Emily Saliers say her Indigo Girls bandmate, Amy Ray, is her polar opposite, but that their mismatched styles make for great music.
Since 1985, the two folksingers have produced such hits such as "Closer to Fine," "Shame on You" and "Hammer and Nail." On Tuesday, fans will get a chance to hear music from the Indigo Girls' 14th album, 2011's "Beauty Queen Sister," when they perform at the Culture Room.
We chatted with Saliers via phone about her songwriting process and longtime friendship with Ray.
Writing about love and political issues can be cathartic, but is it also painful if the song you're writing about dredges up bad memories?
Yes, there's no doubt about it. We write about some terrible things that have happened throughout history, like discrimination. So, yes, songwriting can be a painful process. I could write about something that happened six years ago, and to stir up memories brings to mind a time that was very emotional for me.
What do you think has helped to make you and Amy Ray so successful?
I think our differences is one of the main reasons we have stayed together for so long. We're yin and yang, from how we express ourselves to how we eat. Except for our values, we're polar opposites. But we're family since we've known each since we were 9. Our families know each other, and we went to the same schools. All of life's milestones we experience together.
Since you're opposites, do you argue a lot?
No, we don't fight. We have a deep trust. Creatively, whoever wrote the song gets to have the final say. Over the years, we've established guidelines and trust each other's ideas. It's actually pretty amazing, if you think about it.
Is there anything in life you'd love to do that you haven't yet?
I'd like to make a solo record, so I'm starting to dig into that. I'm a very goal-oriented person. I own a restaurant, and I wrote a book. When I look at life, I try to be present and make the most [of what] is given to me. Then, wonderful things start to unfold, naturally.
How do you feel about the progress of gay rights?
There has been a lot of progress, but we still have a long way to go. It's something I think about a lot, because my partner is Canadian, and we have issues with immigration laws. It's great to see more celebrities coming out and that there are anti-bullying campaigns. But until we have full civil rights across the board, we have to keep our eyes on the prize and keep working to achieve our goals through activism and ending homophobia.
The Indigo Girls will perform 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $30. Go to CultureRoom.net.