Just recently, Gwen Stefani released her latest vibrant single ‘Let Me Reintroduce Myself’ and marked another incredible accomplishment this year. Produced by Luke Niccoli and co-written alongside the hitmaker Ross Golan, Gwen recorded the tune during quarantine and it’s going to be one for the Stefani record books. She had two top 10 hits on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart with fiancé Blake Shelton- ‘Nobody But You’ and ‘Happy Anywhere,’ and her holiday album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas, just reissued with two new songs.
In the latest holiday-themed edition of ‘At Home With,’ Gwen Stefani joined Zane Lowe and spilled tea giving us some behind the scenes insight! She discussed her forthcoming album, collaborations, working with fellow artists such as Pharrell Williams, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Busby, Ryan Tedder, Greg Kurstin, and Mozella, her relationship with her fiancé Blake Shelton, her struggles with dyslexia and music being her cure and much more. Check out some highlights below!
Gwen Stefani Talks About Her Forthcoming Album Versus Past Albums!
“What was really I think really significant about that This Is What The Truth Feels Like record for me was the miracle in it, which was, you talked about having to write music when you have to write music, the button doesn’t always work if you press it. And when I was going through the worst part of my life, I was running to go write songs. I knew that’s what I had to do. I knew that that’s my purpose. I knew that all these bad things were happening to me because everybody has to go through bad things. It’s a test. What is your gift? What is your purpose? What are you supposed to do? So I can remember driving down Santa Monica to the studio crying and, I’ve got to write this record. But then halfway through the project, to my surprise, I start falling in love and I start writing these songs about Blake. So the first half of writing it, and it was written over a very short amount of time, a couple of months, I think the record is just a very interesting record because a lot, of the darker, darker songs didn’t make it onto the record because nobody needs to hear that.“
Gwen Stefani On Her Relationship And What She Loves About Her Fiancé Blake Shelton!
“Gosh, it’s hard not to like almost everything about Blake Shelton. I said almost only because it would be silly to do like, “I like everything about Blake.” No one’s perfect, of course. But I think the root of what I love about us together is that we’re just… He’s my best friend. We tell each other everything. I don’t want to do anything without him. He’s my homie. And he’s just a very generous, generous guy. He’s full of love and generosity. And like you said, he’s a smart, smart guy as well. So you feel safe, you could lean on him and trust him. And I could just keep going.
I mean it’s literally like a joke. And I’ve never met someone that’s just so interesting. And it’s weird because over the years.. now it’s been five years, I’ve known him, he is an artist. He’s a Gemini. So he does. Because you think he’s so, so normal, but then he is quirky and he is – He is an artist. But he has a lot of different sides to him. But I think the fact that he really could walk away from anything at any moment. And his true love is just of nature and of just being at that ranch. And he loves animals and he knows every single name of every salamander and every tree and every bush and snake. And it’s like how do you know all this stuff? He’s just always been the same. He’s the same guy no matter where he goes, you know what I’m saying? And there are some things just so cool about that because you feel so proud because you know that when I have my favourite moments with him. When my dad and mom come over, they get to see that or you get to see that. You know what I mean?
And there’s just something great about someone that’s so genuine and then super talented and then you watch him sing and you’re just like, “My God, your voice.” He’s really good. It’s really fun having him around in an A&R kind of way, too, because as I’ve been writing, he’s so good at knowing what songs are good. He’s the one that came to me with this song to be the first single because he was driving to the airport. He was like, “I have been listening to all the songs and I really think that this song…” Because I was really like, “I’m not going to even have an opinion,” because I don’t know any more about myself. I can’t tell. Everybody else, I’m going to serve it up and then you decide what you like because it’s hard to tell after a while.“
Gwen Stefani On Enjoying The Immediacy of Releasing Music in This Era!
“It’s fun to be able to put stuff out so quick. You know what I mean? That’s the one thing about these days that I like, just, again, seeing you a bopping to a new song, and I feel like I just wrote that song a couple of weeks ago. That’s just the greatest feeling because back in the day we’d have to wait so long for everything.“
Gwen Stefani On What She Learned From Pharrell Williams!
“Pharrell, he actually was one of the ones that said to me, he’s like, “If you open your eyes, you’re going to see. And if you just start looking for it, you’re going to start seeing it. And I’m speaking in parables.” And I was like, in the sense that, what does that mean, Pharrell? But then once I started listening and opening my eyes, I started seeing stuff. So I guess I was open because I was trying to do whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. And I’m trying to live my life that way these days. It’s weird, in the early, early days when I would be writing songs, there was a lot of doubt about myself or not believing or not wanting to be humble. I don’t know, I think when you get given a gift in life, you need to really use it and it’s almost like a sin not to. You have to understand that that’s what you’re good at, and you’re not good at everything. I’m not good at most things, but for some reason, I can dig into my heart and share it and it seems to help people or make people smile or happy or whatever. And that makes me happy so I’ve just been trying to do that. And I think that that’s where I was at when I met Blake. It was more about, I wasn’t like, “I want to fall in love.” I mean, I write that on a lot of the songs.“
Gwen Stefani On How Music Helped Her Cope With Dyslexia!
“I think the one thing that I’ve discovered through having kids is that I have dyslexia, and everyone has things that happen and mine was that. And I feel like a lot of the problems that I have had or even decisions that I’ve made for myself stem from that, because now the children obviously, it’s all genetic, they have some of those issues. But now they get all these benefits. They have these incredible teachers and schools and they don’t have to have shame about it. They understand that their brain functions in a different way. All of our brains do, you know what I mean?“
“I think that when I got in and when I discovered that I could do something because before that, I sure didn’t do anything, I failed at school, and I was a good girl. I didn’t do any bad stuff. It was just really hard for me to function in that square box of school that everybody was supposed to be understanding. And my brain didn’t work like that, it still doesn’t. But it works in different ways that are probably a gift that other people can’t do. So, anyway, I think my point is that at that time I had written that whole record not even knowing how to write a song and I had literally laid my entire life out for everyone to hear. And then, I’m still in the band with Tony who I was so dependent on, because of probably my dyslexia. I didn’t know any of this until now, but I think that I didn’t have any confidence in myself at the time, but when I would write a song or I would get on stage, it just felt so right and the only thing that was going right for me. So there was a part of me that had like what everybody else was seeing. That was real. It was there and it is there, but then there was all this other disastrous stuff going on, and mainly a lot of it had to do with just the breakup again. It’s a constant theme in my life, that’s why life’s gotten so good right now actually having a best friend who I can be in love with and just share everything with and trust. It’s just been such a different chapter.”
Gwen Stefani On Collaborating On Her Forthcoming Record!
“I think that’s what’s been really fun about collaborating on this record. I think one thing I learned through my whole career is I have a huge ego as we all do, and I always want to be the one to come with the idea or “I wrote that part.” It makes me feel so like I mean something. But this record so far has been a real collaboration, and all the stuff I’ve ever done that’s been good I think has been me being able to collaborate and inspire whoever I’m working with, whether it be designing a handbag or writing a song, everything it seems like. And I have hooked up with all new writers this time around.“
Gwen Stefani On Working With Songwriters Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, and Busby!
“It was just, again, a very all in the plan, because I walked into the room and I was literally, I didn’t know who they weren’t at all. Because I don’t hang in writer crowds, songwriters – and so I just walked in and was like, “I don’t really care who you are or what you do, but I need to get something off of my chest. I don’t care about a hit. I don’t care about if anyone hears it. Let’s go.” I was so fired up. Julia actually wasn’t there yet – it was with Raja. And I took Justin along with me when I was going to do my Christmas record, which is one of my favourite records that I ever was part of and I wrote with Busby, who passed, which is just still…. We were walking up the stairs last night before we went to bed and we were just, ‘I can’t believe that Busby’s gone,’ it hurts.
I mean, he was a legend. I mean, he is so talented, just to watch him write songs. But it’s interesting because all the people I’ve worked with are just so talented, and they all have their own gifts. When we get together, it’s just so beautiful to see the songs. For me, to walk through the moment of how the song is written is my favourite thing, to just go back in my brain and go, “And this happened, and then I said that. Then you said that, and then we had this song.” Julia was a weirdo and still is, and I’m sure she’s fine with me saying that because all she needed to be more sane was to be an artist and to have people hear her songs because I think that that’s what was missing for her. I feel so happy for her, and she just was my mentor on ‘The Voice’.“
Gwen Stefani On Collaborating With Ryan Tedder on Her Christmas Album, ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’
“I think music, if you always go back and look at it, is always been the thing that saves everybody or brings us together. It just has no limits, and what is it? It’s like these little emotions. What is music? If you start thinking about it, it’s such a gift. The Christmas record, I just loved writing originals. That was just great and then doing covers, I had never really done a lot of covers in my career so that was fun. To be doing them in that style that I did, where we recorded the record in a really old-fashioned way, where all these amps and everybody was in the same room, it was very expensive to be able to do it the way we did it. So thank you, Interscope! It was people and time. So I wasn’t expecting to add to this record this season, because I was working on my other music, and Hallmark Channel came to me.
This is, again, what a great present, because they hired Ryan Tedder. My God. I was just thinking about how lucky I was that Hallmark, out of all the people that are doing Christmas, they came to me to sing the song that a master writer like Ryan Tedder, who wrote “Baby, Don’t Lie,” which is the only other song that I did that somebody wrote for me, and he came with this beautiful Christmas song. It’s called “Here This Christmas,” and I get to put it on my album, which sort of brings more eyes and ears to my record, which makes me so happy. Then I got to do “A Sleigh Ride,” which is a cover, which, by the way, I will never do live because every single verse is … There’s not one lyric that repeats in the entire song. It was really hard, but I love how it turned out.”
Gwen Stefani On Coaching Younger Artists on ’The Voice’
“I feel like doing that show came at, again, a time where I just was like, “Okay.” I had never watched the show. I just had Apollo. He was only four or five weeks old when I got the call. The show is the opposite of who I am. It’s really about selling yourself and trying to win. I don’t like games. I’m not competitive in that way. So it took me a few seasons to really get the hang of it, but the one thing that show does that I love and that I am good at is I love helping these kids or these people at the moment. Coaching is like I wish there was more time to coach them. It really is a limited, small thing that we get to do, but watching these artists and their talent and getting to, it’s just so inspiring, being on the show. You’re around tons of music, and you just see people grow right before your eyes and trust you. Then you get to kind of reminisce on all of the stuff that you’ve done and the wake of work behind you. It’s just a very cool place to be. I always seem to get really creative when I’m on that show, and I feel like now I’ve done it, five seasons or something, this is actually my most comfortable, because now Blake’s my homie. I know Kelly good, and John. The more you’re in it, the more comfortable you get, and because it’s COVID, it’s like there’s no audience. So it just really feels like it’s just us there. It’s like me and you right now.”
Gwen Stefani On Writing Most of Her Forthcoming Album on Zoom With Greg Kurstin and Mozella!
“That’s the thing. Most of the music that I wrote on this record was on a Zoom call. I mean, we were like- Is that the weirdest crap you ever heard? There was one day where I was working with Greg Kurstin. He was in Hawaii. I was in Oklahoma, and the other girl we were working with, she was in LA, Mozella. It was like, “What?” It was the first time I’d ever done it, and we wrote a song. We wrote a song on the phone, basically. Now it’s just super normal. It’s almost like, “This is great.” My kids can come in. They’re at school. They come in, and I love working in the morning. I have to be on my kids’ schedule. So I come in here. I have this little hideaway room with my f-king computer, and it’s like, “At 9:30, I’ll see you on the Zoom. We’ll write a song.” By the time the kids are out of school, I’m done.“
Gwen Stefani On Finding The Beauty in Quarantine!
“I know that it’s just really hard. I think the hardest thing is not knowing… thinking that possibly it doesn’t end because there’s always hope. The hope is always what keeps us hopeful. You know what I mean? And the dream. And that’s the other thing about making music and the dream and the journey of it. And that’s what I always try to tell people on ‘The Voice’ is there’s going to be an end to this show, and you’re going to go home and so am I. And we’re all going to go home. So you better enjoy this moment and stop looking for the prize, because there is no prize. The prize is now. And I think that’s the one thing that I feel like we try to do in quarantine is just really be like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to look back at this three months, these 100 days in lockdown together, homeschooling the kids.“
We absolutely love this musical genius and can’t wait to see what’s next she brings on our music platter. If you’ve enjoyed the highlights so far, don’t forget to check out the whole interview here on Apple Music!
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Featured Image Source: Gwen Stefani/ Courtesy of Zane Lowe and Apple Music
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Khushboo Malhotra works as a freelance journalist, digital marketing & media strategist, and content marketer featured in various global and national media publications and works alongside B2B, B2C, and eCommerce brands. A wide range of her work spans music and entertainment culture, sustainable lifestyle (including sub-niches), and SaaS. She enjoys writing novels and designing screenplays, grooving at concerts, or exploring new fashion and cuisines that tickle her taste buds when she is not working. Have a story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org