Gwen Stefani’s new album titled This Is What the Truth Feels Like is set for release this Friday, March 18. Stefani created the album during a time of great change in her life, and in a recent interview with Refinery 29, Gwen says the album saved her life. They talked about Gavin Rossdale, The Voice, Blake Shelton, and Stefani’s decision to write “the most f***ing personal shit, ever.”
In the last year and a half, Gwen Stefani has ended her marriage of 13 years to Gavin Rossdale and met and fell in love with Blake Shelton in full view of the public eye as Gwen and Blake both appeared as coaches on The Voice and Blake’s marriage fell apart in a very public break from wife Miranda Lambert. It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least. ThisIs What the Truth Feels Like was Gwen’s way of working through the complex emotions of the ride. What was the impetus? What was the moment that Gwen Stefani knew she had to write her way through her experience?
“I just felt at a certain point in my own heart, when everything was crushed and I was down real, real low, I was like, I don’t want to be down here. This is not me. I remember feeling embarrassed. Like, I gotta prove that this is not going to be who I am. I gotta turn this into music. I remember thinking, I could be sleeping in bed crying, or I could get up right now and try to drive to Santa Monica [for a recording session]. And I did it.”
In an industry where marketability can make or break a musician or a project, Gwen did face some objections to the intensely personal nature of the songs on This Is How the Truth Feels, but Stefani wouldn’t budge. She had a heart-to-heart with the other musicians she was working with on the album – J.R. Rotem, Raja Kumari, and Justin Tranter.
“… the label said to me, ‘Listen, we think this overall album you’re writing is too personal. We don’t think people are going to relate. You should just put out an art record.’ And I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m literally channeling God here. I’m saving my own life with this record and you come and punch me in the face?’ The next day I went in and told those guys, ‘Let’s write the most f***ing personal s***, ever — opposite of what anyone would want to hear.’ And that’s when we wrote ‘Used to Love You.’”
Gwen also credits Blake Shelton with saving her during the dark, tumultuous times that followed the end of her marriage. Their relationship began because Shelton was experiencing something similar, the end of a marriage and all the emotions that come with it. Stefani doesn’t believe it was coincidence that they were on The Voice together. She views the friendship that blossomed into romance as a real gift.
The love between Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton is obvious and very public and all the complexities of their romance and its history are evident in some of the songs on This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Gwen and Blake also collaborated on a song on his recent album. Does Stefani believe they are influencing the music each of them creates now?
“I didn’t have any kind of musical direction for this album. Every song was written around emotions. Of course [our relationship] was an influence. Musically, no. Every song was written purely out of whatever my heart was going through at that moment. And we would create whatever music we needed to support that.”
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]