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Marisa Ronstadt, Cousin Of Linda, Spans Genres For 'Moon'


Marisa Ronstadt bears a musical name but she has her own style, which seems to be a mix of Mariachi, Classic Rock, Soul, R&B, Indie Pop - maybe she'll fill in any that we've missed. She's played music since she was seven and has her own band now "Marisa Ronstadt And The Know-It-All's." Their debut album is "Blueberry Moon." It's out now - let's hear a little.


MARISA RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing) Baby you're on your way. Ain't no stopping you, your here to stay. Everything, everything is much more beautiful because of you.

SIMON: Marisa Ronstadt joins us now from the studios of NPR West. Thanks very much for being with us.

MARISA RONSTADT: Hi. How are you?

SIMON: Fine thanks. So Blueberry's your daughter?

RONSTADT: (Laughing) Well, that's what we used to call her obviously. When I was carrying her for nine months, my husband actually referred to her as Blueberry. And then everybody started referring to her as Blueberry and it became an ad lib in that song actually - can't wait to meet you soon beneath the blueberry moon. And my producers strongly suggested that we keep the ad lib on the album - on the track.

SIMON: Do you think it made you a different kind of artist, having a child?

RONSTADT: Absolutely. The recording process itself was different because there was something literally growing inside of me and I felt like if she liked something that we recorded or liked something that we tracked she'd kick me.

SIMON: (Laughing) Yes.

RONSTADT: And if she didn't, she wouldn't and we would - we would record it again. So, you know, there was another judge in this. There was another critique.

SIMON: Let's listen to another track here if we could. The second track is "Wrong Doings."


SIMON: I'm going to read a little bit of the lyrics. (Reading) Everything you slither and say is laced with lies.


RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing) Everything you slither and say laced with lies, always your way. All those times you did me wrong. Every time singing the same sad song.

SIMON: So what set this one off?

RONSTADT: I sang it to my husband and he was like I really hope that this song isn't about me...


RONSTADT: ...And so my sister and I have been watching a soap opera since we were 14 and its called "Young And The Restless." And there was a character on the show, his name was Adam Newman and he was a very manipulative, sneaky kind of guy. And her and I were having a conversation one day and I said oh, all of his wrongdoings are going to see the light of day. And it clicked, something just clicked inside of me and I said I have to go - that's a song.

SIMON: I want to play the last track called "Freedom" and I gather the inspiration for this was a law that's pretty well-known, SB 1070, the Arizona bill that was signed into law I believe in 2010...


SIMON: ..Which is considered a very tough bill on immigration. Let's hear some of the song.


RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing) Soon to be a mother of three in search of lady liberty. Instead, she's chained to a bed bringing life into the world. Hauled off to the other side, leaving her babies behind. She is aching for freedom. Yearning for freedom.

SIMON: Another family member worked on the lyrics with you.

RONSTADT: My father. My father is a local news anchor here in Los Angeles and both the first and second verses of this song are actual stories that came out of Arizona. And my father covered these stories and it just really resonated in me and I wanted a piece of this to be in Spanish so my father translated the bridge.


RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing in Spanish) Porque? Porque es asi? Ley endomoniada. Que rompe el corazon. Somos pueblo del sol.

SIMON: A song like this is important to you.

RONSTADT: Absolutely. I grew up in Arizona my husband and I have talked about moving back home many times to be close to family. But this is honestly one of the major things holding us back because we have a little girl now and I don't want to raise her in a world where the color of her skin or the way that she looks will define her and scare her. I don't want her to live in fear.


SIMON: Could someone with the name Ronstadt in Arizona go into the roofing business, or do you have to go give music a tumble?

RONSTADT: (Laughing) Not - not necessarily. I mean, there are many...

SIMON: I think I've seen a Ronstadt hardware store, am I wrong about that? So did the other person with the name who sings give you any advice?

RONSTADT: Absolutely. Linda is one of the most phenomenal artists that I've ever had the opportunity to meet and to obviously - to be related to. And she said follow the beat to your own drum, follow your own path and write from the heart and you can't go wrong. And I feel that I've done that and I've continued to do that.


RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing) Just you and me. My sweetest melody.

SIMON: Marisa Ronstadt - "Marissa Ronstadt And The Know-It-Alls." Her new album "Blueberry Moon." She joined us from NPR West. Thanks much for being with us.

RONSTADT: Thank you.


RONSTADT AND THE KNOW-IT-ALLS: (Singing) Yeah, that's what you are, my big bright shining star.

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR NEWS, I'm Scott Simon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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