You’ve traveled the world alone and studied in India. Tell us about your traveling experiences and how they’ve influenced your music.
After traveling and studying in India, I returned to the U.S. with a new clarity, and my first album, Slow to Love, just poured out. I’d been traveling for seven months by myself and ended up spending a month in a town at the base of the Himalayas, where I was studyingLhamo, or Tibetan opera singing. I’ve returned to India twice since that first trip to study with my Lhamo teacher. When I go back, I do a sort of self-study program. I am very disciplined—I practice three hours of yoga a day, an hour of Lhamo, an hour ofmeditation, hike in the forest, and write lyrics. I’ve written some of my best songs after returning from these experiences.
At one point, you quit music altogether. Why?
I had an idea of the kind of music I should be making, and it was derivative of other artists I liked at the time. It wasn’t going anywhere because it had already been done—I was frustrated and felt that maybe I wasn’t cut out to pursue music professionally. Ultimately, it was the best thing that happened to me, because in quitting, I killed off the ideas I had about what my music should sound like and started making what was authentic to my experience.