Petal | photo by Jess Flynn | courtesy of the artist
Checking In With… Kiley Lotz of Petal
In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, John Vettese chats with Kiley Lotz of Petal.
Last Friday, we caught up with Kiley Lotz from the Philly-via-Scranton band Petal on Facebook Live, where she played a few songs live and chatted with us about her self-quarantine. Like all of us, she’s experiencing stress in these times, but she remains grounded throughout it all.
“I’ve been trying to keep myself busy but also trying to be a bit gentle with my expectations of myself because it’s such a strange circumstance we’re all in,” Lotz says. “Some days are more productive than others. I use the word ‘productive’ cautiously because that’s the pressure I’m trying to avoid.”
Lotz speaks of measuring her worth by her output — did I work on a song today? Did I make a meal from scratch today? “Some days you can’t do that, and that’s fine,” she says. “You might not do that at all, and that’s also fine. So I’m trying to strike a balance in all kinds of ways.”
In our wide-ranging conversation, we discuss taking in news and knowing when to give yourself a break from the headlines. She talks about having a light structure of writing songs and working on Petal’s next album, but also spending hours binging Nailed It and Keira Knightley’s period pieces, or making bagels for the first time. Lotz talks about how to feel when your neighbors play Call of Duty until 4 a.m. at maximum volume. She talks about being out of work — both in terms of music and her two part-time gigs — but also learning to remind yourself that the situation is so much bigger than yourself.
“For me and a lot of people, this is a very unprecedented situation,” she says. “So the response is hard to navigate. Obviously it’s easy to feel angry and scared for so many reasons, but primarily the thing I’ve come to terms with and feel good about is I’m happy to lose income and stay home to save lives.”
Below, watch Lotz’s solo piano performances of “Magic Gone,” “Heaven,” and “Stardust,” listen to our entire conversation, and peruse her Checking In music picks; Lotz is the first person in this series who did not hesitate a second when we asked what her favorite song of all time is, and when you see her pick, you’ll immediately know why.
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Favorite Song Of All Time: “Somebody to Love” by Queen
“The first time I heard this song I was nine years old. I think it really stopped me in my tracks…just, you know when something clicks? And you’re like ‘ahhh.’ That’s the moment I knew I could write a song, maybe. Because I grew up playing classical piano, and at that time when I was nine, I was studying piano pretty intensely. When I heard that song, I realized that Freddie Mercury had some kind of background with training, maybe like mine even, and wrote this incredible song that had pop rock sensibilities but the emotion was just as there as listening to something classical. The last verse of that song in particular is some of the most stellar writing ever. it’s so simple, it’s just putting it right out there. That song changed my life, period, forever.”
Song That Raises Your Spirits: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
“This is also a song I’ve loved since I was a kid. My dad and I used to joke around that if I ever got married, that’d be the song we’d dance to at my wedding, and we’d choreograph moves. Peter Gabriel is one of favorite artists, and every time I hear that song, I feel better. It’s just a good one.”
Song You’re Most Proud Of Working On: “Tightrope” by Petal
‘That’s tough. Lyrically, ‘Tightrope’ is one of my favorite songs I’ve written and when we worked on it in the studio, Will Yip and I made something pretty cool, and he pushed me in the right direction.”