WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — After moving across an ocean to rural England, Lisa Marie Presley found herself as close as she's ever been to her father, at least musically.
The only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley started writing music again after moving to Kent, southeast of London, several years ago. That led to her third album, "Storm & Grace," produced by T Bone Burnett with a slow-rolling, swampy but warm Americana sound.
It's more quiet, deliberate and intimate than her pop-rock-oriented "To Whom It May Concern" from 2003 and 2005's "Now What."
She's settled down personally as well. Once known for turbulent, brief marriages to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage, she's now raising 3-year-old twin daughters Finley and Harper with her husband of six years, guitarist Michael Lockwood. She also has two adult children, model-actress Riley Keough and son Benjamin, from her first marriage.
The 44-year-old singer-songwriter said in a recent interview that she'd long been actively trying to dodge her father's legacy, but now feels more comfortable following in his footsteps — at least on her own terms.
The Associated Press: Do you feel like the album represents your Southern roots?
Presley: It does, but I didn't intend it to do so. It wasn't like I was trying to go create a rootsy Southern record. I was given a lot of freedom and space to write, and I did. And that's what ended up happening oddly in England of all places. So — ironic. ... It's a good bed for my lyrics and vocals to lie in, that sort of vibe — whatever this is, this record.
AP: How much does your father's music influence you? Are you listening to it lately, and do you hear it differently now than you did when you were younger?
Presley: Of course. The babies have to hear Elvis satellite radio all the time in the car. They love that. Of course. He's always been a huge influence on me my whole life — always. It's the first thing I ever heard. ... It's not something that I now listen to and it's different, although I might listen closer. But I've remained consistent on the fact that I've always been an admirer.
AP: And an album like this is more early Elvis than a later Elvis.
Presley: It could very well be looked at that way. That's fine. I don't mind that. I embrace it. But it wasn't intended to go there. Actually the first two (albums), I was intending not to go there on purpose. That's why this time, it's OK with me because it was natural.
AP: How do you feel like you've grown from those first two albums? Are you proud of them?
Presley: I love those songs. They came from the same place all my songs come from. ... But ... I had a lot going on around me that was not good. It was a lot of kicking and yelling. ... I needed to go through that for whatever reason. I needed to prove something to somebody somewhere, I don't know what. ... Nothing was ever smooth. It didn't go very well. I just mean marketing-wise, I just felt like — it just never felt like I had the right suit on me. I was still struggling to find it.
AP: When do you think you broke out of that?
Presley: Probably like five years ago, I broke out of everything. I just stopped. I just had an awakening, a crash and then a rediscovery period. And yeah, I just needed to get rid of things that I thought were good that weren't and I needed to go far away and just be around simple people that had a decent — I don't know — just simple things.
AP: What's day-to-day life like now for you?
Presley: When I'm in England, I think I needed to see and just kind of start from ground zero and just needed to see and discover life again ... and just simplicity. When I'm there it tends to be cooking, walking. I love the people in my village. They're super sweet. It's a very simple life.
AP: The album's lyrics focus on religion on several songs. "So Long" includes the lines: "religion so corrupt and running lives" and "churches they don't have a soul." How were you thinking about religion as you were writing this? Is it something that is on your mind (Presley has long been identified as a Scientologist)?
Presley: So many things were on my mind. As intriguing as the question might be, I typically don't talk about what specifically my songs are about. And I also don't discuss politics and religion — just as a general rule. But I also write very metaphorically. And I'll write with whatever is on my mind and it's not always literal. But I wrote what I wrote. ... It's an open canvas for everyone to draw on, the listener.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ryanwrd
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