Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-06-20
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



In the Pink: An Interview with Singer Jill Sobule
by Gregg Shapiro

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Jill Sobule is performing at Northalsted Market Days.

Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule is a survivor of major-label madness. After achieving chart and MTV success with her hit single "I Kissed A Girl" and releasing a superb follow-up album, she was dropped by her record company. Sobule has returned, and returned to form, with her exceptional new album Pink Pearl ( Beyond ) .

With its retro-pop sound combined with Sobule's gift for right catchy story songs, Pink Pearl is a gem.

Jill Sobule once sang a song called "I Kissed A Girl," and survived to tell about it.

Gregg Shapiro: "Rainy Day Parade," with its references to pharmaceuticals and mental health, sounds like it could be the sequel to the song "Happy Town," from your previous album of the same name. Would you agree with that?

Jill Sobule: Absolutely ( laughs ) . I think every one of my records has to have either a reference to World War II or a reference to Prozac.

GS: How much of Jill is in the gym-obsessed character of Lucy in the song "Lucy At The Gym"?

JS: Well, with "Lucy," I have a lot of empathy, because in high school, I think for about a year and a half, I was Lucy and suffered from ... you know, I didn't eat for a year. It was also before it ( an eating disorder ) was really fashionable, before anyone knew about it. People used to say, "You look really good." So I have a lot of empathy, because I felt it was also a year out of my life that was completely sick and wasted. Still, now, there's a percentage of girls and young men that really have problems with that. I think a lot of my stories about other characters, all of them have a bit of me in it.

GS: When you mentioned other people being affected by eating disorders, did you know that gay men, apparently, are one of the largest populations effected by "body dysmorphic disorder"?

JS: Right, I found it really interesting that women have always been the ones most affected, traditionally, by the fashion magazines, the unnatural thinness of the models. I remember one day driving down Sunset Boulevard and seeing that the poster of Marky Mark in his Calvin Klein ads, of course this is West Hollywood, and thinking "It's not just affecting women, it's affecting men." Especially gay men, because there is that obsession with youth and body and that's kind of a shame.

GS: I'm glad that you mentioned your story songs. You have a natural ability to create characters and situations for your songs. Do you like writing "story songs" the best and if so, what is so appealing about them for you?

JS: Story songs ... I always felt like the way I write, instead of using a musical hook or a lyrical hook, I always start from the very first word of a sentence and I have no idea where I'm going to go, like I'm writing a short story. Plus, I'm a great voyeur. Sometimes it's easier to look outside of "yourself" and write about a person, a story. Sometimes it's easier to start with another person or character.

GS: You sing about Mary Kay LeTourneau in the song "Mary Kay," another character that you have observed. Can you say something about what was so fascinating about that story to you?

JS: I thought it was such a modern day Greek tragedy. It was a little Jerry Springer, but there's still something so traditionally Greek tragedy about it and wonderful about the forbidden love. It had all the elements of 'she was pretty,' and I don't think we would have been as interested if it would have been some toothless woman in Arkansas. There was something kind of great about that, another forbidden love song.

GS: You mentioned the recurring themes on your records earlier. In addition to World War II and pharmaceuticals, you seem to have a fascination with the Christian world, and on Pink Pearl, you add to that by addressing the mistreatment of the Jews throughout history in the song "Heroes." Do you feel as if you have a solid religious identity?

JS: I grew up pretty agnostic. I grew up with my Jewish heritage and really never had a religious education, but somehow you still feel a sense of connection. You know what's great about not having any kind of religious upbringing is that you don't have any dogma. I think I'm always searching in one for something deeper, but with a good cynical eye.

GS: Don't ever lose that cynical eye. The song "Rock Me To Sleep," which you co-wrote with your friend, the wonderful Richard Barone, was co-produced by you and Yves Beauvais. I know of Beauvais's from his work with Madeline Peyroux and Lullaby Baxter. How did you come to work with him?

JS: Yves and I lived together for a couple of years ( laughs ) . He's like my best friend now. That was like my studio and our place. I called it "stinky cheese," because he's French, and he would never refrigerate the Bree or the Camembert, because he refuse to, because the French don't refrigerate stinky cheese. The studio being right next to it, there was always a waft of rancid cheese ( laughs ) .

GS: You should do a stand-up comedy routine about that.

JS: It gets even better. There was a Billboard article and they asked me why I called it "stinky cheese" and I said, "well, because there was always rancid bree out in the kitchen next to the studio." Yves called me, very upset saying, "It is not rancid bree, first of all it is camembert, and it's ripe" ( laughs ) . In an article in, I don't remember, New York or something I had to give a disclaimer and say "Yes, it was ripe."

GS: You were a presenter at the Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards in April of this year. As an out performer, can you tell me what it means to you to have an organization such as GLAMA?

JS: It's wonderful. It would have been unheard of a few years before "I Kissed A Girl" came out. If there was something like GLAMA, it was such an underground thing or just within the community and here you're doing the GLAMA and being sponsored by vodka companies and major corporations and it's wonderful to know how mainstream it's become and how accepted it's become. I'm proud to be one of the "early gals" in it.

GS: You're a pioneer.

JS: Yes, I feel very good about that.

GS: Pink Pearl is a former No. 1 album on the OUTVOICE chart. How has OUTVOICE website been of value to you?

JS: Well, I'm sure it has. It's reaching the community that you hope buys your records. It's always been an important part of fans and also someone who you hope to sing for and write songs for. Yeah, it means more to me than the Lutheran Church group website ( laughs ) .

GS: The first two times that I interviewed you, it was for your two albums on Atlantic. You are now recording for the Beyond Records label. Is there anything that you would like to say about your experiences with Atlantic Records?

JS: The problem with Atlantic was, when you're with a big company and they have so many artists ... they didn't know what to do with me. I didn't fit their pattern, which is the same label that had Jewel and Matchbox 20 and I didn't fit into any neat category. Also, if you put out a single and in the first three weeks it doesn't react, it's like, "goodbye." There's none of the old school of developing artist that used to be. Even after "I Kissed A Girl" they had no clue what to do. On the one hand it got me out there, it got me known, but I felt with Happy Town, I had a really great album that went nowhere. Sure, that pisses me off ( laughs ) . I think that with that company, they don't necessarily look at talent. You don't see Lullaby Baxter hitting the charts.

GS: While you are in Chicago to perform on the LesBiGay Radio stage at Northalsted Market Days in August, will you have time to pay a visit to the Sanford Corporation, the makers of the Pink Pearl eraser?

JS: They are! That would be awesome! I want to get tons of them! I'm gonna have my label call them and make arrangements, because I want to throw out erasers ( into the crowd ) like the Grateful Dead threw out acid.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Ravinia season continues with Whoopi, Boy George 2018-06-20 - This year's Ravinia Festival's schedule has begun—in genres ranging from jazz to comedy to classical music to hip-hop will be part of the ...

Gay News

THEATER 'The Cher Show' takes center stage 2018-06-20 - File this in the dreary catalogue of sentences most of us mere muggles will never be able to say: "The best conversations with ...

Gay News

BENT NIGHTS Mavis Staples 2018-06-20 - It was both appropriate and depressing to have Mavis Staples close out the Thirty Fifth Annual Chicago Blues Festival on June 11. ...

Gay News

PARADE INFORMATION 49th Annual Chicago Pride Parade Sun., June 24 2018-06-20 - DATE: Sunday, June 24. TIME: 12 Noon. STARTING POINT: Broadway & Montrose. MAP WITH KEY here: . LINE UP: North Broadway ( ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' NPH, Lena Waithe, Lady Gaga 2018-06-19 - VH1 announced that Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race has been greenlit for a new season, a press release noted. The new season will ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Blake Jenner shows 'Animal' instinct in new film 2018-06-19 - Actor Blake Jenner first came into the spotlight with the reality series The Glee Project that led to him being a regular on ...

Gay News

MUSIC Out musician Dave Koz releases his own 'Summer' sequel 2018-06-19 - Summer may be known for movie sequels—but out saxophonist Dave Koz is doing his own take on the phenomenon. On June 22, he'll ...

Gay News

LGBTQ night at the Shedd June 27, among other themed nights 2018-06-19 - CHICAGO — As Shedd Aquarium's popular Wednesday evening event series, Jazzin' at the Shedd, enters its 22nd year, the aquarium is introducing new, ...

Gay News

Artists Pride features Shea Coulee of RuPaul's Drag Race and Michael Blume June 15 2018-06-14 - CHICAGO, IL ( June 7, 2018 ) — INDISTRY Media, the first-of-its kind digital subscription streaming service, has partnered with Virgin Hotels Chicago ...

Gay News

Chicago Pride Fest 2018 full entertainment schedule 2018-06-13 - Chicago Pride Fest returns to Boystown Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17, for another weekend filled with sun, fun and world-class entertainment. ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.