Ed Note: This is Episode Two of Band Bombshell's new series. Episode One can be found here.
Patresa Hartman has earned a reputation for herself as a weaver of compelling, heartfelt, deeply personal songs. She's a beautiful singer, gifted songwriter and one of the most humble talents as you're likely to find in the city.
While none of our bands really produce music in the same vein as our chosen song, arguably none of them are as far removed as Hartman. We sat down with her this past weekend to talk about her contribution to Band Bombshell's cover song project and all of the challenges that came with it.
I'm won't even try to sugar coat it: You hated this.
Yes I did.
Until it was done. Then it was like 'Psh. That wasn't so hard.'
What about the process initially gave you pause?
Well, I'll tell you what did NOT give me pause: Initially I thought, 'Yeah, that's a cool idea.' And I don't hate the song "Gold Digger." I know it's stupid, and I know the content is questionable, and I know it's Kanye West. But I don't hate the song. At least I didn't. What gave me pause, was when I actually started. To. Do. It.
Because there's no musical structure to work with?
There is, but my ears aren't trained to hear it. And you know, initially what I thought was, have you ever seen the cover of Kelly Clarkson covering an Eminem song?
She played a concert in Detroit. Apparently what she was doing at the time was taking requests from fans about songs to cover at her shows, and so they all voted for this Eminem song. So she covered it, and it was really, really cool.
She sang it--she didn't really rap--but the way she sang it was really cool. So originally I thought, 'Ok, I'll just do that.' I was going to sing it straight, except obviously changing some lyrics. But I don't know, I just couldn't find it. There's melody in there, there's music in there, but I just didn't get it. Apparently I am no Kelly Clarkson.
So what made you decide to finally go in the direction that you did?
I had to scrap the idea of me being Kelly Clarkson. Also, I decided that I just had to go with what I could hear, which was that little bass line. The rest, I would just treat like a new song. I gave the song structure I could understand, which was just verse-pre chorus-chorus-verse.
You said that looking back on it, it wasn't so bad. So do you like the song? Are you happy with the result?
More or less. There are things I would change, but I think it's alright. It's kind of repetitive.
"Gold Digger" is kind of repetitive.
Yeah. Also, I liked working with Bryon. He was really easy to work with, so that was a plus.
Had you worked with him before?
No. And, production-wise, I like what he did. I don't know how to talk about it with any kind of intelligence, but I liked it.
I know from our text messages...
My obscenity laced text messages.
...I know that you had some trouble with it. How long did it take you to figure out where you wanted to go with it.
Or, should I say: how long before you went to Ames did you have your song written?
Probably the night before. I had to take it in little bits and pieces, because I would get annoyed. So I'd take one little section, then come back to it the next day and do the next little section.
Are you going to work this into your set at some point?
I don't know. I haven't played it since I recorded it. It would be funny.
You've done covers before.
Slightly ridiculous covers.
Yeah. ...Wait. What?