And you already have all the songs written that you intend to record for your album?
I have like 40 songs written that I have to figure out, because the album is going to have a story line. So I'm going through when I wrote these songs and deciding 'OK, this was before this... and this is what I was feeling with this person.'
And does Callin Out set the tone for the rest of the album?
My next song I'm going to release is called 'Don't Respect Ya" and it's like Kelly Clarkson hard rock. Callin Out was my first go at really putting music to my lyrics. Because I'm only a lyricist, I don't do any of the music at all. I have a slew of different writers and we collaborate and figure out what we need to do. Callin Out was the first song that felt... full? and that I needed to let out. And the response has been awesome.
Musically, it does start simple and then keeps building up and getting more complex... and for people just hearing the song and learning about you, what do you think the lyrics are about, or the experience that led to Callin Out?
I have been madly in love with the same guy for like five years.
That wasn't past tense, by the way...
No. It's not past tense. It's still going on. There have been a lot of issues surrounding the idea of us getting together.
So, he's aware of this...
Oh, he's very aware, to the point where we were getting aggressive with each other, because we both know what's going on, and he's not on the same page as me, and he's trying to figure out for himself because I've been there for a lot of stuff going on in his life, and the same for me, but Callin Out specifically was in a time when I couldn't take it anymore.
He couldn't give me what I needed, but he wanted to keep me around, and I couldn't do it. Callin Out was written when I was in Toronto, with Spring Awakening, and I was at the gym, and we just got into a huge fight and I was on a treadmill, listening to Kelly Clarkson's My December album, running, and hysterically crying. Like a crazy person...
How come that wasn't the video?
(laughs) Talk to Perry Sherman, he made that video.
It sounds like a fun video, just someone on a treadmill, balling for four minutes.
I wonder what the response would have been then? Probably that I'm crazy. But he had just stayed with me in Toronto, and sort of ended up hitting on somebody else, and that was like the breaking point for me. And that's when I finally told him everything, and he just didn't want to talk to me anymore. And now, he feels like I'm Adele, and he's that asshole, because he knows the song is about him. (laughs)
So, are all the songs about him?
I don't know yet. We'll find out.
But there are enough songs about him to fill an album...
He knows this, too, but I could do albums for the rest of my life just about him.
Yeah, I've always been a writer and that's the way to get the release, just get it out. Spring Awakening was good for that, too. If I'm in a bad mood and "Bitch of Living" started, it was like 'Here we go, let is all out...' "Totally Fucked"? Great... but yeah, there are a lot of songs about him. But there are other people, too.
And what does he think about being the subject of the songs?
He hates it (laughs).
Usually, you break up with them and write about them. You're not supposed to keep them around and have this weird ongoing thing, and you're already writing songs about the past, while you still have a potential future...
The song came out when we weren't talking. And I sent... oh, I was so pissed at him... and I sent him the song and said 'Just so you know, this is all about you...' I sound like a dickhead right now, but the experience that I had with him has been tormenting, he knows it, and he's making up for it a lot. We're figuring it out. And I talked to my best friend, and we kind of both agree that I need to let this happen, and need it to be a train wreck or go really well, so that I can get over it, move on, and write Adele's 21.
The other thing I was impressed by when I first moved here is that, here you are, 23, and you're renting out a cabaret room and rehearsing musicians, and just sort of making your own opportunity to showcase your talent. It was like I'm not waiting for shit to happen, I'm making shit happen...
For me, it only became that because, after Capeman, I did a couple readings here and there and I was just sitting around. Being an actor, when you're not constantly working is a depressing life, because you just live your life around 'no's. No we don't want you, no we can't use you...
And your crush saying the same thing...
Yes, boys telling you they don't want you... And my friend was in a music video and I went to the party, and this manager was there and basically took me under his wing, signed me, and he's the reason why I did the show. He was like 'You're just auditioning? You should just be doing that, here's what you need to be doing...' He looked through my song lyrics and said, 'You need to start recording songs.' He's the reason why I'm in this culture right now.
Yeah, I wasn't getting much sympathy when I moved here from California, because I finished a contract job, and I mainly knew actors here, so I would be complaining that 'This is crazy, because I only have a fixed amount of money. I don't know how long it's supposed to last. I don't know when my next job will happen. And I'm in New York...' And they were all, like, 'Yeah, that's our life. That's how we do everything.'
That's our life here.
And what is the significance of the ladybug? I notice it is also your tattoo...
When I was little, my aunt and I used to throw ladybugs out of windows and make wishes on them. That was like a thing, for some reason, as a child. And that carried on through my childhood, and through high school.
Whenever I'd see a ladybug, I'd throw it out of a window and make a wish. And it was always 'I want to be an actor... I want to be a singer...' And that carried over to my aunt Rosa, who we lost to breast cancer two years ago, and when she was in the hospital, we would be all 'Wish on a ladybug, wish on a ladybug, it's going to be fine...'
But as far as the album, Ladybug Articles is a private online journal where I put all my lyrics. And when I was trying to come up with a title for the album, I couldn't figure out what it was going to be, and I was just like 'Why don't I just call it the Ladybug Articles?' That's where all the lyrics are to begin with...
And you're raising the money to do the album online. How is that working?
If the fund raising happens on schedule, the songs can be recorded and ready for release by mid-November. But probably more like Christmas time. But that's for actual hard copies. iTunes will be before that.
And there will be more shows coming up?
Yeah, in early September, I'll do a pre-release show with all the songs that are on the Ladybug Articles CD, and a bunch that aren't. I'm also working on a musical theater female album, where I'm kind of writing a show, but I don't want to talk about that yet.
Here's a live version of Callin Out:
You can buy Callin Out on iTunes.
You can help fund his EP at http://www.indiegogo.com/AnthonyLeeEP