Trouble in Shangri-La turns five

May 1, 2001 marks the fifth anniversary of the commercial release of Trouble in Shangri-La — Stevie Nicks’ sixth solo album and her first full length release since 1994’s Street Angel. Working with a talented cast of musicians, which included Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, and Natalie Maines, Nicks delivered her strongest collection of songs since her 1981 groundbreaking solo debut Bella Donna.

Highly anticipated, Trouble in Shangri-La impressively debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart, selling over 100,000 copies in its first week of release. Earning critical and fan acclaim, the album exceeded industry expectation and went gold (500,000 units shipped to retailers) in just six weeks. Shangri-La spawned the singles “Every Day” [official video], “Sorcerer” [official video], and “Planets of the Universe,” which earned a 2001 Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

Nicks supported Trouble in Shangri-La with a full-scale North American tour, which ominously lived up to the album’s title, as a series of unexpected events undermined the spirit and pace of the tour. Early on, respiratory illness forced Nicks to postpone shows, a setback that would follow her throughout the tour.

On September 11, terrorists executed organized attacks in New York and Pennsylvania, which halted the tour completely, leading to national turmoil and more cancellations. In spite of these troubles, Nicks (who was in New York at the time of the attacks) carried on with the encouragement of her friends, family, and fans, finishing the regular tour on a high note in October. Nicks reflected on her experience of September 11th in her journal entries, which were published on her official website, and later in the song “Illume (9-11)” from Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 album Say You Will.

Five years later, Trouble in Shangri-La remains as one of Nicks’ most accomplished and cohesive solo recordings to date.

Q&A: Stevie Nicks

A fog is pouring over the Pacific Coast Highway toward Stevie Nicks’ Southern California home, but the singer’s mood could hardly be brighter. The Fleetwood Mac alumna’s Trouble in Shangri-La has just entered the Billboard 200 at an impressive Number Five. Sheryl Crow, who co-produced five tracks, joined Nicks on the album, as did Macy Gray, Sarah McLachlan and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. Nicks is also recovering from drug addiction— her latest was to the tranquilizer Klonopin. More recently, she’s come back from shooting her part in Destiny’s Child’s video for “Bootylicious,” which samples the Nicks classic “Edge of Seventeen.” “The wild thing is we’re together at, like, Number One and Number Five, and, of course, there’s about a 5,000-year age difference,” Nicks says with a sunny laugh.

RS: Do you feel you’ve become a sort of Mother Superior for women in music?

I do. I do. And it’s a nice feeling — I certainly would have never gone out looking for that, but it seems to be coming to me. I guess these are just all my lost children coming back into my arms.

RS: What do you think of how women in music sell their sexuality these days?

I definitely used my sexuality in a certain way. I kind of draped it all in chiffon and soft lights and suede boots. Everybody now is just much more blatant  Personally, I think that being a little more mysterious works better, and it lasts longer. You should be very careful that you don’t build everything you have around how cute you are or how sexy you are, because, unfortunately, no matter how cute you are or how sexy you are, in fifteen years, that won’t be the most important part of your music. I knew that in my twenties. And I prepared for that.

RS: Do players really only love you when they’re playing?

That’s just about groupies and rock stars and what happens out there on the road. It really doesn’t happen out there on the road to women. It didn’t really happen to me, but I saw it happening all around me.

RS: I hear you’re into doing Pilates these days. Has Pilates replaced Klonopin for you?

No, nothing replaces Klonopin. I’m not addicted to working out. I enjoy it, and I am doing it now not because I want to be thin but because I want to be healthy in twenty years.

RS: With all that you’ve lived through, are you surprised you’re still alive?

I am amazed. I feel very lucky. If I had not caught that Klonopin thing, I am absolutely sure I would have been dead in a year — no doubt in my mind. I feel really lucky that somebody tapped me on the shoulder — some little spirit — and said, You know what? You better go to a hospital right now and get better.

RS: Did drugs ever erode your love for music?

The Klonopin eroded my love for everything. Klonopin is a tranquilizer. So between Klonopin for the calm and some Prozac for the wellness feeling, you are never inspired. That’s what it does.

RS: Did you sense that this album was going to turn things around for you?

Well, I knew that this record would either make me or break me. I figured if I could do an album that the world loved after being addicted to that Klonopin stuff for eight years, and just having that be such a black hole, that I would be back on my way. That’s kind of how I feel. And the Fleetwood Mac reunion just slipped in there. I didn’t ever think that Fleetwood Mac would get back together. On that tour, I really regained my power, so when I came home from the Fleetwood Mac tour, I was really ready to finish this record.

RS: Even though Christine McVie has now retired from the group, is it safe to say there is a future for Fleetwood Mac?

Totally. Lindsey [Buckingham] and I and Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie], we are going to do this. Christine is OK. She has set us free and let us go. And she wants us to do this if we want to. And so we are going to do it. As soon as I get done with this [Shangri-La tour], and Lindsey is finished doing whatever he does in the next year, we’ll be done and we’ll come together, and we’ll do a record. And there’s a possibility that Sheryl could be a little involved in that.

RS: As someone who lived through the ultimate rock & roll interoffice romance, do you have any advice for us on the subject?

It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t, because when all the business and everything else is blended, you don’t have any space for anything.

RS: On the other hand, you’ve had some fascinating men in your life — Lindsey Buckingham, Don Henley, Jimmy Iovine.

They are all still my really good friends today. I just talked to Don Henley an hour and a half ago. We just did an incredible benefit for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in Dallas two weeks ago. All the men who were in my life I’m friends with now, and it’s really nice. I chose to not be married. I chose to be single. I have a lot of fun this way. I can do anything I want, go anywhere I want, be with anybody I want, and I’m not angering anybody. Nobody is ever upset with me.

RS: It must be intimidating to ask you out. It’s like asking out Cinderella.

I would think it would be very intimidating for people. That’s probably why most people don’t, you know, because they’re scared [laughs]. I figure if there’s a soul mate for me out there somewhere, I’ll find him. He’ll find me.

RS: Is the secret to your success that you really are a witch after all?

I’m not a witch.

RS: Not even a good witch, Stevie?

I just like Halloween, and I thought that blondes look skinnier in black. That was my whole idea for that whole thing — a long, cool woman in a black dress, right?

By David Wild /Rolling Stone / July 5, 20001

Nicks’ best solo work in years

By James Hunter
Rolling Stone
June 21, 2001

STEVIE NICKS: Trouble in Shangri-La (Reprise)
* * * 1/2 (3 and a 1/2 stars out of 5)

Stripped to the bare essentials, Stevie Nicks’ music is just Nicks’ articulate rasp and her 14 million romantic emotions; when it’s rocking just right, there’s nothing else like it, giving robust rock form to her seemingly untamable impressions. And on Trouble in Shangri-La, it’s rocking as right as it has since the mid-Eighties, when producer Jimmy Iovine helped Nicks craft two consecutive solo masterstrokes of big-time guitar, tunes and rhythms. On Shangri-La, she works comfortably with everyone from Sheryl Crow to the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines. Producer John Shanks shows a perfect understanding of what makes Nicks Nicks on thrillers like ‘Planets of the Universe” and the sensational title track. And when, working with Rick Nowels on ‘I Miss You,’ she sings “I have so many questions/About love and about pain/About strained relationships,” Nicks delivers some of her best work since she first barked out the words “white-winged dove.”

Stevie Nicks unveils full summer itinerary

Stevie Nicks has confirmed more dates for a summer North American tour in support of her new Reprise album Trouble in Shangri-La. The trek will now begin July 6 in Burgettstown, Pa., and keep her on the road through August.

Trouble in Shangri-La debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 earlier this month, earning Nicks her highest album chart showing since 1983, when The Wild Heart bowed at the same position. First single “Every Day” is No. 19 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart this week.

Here are Stevie Nicks’ confirmed tour dates:

July 6: Burgettstown, Pa. (Post Gazette Pavilion)

July 7: Clarkston, Mich. (DTE Energy Music Theatre)

July 10: Rosemont, Ill. (Allstate Arena)

July 11: Cincinnati (Riverbend Music Center)

July 13: Hartford, Conn. (Meadows Music Theater)

July 14: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)

July 17: Camden, N.J. (Tweeter Waterfront)

July 18: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Blossom Music Center)

July 20: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach)

July 21: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)

July 24: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)

July 25: Virginia Beach, Va. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)

July 27: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)

July 28: Bristow, Va. (Nissan Pavilion)

July 30: Atlanta (Chastain Park Amphitheater)

Aug. 3: Dallas (Smirnoff Music Centre)

Aug. 4: Houston (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)

Aug. 7: Albuquerque, N.M. (Journal Pavilion)

Aug. 8: Denver (Fiddlers Green Amphitheater)

Aug. 11: Portland, Ore. (Rose Garden Arena)

Aug. 12: Seattle (Key Arena)

Aug. 14: Concord, Calif. (The Chronicle Pavilion)

Aug. 15: Mountain View, Calif. (Shoreline Amphitheater)

Aug. 17: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)

Aug. 18: Phoenix (Desert Sky Pavilion)

Aug. 21-22: Universal City, Calif. (Universal City)

Aug. 24: San Diego (Coors Amphitheater)

Aug. 25: Las Vegas (Aladdin Theater)

Aug. 28: Bonner Springs, Kan. (Sandstone Amphitheater)

Aug. 29: St. Louis (Riverport Amphitheater)

Aug. 31: Noblesville, Ind. (Verizon Wireless Music Center)

Sept. 1: Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Amphitheater)

Stevie Nicks confirms North American tour

By Keith Caulfield
Billboard
May 15, 2001

Stevie Nicks will tour North America this summer and fall in support of her new Reprise album Trouble in Shangri-La. The full itinerary is not yet finalized, but according to Nicks’ official Web site, the trek will begin July 6 in Pittsburgh and keep her on the road through late September.

Trouble in Shangri-La debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 earlier this month, earning Nicks her highest album chart showing since 1983, when The Wild Heart bowed at the same position. First single Every Day is No. 21 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart this week.

Don’t expect Nicks to drench her live sets with songs from the new album. “I learned an important lesson back during the first Rumours tour with Fleetwood Mac,” she told Billboard in January. “You can’t shove new songs down your audience’s throat. You can do three or four at the most.”

“On that Rumours tour,” Nicks added, “we did most of that album, and people didn’t want any part of it. They want familiarity. They want the comfort of songs that feel like old friends. You can’t exploit your fans by forcing them to embrace songs they don’t know yet.”

Here are Stevie Nicks’ confirmed tour dates:

July 6: Pittsburgh (venue TBA)

July 7: Clarkston, Mich. (DTE Energy Music Theatre)

July 14: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)

July 21: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)

July 25: Raleigh, N.C. (Walnut Creek)

Aug. 3: Dallas (Smirnoff Music Centre)

Sept. 4: Noblesville, Ind. (Verizon Wireless Music Center)

Stevie Nicks takes care of herself

First she gave up sunbathing, then drugs

By Brenda Bouw
National Post (Canada)
May 9, 2001

Sitting two feet in front of Stevie Nicks, it is difficult to tell this is the same Fleetwood Mac siren who once lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle so severely that she has the quarter-sized hole in the cartilage of her nose to prove it.

Not only did the 10-year cocaine habit (which she quit in 1985) leave her permanently damaged, the addiction to tranquilizers that followed for eight years afterwards also nearly killed her. Then there were the breast implants that left her poisoned with the Epstein-Barr virus, causing lethargy, followed by a 30-pound weight gain in the mid-90s, which depressed Nicks to the point she swore never to sing in public again.

Combine all of that with the three decades she has spent on the road with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, and you would expect Nicks to look a bit bedraggled.

Instead, the singer/songwriter, who turns 53 on May 26, remains radiant, and claims she is the healthiest she has ever been.

Nicks gives some of the credit for her slim, tiny frame and smooth skin to her high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, and a vow at age 30 to stop sunbathing.

“Even in the worst of times, I kind of think I tried to take care of myself. I’ve never had a facelift,” says Nicks in a recent interview during a press-tour stop in Toronto to promote her latest solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La.

Nicks, dressed in form-fitting shiny blue pants, a long black shirt and open-toed black sandals, her signature straight blond hair resting on her chest, says she would consider having cosmetic surgery around her neck, but not on her face.

“The idea of really changing my face, I don’t want to do that,” she says. “I don’t want to look like another person. All of those other people who have plastic surgery don’t look the way they look.”

The what-you-see-is-what-you-get attitude is also evident on Nicks’s new album, which she describes as a reflection of her own life experiences.

“The whole concept of the record, Trouble in Shangri-La, is really about people making it to the top of their field and messing it up really bad.”

While the album is not about O.J. Simpson, it was written during the last two months of the trial, Nicks says.

Its release last week also fits in nicely with the recent career dive actor Robert Downey Jr. is experiencing after his arrest again last month for illegal drug use.

“I think Robert Downey fits right into my Shangri-La mode. Someone who is as respected and loved as he is — it is just Shangri-La and the fall of Shangri-La.”

Nicks acknowledges her own storied background fits into the same fall-from-utopia category, but she says the album is not all autobiographical.

“Of course I went through it, but sometimes you write more about other people than you do yourself. If you are sad about something, maybe you don’t write so much about it. When you see someone else go through it, well, there you go.”

Trouble in Shangri-La also features such guests as Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chick singer Natalie Maines, Macy Gray and Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan.

While Crow made the largest contribution, co-producing and performing on five of the songs, McLachlan sings background vocals and plays guitar and piano on “Love Is,” the final track.

McLachlan’s husband, Ash Sood, also plays drums on “Love Is,” which is one of the first songs Nicks wrote when she started working on the album six years ago.

Nicks first learned of McLachlan in 1994 while hearing her song “Possession” on the radio, while fast asleep during a visit in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

“It woke me up … I sat up and said ‘Who is this?’ “ Nicks recalls. She bought the CD the next day.

She calls McLachlan’s contribution to her new album “one of those perfect accidents.”

Canadian producer Pierre Marchand was supposed to go to Los Angeles to record “Love Is” with Nicks, but had trouble crossing the border, and instead arranged a meeting in Vancouver. He then asked Nicks if she was interested in having McLachlan, now on a career hiatus and living in Vancouver, perform on the album.

Nicks agreed, and spent time with McLachlan and Sood at their home for a week in November.

“I really got to hang out with her. It was really neat.”

Not only are McLachlan’s musical talents on the album, but her artwork as well. She drew the ‘S,’ used to spell out ‘Stevie Nicks’ on the cover of Trouble in Shangri-La. Turned upside down, the ‘S’ is meant to be a picture of a dragon.

Nicks says she saw McLachlan’s drawing on the coffee table in the Vancouver studio and asked if she could use it on the album.

“This record was very hand-stitched,” Nicks says. “I love that part about this record, that everybody did a really special thing.”

Also appearing on the album is Nicks’s ex, Lindsey Buckingham, with whom she recorded her first album in 1973, Buckingham-Nicks, where the couple appeared nude. (She calls doing the nude cover “the most terrifying moment of my entire life.”) A year later, thanks to the nude cover, which got them noticed, the couple joined Fleetwood Mac, which became one of rock’s most storied and highly successful acts. That band’s 1977 album, Rumours, sold more than 17 million copies, and stood as the all-time best-selling album for several years.

Despite the band’s acrimonious past, which included Nicks’s affair with Mick Fleetwood after she and Buckingham split, Nicks says members of the band remain friends.

She rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 1997 on tour for the album The Dance. Since then, Buckingham has remarried and has a child, which Nicks says has been good for their professional relationship.

“It is all good now,” says Nicks, who is single and has no plans to have children. “He is very married, which kind of takes out that thing of ‘Will Lindsey and Stevie get back together when they are 90?’ It makes it easier for us.”

Nicks begins touring for Trouble in Shangri-La in early July in the United States. No Canadian dates have yet been scheduled.

Meantime, she says Fleetwood Mac will head back into the studio again at the end of the year. The band will record another album, but this time without singer and keyboard player Christine McVie.

Nicks is also considering collaborating with the all-girl group Destiny’s Child, who have asked her to play guitar in the video of their next single, “Bootylicious,” which uses music from Nicks’s 1982 solo song (single) “Edge of Seventeen.”

Album of the Week: Trouble in Shangri-La, Stevie Nicks (Reprise)

By Steve Dougherty, Picks & Pans
People
May 7, 2001

When Sheryl Crow helped induct Stevie Nicks and her Fleetwood Mac mates into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Crow called the siren “the woman all young girls wanted to be and all men wanted to be with.” After years of drug abuse and health problems in the 80’s, Nicks has not only cleaned up her act, she has polished it. On her first solo album since 1994, she reins in her loopy side with an assist from Crow, who coproduces, plays guitar and sings backup on a few tracks. And though Nicks dresses like Rhiannon heading for Wicca practice on the cover photo, she keeps things real lyrically — ”Sorcerer” is apparently about a deal dealer, not a mystic. Enlisting the gravelly soul of Macy Gray on “Bombay Sapphires” and the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines on “Too Far from Texas,” she also keeps it real vocally. Best of all is “Fall from Grace,” a rocker about sin and redemption from one who has been there and back.

Bottom line: Another side of pop paradise

Stevie Nicks: With a talent to burn

The Independent (UK)
Friday, May 4, 2001

The Stevie Nicks story so far goes: innocence, enormous fame, debauchery, drug hell, rehab hell and burn-out, but now, as she tells James McNair, there’s a new chapter: triumphant comeback

Like many thirty-something men, I, too, once lusted after Stevie Nicks. And although I’m aware that her infamous, hack-seducing days are probably behind her, it is with clean boxers and a sense of occasion that I arrive at her Malibu mansion.

Like many thirty-something men, I, too, once lusted after Stevie Nicks. And although I’m aware that her infamous, hack-seducing days are probably behind her, it is with clean boxers and a sense of occasion that I arrive at her Malibu mansion.

Dressed down and wearing little make-up, she looks great for 53, and greets me with a yapping Yorkshire terrier under each arm. While her live-in PA carts Shulamith and Sara Belladonna elsewhere, I clock my surroundings. The sizeable house isn’t overly ostentatious, but its beach views, velvet chaises longues and antique dolls convey Nicks’s rock star status.

The rock band in question were of course Fleetwood Mac, and as a key songwriter on their 1977, AOR colossus Rumours, Nicks must be worth millions in royalties. Up until about five years ago, though, her story was that clichéd one that goes: innocence, fame, debauchery, drug hell, rehab hell, burn-out.

At the height of Mac’s success, Nicks had a cocaine habit that would have daunted Danniella Westbrook, but, contrary to prevailing rumours, Stevie’s septum never quite gave out. She still has a dime-sized hole in her nasal membrane, though.

In true tragi-hedonist style, Nicks’s class-A intake was accompanied by a series of tempestuous, ill-starred relationships. As well as dating Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and the band’s drummer Mick Fleetwood, Nicks was romantically involved with the Eagles’ Don Henley. Henley is often described as one of rock’s leading misogynists, and Lindsey Buckingham famously tried to strangle her.

But as Fleetwood Mac classics such as “Dreams”, “Gold Dust Woman” and “Landslide” testify, Nicks’s meditations on love and life often made for some rather fine tunes.

With hindsight, the career trough that engulfed her solo career circa her 1994 album Street Angel had been a long time coming. It’s telling, though, that she doesn’t equate it with cocaine abuse or heartache.

“I had been taking a tranquilliser called Klonopin for about seven years,” she says, “and mixed with all the Valium and Prozac, it took all my creativity away. I have horrible memories of doing promo interviews for Street Angel, and not having anything good to say about it. By the time I finished the accompanying tour I’d kicked out all the new material. I made that album disappear like it had never happened.”

Nowadays, the tranquillisers have long since gone, as have the self-doubt, the two packs of Cools a day, and the writer’s block. This last is pleasingly apparent on Nicks’s superb new album, Trouble in Shangri-La. Co-produced by Sheryl Crow, among others, the record finds Nicks’s throaty drawl restored to its former glory and features other famous girlfriends such as Macy Gray, Sarah McLachlan and the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines.

The wooden treadmill in her lounge offers further testimony to her reinvention; but the person who restored her confidence as an artist was her close friend Tom Petty.

“I distinctly remember him lecturing me back in 1995”, she says. “He was playing in Phoenix, and I went down to the Ritz Carlton to meet him for dinner. He said, ‘you know Stevie, it’s too bad that you’ve had a hard time, but it’s over and you just need to get in your car, go home and start writing songs.'” She maintains that she sat down at the piano again that very night, and that she’s barely stopped writing since.

As your correspondent witnessed at the previous evening’s showcase gig, there’s a special dynamic between Nicks and Sheryl Crow. Like Courtney Love, Crow, now 38, recognises Nicks as one of rock’s last great matriarchs; a strong career woman with much sex, drugs and rock’n’roll related wisdom to impart. I’m particularly intrigued, then, by a song on Trouble in Shangri-La that Crow wrote for and about Nicks after the older woman had confided in her. There’s a line in “It’s Only Love” which says ‘If only love comes around again it will have been worth the ride.’ Is it an accurate reflection of Nicks’s current philosophy?

“Well that’s pretty interpretative,” she says flatly, “but I do think Sheryl sometimes looks at my life and sees her future. And that’s probably pretty scary, because Sheryl wants to be married with children at some point.”

“There’s also a line which goes ‘you were master to so many, but saviour to none’. Is Sheryl saying maybe you could have worked some of those relationships out, maybe you could have had children by now ? But I chose not to, you know? And that’s really what that song is about.”

But she’s still so attractive, and she must get lonely at times, right ?

“Yeah, but I’d really have to fall in love with somebody to make them put up with my crazy life. I mean…”

She stops in mid-flow; her expression and body language are both signalling that she is about to confide something.

“… I did actually see someone for a while about three years ago. It was while we (Fleetwood Mac) were working on The Dance album. He’d call me at rehearsals, and I’d be like, I’m sorry I don’t know when I’ll be home. All of a sudden it’s defensive, and I’m thinking ‘you’re endangering what I do’. That’s just the way I am.”

Watching Nicks sing “Landslide”, its lyrics about growing older now more poignant than ever, it struck me that everything seems to be turning full-circle for her. In the past, Lindsey Buckingham has been notoriously non-committal about Nicks’s solo output, but with great satisfaction, she tells me that he thinks her new album is “the best I ever did”. Given that Buckingham voiced this opinion during a business meeting with Nicks and Mick Fleetwood, it seems prudent to ask about the possibility of a new Fleetwood Mac album.

“I want it to happen, so I’ll make it happen”, she says. “I have my solo career, but it will never be quite like Fleetwood Mac. When those five people walk into a room there’s something very special about it.”

‘Trouble in Shangri-La’ is out this Monday on Warner Reprise

Stevie Nicks: Biography

WEA Records International
March 5, 2001

“My music often unfolds like the book of my life,” declares legendary rock poet Stevie Nicks. And that’s precisely the way she wants it to be. “I believe in telling the truth…actually, it’s only way that I can exist as a writer.”

It’s to that end that Nicks created the sterling, often confessional Trouble in Shangri-La, her first solo collection since 1994’s Street Angel. She says the project has been slowly evolving for several years, “taking different shapes and forms. But it never seemed quite right until recently. I needed to live my life. I need to replenish my well of life experiences.”

And she certainly has. Easily one of her most powerful recordings to date, Trouble in Shangri-La is brimming with the rich prose and vibrant imagery that has inspired a veritable army of disciples. “Every step along the path of my life, I’ve been writing it all down, taking incredibly detailed notes,” Stevie explains. “Instead of partying, I run back to my room, open my journal, and pour out my heart onto paper. It can take minutes, or it can take all night. But it’s always deep. And it’s always real.”

For Stevie, getting back in touch with the part of her self that was confident about her song writing skills was a crucial element in the creation of Trouble in Shangri-La.

“I’d been hearing about how I should write with this person, or record that person’s material, and it started to wear me down,” the artist reveals, adding that it took longtime pal Tom Petty to remind her that she’s a top-flight songwriter in her own right. “I remember asking [him] to work with me on some songs. I wasn’t feeling my best; I was unsure about a lot of things. And he said, ‘No…you don’t need anyone to help you with your songs. Do it yourself.’“

At first, Stevie was crushed. “But it was the jolt I needed,” she shares, adding that the album gem “That Made Me Stronger” was borne out of their fateful conversation. “It was a pivotal moment for me. The clouds cleared, and things started to naturally flow again.”

‘Naturally flow’ is an understatement. The songs started to come on like a tidal wave. And while Stevie notes that her songs rae “sometimes a continuation of one another,” with common lyrical threads and theme, the songs that comprise Trouble in Shangri-La also show the artist at her most experimental and varied. Classic Stevie tunes like the acoustic-based “Candlebright” and the gentle “I Miss You” are tempered by refreshingly inventive compositions like “Bombay Sapphires,” with it’s delicate undertow of Caribbean rhythms and its atmospheric keyboards, and “Love Changes,” which is seasoned with a splash of funk percussion.

“To not grow is to die,” Stevie asserts. “Of course, you want to work within a framework that best suits your talent and style. But you also want to continually shake things up.”

For Stevie, shaking things up included inviting an array of new friends and musicians to participate in Trouble of Shangri-La. Macy Gray vamps with seductive soul on “Bombay Sapphires,” while Sarah McLachlan harmonizes on the stately, piano-driven ballad “Love Is.” Also, Dixie Chick Natalie Maines is a complementary presence on the country-spiced rocker “Too Far From Texas.” Stevie recalls that every collaborator came to the project at times when “the songs seemed to be calling out their names. These are strong, wonderful women with incredible musical talent. To have them on this album is a such a special gift.”

Stevie recalls her first meeting with Gray as being particularly memorable. “Her vibe is so wild, so intense. She walks into the room and it’s like everything starts to move.” She’s like a walking tornado. She’s a total blast. We had a great time working on the song. Our voices blended so well together.”

Ultimately, the greatest gift to Trouble in Shangri-La is the kinetic creative union forged by Stevie with Sheryl Crow. “We’d been circling the idea of working on this album for quite a while,” Stevie says. “But we could never quite make it happen because of scheduling conflicts. So, we just went forward with our respective business, but we stayed in close touch. Suddenly, things cleared up and we wound up in the studio together.”

Nicks and Crow eventually worked on five of the set’s thirteen tunes. As Stevie explains “Our connection is deep…deeper than I can even put into mere words.”

Crow, who has long cited Nicks as a primary musical influence, wholeheartedly returns Stevie’s ardor. “To even be in the same room as Stevie was a dream come true for me. To work with her was beyond description. It was extraordinary.”

Both agree that the key to their successful collaboration was mutual trust and respect. “From the moment in the studio, it was clearly a safe environment,” Stevie says. “And that opened up the lines of communication and allowed us to try new ideas out.”

Among the more satisfying results of their experimentation is “Sorcerer,” on which Nicks scales to a rich falsetto during the song’s verses. “She was completely open and in-the-moment while we were working,” Crow notes. “She never stops working or striving to be a better artist.”

Stevie also never stops fighting for the lyrical integrity of her songs. She recalls being the studio with co-producer John Shanks (The Corrs, BB Mak), who helmed a number of songs on Trouble in Shangri-La, and playfully tangling with him while cutting the anthemic “Fall from Grace.”

“The original version of the song had all of these verses…too many, in John’s opinion,” Stevie recalls. “So, we set out to edit the song to fit a workable structure, and it was just breaking my heart to let some of the words slip away.”

Nicks remembers one particular session when pals Laura Dern and Rosanna Arquette were hanging out in the studio, and they caught a glimpse of the original draft of the song. “And they were like, you can’t cut all these words,” she remembers. “Poor, John, they were yelling at him and giving him a hard time. It was all done in fun and good spirit, but it convinced me that I had to fight for my words. Before the night was done, we got every syllable in. And it’s become one of my favorite songs on the album.”

In fact, “Fall from Grace” is among the songs that Stevie plans to add to her concert set when she hits the road for a tour this summer. “It’s the perfect balance to ‘Edge of Seventeen,’” in terms of energy. It’s great a song to rock out to. I love just cutting loose to that one.”

Actually, Stevie says there isn’t a song on Trouble in Shangri-La that she wouldn’t love performing onstage. “I’m so incredibly proud of this album,” she adds. “These songs have been such a big part of my life. I’m so pleased and excited to get them out there for the world to hear. There’s usually a period when an artist is nervous about how people will react to their new material. I’ve been there. But there’s something about this set of songs. I have such a great, positive feeling about it. I’m more itchy for people to finally hear them than anything else. That’s a pretty good sign, isn’t it?”