In the liner notes of One of the Boys, you send a very special thank you to Glen Ballard, who challenged you to write a song a day. Do you still take on that challenge?
Yes. He brought me to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara when I was 17. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, as you would say. For three years I was at the studio all the time, recording and polishing my skill, learning how to play guitar, and all kinds of things. He's always been the chief leader of my career, so I wanted to pay respect to him.
One of my favorite songs off the album is "Mannequin." What life events inspired the lyrics?
"Mannequin" is one of my favorite songs to play, as well. The lyrics were inspired just because I was in a relationship – I don't know if you could actually call it a relationship – where the other person was nonexistent. They were totally having mannequin characteristics, like all I wanted to do was love and be loved in return. It just wasn't happening. I think that it was just because of personal problems, things that they were going through. I could not get through to them for some reason. And I tried everything.
Did you find it challenging to come into your own as a singer and a songwriter?
It took five years. It wasn't overnight. It was five years of major labels being signed and dropped, signed and dropped. You know, I think the advantage of that was that I really got to grow. Also, I got to work with so many different people and take my time and really kind of carve out and figure out who I was and what I wanted to say, ultimately, as an artist. You know, there was pressure from other people when I was on other labels: "Make certain things sound like this person," and "Make songs like this," and blah, blah, blah. But I never gave in. I never wanted to do that, ever. But what is out there now is really neat. It took a minute to get there, but it's here now.
Is there a particular song that you wrote in the midst of your label shuffling that you are really proud of?
Probably "Thinking of You," because that was a song that I wrote in my apartment by myself and thought nothing of it. It's not only my most personal song on the record for me, but I really enjoy playing it. And when I play it people are really moved by it. Night after night, it never gets old. I don't get to play it on this tour, but I think it's cool that it's a big ballad on the record.