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On the Record with Billy Price

"For a singer and a performer the way I am, there's always been something a little antiseptic about a studio."

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New Jersey-born singer Billy Price relocated to Pittsburgh in the '70s after a stint on the road with guitar virtuoso Roy Buchanan; he's been a fixture on the soul and R&B scene here ever since. His new studio album, Strong, released by the French label DixieFrog, is his first in four years. 

You chose the song "Gotta Be Strong" to be the title track of this album — why that one?

That's the song that really sticks out to me, and it's a little bit thematic. Maybe it reflects where I am in my life right now. Of all the songs, it seemed to make the most sense.

 

It seems like it's the most meaningful.

That was one that I really struggled with the lyrics for — I'd have a concept that I liked, then I'd listen the next day and throw it out. As opposed to the song "Let's Go for a Ride"; I think I wrote that in 15 minutes.

You play live all the time, but only go into the studio every few years. How is that experience different for you?

For some reason, I've never been able to totally overcome this: My voice just doesn't open up in the studio the way it does in front of an audience. And I don't know quite what to do about that. It's a totally different mindset: For a singer and a performer the way I am, there's always been something a little antiseptic about a studio. Though I think I'm a better studio performer now than I was when I was younger.

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