During a summer tour with her musical duo She & Him, Zooey Deschanel has performed songs about tortured love and broken hearts. Since she wrote the songs with her partner, M. Ward, and she’s recently gone through a divorce herself, she’s obviously using her musical career to purge some emotions, right? Wrong.
“That is not what I do,” said Deschanel in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
“I think that lovelorn is a more interesting emotion; I tend to be interested in that emotion more than I tend to be interested in the emotion of happy content love, so my big influences have always been a lot of different things,” said the singer-actress, who is taking a break from her hit sitcom The New Girl focus on She & Him, which recently released their fourth album, Volume 3, in the spring.
Deschanel says she doesn’t draw from her personal life when she creates, instead relying on her own healthy imagination.
“It is the same thing when people ask me, when I act, am I drawing from my own experience? Well no, I would run out of experiences really fast.”
How do you find the time to write music?
When I was first really writing music I was doing lots of movies and I would be on location, and then I would take a guitar and maybe a little keyboard along with me. I would write in my trailer at lunch. A lot of the times I would write in the middle of the night or on weekends.
Is it important for you to be able to merge singing and acting, with Jess bursting into song in “New Girl” and singing the theme tune?
You know what’s funny? I think I have only done that in like three episodes. The theme song, that was (show creator) Liz Merriweather’s idea. I wrote the chorus production and the melody, but I didn’t write the lyrics. I find writing melodies much easier than writing lyrics. Lyrics are the hardest. But with New Girl, I am a producer on the show, and I wanted the theme song to be a certain way. I am picky about theme songs. I got involved in the writing of it.
Do you think the show has increased the exposure of She & Him?
There was actually a certain point where I did movies, but I was doing a lot more music, and there was a certain point where a lot of people didn’t know I was an actor and only knew She & Him, and there were certain countries where I know they know She & Him more than they know me. I don’t really know until I go out on tour with it. I know that you would always get the people that would come to a show because they like my movies or something, but however somebody comes to it I don’t really mind.
How much of your personality shines through when you’re on stage?
Part of why I like having my buddies on stage with me is that I don’t have some stage persona that I employ. It gives me the shivers if I think about it, a fake stage persona. It is just not me. So part of the thing about having your friends on stage, that and all of the people that we tour with is that you can be yourself and play music and have a good time, and people will have a good time with you.
How was directing the video for your latest single, “I Could Have Been Your Girl?”
Really fun. I’ve always wanted to direct so I thought I might as well do it now. But then it was right after I’d wrapped New Girl, and so I had to throw myself headfirst into it.
Is directing something you would be interested in pursuing?
That is sort of where I hope to go. It is just an extension of a lot of other things that I love to do. It is a lot of decision making and collaborating and curating of ideas, and I really, really adored it.