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Friday, December 15, 2017 
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Inquisitive

Sarah Dougher's Transformative Music

A conversation with one of America's most important singer/songwriters.

Interview Jenny Tatone Photography Jim McGinnis
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"I have this idealistic vision of myself as this incredibly successful songwriter. Like, Shania Twain sings my songs and then meanwhile I'm writing albums based on Virginia Woolf. This won't be commercially viable, but it's important to me." — Sarah Dougher
Tatone: What's the best part about being a musician?

Dougher: Writing music, connecting worlds in my own brain, and then projecting them or communicating them.

Tatone: What's the hardest part?

Dougher: That you can't do it full time unless you're famous.

Tatone: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?

Dougher: I want to be an active, creative contributor to culture.

Tatone: Of any form?

Dougher: I don't know what that will be like in 10 years. I hope it's music still. I want to write more kinds of music. I want music to show me new things. That doesn't necessarily mean making a new record like the record I just made — or maybe it does. I think that my intellectual interests are like this [holding up "Three Guineas," the book by Virginia Woolf]. I want to write a record about this book, and I don't know if there's room for that in our world. But I want to live in a world where there is, so I want to make it.

Tatone: Do you hope to see your music evolve in any particular way?

Dougher: Oh yeah. I don't know which way it will evolve but it will evolve. I haven't discovered a niche that I'm making billions of dollars and I should just keep at it [laughing]. I don't feel in any way bounded.

Tatone: Have you seen it evolve already?

Dougher: Yeah.

Tatone: How?

Dougher: Technically. Collaborating is an evolution. I think that becoming better at recording is an evolution. It makes for a better album ultimately. And to keep learning about music of all kinds is really important to me; both popular contemporary music and the old, old American music, mostly, is what I'm really fascinated by, gospel and blues.

Tatone: You were saying you thought there was maybe a certain ideology that ran throughout The Bluff. A lot of it felt like love stories, am I off?

Dougher: No, they're all love stories. Because lying, or not lying, is an essential element to love relationships. What you keep to yourself, what you share with another person, those things are constantly being negotiated.

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