Lena Hall is a Tony Award winner and a Grammy Award nominee. Though every month of 2018, Lena has released a monthly series of EPs called: Obsessed. As a result, Obsessed consists of 12 EPs, one released on the first Friday of every month. Each feature stripped down, emotionally intensive covers of one artist or band with whom Lena is “obsessed.” The series is available from SKB Records and can be found at LenaHallObsessed.com. Performance music videos have been created for all 54 songs in the series. In fact, a new music video has premiered every week in 2018. So YEM spoke with Lena Hall to recap her incredible year-round web series, and found out what is in store for Lena as 2019 begins!
Young Entertainment Mag: You’ve released a new EP every month this year! What was that experience like?
Lena Hall: Since we recorded and filmed the entire series in eight days in October of 2017 it’s been a surreal kind of year. We finished all the mixes of the albums early on so I’ve been patiently waiting as each one is released to see if people like them or not. I liken it to buying a big Christmas gift for someone special a year in advance then waiting and hoping that they will LOVE it as much as you do.
YEM: How did this 12-month project came to be? Where did the idea come from?
Lena: I wanted to give my fans consistent content throughout the year. It was an experiment to see how much was too much or not enough. I figured a song a week was a really cool thing to do. I tried doing that concept with videos at the beginning of 2017 when I released a series of cover songs called “Stripped.” I filmed that in two days and got 19 videos out of it. As I posted each one to YouTube and promoted them on social I was gaining more of a following and people were starting to get into it.
Then, I didn’t have any more videos to post. I also wanted to do a series of shows dedicated to artists that inspired me along with an album as sort of a take away for the fans to have after the show. A memento. I did three of them and I called that Obsessed (Beta). SKB records heard about what I was doing and looked into everything I had put out on social media. They suggested that we combine it all! I am so thankful that they put their trust in me as an artist to deliver an entire year’s worth of content. I promised I could do it in eight days and I delivered.
YEM: Each month was dedicated to a different artist. Were there any artists you would love to celebrate that you didn’t have the chance to?
Lena: SO MANY! I could do the Obsessed series for years and years and years and never run out of content! I am constantly discovering new artists, new songwriters and new music.
YEM: You even created music videos for each song, and released one every week! Did you always plan to have the visual aspect to the project?
Lena: The visual was always a part of this project. The idea was to bring the experience to everyone’s living room. So they could see how the song was recorded and get the feeling of a live concert.
YEM: Would you ever do this kind of project again where new content is released throughout the course of one year?
Lena: YES! I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Maybe I would change a few things here or there. And I would actually love to do all original songs at some point.
YEM: One of your EPs this year was of the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch – the show for which you won a Tony Award! You’ve even played multiple roles in the show. What was it like to revisit the show in this way? Was it different to revisit the show solo?
Lena: Hedwig was a turning point for me and my career. It is my favorite Broadway show ever. What was really cool was getting to record these songs the way I would do them. I got to put my own spin on them. Breaking them down to only a few instruments gave the listener the chance to really hear Stephen Trask’s brilliant lyrics and melodies.
YEM: Finally, since the series wraps this month, what are your plans for 2019?
Lena: I am anxiously awaiting the release of “Snowpiercer” on TNT, the TV show that I am currently filming in Vancouver. I will also be doing a bunch of live concerts as well as developing shows that I am writing. Also I hope to work on an original album and perhaps I will get to return to the Broadway stage! I miss it so.