Inara George was born into the music business.
Her dad, Lowell George, was the founder of the late ’70s rock band Little Feat. But she’s followed her own creative path as an artist, with her long-running duo, The Bird And The Bee, the harmony-laden trio The Living Sisters and an orchestral collaboration with pop auteur Van Dyke Parks.
The California Report Magazine’s Sasha Khokha talked to George about the themes of love and loss on her new solo album, “Dearest Everybody,” and the changing perspective that comes with age.
On the influence of her father, who passed away when Inara was 5 years old:
I feel very settled and comfortable knowing that I don’t have a father … and I’ve always been open about talking about him. I’m very proud to be his daughter, but [I] always [wanted] to kind of pave my own way and make music that reflected me.
When you’re the daughter of or the son of somebody — especially in the same field you’re going into — for a long time you’re always that: You’re the daughter of somebody. And so I think when I started out in music, that’s who I was. [The song ‘Young Adult’ is about] my first experience with music, and then slowly rolling out who I was, who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to express myself.
On the importance of being comfortable with the uncomfortable:
I wrote the song ‘Release Me’ for my mom. When you’ve been with somebody who’s larger than life, even though you feel like you’re moving on [after their death], people don’t always let you do that.
I didn’t think I was going to put it on the record. I felt like I was a little too personal … but then my producer thought I should, so I did! It’s very honest and emotional and sometimes uncomfortable, but [something] I’ve discovered about myself is, if you’re not uncomfortable, I don’t think it’s necessarily worth doing all the time.
On playing sad songs in front of an audience:
I remember the first time we played these songs in front of an audience, I was really nervous. I was nervous about being so forthcoming about my own experiences. And then once I played them, it was actually really cathartic. Especially because I feel like death is something that I’ve experienced a lot in my life from a young age. And it’s painful and hard, but sometimes it’s very beautiful and just as important to celebrate as birth is.
On being a musician in her 40s:
Getting older can be complicated. It’s not that I don’t think that you can still be fun-loving and spontaneous and dance like there’s no tomorrow. But there is a difference in who we are, and how we grow and how we age. That was kind of the idea of the song ‘Slow Dance,’ [about dancing with a younger man]. That sort of painful feeling of growing, and leaving this younger version of ourselves behind.