The Power of Two: Q&A With the Indigo Girls

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, the talented pair who make up the beloved folk duos Indigo Girls, have been performing together for 25 years. Here, we catch up with one-half of the duo, Emily, about touring, keeping it fresh and making time for baby.

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, the talented pair who make up the beloved folk duos Indigo Girls, have been performing together for 25 years. Here, we catch up with one-half of the duo, Emily, about touring, keeping it fresh and making time for baby.

Q: You’re playing Chastain this month—what can fans expect?
This is going to be cool because we’re doing two nights and it’s with Joan Baez. So that’s very special for us. We played with Joan many years ago so this will be a reunion for us. She’ll play a set, we’ll play a set and then we’re going to do a short set together. I’m sure the fans will love it. It’s going to be a great couple of nights, it’s on the weekend, it’s summer time ... I can’t wait.

Q: From the way you talk, it sounds like you really enjoy performing. Is that true?
It is true. We’ve done it a long, long time. Amy and I met in elementary school and started playing professionally in high school. So we had our first gig in 1980 and we’re still playing live. And I love it. I love it. If anything I get a little more tired from touring the older I get, but quite honestly, I consider it an honor and a privilege to get to play music for a living.

Q: How many days are you on the road?
Not as many as we used to. We always travel during the summer because that’s the best time to tour. This past March I think we were out for about three or four weeks in the spring. And this fall we’re going to do our first Canadian tour so we’ll be in Canada for a couple of weeks. It’s a little bit sporadic but you know, six or seven months out of the year we’re touring.

Q: Will your (5-month-old) daughter tour with you?
We’ll just see how the future unfolds. Already we just kind of haul her around. She’s been all over Canada—her other mom’s Canadian. She’s used to being around people, she’s used to traveling and she’s great on an airplane, she’s good in the car. We don't want to overdo it, but she's good.

Q: What a great way to spend your summer vacation—touring with mom.
We’re going to make it fun for her. We’re kind of late bloomers as parents. We waited until we were 100 percent sure and we’re just dedicated to giving her a full and fulfilling life and for me, I’m sure music is going to play a big role in that, but whatever she wants to do, whatever she wants to be, we’re going to make it good for her.

Q: You’re last album came out over a year ago. Are you going back in studio? What projects are you working on?
Amy is finishing her fourth—maybe fifth—solo record; she’s recording in May. And we’re going to record with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra the first week of June. We’re going to make a new record. We’ve been doing symphony shows so we’re going to do a whole new record of those arrangements. And then we’re going to do a new studio of original songs in 2014.

Q: You’ve been playing for 25 years and you have such a loyal fan base. What’s the reason for your longevity?
What Amy and I do together ... she writes, I write. The fact that we can have two musical lives going on at the same time. The things that we write about are important to our fans and sort of in tune with their lives—relationships, travel, social issues, things that people think about. We’ve just kept it fresh all these years; we don’t do anything by rote. We make it fresh and play for these incredible people and Amy and I are still friends.

Q: Anything left you want to accomplish, any bridges to cross?
Me personally I want to make a solo record, so I’m starting to write songs for that. I’m very interested in writing for musical theater or writing a show. Beyond that, when good opportunities come up, Amy and I just take advantage of them.

Q: Do you have any free time at all? If so, what do you do with it?
Since I've had the baby, I haven’t had a lot of free time. In fact, I haven’t had any. We’re going to take a little vacation this year I think. And I read late at night when the baby is asleep. I have a wonderful family and friends and I have a great life, and somehow I find time for everything.