- Hello Andrea, can you tell us a little bit about yourself before becoming a country singer? So not many people know this about me, but I grew up singing in a punk/pop band! I was in the band for about 5 years, and we started when I was 8. It wasn’t until after the band broke up that I decided to continue my solo career and focus more on country music. I started writing songs when I was 9, and fell in love with it.
- What made you want a career in country music? Country music has always been the most welcoming genre I have ever encountered. I grew up going to country concerts with my cousins, and that’s what really introduced me to it. Once I started writing more and finding my voice, I knew this was where my music belonged.
- Who are some of your musical icons? A few of my musical icons would have to be Elton John, Queen, George Strait, and Carly Pearce. Each of them use their art and make it completely their own, all while simultaneously staying true to themselves. It’s something I will always admire.
- What is the background story behind your latest single “Starting Over?” Starting Over was actually one of the last songs I had written for this EP! I was going through a season in my life where I had to reassure myself that it was okay to miss something, but not want it back. I remember I was in the car with my dad and it started pouring rain. We were on the expressway and passed under a bridge and for a split second the rain stopped and it was the most calm I had felt in a while. I remember going home and the song just flooded out of me. I was so emotional when I finished writing it, because it ended up being that “ah-ha” moment I didn’t know I needed. Immediately I knew that’s what the EP would be called.
- What is your recording process when creating and making new music? Usually when I start writing a song, it begins with a phrase or a line that’s just a thought. I could be driving or taking a shower and the idea just pops in my head! I am always jotting down lyrics in my notes app on my phone too. From there I usually have a melody in mind or I will sing that one phrase in a particular way and build on that. I’m always recording voice memos too, because I could love how something sounds and then somehow completely forget how I did it! Once I finish the song with just lyrics and guitar, I can usually hear how I want things to sound in my mind. Whether it’s the drums or piano, I have a general idea, but it can always change. That’s why I’m so thankful for my producer, because he can envision the songs in the way I do, but with a different creative perspective as well.
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Honest, Real, and Relatable
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? I’ve played at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville a couple times and it’s definitely one of my favorites. There have been so many incredible artists and writers that have played there and it is so intimate and special.
- What is one of your favorite quotes? “Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson
- Is there anything else you would like to share? These 7 songs on ‘Starting Over’ tell a story from start to finish! If you listen carefully, it really shows that you don’t always have to be involved with someone romantically for them to break your heart. Though that may be the case for some, it could also be friends, family, and even strangers. There is a song for everyone, and I hope this helps others with their own starting over.
While growing up on the outskirts of Chicago, Andrea Veltri has never had a problem in her mind that music was the direction for her. At 5 years old she got her first guitar, and soon started taking lessons at 6 years old. When she was 8, she commenced playing in a punk/rock band as the lead singer and guitar player. Sadly, five years later the band broke up, but that did not stop Veltri’s love for music.
Instead, it directed her to country music and inspired her to seek a solo career. Since focusing on her writing and originality, she started to play at different venues and opened for many for different musicians like Jana Kramer, Anna Nalick and Jason Michael Carroll.
On November 16th, 2018, her first single “What I Know Now,” was released. Since then, she has launched herself into her music and writing and it’s imitated in her debut EP “Starting Over,” which was released on October 22, 2021. The seven songs show growth, honesty and reliability. On this EP Hughes opens up about heartbreak in all forms. The EP marks a completely new chapter and shows that starting over can be done with grace.
If you would like to find out more about Andrea Veltri then make sure to check out her website at (https://www.andreaveltrimusic.com).
Social Media Accounts:
- Hello Taylor, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country singer?
It’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t a country singer! Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to sing. I always loved performing, putting on little talent shows at home and singing to my favorite songs at the top of my lungs, but I didn’t start my music career till I was around the age of 18. Before I decided to follow my dreams, I was heavily involved in athletics; volleyball to be exact. I played for several years and had plans on going to college on a scholarship…God had other plans for me though! I suffered from a knee injury my junior year and was never able to fully recover from it which led me back to the music path; I would say it was a blessing in disguise for sure.
I started taking guitar lessons then and my teacher realized I could sing. After about three lessons, he called my parents and told them he wanted to take me to Nashville to sing on a TV comcast called “Nashville Spotlight.” My parents were quite confused; how could I possibly know how to play guitar that quickly, but he explained to them it was my ability to sing that gave him the idea. They had never really heard me sing before; I did choir growing up but nothing that ever would have showcased my talent. After playing my first show in Nashville, I caught the performance bug and knew this was what I was meant to do.
I started singing for the show every few months, started diving into songwriting, and playing open mics in my hometown. Once I was old enough to get into bars and travel on my own, I started playing with a guitarist several days a week, traveling and performing wherever we could, and I loved it! So many great memories, funny and crazy, that had been made. Several years later I made the move to Nashville with my husband to keep pursing my dreams in the country music world. Almost four years in music city; playing, writing, creating new friendships, releasing my own music and now releasing my next single! Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for these gifts and the opportunities I’ve been giving. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
- What made you want a career in country music?
Like I mentioned before, I’ve always loved to sing and perform. The stage is my home; it is where I feel like my true self and honestly, it makes me feel alive! I grew up listening to country music along with some southern rock and blues which is where I get a lot of my style and influence from. We always had music playing in the house too. I remember waking up on Sunday mornings to the sound of music blaring through the surround sound speakers and the smell of fresh blueberry pancakes in the kitchen. Music was something my family always connected with; my dad had the same taste in music as me and my mom was a professional singer back in the day so I guess you could say it runs in our blood.
What I always loved about the country music we listened to was the story telling aspect of it. Real life situations, good and bad, being told in song and they were stories you could relate to or at least understand when listening to them. I also loved the power and confidence that I heard when jamming to female artists like Reba, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert (my favorite) and Carrie Underwood. Hearing them belt it out made me want to join in and sing my heart out too. Their songwriting inspired me as well. Honest, feisty, and true to who they are and owning it. I wanted to be just like these strong and talented women.
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
If I had to describe my music in 3 to 5 words, I guess I would say that it’s edgy, sassy, passionate, gutsy, and honest.
- What is the background story behind your brand-new single “High on Something?’
My new single, “High on Something,” was a fun one to write with my co-writer, Stefanie Joyce. Her and I had written multiple songs together before this but none of them were ever love songs. For us, that just wasn’t a subject we typically wrote about because our styles are a little more sassy and edgy. Love songs have a tendency of turning out cheesy if they’re not done right. We walked into the writing room that day though and decided that it was time to take on this challenge BUT we had to make it our own. If we were going to try a love song, then it had to be done right and it had to be different then other love songs people hear all the time. We wanted to write about a relationship that already had a foundation; one that probably had its fair share of ups and downs but was still strong and still growing each day. We took ideas from things that we both enjoy (bourbon, cowboy boots, etc.), things that don’t last long, and then compared them to the kind of love we have with our husbands and basically tried to write how we feel about them…of course without crossing that cheesy line! By the time we were through writing it, I knew I had to cut it. It might have been a love song, but it still had that “Taylor Hughes” stamp on it. It was also a chance to really showcase my vocals in a way that not only showed power but also a little vulnerability. It’s a song I’m proud to release.
- Who are some of your musical icons?
I get inspiration from multiple artists, but I would say some of my biggest influences are Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Gretchen Wilson, and Chris Stapleton. Miranda Lambert has always been my idol. Her songwriting, her ability to tell a story, and her badass attitude are something I’ve always connected with, and I’d say that is why I love Ashley and Gretchen as well. The three of them are a great example of strong, independent and unbelievably talented women. Chris’ style, vocals and storytelling are something I admire as well. I mean, talk about a powerhouse vocalist, I could listen to him all day. His ability to blend blues, country and a little southern rock are something I really connect with as well since my style is very similar. The both of us are also Kentucky artist so there’s a little favoritism there!
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to travel, meet new people, and play at some pretty awesome venues. If I had to pick, I would say my favorite spot to play in my hometown is at The Elkhorn Tavern. It’s a great bourbon bar in the distillery district and the audience is always an absolute blast! Another spot I really enjoy playing that I’m sure most songwriters love is The Listening Room in Nashville.
- What is your recording process like when making and creating new music?
When I’m making new music, the recording process really depends on the song. When I first started writing, my focus was the melody, lyrics and how to play it on guitar. I didn’t put much though into the whole picture until I started working with more and more people in Nashville. I learned how each piece of the puzzle is equally important and that you need to have an idea of how you want the song to sound before walking into the recording studio… it makes life a whole lot easier. Now when I’m writing, the melody is still a big focus for me since I’m a singer, but I also start imagining where different instrumentation will come in, where will the build up be and where (if needed) does the song need to “breathe.” I also try to imagine what a music video would look like for the song which helps when writing the lyrics. Once the ideas start to come together, I can go into a studio and start focusing on the story telling aspect of it. This is such an important part of what I do as an artist. It’s one thing to sing a song but it’s whole other level to be able to tell a conveying story and to connect with your audience.
- What is one of your favorite quotes?
I recently did a piece in a health and wellness magazine where I talked about juggling a music career and mental health. I referenced a quote in the article that I love and has always stuck with me. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there is still going to be someone who hates peaches.”- Dita Von Teese. I love this quote and I think it’s one that everyone can take something from, especially in the music industry. Sometimes as an artist, we get caught up in trying to please everyone and we try to make music that everyone will love but the reality of it is, is that it isn’t possible. You can realistically make everyone happy, and you shouldn’t try to. That’s way too much pressure to be putting on yourself! We should make music because we love it, because it’s what we were born to do. Once you start creating art for the right reasons, the right audience will follow and that is who you want to connect with.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am very excited for the world to hear my new single, “High on Something.” Releasing music is always an exciting process but this song showcases another side of me; one that most probably have never heard. It’s a little scary but also exhilarating! I want to show people that I’m not a one trick pony and that though I love to sing a fun party song and have a good time, I’m also capable of being vulnerable. This is also a song that really showcases my powerful vocals, and everyone needs a good ballad, right? I am very proud to be releasing this single and I hope everyone loves it!
Country musician, Taylor Hughes, is not your average pop-country artists. With blues and southern rock impacts, she brings a different outlaw sound that needs demands attention. Local of Lexington, KY, she now lives in Spring Hill, TN. Also award-winning gospel single and vocal coach, Christy Sutherland, describes Hughes’ voice as being a “rich chocolate cake with sou.” Also Hughes. Is currently studying under world-renowned vocal coach, Kati Hendricks.
Five years in a row she has been nominated in the Lexington Music Awards for best female vocalist, best country artist, best singer/songwriter, and song of the year; wining in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Hughes was also in the top 5 for the “Southern Fellows Country Artist of the Year.” She has been an opening act and shared the stage with artists like Chase Rice, Riley Green, Sam Riggs, Angaleena Presley (Pistol Annies) and Striking Matches.
Since the beginning of 2021, she has been co-headlining an acoustic tour with fellow female artist Audra McLaughlin, from season 6 of The Voice. She has also played at many famous stages like Stations Inn, The Listening Room, Douglas Corner, Manchester Music Hall and The Lyric Theater. Hughes is also a co-sponsor for the annual “Bourbon Bash,” hosted by Bourbon with Friends podcast. The podcast is one of the quickest growing shows in the podcast industry. This event brings together some of the bourbon industries biggest companies and influencers together to share their love of bourdon along with working together to make the industry even better. Hughes is also going to be showcased as an artist at the 2022 Folds of Honor charity a event hosted at the castle in Versailles, Kentucky.
Hughes’ live shows bring endurance, a good time and true country music fans have been dying to hear. Hughes’ first single “Good Taste,” came out on April 10, 2020 (also was played on iHeart Radio) and after releasing her sophomore single, “Prayin’ to the Whiskey,” in February of 2021. Both of her singles can be heard not only in the United States but have been playing for a while on radio stations in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Hughes is currently working on her next single “High On Something.” Her latest single will be out on November 19, 2021. She also has her name on many other artists’ albums and EPs that include the following: country artist- Hannah Wright’s first album, “Revival.” Hughes was a co-writer on the song “Pinkies Down, Bottoms Up.” She also co-wrote on the title track on artist, Karen McCormick, EP release “Retro.” She is a co-writer on “Christmas in Philly,” which can be found on blues artist, Serena Sol Brown’s 2020 Christmas EP. Hughes will also have a song (co-write “Jesus and Jail”) released later this year on country artist Krystal King, debut EP.
If you would like to find out more about Taylor Hughes then check out her website at (https://linktr.ee/TaylorHughesMusic).
Social Media Accounts:
Hello Andrea, can you tell us a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?I’ve always been surrounded by music and family working in the music industry in Los Angeles so I had an interest in the business for a very long time. I grew up in Virginia which is definitely where my love and interest in country music came from. I feel like Nashville was a good happy medium of the two!
What made you want a career in country music?My family is very musical and I saw that chasing a career in the music industry was always something that was possible. I have been very lucky to have such a strong support system that has never let me doubt my decision.
Who are some of your musical icons? I admire strong female powerhouses such as Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris and Shania Twain to name a few. I love their stage presence and the strong messages behind their music. They’ve definitely influenced my music in many ways.
What is the background story behind your latest single “Used To?”“Used To” was a very personal song I wrote with my great songwriter friend David Espinoza that stemmed from a vent session. It’s about that point you hit in a relationship when you know its ending but you’re trying to hang on to any bit of hope left. I think many people can relate to this song as many others have experienced something like this before.
How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?Honest, fierce, sassy, empowering
What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?I love coming back to play The Listening Room here in Nashville. The audience is all yours, they are there to hear the stories behind your music and you can see how much they appreciate it.
What is your recording process like when you are making and creating new music? I usually come up with a concept and a melody together and the lyrics come from that. Once I have a pretty solid rough idea I’ll show it to my producer and we’ll start to build the song out from there. I love the pre-production process so much. It’s so fun watching your song come to life.
What is one of your favorite quotes?What’s meant for you will come to you. This is something I constantly remind myself of to try to be more in the moment and not worry about what has or hasn’t happened yet.
Is there anything else you would like to share? I’m so excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on in the studio and the content we’re creating for this new era of music of mine. 2022 is going to be a great one, I know it.
Wonderful vocals and unbeatable approach mix in the small bundle that is Andrea Vasquez. The California/Virginia native has mixed her love of contemporary and Latin-American roots to establish a new sound within the genre. Vasquez has been inspired by country acts like Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, and The Chicks.
She has been working on her sound since he was a child. Born in Los Angeles, to an extremely musical family, she started playing the violin, piano, and guitar at a very young age which inspired her to also write her own songs. A move back to California would become the spur to pursuing music. After finishing school, Vasquez moved to Nashville to work on her dream to become a country singer. She released her first single “Sugar Coat,” and it surpassed 113k streams on Spotify and took Vasquez on her first radio tour.
Next, Vasquez released her next single “Runnin’ Wild,” which attained big success by receiving a permeant spot on Spotify’s New Music Nashville Playlist. Her song “Bed You Made,” received wonderful feedback and praise, while getting the attention of CMT and adding it to their online playlist rotation. With an expanding name in Music City, Vasquez has played at well-known venues and shows in Nashville including Whiskey Jam and The Listening Room.
Vasquez’s latest single “Used To,” showcases a sensitive and heart-pulling background. The song is currently getting a lot of playing time on Spotify playlists. She also has a great stage presence and songs that fit into today’s country music scene. She is rapidly establishing herself within the country music world.
If you would like to find out more about the great and talented country musician Andrea Vasquez please go take a look at her website (http://www.andreavasquezofficial.com).
Social Media Accounts:
Tristen- So for whatever reason during quarantine last year everyone got into breadmaking. I definitely fell into that trap, or at least an adjacent one haha! Maddie was pregnant and I was bored so I developed an at home pizza dough and made a bunch of margarita pizzas and calzones.
The dough recipe is fairly simple. 2 cups of cold water (or beer for extra flavor), at least 5 cups of flour (I like bread flour, but use all purpose as well), 1 tsp of active dry yeast, 1 tbs salt, 2 tbs of honey (or sugar if you prefer). Mix in a stand mixer until a ball forms. Line a bowl with olive oil, cover and let stand for 8-12 hours at room temp. Knead it all together on a floured surface and divide into 4 equal sized dough balls. I then let it ferment in the fridge for a day as well to get an even better bite, texture and flavor. Preheat a pizza stone in the oven for at least an hour at the highest temperature it can go, add your favorite toppings, and badabing, you’ve got something at least slightly better than the cardboard pizza in the frozen section of your local grocery haha.
- Hello Madison and Tristen, can you all tell us a little bit about yourselves before becoming a country duo? Hey Dee! Frist off, thank you for wanting to interview us for your blog! We actually just kind of organically became a duo. We started dating 8 years ago on October 28th and from there it took us about 3 years to officially become a country duo. At the time, Tristen was a solo country artist and I was actually doing an alt rock project. We would bring each other out to one another’s shows and always feature each other. We started getting booked for shows together and that turned into only getting booked shows together. We had to finally look at each other one day and say “we think we’re a country duo” haha
- How did you come up with Lazy Jane as your group name, were there any other names you were going to pick instead? The summer we officially started the duo, I think we played under 6 different names on Broadway. We thought about the name Maddie & T but realized that was too close to Maddie & Tae.. probably would have boosted our ticket sales but given us a crowd full of confused faces haha. We came home one day for a gig very frustrated with the fact that we hadn’t come up with a solid name. We ended up pulling Shell Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” off our bookshelf and just said “Whatever poem this lands on is our band name, no changing it.” We opened it and the first name that popped up was Lazy Jane. We instantly loved it and never changed it again.
- Who are some of your guys’ musical icons? We kind of have an eclectic group of icons and we are constantly inspired by a ton of artists so it’s hard to narrow it down. Early on, I loved artists like KISS, Dwight Yokam, Restless Heart, Foo Fighters. On the other hand, Madison is drawn to artists such as Stevie Nicks, Bleachers, The Goo Goo Dolls, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban and anything Jack White. We are also currently loving anything The Night Game releases. So as you can see, we are a little all over the place. We jokingly say that Lazy Jane sounds like if Keith Urban was in Fleetwood Mac, but you can definitely hear glimpses of our other influences in there.
- What is the background story behind your brand-new single “Sounds Like You?” We wrote “Sounds Like You” back in January while on a writers’ retreat with our friend and one of our favorite collaborators, Cameron Newby. We had recently just teamed up with the Swon Brothers, who produced our upcoming EP that is coming out on Oct. 29th, and we were about 30 days from going into the studio. They encouraged us to try and beat the songs we had all the way up until recording day. The very first day of our writers’ retreat we ended up writing it pretty quickly and it just tells the story of running away with that long time crush that rolls into town. We were back writing in Madison’s hometown… so that might have had something to do with the concept.
- What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? We spend a lot of the year in co-writes and we are lucky to have a group of creatives that really get us lyrically and sonically. It really is a team effort when bringing a song to life. Some of the music that we are releasing are songs that we wrote a few years ago. When writing, it typically starts with a title and then Tristen will play around with different vibes on his guitar until we have that “ah ha that’s it” moment. From there we just try to map out the story of the song and somewhere in between all of that, it falls into place. Like we said earlier, we have a group of fantastic co-writers, such as Lisa Winfield and Cameron Newby, that we couldn’t do it without and they just so happen to be some of our best friends so that makes it fun.
- How would you two describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Energetic, free-spirited, positive
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? Oh, that’s a tough one. In Nashville, we’ve spent a ton of time playing at the Sutler Saloon. They’ve been really good to us over the years while we were growing as artists. Other than that we absolutely love playing music festivals. There are always a bunch of cool people in attendance so it’s really fun to meet people there. We honestly just love being on the road and playing, so we’ve been to quite a few really neat venues along the way.
- What are a few of your guys’ favorite quotes? “If you have two, you have one. If you have one, you have none.” This is definitely a motto I keep in mind as we pack for any show. It’s all about being prepared and having backups whether it’s cables, microphones, guitars, strings…whatever can go wrong just having a spare handy is essential. Any time I haven’t packed double we’ve had an issue. It’s also a good excuse I give Maddie so I can get new equipment! haha. (Madison): “There is a past version of yourself that is so proud of how far you’ve come.” Over the years, I have worked on pushing past lack of self-confidence and anxiety when it comes to being a creative. Sometimes it’s hard to let yourself be exactly who you’re supposed to be. I’ve worked really hard at reintroducing myself to myself over and over again.. if that makes sense. When the confidence problem starts sneaking it’s way back in, I picture a past version of myself and remember that she would be extremely proud that we’ve stuck with our dreams.
- What do you two like to do in your free time when not working or playing music? We have a 1 year old, Indie so when we are working on music, we are all about family time. We are also working on a 1973 GMC Painted Desert motorhome, named Bennie, to be our tour vehicle. We love not being stationary so we will plan on hitting the road even when we aren’t working or touring. We really like hiking and being outdoors in general and there’s a lot of sights to see. Not to be cheesy, but we really want to show Indie the whole world as she grows up.
Lazy Jane is a country duo providing a different exciting take on the genre with its flying songs, bold guitar playing, and wonderful vocal combos. The duo was started in the summer of 2016 by now husband and wife Madison and Tristen Smith. Both of them took inspiration from a poem in Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” the two of them loved the concept of having a name that seemed a little unexpected given the lively sounds of their live concerts. In its short journey, Lazy Jane has played shows not only in many living rooms and dive bars but also in well-known venues and festivals such as the Capitol Theater (Wheeling, WV), Bluebird Cafe (Nashville, TN) and Jamboree in the Hills (St. Clairsville, OH).
In 2020, they released a few songs “Pretty Drifter” and “Devil I Know,” produced by country powerhouse producers Derek George (Randy Houser, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts and more) and Julian King (Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and More.
In October 2021 their brand-new and latest single “Sounds Like You,” came out. The single and their other songs are available both on Spotify and Apple Music. If you would like to find out more about this great up-and-coming country music duo then please go take a look at their website (https://www.lazyjanemusic.com).
Social Media Accounts: