This Much I Know: Indigo Girls musician Emily Saliers

This Much I Know: Indigo Girls musician Emily Saliers

I started writing songs aged eight.

Songs were my catharsis. They were a natural extension of who I was and how I wanted to communicate.

I grew up in a family saturated with music. My grandfather was a professional in a big band, my father could have become a performer, but he went into theology, my sister was extremely talented and from a young age I knew I could sing.

In the beginning, I got a little nervous before going on stage, now, not at all. It gets me fired up.

My earliest memory is being two years old, putting my hands on my grandmother’s piano. I remember the sound.

I’m disciplined about writing, it’s almost like going to the office for me. When I was younger I could write five songs a day. I’d just sit down with a guitar, find a chord progression I liked, and away I went.

Now I have a six-year-old child [with wife Tristin] so it’s difficult to find time. But I’m privileged to have a spare room of my own. I don’t write lyrics first. It’s still a mystery to me how it works.

My biggest challenge was getting sober, eight years ago. It has been a transformative experience. I wouldn’t have the family or clarity or peace of mind I have today were it not for my sobriety. I’m full of gratitude.

Amy [Ray, the other Indigo Girl) and I still love touring but we do short ones now, maybe two weeks or so at a time now, because we both have children.

The best advice I’ve received is not to worry and to stay in the present.

When I try to describe the type of afterlife I believe in, it seems pointless. Let’s just say I believe there is an intelligence that is greater than us and that I believe souls can connect with living people.

My idea of misery is picking up dog poop in the back yard.

My idea of bliss is being with my family. Home is Atlanta. My mother has passed away but my father and the rest of my family are all close by.

The trait I most admire in others is goodness.

The thing that irritates me most about other people is phoniness and mean-spiritedness.

If I could change one thing in contemporary society, I’d change the systemic racism in America.

I believe there is something wrong with Trump’s mind. I believe he is ill. He has degraded the office of the presidency and given me more respect for decent moderate Republicans.

I can’t believe Ireland has a gay leader. When I was coming out, back in the early 90s, it was very different. Amy and I were out to our friends and family, and had no problem being out when we were playing local bars, but we’d a lot of fear when the press came poking around after we first signed to a major label.

It was a different time. People could still very easily lose their jobs for being gay.

If I could be someone else for a day I’d be Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia and was cheated out of election.

Because she is so smart and funny. She has a long-term vision and is able to assimilate complex political and humanitarian data and to distill it down so that she can communicate it in a way that ordinary people can understand.

My biggest fault is that when I get scared, I get angry. I deal with it by going to therapy or talking to my wife.

And I need more rest than the average person and I can’t do lots of things at the same time. Amy is a powerhouse and I used to compare myself to her and think what a loser I was. I’ve learnt to stop comparing.

When I’m not working, I exercise,because I have to, I listen to music and I read. And I could spend forever watching videos on musical instruction.

The lesson in life so far is that there will always be conflict. The human species is flawed. The hardest blocks of oppression to break apart are systemic, but we must never give up hope.

Sligo Live is proud to present Indigo Girls in Knocknarea Arena IT Sligo on Saturday, October 26 at 8p.m. Tickets on sale now from Sligolive.ie, from Ticketmaster.ie, and from the Hawks Well Theatre on 071 9161518.

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