but I mean all the good stuff the church can represent–

ES: [Laughs,] No, it’s all in there! 


AE: Good! I thought I was crazy, like, “Have I been so brainwashed as a child that I think the Indigo Girls are singing Biblical references?” But, after the Indiana pizzeria went on record for refusing to serve that hypothetical gay wedding, I wrote a piece for AfterEllen, “Who Said it, Jesus or the Indigo Girls

ES: Oh my god! You’re the one who did that? That was so awesome! Oh my God, I had so many friends send that to me. That was really great and hilarious. So flattering!


AE: Thank you! I don’t know if that’s purposeful, but when you sing things like “Shine my life like a light, “ or “The street person is my responsibility–”

ES: It’s true though, Amy grew up going to Methodist church and I grew up going to the Methodist church, my dad is a Methodist Minister, he’s a professor of Theology, so he’s a teacher, but he’s also ordained. So like you said, I appreciate the good stuff about the Church. My experience with organized religion was always good. I do have a problem with the more conservative Right that likes to dictate faith to me and to others that excludes people.

But, yeah, Amy and I both grew up in church going families and we learned that God is loving, and beyond that, the Bible is an incredible source of imagery and inspiration so we drew a lot from that. There are archetypal images, and powerful stories, and examples of things that could really take a song to the next realm. A lot of people early on thought we were a Christian band because of all the references we use [Laughs]. We still use that imagery somewhat, less now than some of our earlier material but yeah, we’re still people of faith, just all inclusive people of all faith, or of no faith, whatever, it’s your own journey.

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AE: Okay–now for some lighter questions. What is your go-to karaoke song?

ES: Oh my gosh, great question! I don’t know …


AE: Because Fill It Up Again is my go-to karaoke song. 

ES: That’s so funny! Okay, how about: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt.


AE: That’s a pretty good choice if you can’t sing your own stuff, I guess. 

ES: [Laughs]


AE: Well Emily, I’ll let you go. But before I do, I have some readers wondering what advice you have for inspiring artists. You’ve been through a lot and seen it all.

ES: I can answer quickly that obviously everything has changed in the music industry but the reason why we play comes from a real place of love. So, have a place of love for your music and work hard at your craft to get better at it. You can’t just wait for the muse, it becomes your job, you have to be really dedicated to it. Then take advantage of getting your music out there. Do open mics, play with your friends, and if you want to pursue it as a career, stick with it and work hard.


AE: It almost feels like the drive to do any art is both a blessing and a curse–a blessing because when you create, it feels so great, but a curse in that you can’t be happy doing anything else.

ES: And that’s the thing. Amy and I never had aspirations to sign to a major label and to have a career like this. We started out by having fun, we got together in basements, played songs, played as a cover band, got fake IDs and played at bars, and then eventually wrote music of our own.

Little by little we built a career but it came from no aspirations except for taking the next step for growth. So all the dues they say that you pay when you’re in a smelly old van, driving for 17 hour straight, didn’t feel like dues to us. It just felt like music and it was awesome. I don’t think we could do 17 hours in a van now, I’m grateful we can rent a bus now, but it didn’t feel like paying dues because it was always great, it was playing music.”


The Indigo Girls are hitting the road this summer following the release of One Lost Day. To purchase the album and to check out when they’ll be in your city, visit www.indigogirls.com.