A chat with Lilith Czar
Originally featured in the 2022 Welcome To Rockville Official Commemorative Guide.
SIGT: I see you’re an ‘86 baby as well. So cheers to that.
Lilith: Hell, yeah. What month are you born in?
SIGT: May … 26th.
Lilith: So you are a Gemini. I’m a Pisces, slightly older than you.
SIGT: You grew up in the Tampa Bay/Clearwater area?
Lilith: I did. I was born in San Francisco, California. When I was around two years old, we moved to San Diego where we lived until I was about ten. Then we moved to Florida. My teenage years were spent in the Tampa Bay/Clearwater area. Then when I was 16, I got signed and started spending so much of my time in LA and on the road. Now, because me and my husband [Andy Black] moved to Florida recently over the last couple of months, I think I finally am able to say I’m from Florida! It’s taken most of my life to be like, okay, I now know where I’m from.
SIGT: I have a very similar path, but the opposite side of the country. I was born in New York, moved to North Carolina when I was like two. And then I moved out of North Carolina when I was like eleven. And then my parents moved me to Florida like yours. So does Florida still feel like a home coming to you?
Lilith: It does. I mean—Andy and I talk about this all the time—LA kind of felt like a waiting room. Every time we got home from a tour, it didn’t feel like we were going home. It felt like we were going to a place we were familiar with to wait to do the next thing. And every time we visited Florida to see my family for the holidays, it felt like we were going home. We were missing everything. I was missing my nieces and nephews growing up. I hadn’t seen my mom because of the pandemic. I hadn’t seen my parents in years. And we have animals. It was very difficult to find people to take care of our cats and our dog every day. My brother is a vet tech, and so he was like, if you guys move here, I live like five minutes down the road. So when we finally moved here, we both felt this calmness and peacefulness in making the move. Yeah, it feels like home.
SIGT: It’s so funny because my sister is a vet tech as well.
Lilith: Are we related? Are you my long lost twin?
SIGT: Possibly. I’m a sibling.
Lilith: That is so funny.
SIGT: That’s awesome. Well, welcome home!
Lilith: Thank you! I love the weather. The music scene is great. I absolutely adore Florida.
SIGT: Isn’t that the silver lining in all of this, though the pandemic, it really brought families closer together. Families that love each other anyways, closer together?
Lilith: Absolutely. It put a lot in perspective for me as far as family goes and just what I was doing with my life. I think that’s why I made so many changes over the last two years. It was by the end of 2020 we knew we were going to move. I was like, that’s it. I can’t not be around my family. Like, shit is real! We need to be closer to our family.
SIGT: The Pandemic gave us so much time to sit still and think.
Lilith: Oh, God, the amount of self reflection.
SIGT: And we’re both at that age where we’re just, like, staring at ourselves in the mirror like, Am I okay?
Lilith: Yeah. Oh, my God. Absolutely. I mean, there were days during 2020 where it was like you would be having a really good day, and then five minutes later, it was like a circle pit of hell, just all of a sudden just down into a hell zone where you’re just like, what am I doing with my mind? What are these feelings I’ve been running from?
SIGT: I totally feel that. Well, you’ve had such an amazing career, from your days on Warped Tour to, The Voice, to your solo career. However, through the Pandemic and everything, you’ve awakened something deep inside of you that’s been building for seemingly decades, possibly since birth. And from the ashes, like a phoenix, Lilith Czar emerges, a King, an unstoppable force. How does it feel to finally be on this new path, sailing forward?
Lilith: It’s very empowering. It feels like I’m finally living my truth in a sense. People evolve throughout their life. They change, they grow, they learn through lessons. They were forever changed by daily experiences and trauma, or just life. And like you said earlier, during the Pandemic, we had so much time to sit and think and really reflect on ourselves. Look at where we were in our life, where we’ve been, where we wanted to be. And because I had that gift of time, I was able to really see my past. I was really able to look at my entire life and see how I’ve changed and how I’ve evolved and how I’ve become a different person. I wasn’t fortune telling, but I could see where I wanted myself to be at the end of this lockdown and where I wanted to be in the future. And that entails a story I wanted to tell with this record with visualizers and poems. And I wanted to put this metamorphosis into the most artistic way possible in order to bring my fans along on this kind of self-discovery and transformation journey I was on. And I wanted to bring them with me so they could go through it themselves as well.
SIGT: It’s very conscious to be aware of the fact that your fans are growing in age as well, and you need to grow with them.
Lilith: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s the same thing with, like, the fucking Harry Potter movies. When we first saw The Sorcerer’s Stone, we were all twelve years old. And then as the movies progress. They get darker and darker and darker. And what was so smart about how they filmed those movies is they would hire new directors to kind of bring the movies into more of an adult world because the fanbase of that universe had grown up with the characters in the movies and in the books. It’s very easy to watch the people, especially with social media, from their beginning to now and see like, Holy shit. I have people with children listening to my music!
SIGT: I just had a baby.
Lilith: Oh, my gosh! Congratulations!
SIGT: Thank you so much!
Lilith: That’s so amazing. Oh, my gosh. Girl or boy?
SIGT: His name’s Theodore.
Lilith: Theodore! Oh, that’s a lovely name. I’m so happy for you. That’s so funny, because my brother, a week ago, just had a baby!
SIGT: Holy shit.
Lilith: Yeah. The coincidences in our lives are, like, very strange. I love it so much.
SIGT: It gives me reassurance that I’m on the right path.
Lilith: Don’t you love that?
SIGT: I love it.
Lilith: I call that little winks from the universe, like, when things like that happen.
SIGT: Oh, yeah. I love that.
Lilith: Yeah. It’s a little wink from the universe!
SIGT: I love it. Inaudible but you totally know what it means.
Lilith: Yes. That’s awesome.
SIGT: So awesome. I had a follow up to your last question. Taking the time to sit and think brought you to this place where you are now. Do you have any advice for someone who is searching inside their soul for a rebirth?
Lilith: Wow. That’s a very good question. Yeah, I think that the core of the metamorphosis and the whole change came down to the fact that it felt selfless. I wanted to do something that could help people, and that was the core. As a child, when I was seven or eight years old, my mom asked me, you know, how parents are, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I told my mom “I want to help people.” Getting back to that first purpose, when you’re a kid, you know what you want to do. Lots of people know who they want to be and what they want to do when they’re children. You’re so unaffected by the world, you know, you haven’t been beaten down into the ground yet. There’s so much purity and so much truth being a child. I feel like for me, going back in time and rediscovering my first purposes in life definitely helped with this growth. Coming from a place of selflessness was also something that gave me a shit ton of courage. I was able to accept things like how I looked, the sound of my voice, not comparing myself to others. There are lots of things that hold us back in life, and if you can learn to shed those kinds of dead weights and those things holding you back from being the best version of yourself, it is a tremendous way to grow. And rather than looking inward, you’re looking outward, if that makes sense.
SIGT: It’s so important. It absolutely does. And it’s beautiful because it’s so important for us to actually take that moment and really look inside, because when you hit your 20s, all through your 20s, your early 30’s. You’re looking outward, you’re absorbing, you’re eager, your eyes are open and just interpreting data. And then to be able to take all that data that you’ve received and then try and make some sense of it and look back and see. Okay, when I was a child, I experienced these traumas, and this is why I’m this way.
Lilith Czar: It’s self confronting. Really looking at things that you do that you might not feel good about later, shedding your skin. Figuring out, okay, well, I have this snarky part of my personality. How can I respond better to things and not be so reactionary and really confronting your behavior and yourself, but also really admiring yourself, even admiring things that you don’t love about yourself. The more that you put affinity and love into things that bother you about yourself, the less they affect you, if that makes sense.
SIGT: That’s absolutely true. It boils down to the core saying, “love yourself,” and we learn from others, I believe, how to talk shit to ourselves about ourselves.
Lilith: Yeah. It can really destroy you. I know how that game goes very, very well, and it took a lot of practice to stop doing that to myself and forgive myself for shit.
SIGT: I still struggle with that all the time.
Lilith: Yes, it’s part of humanity, but you got to just tell that voice to shut the fuck up. It’s not you.
SIGT: There’s a lyric I always repeat to myself when I’m in those moments. It’s by a band called IDLES, and the lead singer says, “If someone talked to you the way that you talked to you, I’d put their teeth through.”
Lilith: Oh, shit. That’s a great lyric. Damn. I’m going to check that song out later. That’s awesome.
SIGT: I think they’re a Scottish band, IDLES. Like, idling a car. Like, ID L-E-S.
Lilith: Okay, and what was the song called?
Lilith Czar: Okay, I’m going to check that out. That’s a great line. Damn.
SIGT: Your fans seem to have been very receptive so far, and I feel like it connects to how honest you are to them and how considerate you are to them. I’ve noticed some of them even, like, painting their faces, writing you notes. How has the response to your debut Lilith Czar album, ‘Created from Filth and Dust’, been on the road?
Lilith: Oh, shit, dude. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I have never had this experience as a touring musician. I have never felt more. I have never been so taken aback. In Automatic Loveletter, I was a child. I was an actual teenager. You think you know things, but you don’t know shit. It’s the experience. You don’t really understand who you are or what you want to say or what you’re about or what you stand for. You’re discovering all of those things in your teens and so that was Automatic Loveletter. And then as Juliet Simms I went through the whole The Voice thing and kind of falling off the deep end, with substance abuse and having to pull myself out of that. And it was this time period in my life where I had gone through my teens, now I’m in my 20s, and I’m not sure who I am, and I’m trying to find out who I am, but I’m also, like battling fucking demons and trying to get that monkey off my back and then therapy and fucking really trying to build myself back up. But it’s all still while trying to write music and put out music. It was just this chaotic time in my life. So to come out with Lilith Czar and ‘Created from Filth and Dust’, and to have a clear head, six years sober, I know who I am, I know what I want to say, I know where my convictions are. I’m saying everything I want to say. I’m singing everything I want to sing. And the fact that it is getting the response that it’s getting solidifies for me, that I am completely on the right path, that I’m doing the exact right thing right now because I’ve never experienced this kind of reaction.
SIGT: Well, it’s truly something you pulled from your gut. It’s wonderful to hear that you are so stoked to be where you are, because I think, as a fan, and a lot of fans that have followed you for a long time, we are so stoked to see you emerge, to blossom, to bloom. And like I said before, you’re a fucking Phoenix.
Lilith: Man. Thank you so much.
SIGT: And now you’re a King. You truly are, though.
Lilith: We are all Kings all right. This is a Kingdom where we are all Kings.
SIGT: Yes. I love it.
Lilith Czar: Well, thank you. That’s a really big compliment. And that’s a really nice acknowledgement, and I truly mean it. It’s from the bottom of my heart that it means so much to me.
SIGT: Well, I mean, it, too. It’s so nice to speak to you, and I enjoy talking to people, but I truly love speaking to you today. It’s fucking great.
Lilith: Oh, Mitch, thank you so much. It was so great to meet. I can’t believe how many things we have in common.
SIGT: I know. It’s fucking crazy.
Lilith: I think we’re meant to be friends. At the very least.
SIGT: I’m going to try and run into you at Rockville. I have a couple more for you, and then I’ll let you go enjoy Easter or whatever you’re doing today.
Lilith: I’m just laying in a hotel room.
SIGT: That sounds wonderful. So, your knowledge of the human voice as an instrument is so superior, and you’ve been compared to Stevie Nicks’ seductive Witchery. Where do you draw your inspirations to push your vocal abilities?
Lilith: I started singing when I was three or four years old. And what I was listening to at the time was what my parents were having me listen to, which was like Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel, The Eagles, all the classics. So the classic rock sound is embedded in my bones. Those were my first teachers. That’s how I first learned to sing was basically mimicking what I was hearing, which has given me a lot because I spent so many years, hours every day listening to records, singing the songs, learning the words, figuring out how they did that run. How did Stevie Wonder do that harmony and that crazy octave thing that he just did. My perception of sound made it so I was able to understand music that much more, in terms of having to learn a full song in five minutes, or being able to hear a melody and duplicate it right away. That’s just how I have learned to write, how I’ve learned to sing, and all of that was just hearing things. So what happened when I started writing my own music was I was like, oh, shit… You can mock these singers and you can sound like Stevie Nicks, you can sound like Janis Joplin, but you should always want to try to find your own voice. That was something that my mom actually would say to me, we should figure out what your sound is. And, she’s so cute, but she was right! How I was able to do that was through writing my own original material, because then you’re sitting there with nothing to mimic. So your sound and your voice starts to emerge. Around my 20s, I actually had my first singing lesson. The singing instructor I went to was like, “okay, stop. If you keep singing this way, you’re not going to be able to sing ever again by the time you’re 35,” because I had no technique. I had no breathing technique. I did not understand where you were supposed to sing from. I didn’t know what a diaphragm was. All of this was so foreign to me. I would say the last few years, I’ve really cracked down on singing lessons and vocal technique and even speech therapy and learning how to speak correctly in order for it to not harm your singing voice. Because your speaking voice is actually more harmful for singers than their singing voice.
Lilith: Yeah. So, thankfully, I hopped on the technique-wagon early on because I was not singing correctly whatsoever.
SIGT: Well, your enunciation is on point.
Lilith: Thank you.
SIGT: Yeah. It’s so nice to speak to somebody who enunciates really well.
Lilith: I used to speak with what sounded like marbles in my mouth. I had vocal nodules from the way that I was speaking. Part of speech therapy is you have to create the space in the back of your mouth in order for your vocal cords to have the words come out without them rubbing up against each other. You have to imagine a golf ball essentially, in the back of your throat. And what that naturally does is it makes you enunciate more. You speak more clearly, and then it’s not harming your voice at all.
SIGT: Wow. It provides space. It’s like creating mental space in your throat. It’s like opening up that throat chakra.
Lilith: Yeah. And especially with you, you have to talk to people so much throughout the day. I’m sure you experience your voice getting tired. Right?
SIGT: Yeah. When I used to be on the radio, I would speak very low and deep into the mic because it was so clear and it was such a quiet room that I could speak like that. And it made my voice very warm to people listening. I feel like I’m louder when I’m on the phone and especially sometimes people are overseas.
Lilith Czar: Like, screaming. See, you get it.
SIGT: I appreciate that advice, too. Unknowingly. You’re giving me advice.
Lilith Czar: Oh, yeah. I love it. Pay it forward.
SIGT: Yes. Thank you. Is there anything else or anything you’d like to say to the fans coming to Rockville this year?
Lilith: I’m absolutely honored to be a part of this entire concert. For me, it’s going to be a bucket list moment. The bands that are playing. When I saw the line up, I mean, my jaw dropped to the floor. I’m so honored to be a part of this. It’s going to be an absolutely unforgettable time. Let’s fucking have a blast and rock out together. I can’t wait to see you at Rockville!
Lilith Czar Interview by Mitch Foster.
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