Running In Borrowed Shoes
Singer-Songwriter Leah Nobel is the mind and voice behind Running In Borrowed Shoes, an album adapted from 100 interviews with Real People. The record was built on the foundation of outsourced inspiration--- Nobel treated her 100 interviews like research, collecting stories and themes from the lives of her interviewee's that she then channeled into songs. She interviewed 52 women and 48 men from all walks of life, ranging in age from 6 to 93, 80% of whom were strangers- the remainder, acquaintances and friends. Half of the interviews were conducted in person, as Nobel took her homemade 'Come Talk To Me' sign to the local senior center, YMCA and coffee shops around Nashville. The rest were conducted with the help of social media, and the video chat app Skype allowed her to connect with people across the US and beyond.
" I had one simple goal for every interview. To really get to know someone during the time we spoke. I specifically chose questions that would bypass smalltalk, which meant my interviewee and I were plunged into vulnerability off the bat. Sometimes it was uncomfortable for both of us- but that's where the magic happens. Many people thought their lives weren't 'exciting enough' to warrant an interview. But I wasn't ever looking for excitement, I was looking for truth. I wanted to know: Who are you? What makes you tick? When do you feel alive? What have you survived?" says Nobel.
She went on to transcribe each interview in first person, as if everything that happened in their life, had happened in her own. Nobel believes that step was the most important one in her entire creative process because it was in that transfer that she learned empathy. "I will never be able to completely remove myself from my own bubble, or from viewing life through my own lens. But transcribing my interviews in first person and writing from that space, is the closest I will get to understanding life from someone else's perspective."
The songs came trickling out over the course of two years (Nobel narrowed 31 songs down to 10 for the record). Every song is written from a perspective other than her own- and sourced in a different way. Some are based on general reoccurring themes, and others are more specific translations of people's stories. With the exception of one song on the record, Leah penned every song by herself, and collaborated closely with Grammy- winning producer Pete Stewart (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) on the recordings. The result? An honest, intimate, and relatable take on the human experience, anchored in pop and folk sensibilities. The perfect soundtrack for a long drive or a good cry.