HomeInterviewsAuthor Talk – Margo Price on memoir ‘Maybe We’ll Make It’

Author Talk – Margo Price on memoir ‘Maybe We’ll Make It’

360°Sound had the opportunity to attend Margo Price’s discussion of her new memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, Nov. 5 at the Texas Book Festival in Austin. The 39-year-old country singer-songwriter released her critically acclaimed debut solo album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, on Jack White’s Third Man Records in 2016. She was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

The Nashville transplant is married to Jeremy Ivey, who plays guitar in her band. In 2010, Price gave birth to twin boys. One of them, Ezra, died from a heart condition at two weeks old. In 2019, Price had a baby girl. Grief, motherhood, and the search for artistic freedom are among the themes explored in Maybe We’ll Make It (out now on University of Texas Press).

Price’s third album, That’s How Rumors Get Started, dropped in 2020 on the Loma Vista label, debuting at 17 on Billboard’s Country charts. Her fourth album, Strays, is slated for a Jan. 13, 2023 release. 360°Sound has compiled highlights from Price’s Texas Book Festival talk

On the inspiration to write the memoir…

It was the combination of a couple of things. I had just kind of got my career up and running and suddenly I found myself knocked up again. I was home and just really needed something to fulfill myself creatively. I started writing it thinking I need to get those memories down before I forgot them. Jessica Hopper of University of Texas Press reached out and helped give me a home for my manuscript.

I started working on it in 2018. I didn’t have a ghostwriter. I wrote the whole thing by myself. It took about four and a half years of obsessing, editing, re-editing, and trying to get it to where it is today. This book is really personal.

On the book’s painful personal details…

The first draft was very different than what you’re reading today. It was 500 pages and my editor helped trim the fat down to 270. My husband was really instrumental in encouraging me to be transparent about what we really went through after losing a child. It was a little difficult to get it all down, but it’s also very freeing because now I kind of own my truth. There are some people out there who will judge me but it’s alright because I’m going to tell you firsthand my mistakes, I don’t need anyone else to air out my dirty laundry. Now I’ve done it myself.

None of us have asked to be here; we’re all just trying to go through the human existence. There’s a lot of pain and speed bumps along the way. When I look back at how reckless my 20s and my 30s also were, I don’t want to feel shame for it because I’ve spent so much time being hard on myself. I want to forgive myself. I don’t want to dwell on those things because when I was dwelling in it, I was self-medicating in a really unhealthy way. Reading it back and doing the audiobook was really emotional because I was finally processing some of the things that happened like the death of my band Buffalo Clover. I never really grieved that. I just kind of moved on. There’s a lot there to unpack.

On magic mushrooms…

In the way that Willie Nelson has destigmatized cannabis, I wanted to do the same for other plant medicines. I 100% would not be a musician, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking with y’all today, had I not embarked on that first journey of psilocybin. I just had a lot of people around me telling me that I needed to go to college, get the degree, study communication, and write commercials. When I had that first experience, I just realized that there was other opportunities. There was other things that I wanted to do. A couple weeks later, I dropped out of school, I moved to Nashville, and it changed my life.

I battled eating disorders and body dysmorphia and just overall self-image, not liking the way I look. I’ve had wonderful experiences. I had another trip about two years ago, and I’ve been alcohol-free since. I tried to quit drinking so many times. I can’t explain it but this last trip that I took, it was incredible just to know that I could give it up, and nobody was going to judge me.

I’d like to live somewhere where it was legal. I think we’re going to see over the next 10-20 years, people using it to battle depression, trauma, PTSD, etc. I’m not advocating for anything. Don’t take my word for it. I just want to share my experience because it’s been absolutely life-changing.

On breaking into the music industry…

It’s been a real learning experience being in the music industry. I’m still learning things. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. No matter what sex you are, it’s hard to make it in this business. People don’t like individuality, they want to just stomp it out of us, they want something that’s already successful. So when you’re different, it’s confusing sometimes. I’m incredibly grateful that Third Man saw the value in my album.

I got rejection letter after rejection letter. I was doing a lot of hard drinking. We’d sold the car, pawned the wedding ring, sold so many possessions in our home to make this record, and it was like, ‘Oh no, nobody wants it still.’ Now I’ve got a couple of rejection letters framed on my wall. I would just say to anybody out there making music, don’t worry about the success of it, just simply make art, create things, write because you are. Don’t get caught up in success. It’s the ‘more’ disease. You just have to get more. It’s not about that. It’s about making art and the whole process of it. Even writing a book, it’s like I really want to be on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s just a list. I don’t buy books because they’re on a list. I buy them because I like the author or someone recommended it to me.

On collaborating with older artists…

I really at times I feel like I’ve been born in the wrong generation. I love music from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s. I do try to keep my finger on the pulse and check out people. There are definitely great bands and great musicians coming out. I yearn to be in a time where there were no cell phones and no social media. I think that would’ve just been awesome.

I still pinch myself when I think about the day when I went to Willie Nelson’s studio in Spicewood. [Nelson’s guitar] Trigger was sitting right there. There were some joints on the table. He came in and told Jeremy and I, ‘This is a great song.’ And we’re like, ‘We’re just ripping you off.’ He’s like, ‘I didn’t write that song; y’all wrote that song.’

I got to hang with Mavis Staples about a month ago in Park City, Utah. She was telling me about working with Prince and Bob Dylan. It’s crazy to be able to collaborate with folks like that. I’m still in shock about it.

On Dolly Parton…

I love her. I sang at her 50th Opry performance. They brought her out, and it was like the Queen of England. She was so nice. I kind of froze. I didn’t know what to say. I said, ‘I’m a big fan of your songwriting. I adore you.’ She gave me a big hug and our dresses got stuck together because she was wearing rhinestones and I had sequins. We just stood there connected [audience laughs].

Keep up with Margo Price on margoprice.net

Scoop up a copy of her fine memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, direct from UT Press

Please stick and stay for some more great eavesdropping

Jann Wenner talks memoir ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ at Texas Tribune Festival


Learn more about what we're up to at 360°Sound.