Welsh singer songwriter is Judith Owen is a self-described “dark person.” Her very unabashed struggles with depression have fueled her creativity. It may seem counter intuitive that she is married to Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons and star of the iconic cult classic, “This Is Spinal Tap.” She said dark people and funny people are not polar opposites, but are very much alike and need one another.

Her latest album, “Somebody’s Child” is both introspective and outward looking at the same time.

She phoned from her bus near the end of her tour as the opener for Bryan Ferry.

You said your music is a journey through mental health. What stage does this album represent

It’s healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. This album much more outward looking. I’m talking about the world around me noticing the really important things in life. It’s about seeing other people struggle, not just myself. I’m happy and relieved about that and I’m not so self-absorbed. I see the world around me and I’m noticing the big stuff that really matters; as in “Somebody’s Child” which is about a young homeless woman on the streets of New York City, who is barefoot, literally ready to give birth any minute and wearing trash bags for clothes in the snow.  When I look at a person like that I realize just how close we all are to the edge and how it could have just as easily been me if my life and circumstances were different. God knows I’ve been down enough in my life to know how close we all are to the edge. To be able to look outside yourself is a sign of health.


What do you hope listeners take away from the album

I’d like it to be a shared experience and I always want it to resonate because it’s emotional and honest. An entertainer want to affects listeners and this is indeed a shared experience. I went through life thinking everything revolved around me and that’s far from the truth of course. I want to affect others and I hope that people join me in hearing that message. Of course, every entertainer also wants to write music that people like and that makes them feel good.


Some of your music comes from dark places, does your husband’s involvement in some of the most iconic comedies of all time help with your depression

It’s the reason why we’re together, it’s one of the things in our relationship that we hail as being most important to us.  Music and Laughter. That’s our religion. I rely heavily on laughter as a dark person. if you take a deeper look dark people have an incredibly bright side too. Conversely, if you pick away at a funny person, you’ll find a dark side. I’m the biggest fan of “Spinal Tap” and always will be.  Very serious people need to laugh A LOT and I do thanks to Harry.


Your stylings and influences are so diverse that it’s hard to categorize you. But iTunes has you listed under multiple genres, if you had to pick one which would it be

I really couldn’t. Where you do you put someone who’s not pigeonhole-able (if that’s a word)?


You were very active during the Laurel Canyon phenomenon. Do you think there is or will ever be a modern day equivalent

No. mostly because of the nature of the music business today. Back then, you weren’t expected to become successful with a first album, maybe over 7 or 8 albums. It was about long term careers and it’s not about that now. Laurel Canyon was about artists who were about the music above all else and it was community of people who were in and out of each other’s lives. Sometimes, you’d do four sessions a day and literally be running from one studio to another.   It was musicians who were about the music first and not the music business

The industry has received its fair share of criticism with regard to its evolution What do you like about where it is now

What I like about where we are now is that people are able to cross so many styles and not have boundaries and be unapologetic about it

I love the fact the fact that you can be a Jacob Collier and have success. When you take away all the BS, the money, and the bells and whistles.you can have your music go anywhere in the world you want and listeners will decide for themselves.

You said that you don’t really listen to your songs or look back often. How do you establish a reference point

Just because  I don’t  listen to my music doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’ve done. I haven’t got a computer for a brain; because I don’t read or write, I remember everything. My brain is filled with music and I know what I’ve done before. I’m one of those people always looking forward. I’m thrilled when I hear something I’ve done before because I can’t believe it’s me and I did that. But I’m always pointing forward. Like most artists, I’m not sure if what I’ve done is really incredibly great or utter crap. I can’t believe I can experience what I’m doing. I vacillate between the utter joy of being able to experience the utter joy of writing and performing. But there’s the other side side of me that thinks I’m an utter fraud and people will think I’m just bullshitting. I don’t watch or read about myself because you either lose your mind or you’ll read something that will make you never want to get up.

The subconscious is a major component in your songwriting Why do you think that is

I don’t think anybody knows how we write, All I know is that it comes from the best part of me. It comes from a clean, clear place. All of a sudden it just happens on almost every song I write, bang, all of a sudden the lyrics come out. If  I’m in a situation where I’m confronted with my own music; I’m in shock because I suddenly see what I meant. I see the full meaning as if I didn’t have anything to do with the writing. It’s as if I’m not privy to the lyrics. It’s a direct line to your most authentic and true self.

The title track reminds me of two Martina McBride songs, “Concrete Angel” and “God’s Will.” Do you have any country influences

No. that’s the one genre I’ve never listened to in my life, probably because Brits don’t, but we’re starting to now.) The closest thing is folk music. That’s where country’s from. It’s a place of ballads, that melancholy feeling, the storytelling. It’s a Celt thing. And it came to America and turned into this other, beautiful thing. I’m a huge bluegrass fan and of stuff that breaks your heart in two and tears you apart. Country is such a continuation of the Celtic tradition.

for more visit: http://www.judithowen.net/