Miranda Lambert Learned That She Doesn’t Have to Be ‘Tortured’ to Write Sad Songs

by Lauren Boisvert

Miranda Lambert realized something all artists should learn: there’s really no reason to suffer for your art. We all know the stereotype; the tortured artist plagued by guilt, heartbreak, and regret. They make tens of thousands of dollars on their paintings, their songs, their poems, but they’re miserable. And for what? The creative process? Some artists believe they have to be tortured to write or paint well. But, as country music star and one of TIME’s most influential people Miranda Lambert now knows, that’s just not the case.

In a recent interview with People, Lambert said she realized that being “tortured” doesn’t always produce the best art. She was living that life, believing she had to experience the things in her songs to seem authentic. She thought she had to be “tortured or sad” to write those sad songs, but she realized that was “a terrible way to go.” Now, she simply writes from the heart. I believe that’s why Palomino was such a great album; Miranda Lambert wasn’t entrenched in misery when she wrote it.

“Any kind of artist will live in the darkness because they’re using it for art,” she said. “But at some point, I can actually be happy and be functioning and doing life and get in a writing room and go somewhere else in my mind or heart.” Sometimes you carry those negative emotions or experiences with you, but they don’t have to be your everyday. You can use the experience to write a song, but then shelve it again, find release from it. Be authentic, but also don’t torture yourself into misery for your art.

Why ‘Palomino’ Was Such a Pivotal Album for Miranda Lambert

Palomino came out on April 29, and since then I’ve listened to it maybe 30 times. I love “Actin’ Up,” “Tourist,” “Strange,” and her cover of “Wandering Spirit” by Mick Jagger. I consider this album to be Lambert’s most sophisticated and polished work yet. A handful of these songs are studio cuts of tracks from The Marfa Tapes, and these recordings are crisp, clear, and full of life.

Lambert shared with People that Palomino was like a road trip; she created a journey during a time when no one was journeying. “Scenes” and “Tourist” set the tone for the album, and she told collaborators Luke Dick and Natalie Hembry, “‘Maybe it’s like a theme?'”

“So, we went with it,” Lambert continued, “and we just started going through the map, honestly. We made this whole record of road trips, and it was during a time where we weren’t able to go on any road trips because it was in 2020. It just sort of came together as this traveling vagabond vibe.” Additionally, Lambert has planned a literal road tip after The Bandwagon Tour.

Palomino is mature and accomplished, but it’s also that same sassy, feisty, fun-loving Miranda Lambert we’ve all come to know. She’s distilled her wandering spirit down into 15 tracks, and taken us on a journey through her exquisite creative mind.