TROUBLE IN SHANGRI-LA

"The title song is written-- Trouble in Shangri-La. It's like Bella Donna; it's a definite concept album. It's about achieving Shangri-La and not being able to handle it."
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, May 14, 1998

"The title song, which I wrote during the O.J. Simpson trial, is about that sixteen-million-to-one person who makes it to the top of their field and then has trouble handling Shangri-la. And it's not just about me. In fact, it's not that much about me at all - it's about a lot of other people that I see and hear about. You say to yourself, "God, I made it. I'm at the top of my field. I'm a beloved artist of some kind." And then, "I can't handle it." And how sad is it that all your dreams come true and you just can't keep yourself together?"
~Stevie Nicks, Interview magazine, 7-98

"That song [Trouble in Shangri-La] was written during the last two months of the OJ Simpson trial, but that's not what it was about. What the OJ trial made me aware of was relationships, and how difficult they are-- especially for people who are in the public eye and are very famous and how difficult it is for them to hold on to Shangri-La. Of course, to somebody who doesn't make very much money and would just love to live in Shangri-La, it's hard to even hear that. But there is a price to pay for this kind of fame. It's strange, because in a sense I was writing about the same things when I recorded Bella Donna, almost 20 years ago."
~Stevie Nicks, Interview magazine, May 2001

"If you're in show business or sports and you're famous, there is a price that comes along with it. You get to have Shangri-La, but people just go crazy. So it's not so wonderful as everybody thinks sometimes. [The title song, tinged with the suggestion of a Himalayan chant, was written] in the last few months of the O.J. and Nicole trial. It wasn't really about them, it was just about how people make it to the top of their field and can't seem to handle it."
~Stevie Nicks, Scottsdale Life, July/August 2000

"It's the whole idea of achieving paradise, and how difficult it is to handle it. Trouble in Shangri-La is about a lot of people, including myself."
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 2001

Tell me about this Trouble in Shangri-La concept.
"Well, it was written, it was written at the same, it was written in the last two months of the O.J. Simpson trial. And I try to make it really clear to people that it was not written about O.J. It was written about the situation that he and many people that sort of make it to the height of their field. Whether you're a sports figure or a rock star or a doctor or a lawyer, indian chief, you know, candlemaker... whatever it is, when you kind of get to the top of your field and you are, like, really there. And how difficult it is for people to stay there. And how difficult it is for people to not go crazy. And how really hard it is for people to enjoy life, you know, to just say, "wow, I made it, I'm rich, I have lots of great friends, I can travel for the rest of my life, I'm free," you know? And, but yet, that isn't enough, then. That becomes your world, and then that's not enough, and then, if you're searching for paradise, you found it, and suddenly what you thought was paradise, isn't really paradise."
~Stevie Nicks, iVillage interview, 5-2-01

What is in the name "Trouble in Shangri-La"?
"Shangri-La is paradise. It came from a long time ago, when I was little. I remember there was a TV show called "Adventures in Paradise," and I was always fascinated by the idea of adventures in paradise. So my idea of paradise I changed to Shangri-La, "Adventures in Shangri-La." But then I realized that whenever you get to Shangri-La there is always going to be a lot of trouble. There just is. If you make it to paradise, there's going to be a lot of trouble surrounding you, and people have a lot of trouble staying there because of that. People make it to the top of their field and think that that's paradise, and it isn't somehow. So I just wanted to keep my little umbrella of Shangri-La over the whole record so that it really was a record about relationships."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

It seems like "Shangri-La" might also describe Fleetwood Mac.
"Well, that's very interesting that you would say that because, even though I didn't set down to write any of it about Fleetwood Mac, in fact, some of the verses actually did touch on Fleetwood Mac. The first verse is absolutely about Lindsey and me. When I was writing it I really wasn't conscious of that because I just write long poems. I write poems with about 20 stanzas and then some of them have to go when you actually put it to a song. But "I remember him, he was very young / No one spoke like him, he was someone / And I carried on, like I couldn't stop / All of it for us baby." All of it for love basically. That verse is about him and that is how the verses started out. The rest of the verses are all about separate people. But they'd all come down to a very common thing, trouble in Shangri-La."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

CANDLEBRIGHT

"I wrote "Candlebright" before Lindsey and I left San Francisco. That was one of the songs we came here with to get our record deal for Buckingham Nicks. "Candlebright" isn't really written about Lindsey, it's written about Lindsey and me, both of us."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

In "Candlebright" you sing "I am something of a dreamer." What are you dreaming about now?
"It was written in 1970, so I was only 22. I think I was always dreaming about now. I had never lived away from my parents when I wrote that song. I had no idea what was coming. But I think that song is a pretty amazing premonition, because it really is about how I would always travel and basically keep the light in the window so I could find my way back."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

SORCERER

"Sheryl challenged me to explore different areas of my voice," [Nicks recalls, noting the soulful falsetto that she reaches during the song's initial verses.] "It was fun to do, and it wound up working so well within the song's arrangement."
~Stevie Nicks, Billboard Magazine, 2-17-01

"Sorcerer was written right after Lindsey Buckingham and I [did a photo shoot for the 1973] Buckingham Nicks [album] cover in Hollywood. It's really about how scary Hollywood was. We had just moved from San Francisco. We were fairly prim-- Lindsey moved from Mom and Dad's house to Los Angeles with me! So we were these like really fresh kids from San Francisco, and Hollywood was heavy. We went to do that photograph and there were models everywhere, and I was walking around proclaiming to everyone that I was a songwriter and not a model! [Laughs.] Because I knew that I better make sure I push the songwriting and not the sex symbol thing because that will fade and the songwriting will stay, hopefully."
~Stevie Nicks, HX magazine, April 27, 2001

"Sorcerer is written about Lindsey and I coming to Hollywood from San Francisco. Lindsey had lived at home. He moved out of his parents' house, in with me, in Los Angeles."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

"Sorcerer" was written in 1974, a year before we joined Fleetwood Mac. It was really about the city of Hollywood and how strange it was to us. It was all about models and rock 'n' roll and drugs and scary people. I was a very, very prudish little girl from San Francisco who had strict parents, I had not had a lot of freedom, and coming into this town was freaky. "All around the black ink darkness, and who found the lady from the mountains." The lady from the mountains was me. I did a [nude] photo session for the Buckingham Nicks album and I was horrified about that cover. I did not want to do that, and I was really made to feel like, "Don't be a child, don't be a baby, this is art, this is your future." And I did do it, and I never forgot that. It was the one time in my life that I did something that I felt was not morally right for me to do."
~Stevie Nicks, Sonicnet interview, June 2001

PLANETS OF THE UNIVERSE

"That was a huge statement for me to make, a very harsh thing for me to say," Nicks explains. "It was just for six months [that I felt that]. I was depressed about love. The song was written when we were recording 'Rumours' in San Francisco. I was tired of the city and very, very angry at Lindsey. How strange and funny, though, that I have lived alone all that time since."
~Stevie Nicks, New York Daily News, May 6, 2001

"It's one of the heaviest songs I've ever written and I wrote it in anger, in all my drama -as dramatic as I was and probably still am. I went back and wrote the first part of the song a couple of months ago because I wanted to soften it a little bit."
~Stevie Nicks, Baltimore Sun, May 29, 2001

"Planets of the Universe is written about when Lindsey and I really broke up after the Rumours record."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

TOO FAR FROM TEXAS

"Natalie Maines. I heard a, I got sent a song from a friend of mine who lives in Texas, about two and a half years ago, and I logged it in my brain when I first heard this song that there was this girl named Natalie in the Dixie Chicks, which, and they were fairly new at that point, that I thought I could sing this song with, I wrote in my journal and just went back to it, you know, quite, like last year, and my friend Sheryl Crow knows Natalie, so I mentioned this to her, I played her the song, and she sent it to her, and within two days we had called Michael Campbell from the Heartbreakers, and gone over to Michael's house, and, cut it live, with a band, with, basically with the Heartbreakers sans Tom, with Waddy Wachtel, Sheryl Crow playing bass, Michael, guitar, Steve Ferrone, drums, Natalie and I singing live, and Benmont Tench on keyboards, and it was trippy, because it was like Natalie and I got to do a song with the Heartbreakers AND Sheryl Crow. So all of these relationships, except for the one with Sheryl Crow, were very, just, they just fell into my path, you know?"
~Stevie Nicks, iVillage interview, 5-2-01

"Natalie Maines came to me through Sheryl because Sheryl Crow knows everybody. I had noted two or three years before, when Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks had just come out, that she and I have very similar country voices, and I could definitely sing with her. I just kind of put that in my brain and never really thought about it again. When I mentioned it to Sheryl Crow she said, "Let's send her the cassette, and we'll see if she likes it." She did, and two days later we went to [Trouble in Shangri-La producer and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers member] Mike Campbell's and recorded "Too Far From Texas" live with me, Sheryl, and the Heartbreakers, except for Tom Petty and Waddy Wachtel. It was like a live band. We were all standing there together playing, and it came out great."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

THAT MADE ME STRONGER

"I'd been hearing about how I should write this person, or record that person's material, and it started to wear me down... I remember asking him [Tom Petty] to work with me on some songs. I wasn't feeling my best; I was unsure about a lot of things. And he said, 'no, you don't need anyone to help you with your songs. Do it yourself.' It was the jolt I needed. It was a pivotal moment for me. The clouds cleared, and things started to naturally flow again."
~Stevie Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La press release

"It's the perfect balance to 'Edge of Seventeen,' in terms of energy. It's a great song to rock out to. I love just cutting loose to that one."
~Stevie Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La press release

"I remember asking my dear friend Tom Petty to work with me on some songs. I wasn't feeling my best; I was unsure about a lot of things. He said, 'No. You're a premier songwriter. You don't need anyone to help you with your songs. Do it yourself.' It was the jolt I needed."
~Stevie Nicks, Billboard Magazine, February 2001

"Tom [Petty] can say stuff to me that nobody else can. I said, "Will you help me get started on this, help me write some songs?" And he got angry with me. He said, "Yeah, you had a couple of bad years, but you need to reinvent yourself. You're one of the best songwriters I know. You don't need help." I went home that night and told everyone, "This is it - I'm starting a new record."
~Stevie Nicks, Q magazine, May 2001

IT'S ONLY LOVE

"It's a song that I love to sing. I'm hoping that it will be part of the set for the tour."
~Stevie Nicks, Billboard Magazine, 2-17-01

How did it feel to have Sheryl Crow write "It's Only Love" for you and about you?
"Well, she came up the stairs carrying her guitar, and she just sat down and played it for me. And she told me, "I went home and I just was really thinking about all your stories and all the stuff you've been through" because now that we've been friends for four years I've just about told her all the great stories, she knows them all and that's really what she wrote the song about, all my different relationships and the men that I was with and the men that I'm still good friends with and really care about. They're all still out there and around me, and she finds that pretty amazing. I think that's what inspired her to write the song you know, "sometimes lonely is not only a face that I have known." And she sees my life: I am not married, I don't have children, and I made that choice. I knew if I had children I would have to take care of them and I couldn't hand them over to a bunch of nannies. So I knew if I had a baby I would stop making music and I would start being a mom. And I decided in my life, that my mission was to make people happy. It was more important. I only just got a dog two years ago, and trained her myself. And that's the motherliest thing I've ever done."
~Stevie Nicks, Sonicnet interview, June 2001

I MISS YOU

"Well, it's not" [about Lindsey Buckingham]. "But a lot of these songs are about Lindsey."
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 2001

BOMBAY SAPPHIRES

[How was it producing the song yourself and singing with Macy Gray?] "It was easy, because it was exactly what I wanted to do. It was done in one night. I really did have a vision for that song, and [on earlier attempts to record it] nobody else saw my vision. The first time it was too R&B, the second time it was too Wagner, dirge-like. The third time it was back to its little funky reggae self."
~Stevie Nicks, www.vh1.com Interview, April 14, 2001

Let's talk about some of the songs, like "Bombay Sapphire." Has the liquor company thanked you or sent over some product?
"No, they haven't, and it's not "Bombay Sapphire," it's "Bombay SapphireS!" [Laughs.] I knew people were going to hit me with that. I got the idea many years ago when we were talking about jewelry and stones, about tile and rubies, Bombay sapphires. It's a blue-gray, star sapphire thing. It's the color of the ocean, and that's what I wrote about. And I purposely put the "S" on it so that they wouldn't think I was writing about gin. Gin makes you MEAN! It's definetly NOT a liquor I would have written a song about. [Laughs.]"
~Stevie Nicks, HX magazine, April 27, 2001

"Macy [Gray] is managed by the same management that I have, Howard Kaufman, and I mentioned that I thought that she could sing this little part, on the song called Bombay Sapphires that I had recorded twice, and I had recorded again, one more time, myself, I played on it and I did it the way I wanted it, and when it was done I thought, you know, I bet you that Macy Gray could sing with harmony, so I asked Howard, and they got in touch with her, and, the next day she was there, she did it, it took two hours, it was really fun, and she was, like, gone in a puff of smoke. So it's like that was totally accidental, you know, it wasn't something I ever planned."
~Stevie Nicks, iVillage interview, 5-2-01

"The only reason Macy [Gray] is on the record is because we're managed by the same people. Originally I wanted Sting to sing that little high part on Bombay Sapphire, but I chickened out on calling him and I asked Macy to do it."
~Stevie Nicks, Q magazine, May 2001

"Bombay Sapphire" is your favorite song on the album?
"Yes, because it is a song that I thought had a great message. I wrote it in Hawaii two years ago. At that point, in order to write the rest of the songs for this record, I really had to leave my Enchanted box set and Fleetwood Mac behind. Hawaii was very different than any place I'd ever been. Very green, jade green, very calm, very Zen. And I realized that if you take yourself to a great environment, you can just about get over anything. I was looking outside one day and it was like I was almost seeing my past as a little bit of something that I really wanted to leave behind for a while. I was looking past the past, out to the ocean and how beautiful it was and how white and inviting the sand was. I thought, I can see past you to the white sand and a message back to me that you are moving on now, you really are moving on. You are letting go of all that stuff that bothered you and you are moving forward. So, for me, it was very important that that song be on the record. I recorded that song two other times, and I didn't like it either time. I went back in for a third time and played it myself to get it the way I had written it when I was in Hawaii that night."
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

"Macy Gray is managed by my manager, Howard Kaufman. I wanted to ask Sting to sing that part, but I just chickened out. He was on tour and has a big record out, so I thought he must be very busy. At the last minute of "Bombay Sapphire," I thought Macy could do that part really great if she would. The next day, she was there, did it in about an hour, and was gone. It was a little moment. As people hear the record, all those little moments will be much more special after they've really listened to it and heard what Macy did. She sang a great little part on it. It's very quiet, but it's very there. "
~Stevie Nicks, Borders.com interview, June 2001

"My personal favorite is "Bombay Sapphires." When it says, "I can see past you to the white sand," that sentence right there is the whole reason for "Bombay Sapphires." It means that I'm really trying to get over something, and though I'm freaked out about it I'm looking to the green ocean and can see past all of these problems to the incredibly beautiful white sand and the ocean beyond it. I'm gonna be OK because I am movin' past you. And when "Bombay Sapphires" almost got pulled off the record because it wasn't recorded right, I was horrified that one line was not gonna be on the record. It's really important for me to tell people that if they're in an unhappy situation they should not stay forever and be miserable."
~Stevie Nicks, Sonicnet interview, June 2001

"Macy Gray is a real character. I met Macy because my manager also manages Macy. In the end result of "Bombay Sapphire" I had always thought that I would call and ask Sting --who will laugh when he hears this-- to come and do that high part on the song. But he had a record out, and he was too busy. So at the very last minute, I asked Macy because she has that high, little kind of raspy voice that is what I wanted for that sort of reggae kind of song. She's a trip, she's very funny. And she said to me as she came through the door, "I do not do harmony." I said, "Well, OK, let's take the melody off of 'Bombay Sapphire' and just put the high harmony in, and you just sing that like it was the melody, as if there were never another part. As if that's the only part that ever existed." And she did it perfect."
~Stevie Nicks, CDNow interview, June 5, 2001

FALL FROM GRACE

"The original version of this song had all of these verses... too many, in John's [Shanks] opinion. So we set out to edit the song to fit a workable structure, and it was just breaking my heart to let some of the words slip away... and they [Laura Dern and Patricia Arquette] were like, 'you can't cut out all of these words!' Poor John, they were yelling at him and giving him a hard time. It was all done in fun and good spirit, but it convinced me that I had to fight for my words. Before the night was done, we got every syllable in. And it's become one of my favorite songs on the album."
~Stevie Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La press release

"Maybe I sleep in a bed of roses, maybe they were always there
Maybe I didn't see them then, the answers to my prayers
Falling down in a crystal ball into crystal stairs
I'm doing the same things over and over, going in for repairs"
~Stevie Nicks, verse from the original demo of Fall From Grace

"Fall From Grace is really about Fleetwood Mac onstage-- that's always mostly going to be about me and Lindsey, just about our energy and what a trip it is to be in Fleetwood Mac and walk up there onstage. It's just, it's grand, you know? It's a very grand thing. It's nothing like your solo career. Don Henley and I laugh at each other sometimes; there is our solo career, and there is The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, which seem to take precedence over everything else that we do."
~Stevie Nicks, Wall of Sound interview, May 2001

LOVE IS

"Sarah McLachlan, I went to Canada to do Love Is with Pierre Marchand, and, Sarah lives there. So he's, he is her producer also, so he, said, "I think that I will ask Sarah if she will play piano. How do you feel about that?" Well, you know, I think that would be so great. So we were there for a week, and her husband played percussion, and some drums on it, and it was just like a wonderful week, you know? And I loved Canada, I had a great time, I came home and it's like, and also she drew the S on the album cover, that's, that's really a dragon, that when we were doing the song, she just sketched that out, and I asked her if I could have it. And she said yeah, and I brought it home and turned it the other way to the light, and the dragon went from being a dragon to an S. So we used him in the S in my name and so she's really, so Sarah is also a part of it from an art standpoint, from the whole artist thing, you know?"
~Stevie Nicks, iVillage interview, 5-2-01