Music From 'The Mistress Of Heartache' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

Filed Under:

Music From 'The Mistress Of Heartache'

Play associated audio

Rachael Yamagata's sultry, gentle voice has been featured in soundtracks of films and television series for years. That includes How I Met Your Mother, Brothers and Sisters and Grey's Anatomy on television, and In Her Shoes and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on the cinema screen.

As a lyricist, Yamagata seems to have her fingers on the pulse of each heartache. Yamagata does not focus on separation or the challenges of a love affair, but on the process.

"Sometimes I describe it as a doctor fascinated with finding a cure for a disease. In some ways they are always focused on the disease, but the ultimate goal is to find a cure," she says.

The 34-year-old singer and songwriter says her fans embrace the sadness of many of her songs.

"Somebody had a really funny way of saying it. She said, 'Your songs make me want to throw up my own heart.' ... and I was like, 'What an interesting way of saying it,' but it was a compliment," she says.

Yamagata admits she is much happier in her daily life than her lyrics might suggest, and that she uses her songs as a form of therapy.

"With these songs, I get to play them, I get to release it. When I write them down, this is my personal therapy or exorcism of sorts."

New Album, New Label

Yamagata's latest album, Chesapeake, represents a new beginning for her.

She has a new label, one she created herself. Yamagata named it "Frankenfish" after a rare species of fish that can swim in water and walk on land.

"It suits the underdog feel of it," she says about the label name. "You just don't know where they are going to strike."

Asked why she split from major record labels, Yamagata says she got frustrated. She says that it took too long to get into the recording studio, and the process made her second guess her artistic instincts. Yamagata says the industry is changing, and major labels are not responding well.

"The industry is in trouble in terms of how are they going to sustain the cost of things and make money of the music they are dealing with," she says.

Yamagata's two previous studio albums, Happenstance and Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart, were released by RCA Victor and Warner Bros.

Now, Yamagata is touring the country promoting her new album. She says she wants to continue to stretch herself as an artist, and that means reaching beyond writing songs for the broken-hearted.

She says, "Definitely as a songwriter, I'm growing and learning all the time."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

6 Novelists Withdraw From Event Honoring 'Charlie Hebdo' For Free Speech

Peter Carey and Rachel Kushner are among those who are withdrawing in protest from the PEN American Center's annual gala. Kushner says she is uncomfortable with Charlie Hebdo's "cultural intolerance."
NPR

Drop-In Chefs Help Seniors Stay In Their Own Homes

As people age, cooking can become difficult or even physically impossible. It's one reason people move to assisted living. One company offers a chef to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.
NPR

Loretta Lynch Sworn In As U.S. Attorney General

Lynch's nomination was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate, five months after President Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder.
NPR

Leave The Selfie Sticks At Home, Wimbledon Says

Taking the same stance as the Kentucky Derby and major music festivals, the All England Lawn Tennis Club reportedly cited the devices' "nuisance value."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.