Adrienne Pierce Songwriting Interview


Adrienne Pierce Songwriting Interview

Adrienne Pierce
Current City:
Vancouver, BC
Record Label: self (Insectgirl Records) for solo albums and FU:M for The Royal Oui
Most recent release: ‘My Heavens’
Band Affiliation: The Royal Oui


She’s a breathy chanteuse whose sensibilities are in line with the Wes Anderson set, the lovers of tiny and bittersweet and beautiful. If you like Feist you’ll probably like Pierce. If you like songs that sound pretty but have a little bit of a melancholic edge, you’ll probably like Pierce. “

-Yakima Herald

The last few years have been exciting for Adrienne Pierce. She recorded her fourth full length album My Heavens, scored a film and even got a Grammy nod.  Her song “It’s Your Day” which was featured in two international commercials, made the ballot for Best Song from Audio/Visual.  This all happened while she was taking a year off from music to teach Art, History and English at an alternative one on one school. 2013 looks to be a great year too. She released her fourth full length album, My Heavens February 19th and then embarked on a tour across Canada and the USA . In March she began working on a new project called The Royal Oui with her husband and music partner Ari Shine. Together they are The Royal Oui. This October they will release a 7 inch/EP called Forecast through FU:M Records with a full length album to follow February 2014.

Pierce, whose songs have been heard on TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Veronica Mars and dozens of other shows and movies, has released 4 full length albums, 6 EP’s and two singles. She has played everything from Lilith Fair to The Cavern Club in Liverpool as well as showcases at SXSW, NXNE, CMW and The Toronto International Film Festival.  Adrienne has toured with and opened for revered artists (Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice, Sondre Lerche, The Stereophonics, Jane Siberry, The Finn Brothers), played live on the CBC and the BBC and even had a member of Radiohead compliment her performance after a show in Toronto.

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Adrienne Pierce: Sometimes I sit down and start playing guitar and a song idea comes to me and I just stay right there until the song is done. Other times I hear my husband (and band mate) in the other room playing something and I start singing along and then rush in the room and say “I have an idea”. Then we sit down together and work out the song. Sometimes I have a piece of music that I don’t finish for years and other times it seems to come together in what seems like minutes.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Adrienne Pierce: I am happy to have created a body of work that includes four full length albums and several EP’s and some singles too. I am not always comfortable using the word proud but I think I may actually be proud of my new work with The Royal Oui.

OSW: You took a year off from music and taught school? How did that come about and how has it had an impact on you?
Adrienne Pierce: I did teach for a year and I loved it. I was really inspired by the students and the others teachers. My husband was teaching recording arts at a very cool alternative school in Los Angeles and when there was an opening for an art teacher I applied and was thrilled to get the job. It was nice to focus on other creative outlets and work with kids. Even though I was incredibly busy as a first year teacher I still did write and record a lot of music including a new album and a film score that year. That was not the plan but that is what happened. I have great respect for teachers. 

OSW: Tell us about the Grammy nomination.
Adrienne Pierce:  A song called “It’s Your Day” that I wrote with Ari was in a FIAT commercial and it made the short list for a Grammy for Best Song from Audio Visual. It is not on any of my albums but is now available as a single.

OSW: You scored a film.  That can be a completely different process than songwriting.  How did you enjoy that?
Adrienne Pierce: Ari and I wrote the score for a film called ‘Wedding Chapel’ in 2012 and this year we wrote the score and did song placement for a comedy called The Cover Up. I love working to picture and seeing how things change and come alive when the music is added. Ari and I really enjoy collaborating with directors and helping to make their vision come together. We love coming up with themes for different characters and relationships. It is very rewarding work.

OSW: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Adrienne Pierce: Sometimes lyrics come quickly. I don’t really know sometimes where they come from. I just get a feeling from the chords, or the day or the person I am writing with and the words come. Other times I have one good line or one good verse and the rest comes very slowly.

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Adrienne Pierce: It is really hard to choose but I do love everything by Leonard Cohen and I remember that these lyrics really struck me the first time I heard “Anthem”:

Ring the bells that still can ring 

Forget your perfect offering 

There is a crack, a crack in everything 

That’s how the light gets in. 

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Adrienne Pierce: I think the best advice is just to keep writing. Listen to great songwriters and learn some of their songs. I think co-writing is a great idea as well. 

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Adrienne Pierce: It would be fun to be a fly on the wall during the recording of The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’ Album. Just imagine watching them sing the vocals for “God Only Knows”.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Adrienne Pierce: David Bowie. There are so many songwriters that I admire and I feel like I kind of understand them and how they write their amazing songs. I don’t feel like I could do what they do but I can kind of imagine how they do it. David Bowie is like a magical mystery and I don’t know how he does what he does. I would love to talk to him about pretty much anything but especially about songwriting.

Adrienne Pierce on the Web

Links for Adrienne’s new band The Royal Oui

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Adrienne Pierce, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

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Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words









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