All music genres are defined by their limitations. Each has its positives and its drawbacks for the artists trying to work within those boundaries. But for Gwen Stefani, who has had success in more genres than practically anyone, country is the most freeing.
She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to discuss her upcoming music and marriage to country superstar Blake Shelton. Kimmel has known Stefani since her early days in No Doubt in the mid-1990s, from his time working at the Los Angeles radio station KROQ. Stefani was the standout star when the genre went mainstream. She was the genre’s breakout star. And then went on to become stars in several other genres as well.
Kimmel was curious how her new work compares to what she produced in the 1990s.
“It’s hard to even remember my other life like back then, you know,” she said. “But honestly being actually opened up to the country music genre has been really cool. … What I feel like makes me feel good about myself is my songwriting. That’s what makes me feel like I’m actually contributing to the world.
“And some of the songwriting in country music is just masterful, and it’s storytelling and it’s just it’s very familiar in a lot of ways in the sense that, like, the story is getting across — the heart is getting across and the message. And so I just learned a lot and I’m just so happy I have to be opened up to the whole genre now.”
Stefani has released two new songs from her upcoming album. And while neither of them would qualify as country music, she has written and performed some country songs with husband-to-be Shelton.
Gwen Stefani Drops Songs From Upcoming Album
Gwen Stefani recently released “Slow Clap” from her upcoming yet-to-be-named album. She released “Let me Reintroduce Myself” earlier this year. Both songs have done well, but Stefani says it’s a departure from how she used to release music.
Before, the album would be nearly complete. Then the label would release the single to radio stations, she told Kimmel. Now, she releasing music before the album is finished. That means the reception to these songs will likely dictate how she writes and produces other songs on this album. She hasn’t announced a release date for the 20-song album.
Stefani, however, said she is set on returning to her roots in reggae and ska in this next album.
“I just had this lightbulb moment,” Stefani said. “I was like, ‘I really want to investigate where I started in music — the reggae and ska when I first fell in love with music when it defined who I was. Like I really want to do happy music, that’s where it all started.’ Once I got into that mode, it was like a wildfire, because every person I went in with, we were just so inspired and excited to be doing that kind of music.”