SPB: After working in film, journalism, and other aspects of the industry, what called you back to performing and recording original music?
Cullman: I love working in movies, but there’s a part of the process that is just soul-destroying. On most movies, even low budget ones, there’s so much money involved, and so many people who need to be pleased, that you spend more time and energy trying not to get things wrong than in making something that’s really right and that shines with its own light. I finally got fed up with being a musical waitress -- “More drama, Mr DeMille? More comedy?” -- and went back to making my own decisions, making recordings that I myself wanted to hear. And it’s been a pleasure.
Though in fairness, every once in a while I had the chance to work with a director who didn’t need a committee and who trusted their own judgment, and that was a gas. Working with Stanley Tucci was so much fun and so uplifting. He loves music, he knows where music comes from, and at various times I had to physically hold him back and keep him from running into the studio and hugging the musicians while we were recording.