Gwen Stefani has been around long enough in the industry to know that she has to be herself more than anything to succeed. It has been a while since Gwen Stefani came out with a groundbreaking single (the most memorable for us still Gwen’s Hollaback Girl in 2005), and this singer-songwriter is coming back strong with a new album due to come out this week.
Gwen Stefani’s new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, is her first album since 2006‘s The Great Escape. Three weeks ago, the first single from her new album made it to GwenStefaniVevo on YouTube, entitled “Make Me Like You.” Reminiscent of the 70s to 80s music, “Make Me Like You” is complete with people in roller skates and colorful, flamboyant outfits.
This week, a new single from Gwen’s new album comes out with a lyric video, entitled “Misery.” The opening single from Gwen’s This Is What The Truth Feels Like album, “Misery,” is a rather happy and upbeat song that speaks of a new romance. “Misery” is co-written by Gwen Stefani herself, alongside Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels.
NPR Music talks to Gwen Stefani regarding her new album and despite the seemingly heartbreaking singles contained in the album, it’s actually all about Gwen’s healing, her moving forward, and moving on.
It took Gwen Stefani a decade before she produced this new album, and she shares she has been burned out after everything she has done.
“I think after the giving birth twice, going on multiple tours, all the stuff that I had done, I really got quite burned out after that. Sometimes life is so crazy, you have to go through something to be able to find out what you’re supposed to talk about next, and I think that’s what happened to me.”
In fact, after Gwen Stefani got on The Voice, she tried to come out with a song that she asked someone to write for her. Entitled “Baby Don’t Lie,” it didn’t quite take off, and Gwen wasn’t entirely surprised, either, as it didn’t feel right. And after doing “Push and Shove” with her band, No Doubt, in 2012, Gwen Stefani shares she got disheartened. It didn’t quite take off, as well, and it made Gwen lose her confidence.
“I think after doing Push and Shove and having it not be successful, I lost a lot of confidence. Songwriting, for me, has always been traumatic, and I’ve always made all these excuses. But I’ve realized that you have to just accept that it was a gift: ‘I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how I did it, but I did write all those songs, and I gotta do it again.’ “
But thanks to her co-coach at The Voice, Pharrell, Gwen Stefani was able to go back to songwriting. “Spark The Fire,” the track that Pharrell and Gwen wrote together, was Gwen’s first in quite some time and she’s actually very happy about it. So she started rolling up her sleeves to make This Is What The Truth Feels Like.
But then, Gwen got hit hard when she got divorced with long-time husband and partner Gavin Rossdale. What happened then fueled Gwen to create a new song, “Used to Love You,” which came out three weeks after she wrote it.
“I went to the studio and I wrote the first song, and it was this really weird drive on Santa Monica Boulevard, crying the whole way, thinking, ‘Why am I going to torture myself even more? I’m already dead.’ But I did it — I wrote a song and it felt so right. It was the only thing that felt good at all. That’s what this whole record documents — working through it, having faith, believing in myself and wanting to do something about it.”
“Used to Love You” is also coming out in her album. Gwen explains that This Is What The Truth Feels Like has been very enlightening and special for her, and that despite the emotions that fueled the album, it turned out quite happy and inspired.
“I think that’s what’s so magical about the album: It starts off angry, sad, mad and quite sarcastic — and then really does take a huge change, to hope… It’s so great to write a record that’s mainly about being happy, and that’s something new for me.”
Gwen Stefani’s This Is What The Truth Feels Like is going to be available March 18.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]