As Lindsay Ell began the recording process for her latest album, 2017's The Project, the Canadian country singer had a homework assignment from her producer, Sugarland's Kristian Bush. In order to help Ell figure out her own sound, Bush wanted her to record her favorite album in full, playing all the instruments herself, and gave her two weeks to do it.
While that may sound like a daunting task, Ell — whose No. 1 album is John Mayer's Continuum — was stoked to dive into Mayer's 2006 masterpiece, which resulted in what she deemed The Continuum Project. And frankly, without recording her own versions that album, The Project wouldn't have turned out the way it did.
“The Continuum Project was the thing that allowed me to figure out what I wanted my own record The Project to sound like,” Ell tells Billboard. “There was a vulnerability that I discovered recording it that just came down to getting a real intimate vocal and a guitar part, and sometimes, that’s all you need. There’s beauty in simplicity, and there’s beauty in being as real as you can get — and I definitely reflected that on my own record and take it as a template going forward.”
She never planned on releasing the covers, but after eager fans requested to hear the result her Continuum assignment, she decided to release the project on May 25. Ell has even made couple music videos for her Continuum covers already, with “I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)” arriving last week and “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” premiering on Billboard today (June 12).
The “Dreaming” video sees Ell playing the poignant tune at a colorfully painted piano in the middle a lake, a unique setting that's indicative the fearlessness The Continuum Project instilled in her.
“It taught me how to be vulnerable and honest in front the mic,” she says The Continuum Project. “When you reach that place as an artist, you find the special creative spaces that make you who you are. I never thought I would put a piano in the water and shoot a music video, but with The Continuum Project anything and everything was possible in my mind.”
Ell is getting ready to hit the road with Bush next month, as the singer is joining Sugarland's Still the Same Tour as an opening act starting July 19 in Tulsa. Though Ell has been looking forward to the tour since it was announced, her fans should be pretty excited that she's already reuniting with her The Project producer. “I have a feeling Kristian and I are gonna write half my next record on this tour,” she asserts. “I am so ready.”
Watch Ell's video for “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” below.