We’ve all seen an “inspirational” post somewhere online that boasts, “It’s not where you’re from but where you’re going. Folk rock singer-songwriter Pauline Andres doesn’t really play into that. The coal miner’s daughter from France believes in the balance of the past, future and well, present. She says, “When you come from a hard-working, very down to earth background, it helps (or forces) shape who you are. I feel the limitations from that background every day. I also feel how it helped me be strong enough to take very little shit.”
Finding that balance has shaped her into the person and artist she is, but so has her nomadic way of life. It seems like settling down is foreign to her as she placed her belongings in a number of places. That’s where we started our conversation…
Kendra: You started your life in France but you always seem to be on the go. Which you note plays a huge part in your upcoming release, Fearless Heart. Do you feel like stability would be your creative kryptonite in a way?
Pauline: Maybe! But I think I could still write if I’d settle down. At least I hope so because writing is what I do. I think it’s with me whether I’m moving or stuck. It would probably be different though. It’s true that this record is very influenced by how I “had” to leave Berlin, stay a bit in France, move to Nashville, while still having no clue where I’ll be six months from now. The essence of that lies in mainly 2 songs “Loneliest Girl in Nashville” and “Can’t Keep a Town.” At some point, both were gonna be the title track. A lot of people think it’s romantic and exciting to constantly move and run. Sometimes it is. But it also is simply exhausting. So as much as it feeds my writing, I’m sure I could find inspiration and enjoy a little peace of mind.
Kendra: Over the years the idea of home has come up a lot with artists. Some feel it’s comfort, others feel it’s like feeling like they belong. What’s home for someone like yourself who is more nomadic?
Pauline: At this point, it’s just a dream. A vague goal beyond the horizon. For me, it’d be stability above all. A place I’d know I won’t have to leave within a year or so. A place that’s mine where my dogs can fool around. I have a very simple dream of home. And yet, with the life I have, it hardly seems attainable. Comfort, sure, belonging, maybe less so because that’s never been my thing anyway and the way I imagine my dream home, it’d be in the country, on its own.
Kendra: One of your songs, “Loneliest Girl In Nashville” reminded me of a few artists who moved out to LA and penned songs about how they felt so small in the city and sort of lost. When you move to a new place, how you try to immerse yourself so as to ease any lonely feelings?
Pauline: I usually try and find the good live music places that’ll become part of my routine. Another apparently silly but important thing is to learn to shop for the everyday stuff. Find simple, daily marks. But it really is about meeting people. Once you lasso yourself a couple of good friends, everything is easier. Being totally alone in a new place, may it be a 10,000 people town or 3 million + capital, you’re gonna feel small. I also like to explore the surroundings. So I go driving. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes three hours. Another less rock & roll but effective cure to feeling small is to watch a documentary about space. Puts everything into perspective right away.
Kendra: Back to the record. Fearless Heart drops this coming February. What are you going to be doing between then and now? Any shows, more singles?
Pauline: Definitely shows, some are already announced in Nashville from early November this year, others are being organized as we speak. We’ll drop three singles: “Loneliest Girl in Nashville,” “Fearless Heart” and “Christmas in Paris, TN”, which is a fun Christmas song. Ideally, a tour in the US would be the next step after the album drops but I’ll also plan some promo in Europe most likely. Festivals maybe. So the schedule’ll have to be worked out early next year.
Kendra: You may move a lot, but if you had to make a mixtape for your favorite place you’ve called home thus far, what songs would have to be on it?
Pauline: Well I guess it’d be about Berlin because it’s the only place I thought I’d call home for a while. And in all honesty, it didn’t treat me so bad so I still like this city.
“Infinita Tristeza” by Manu Chao, this song follows me everywhere I go (and much more by him and la Mano Negra) so it naturally followed me to Berlin.
“If Drinking Don’t Kill Me” by George Jones, I developed my love for his music during my first year in Berlin and this song was on repeat. Also because I was doing a lot of drinking myself.
“If I Can’t Trust you with a Quarter” by Zoe Muth, I played her music so much on my little balcony in Berlin, she’s part of that playlist for sure.
“Bobby Jean” by Bruce Springsteen, because that goes on any list I have to make.
“The Guitar” by Guy Clark, it regularly reminded me what it’s all about when I was wondering why the hell I continued making music.
“Running Just in Case” by Miranda Lambert, because I had it on repeat the months before I left and it still really resonates with what I’m currently doing.