“A Lucinda Williams for Gen X’ers.”
“Unmistakable songwriting talent.”
“One of the strongest voices in town. She is also the author of affecting, emotion-bearing songs that are clothed in attractive, melodic garb.”
GARRISON STARR thought she was done playing music. A lifetime of trauma, from her upbringing in a fundamentalist Christian household in Mississippi to more than two decades navigating the music industry, left her spirit broken. With her days as a major-label artist behind her, the Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, and producer was ready to pack it in.
“I started realizing, wow, you know, I am the artist in the room. I’m the one. I do still have a lot to say,” Starr recalls. “That was a great gift for me, because I thought that part of my life was over. I just thought, well, I’m too old to be an artist, I’m too outspoken. I’m too this, or too whatever it is. I’m not good enough for this industry.”
Girl I Used to Be is the fruit of those labors, a nine-track album of self discovery due to be shared with the world by Soundly Music on March 5, 2021. Starr’s first new music since her 2017 EP What if There is No Destination and first full-length in nearly a decade, it was produced by longtime friend Nielson Hubbard, engineered by Danny Aldredge, and features co-writes with talented young songwriters like Carly Paige, Katie Pruitt, and Dominique Arciero.
That clarity is never sharper than on opening track “The Devil in Me,” written with the help of a then-19-year-old Carly Paige. Starr was stunned, and invigorated, to find herself learning from an old soul more than 20 years her junior. The result signals the upward trajectory of this album, starting with Starr and her acoustic guitar and ending with a triumphant clamber of handclaps and percussion. “Honestly, it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever been a part of writing. It feels so much like me. It feels like a bigger version of me,” she says.
That an artist of Starr’s caliber should feel this way seems unfathomable. She scored her first hit with 1997’s acclaimed “Superhero,” then went on to release 15 solo albums and tour with Melissa Etheridge, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Lilith Fair. Starr’s songs appeared on countless TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars. She even collaborated with close friend Margaret Cho on a comedy album and podcast.