Taylor Momsen is used to staring down adversity: The multi-talented singer/actress and her band, the hard-rock outfit The Pretty Reckless, had to scrap their entire first swing at their second album, Going to Hell (due on March 18th), after Hurricane Sandy tore through their recording studio. “We definitely had a few setbacks,” Momsen told ELLE.com when we rang her up on a recent afternoon. Fair enough. But still, no one can plan for laryngitis! In true Momsen fashion, the singer didn’t bat a heavily mascaraed eyelash when she fell ill: After several days on vocal rest, not to mention four long years on the road and several in the studio, the 20-year-old former Gossip Girl star chatted with us about her band’s follow-up to their breakout 2010 debut, Light Me Up.
Taylor! We’re so glad you can actually speak now. We hear you had a nasty case of laryngitis and couldn’t talk for days. For a hard-rock chick who screams her lungs out on the regular, that must have proved a bit challenging, to say the least.
It’s the last thing I ever wanted. Playing live is why we write these songs. I’m getting closer to one hundred percent and can’t wait to get in front of the fans. I’m actually on my way to the airport now.
The new album has been wrought with many delays, gthe largest being your studio getting destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. How has this affected the album? Does it make it even more satisfying now that the album is complete?
After Sandy not only did we lose all of our gear but it took time to put the studio back together. Shortly after, suddenly we also lost our producer’s wife and good friend, Lisa. We are still recovering from that time. But from tragedy came two new songs, “Going to Hell” and “F**ked Up World,” and we can’t wait for everyone to hear the record in its entirety. It really represents a moment in time in all of our lives.
I’m sure you are proud of every song on the new album. But are there any in particular that stand out as especially meaningful? And if so, take me inside the writing and recording process for them.
Picking my favorite song is like picking your favorite child. You just can’t. They’re all my favorite.
Fair enough. What was your life like while recording and writing this album? Did you have to shut everything else out in order to completely focus on the task at hand?
We had come off of touring Light Me Up for two-and-a-half years and it was awesome. I got back and shut the world out for a couple of months in order to come down, regroup and jump into the next record. I’m always writing, but this was the time that we really started to pick the songs for Going to Hell, and when I’m in that zone, I’m completely dedicated to it. I have to be alone to write so I took a few months and disappeared to write the record.
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