NITA STRAUSS Opens Up About 'Restrictions' With Writing Music For Lead Singers
May 30, 2023
ALICE COOPER guitarist Nita Strauss will release her sophomore solo album, "The Call Of The Void", on July 7 via Sumerian Records. The LP is a star-studded affair featuring guest vocals from DISTURBED's David Draiman, ARCH ENEMY's Alissa White-Gluz, HALESTORM's Lzzy Hale, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE's Chris Motionless, IN FLAMES' Anders Fridén, Dorothy, Alice Cooper and Lilith Czar.
Regarding her decision to make her second album half vocal songs and half instrumental, Nita told The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn in a new interview: "It was really just a natural progression, I think. As an artist, I think you always have to keep growing and pushing yourself. And I didn't wanna stay in the same place and just keep doing the same thing over and over again. I try to do that in every aspect of my career, so this just seemed like the natural next best step."
Asked how she decides which songs to put vocals to and which to keep as instrumental tracks, Nita said: "For me personally, the process for writing an instrumental song is so different to the process of writing a song that's gonna be for a singer. And it's really because for an instrumental song there are no rules. The song can be two minutes; the song can be 15 minutes; it can be as fast or as slow with as many key changes and as many tempo changes… It's the Wild West. [Laughs] And if you're writing for a vocalist, suddenly all of these restrictions fall into place: it can't be too short; it can't be too long; it has to be a key that's comfortable enough for the singer you have in mind to sing in; it can't be so fast that they can't sing the vocals or so slow that it's uncomfortable for their delivery. If it's gonna go to radio, it has to follow sort of a specific format of length and arrangement. All these constraints pop up. So, for me, there wasn't really any track that was, like, 'Oh, this one could go either way,' because the instrumentals I just sort of pour out and the vocal [songs] are more carefully constructed."
Earlier this month, Nita released the official music video for the song "The Golden Trail", featuring a guest appearance by Fridén.
Regarding the album's title, Strauss previously shared: "Have you ever been at the top of a high building and had the fleeting thought, '… I could jump right now?' This feeling is sometimes called 'The Call Of The Void,' also known as 'high place phenomenon.' It's not a suicidal impulse, rather the exact opposite — a subconscious decision to live your life, to step back from the ledge, and take control. As researcher April Smith aptly put it: 'An urge to jump affirms the urge to live.'
"I wanted the follow-up to 'Controlled Chaos' to be exciting, new, and fresh, to take listeners to a new place and take myself somewhere new as an artist too. We have some amazing collaborations on this album with incredible musicians, as well as the instrumental guitar music that first inspired me to play.
"Some pieces of music come into the world gracefully and easily. This album is not one of them! 'The Call Of The Void' was born kicking and screaming, a labor of love for sure, but also of blood, sweat and plenty of tears. I couldn't be more proud of the end result. Making this album helped me learn and grow so much as a musician and songwriter and I'm excited to finally unleash it on the world."
On the collaboration with Fridén, Strauss said: "When I was first learning how to play guitar, IN FLAMES were my BEATLES, my first favorite band. Anders's iconic vocal style is burned into my mind! To write a song like this and have him sing on it, as a kid who grew up with IN FLAMES posters on my walls, is an absolute dream come true."
"It was a lot of fun to collaborate with Nita on 'The Golden Trail'," added Fridén. "She's an amazing guitar player and I can hear the history of metal flowing through her fingers."
"The Golden Trail" is the fourth song Nita has released featuring a star guest vocalist, the first being the enormously successful "Dead Inside" which featured guest vocals from Draiman and saw Nita become the first-ever solo female to have a No. 1 hit at Active Rock radio. She also returned to her instrumental roots last year with the release of single "Summer Storm", a fast-paced, emotive shred-fest. In October 2022, Nita dropped "The Wolf You Feed", an epic headbanger of a track featuring the insane vocal talent of White-Gluz. This past March, Strauss released "Winner Takes All", featuring a guest appearance by Cooper.
Nita released 2018's "Controlled Chaos" to mass acclaim from fans and media alike, with Metal Injection calling it "a great debut that — as its creator intended — leaves no doubt", and Guitar World stating "'Controlled Chaos' is a panoramic view of Nita Strauss's many strengths".
In March, it was announced that Nita would return to Alice's band for his 2023 tour.
The Alice Cooper North American tour, with an all-new show dubbed "Too Close For Comfort", kicked off in late April in Michigan and will continue through late September, including a handful of August stadium shows with DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE, followed by a co-headlining late summer "Freaks On Parade" tour with Rob Zombie.
Nita spent eight years playing with Alice before joining Demi Lovato's band last summer,
Strauss played her first full live show with Demi in August 2022 at the Grandstand at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois.
Nita made her live debut with Demi in July 2022 with a performance of "Substance" on ABC's Emmy Award-winning late-night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!".
Strauss had been playing with Cooper since 2014 when she replaced Australian musician and former Michael Jackson player Orianthi. She joined Alice in time for a mammoth MÖTLEY CRÜE tour. She was recommended to Cooper by the legendary rocker's former bass player and WINGER frontman Kip Winger.
"The Call Of The Void" track listing:
01. Summer Storm 02. The Wolf You Feed (feat. Alissa White-Gluz) 03. Digital Bullets (feat. Chris Motionless) 04. Through The Noise (feat. Lzzy Hale) 05. Consume The Fire 06. Dead Inside (feat. David Draiman) 07. Victorious (feat. Dorothy) 08. Scorched 09. Momentum 10. The Golden Trail (feat. Anders Fridén) 11. Winner Takes All (feat. Alice Cooper) 12. Monster (feat. Lilith Czar) 13. Kintsugi 14. Surfacing (feat. Marty Friedman)
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