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Michelle Branch Reveals New Album to Reflect Her Pop Roots

Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Michelle Branch was a rare bird in finding success with a pop-to-country crossover, but now she’s going back to pop.

At the beginning of December, the former Wreckers singer came to a sudden decision about the album she’d been working on since 2007. In an open letter to fans, she nnounced through emotional strokes of her pen that she would scrap that album … and start over fresh.

Now, as December comes to an end, Michelle has revealed to fans in a Ustream chat that she’s been in London, working on a new album with British songwriter-producers, Julian Emery and Jim Irvin, and that this new project will take her full circle, back to her pop roots, in the same vein as her 2001 debut album, ‘The Spirit Room.’

“I had been listening to the Lissie record, and her song, ‘When I’m Alone‘ is one of my favorite songs out right now,” Michelle revealed in her Ustream chat. “I found out that Jim and Julian were responsible for it, so I wanted to work with them. They came to L.A. and we had the awkward first writing date. The first song we wrote together was called ‘Spark,’ and we were just so excited about it. It was the best writing day possible.”

The tune seemed to change with the scenery. “I was with them in London,” the Grammy-winning singer continued. “My favorite song we wrote together is, ‘The Story of Us.’ It’s a song that’s really, really personal to me.”

While it may seem that the project has just started, the singer assures that it is nearing completion. “I have about 11 or 12 songs ready to go right now, so I’m going into the studio in January to start recording them,” she said, then added with a laugh, “I’m really, really confident that this record will be out next summer! You guys don’t even have to believe me anymore! But if I have my way, this record will be out this coming year … or else! I’m just gonna say, ‘or else,’ and leave it open ended, and let people imagine the worst! [laughs]“

Because she feels it’s part of the reason why the last project she worked so hard on was shelved, Michelle said she refuses to pigeon-hole her next record in any particular genre. “I hate talking about genres,” she said. “Because to me, a good song is a good song. Part of the reason ‘Everything Comes and Goes’ didn’t get released is because some people thought it wasn’t country enough. And it was just so hard to hear, because I wasn’t trying to be Carrie Underwood, or someone like that. It was music I enjoyed making, and it was influenced by my time in Nashville and by my time in records. I hate putting labels on stuff because it’s just so hard as a creative person to limit yourself that way.”

Whereas the previous album was a frustrating experience, this new record has been an absolute joy to make. “The last project I was just taking so seriously, and it was such a draining, emotional experience,” she sighed. “But this record has been all about having fun and being creative, and not feeling like I had to write a specific way for a specific genre. it’s been really freeing,”

Michelle also has plans to free up a couple of songs that didn’t get released on her last EP, and include them on her upcoming record. “Some of the songs that didn’t get released are still really close to me, and I worked my butt off on them and I went through so much with them,” she said. “‘Through the Radio,’ for instance, is one of those few songs I think will make it to the new record. Another song that’s probably gonna be on the new record is a Timbaland song — ‘Getaway,’ which kind of started as a song written for a mini-cooper campaign that Timbaland and I collaborated on. At the time I was making a country record, so it didn’t fit in. But I think it’ll fit in with the new stuff. I’m really excited.”

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