An Interview With LINDA MARIE FISCHER About Her Debut Album, ‘Arc of Love’ and More!
Posted On 14 Jan 2019
Linda Marie Fischer‘s debut album Arc of Love will prove its existence, and inspire all to seek its warmth. Fischer takes you on a musical journey through the stages of love, with elements of easy-listening pop, R&B, blues, and jazz throughout. Written straight from the heart, Arc of Love explores the tumbling chaos of love, sweeping you off your feet in a wave of unbridled emotion and universal experiences.
The album captures loving moments from a life well-lived in all of its complexity. Fischer sings about the thrill found at the start of new love, the longing, struggles, and ultimately mutual respect and commitment that is forged. As personal the material is, the story and experiences told are also infinitely relatable; telling the tale of many who have travelled the long path of love, with their own unexpected twists and turns. It reflects on love gained, love lost, and serves to dance away the melancholy of time gone by. “The songs in Arc of Love are of the heart and meant for the hearts of others,” said Fischer. “We’ve lived through love and are still believers.”
Throughout the release, songs range from tranquil and smooth to energetic rhythms, utilizing elements of pop, R&B, blues and jazz, all with Fischer’s soaring, bright vocals overhead. Falling into the adult contemporary and easy listening categories, Arc of Love will appeal to a wide audience, not only for its musical pleasure and performance talent, but also for its raw emotion and empathic material that is universally relatable.
Fischer and co-lyricist Phil Fischer worked with award-winning composer and musician Doug Oberhamer. Oberhamer composed the music as well as recorded, produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the entire album. “The collaboration of myself, Doug, and Phil is why we have an album today,” Linda said. “We hope that people enjoy this, and our future albums.”
Arc of Love is available everywhere now including Spotify, Bandcamp, and Apple Music. Physicals CDs can be ordered through CDBaby, and merchandise can be ordered through lindamariefischer.com.
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Learn more about Linda Marie Fischer in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
I’m sitting at my dining room table, covered in the most festive of tablecloths, swirls of blooming flowers in crimson, dark blue, and forest green, all set in gold and tan leaves, being serenaded by Michael Bublé. White Christmas. The orchestra supporting Bublé’s smooth voice makes the season present, snow outside or not. I can only hope when people hear Arc of Love that my voice evokes similar feelings.
Now that 2018 is over, how do you think the year treated you and the start of your musical career? What was one goal that you had for the year?
2018 has been a year like no other with the release of my album Arc of Love, a major achievement for me. Music was an unmarked road in my youth when I had hoped to pursue a career in entertainment. It didn’t work back then but life and time sometimes present new opportunities so here I am.
Like many music projects, Arc of Love was a collaborative effort involving myself, my poetic co-lyricist Phil Fischer, and our incredibly talented musical director Doug Oberhamer. Regarding my co-lyricist, he’s been writing poetry since childhood. Together we embellished poems I’d written and combined our efforts into the songs you hear in Arc of Love. It is my life, our lives, and many other people’s lives, too. There is a commonality of experiences in love the world over. Doug composed the beautiful songs in Arc of Love and put it all together.
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to produce your own music? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
When I was a young girl, I was given a plastic turntable one Christmas and it was the best gift I ever got. Even as I got older, it never failed. I played my favorite records over and over (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John with Kiki Dee comes to mind) probably too much for those around me. Then I was fascinated by shows in the 1970s from Sonny & Cher and Carol Burnett, which featured the best singers in the US as guests. At that moment, I thought maybe I could do that too someday.
Now there are so many fantastic singers/entertainers: Lady Gaga, Pink, Halsey, Ingrid Michaelson, Kelly Clarkson, Cardi B, to name a few, and those no longer here live on with their music: Karen Carpenter, Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, and Judy Garland, among so many more. Karen Carpenter was one of the finest singers ever with her rich and sensitive voice. To me, she was perfect and thanks to her album and those of the Carpenters, her voice can’t be forgotten. Of rocking women today, Cher bolts it like no other. I have a long admiration of her as an entertainer. I’m thrilled to have a chance to hear her, finally, in concert this spring.
In my 20s, I thought singing Broadway show tunes was a path, especially because I sang them in high school. But college pointed me in the direction of business. That was another path and pursuing music after college seemed impossible, especially because I worked full-time and was busy in the home as well. Hopes and wishes really were just that.
Still I couldn’t shake my interest in singing. My husband at the time weighed in, saying “you have to write your own things, Linda” as if it were completely obvious and easy. It was an option I hadn’t really thought about in my 20’s so I appreciated the suggestion. But it was not possible with life and work so busy and my relationship with him so challenging. There was no space for that. Still the idea of writing my own lyrics came up in life back then, so I tried my hand at it.
I was commuting on a train with a woman who lived in South Orange and she was a songwriter. The first lyrics I put together were about, if you haven’t guessed it, a train. I wonder now if I still have them. Needless to say, life was fairly complex back then and those lyrics were just practice and a good exercise.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise is how much work it is behind the scenes to sing a song well. It seems so seamless. But in reality, it takes time to understand what you feel about what you’ve written and are singing as well as time to absorb its meaning, its rhythms, and internalize the entire experience. But it’s worth the effort.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
Two of my new songs set for 2019 address these questions. I can say the grass was verdant in the suburbs but there was another life somewhere else waiting for me. And of New York, there’s no place I’d rather be. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to live here. New York City is home. I have traveled extensively, over 60 countries in the last decade and a half, and whenever I’m asked what place I like the most, I say New York City. Everything’s here and much in walking distance. Clearly, I’m biased, but I think it’s fair to say it’s definitely ONE of the greatest cities in the world.
What did it feel like finally releasing your debut album, Arc of Love earlier this fall? How did you celebrate the release?
I was ecstatic to release the album. It marked the accomplishment of a long-held goal. I’m so thankful life provided an opportunity. I’m also very grateful to those who helped me reach this personal milestone.
I celebrated the completion of the album with the holidays and a trip to South Africa and Namibia. The Namib Desert with its orange dunes and sand stretching as far as the eye can see reminded me of the vastness of life. If we’re lucky, we have a long one and we should expect the requisite twists and turns along the way. And you never know what you might find there, too, even if it looks like nothing is right in front of you. That’s the illusion of the desert stillness. It belies the immensity of the life in it. I was reminded of my path with music. When you look forward, look closely. There is more than meets the eye.
What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
We had a great time putting the album together and we did it one song at a time. We had a general idea of the types of songs we wanted. They had to be about love and the various stages of love. Phil and I would sit together after dinner talking about lyrics, life, situations. We let the conversations go wherever they did, laughing about happy times, and yes, ribbing each other about things that had not gone so well. And then we’d talk through lyrics some more.
When we’d reach an impasse, rather than try to continue, we’d let it go for another night. The habit of that made the process easy and accessible for us. We were surprised when we began to look forward to our nightly collaborative chats. They had become part of our process for making music. And we managed to do this without annoying each other too much when we didn’t like what each other was saying.
I understand that you decided to focus on your music career later on in life and after establishing a separate career as well as becoming a published author. How did you decide to follow this path? Was it scary trying something so new?
I have worked in various roles in the publishing industry for over two decades. Interestingly, music and books have many similar threads. Both industries have undergone vast changes in the way content is distributed thanks to new technologies and online companies. They also impose newfound and huge responsibilities on the artist to support their work. So, the music space felt familiar.
But it was indeed scary trying something new, especially like this. In fact, I’m not sure it was a completely conscious, “I’m going to do a music career right now” sort of decision. Nothing I had tried in music, even when I came into NYC after I married Phil, worked so well. So, I just stopped.
By 2013, I was swimming at the NYU pool post graduate school. I had a swimming coach who was great and challenging, too. I learned to swim very well from her. One day I asked her if she taught lessons all day and she said, no, that she was a casting agent in her day job. And right there, out of nowhere, a loud bell rang, and music popped into my thoughts. Maybe she might know someone good to connect with, I thought.
And as it turned out she did. I worked with the vocal coach she recommended and then asked the coach if her husband, a musical director, might help me compose a song Phil and I had written for the holiday. It turned out nice, and all of a sudden there seemed to be a way to bring music to life. One by one, and then voir, we had an album.
While it’s hard to choose, can you pick out a few of your favorite songs on this album? How did they come to be on this collection? What musically inspired these songs?
Map of Ice is my favorite. It captures my life in the suburbs. I remember writing it, sitting on the bedroom floor of my modified Cape Cod house, thinking about how life could be as fragile as a map made of ice. Certainly, my life was at that time.
Blue in the Heart is special. There’s a point in everyone’s life where we miss someone we love. I felt that was important feeling to express.
And I have to include Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick! in this group. I convinced Phil that we should take dancing lessons prior to our wedding. And so we did, in a place somewhere near the Public Theater in New York City. Our instructor was fun and dedicated. He saw more promise in Phil than me, but somehow he got us dancing together to the mantra of “slow, slow, quick, quick.” It was such a memorable experience I wrote a poem eponymously named Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick! It was in our wedding program.
When we decided to write the song, we revised the text a bit. Our musical director immediately understood that the two of us dancing could only be in funk. He perfectly captured the spirit of the poem and our short-lived dancing career. (However, Phil hadn’t quite hung his dancing shoes and put them to good use with the Himba people in Damaraland, Namibia.)
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
I hope that people embellish their lives hearing our songs and especially the lyrics. In our best moments, we want our listeners to find their lives enriched by our music. We all experience love with its infinitely wonderful and messy ways. Love can be freeing so I sing about that as well.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Keeping up with social media is quite an effort. I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts associated with music and everything that goes out is created with care. I’m doing my best to juggle it along with everything else in my life. Facebook is a fun way to connect. I’m always happy to see comments about the album and you can count on me responding directly as well.
Who are some of your favorite artists, or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
If you were to look at the music in my iPhone, you’d see it crammed with hits over the decades. I love everything from Billy Joel to Gloria Estefan as well as Michael Jackson and Celine Dion. I’m inspired by greats like Elvis Presley, such a raw voice and charisma. It’s enlightening for a singer. Same with Ray Charles, what a voice, and Johnny Cash, every word heartfelt. Marvin Gaye, masterful, and as I mentioned, I adore Karen Carpenter’s voice. The space in which she sings is so pure and beautiful. On the jazz side, I like Cecile McLorin-Salvant. Every word she sings sparkles. When she performs in NYC, my husband and I get tickets.
My travels contribute to my appreciation of music, too. I was in Estonia some years back and learned about their Singing Revolution which precipitated their nation’s independence. While there, I picked up a CD of the Estonian Massed Choir. They’re pitch perfect. And I am inspired by what music did in their country. It raised a nation. It’s hard to contain beauty like that.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would take my iPhone. The music I have in there is fantastic. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of listening to everything I’ve bought and downloaded.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? [Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?]
I’ve been watching “This is Us” on Hulu and it’s a wonderful show that follows triplets and their parents trying to navigate the tumult of their lives. Joy and sorrow, tears and praise, the emotional ups and downs carry them through their days. Arc of Love and most of the lyrics I write would fall right into this motif. It would be amazing to one day to hear a song of mine on a show as insightfully written and acted as this one.
Do you have any upcoming shows you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?
I’ll be spending my winter learning new songs and recording them for release in 2019 and 2020. As far the prospect of performing live, some mix of story and song intrigues me. I just have to have the time to write it. Trust that I’m thinking about what I can put together that will make for memorable moments for an audience. I’ll keep you posted.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
Songs about the human condition never go out of favor. It’s behind the curtains where people really interact. Those are tender moments, seldom preserved, but always there. That’s why the standards are still with us. They capture those moments in the springtime sun and its falling rain. My wish is that my music finds a way into that special cannon.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Expect some new and interesting sounds in 2019. Those will include electronic dance and a crossover R&B rap. I’m looking forward to recording them and hope music lovers embrace the pleasure I had in creating them.