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Life Lessons: Neko Case, Laura Veirs and k.d. lang

Holly Gordon

A trio that includes Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs is a songwriting dream come true. Lyrical and harmonic, with their voices beautifully intertwined, the album that came out of their collaboration, case/lang/veirs (June 17), is everything you hoped it could be.

We’ve fallen in love with the musicians’ works individually, and now that case/lang/veirs are one unit, we asked them to take over our homepage for one day, June 20.

As part of that takeover, you can read a track-by-track guide to the album with Veirs (including the only feature interview with Case so far), and take a deep dive into the life of Judee Sill, the woman behind the trio’s beautifully sad new song. You can also learn about "how cool and smart [the band] Beauty Pill in D.C. are," at Case’s suggestion. And you can revisit k.d. lang playing Jam or Not a Jam.

As Case, lang and Veirs bring decades of experience to the table, spanning two hometown countries and blurring genres, we asked each of them for a lesson they’ve learned along the way. And as you would expect from two scorpios (lang and Veirs) and one "soft little marshmallowy virgo" (Case), their answers vary in every way.

Neko Case

“There’s this weird myth in entertainment that you’re lucky to be here, that whole thing, which is total bullshit. That particular myth spawns this sort of culture of ‘It’s me or them.’ [But] you really don’t have to work with assholes to do really well. You don’t have to get the meanest manager; you don’t have to f--k anyone over. It’s not sports. It’s not a competition. Don’t treat people like shit. If people wanna start adopting the ‘I’m important so I can bark at other people’ thing, or just feeling really entitled with stuff — it’s ugly. It looks bad. It makes you feel worse. … So it’s like, just try not to treat everyone like shit. Work hard at it. Say please and thank you. Acknowledge people. Say hello. Just don’t act like a dick. You just don’t have to. And you don’t have to put up with other people acting like dicks, either.”

Laura Veirs

“Learn from the children around you. They can teach us much about being in the moment, being brave, being unselfconscious artists and expressing affection freely. I love and sometimes envy the inner freedom of my kids. They help me be more free, less judgmental and more alive.”

K.d. lang

“Quite honestly? Every minute of every day.”

More from the case/lang/veirs takeover:

First Play: case/lang/veirs, self-titled plus track-by-track guide