Inside is a collection of songs written in the past year and while it may not be a “concept album” (thanks to all things holy) there is something that knits all the pieces here together.
“The songs do touch on similar themes. It’s about nostalgia, childhood, unrequited love and The Goonies.” says Dooley.
“Watching Goonies at My House is a middle school love song about The Goonies.” she says.
Dooley goes on to explain how her family had a box of old VHS tapes, purchased used at Blockbuster. The videos there were all sort of random but one of those was The Goonies and it crept into her youthful consciousness. Everyone has a movie, usually movies, they watched with their friends, their first crushes and those memories stick.
Dooley wanted to write from an early age.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was little I wanted to be a screenwriter. I’ve journaled my whole life and written little stories,” she says. “It wasn’t until high school that I realized I liked writing songs. They are like short stories, the shortest stories. “
The Valparaiso, Indiana native studied play writing. She says that this might well come through in her songwriting.
“I have characters and songs are great for character studies.” says Dooley.
“I never set out to write a song about a particular subject when I do they turn out like garbage. I improvise.” she says.
She keeps it open and explores different voices in her songs.
“What I like about songwriting is it is sort of mysterious.” says Dooley.
As to the music she starts with the piano. It isn’t always all chipper and cheerful.
“I improvise on piano and get these depressing melodies,” she says. “I do write about sad stuff but I don’t want it to be a big dramatic emo rant. It isn’t me.”
Another interesting source of inspiration is her work.
“I am a nanny and I teach music to babies. I love being around kids. It also feeds into my work. They are little bundles of material. Obviously I make sure they don’t die. “she says.
Dooley’s most recent show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on February 10 was done in a middle school dance theme with balloons, crepe paper and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She mentions nothing of trying to pipe in that “high school gymnasium smell.”
Dooley hasn’t toured extensively but it is something that is a possibility.
Dooley is always writing. At the moment she is working on two screenplays. She says she wants to bring back the movie musical. Where is Gene Kelly when you really need him?