1. Hello Liz, could you tell me a little about yourself before you became a country singer?
Well hi there Danaille! I’d be happy to. 🙂 I grew up in the town of Tustin, CA, about fifteen minutes from Disneyland. Everyone in my immediate family sings and plays instruments, so I grew up surrounded by music. From my very early teens and through my early 20’s, I worked at a barn, starting as a stall mucker (aka poop scooper), and eventually working my way up to trail guide and lesson instructor. Even though I grew up in the city, so to say, I always related to country songs that talk about dirt under your nails and hay in your hair haha. I always preferred being at the barn over going to the beach. I couldn’t deny where my heart belonged.
I wasn’t a very outgoing or popular kid in school- I had some great friends, but I was more interested in playing music and in my studies than trying to be a “cool kid”. It must have paid off, haha, because I ended up graduating from college a year early so I could purse music.
2. How did you get into the country music industry?
I always listened to country music as a child- I grew up on Shania Twain, Reba, Faith Hill, The Dixie Chicks, there was something really special about that era for country. Admittedly, I was (and still am) a fan of many different styles of music, and when I began to write and perform, I initially saw myself as more of a rock/pop-rock artist. However, a few years ago, my dad started showing me some tunes he had been writing on guitar that he envisioned as rock songs, but they sounded undeniably country to me. We started writing together, and cranked out and handful of songs with the hopes of sending the songs to a country publishing house.
Not long after writing those songs however, I ended up getting signed to a pop record deal with an independent label, and I put the country songs on the shelf. I had some Billboard success with a few EDM remixes of my pop songs, but my heart really wasn’t in it. I grew up listening to songs with live instruments, I love the way a real drum kit sounds… how it makes the music feel. While I appreciate and respect pop/EDM music, it wasn’t the right fit for me, and the label and I amicably parted ways. Although I was initially sad when my pop deal ended, I soon realized it was a relief- pop music wasn’t my authentic self, and in a way, I think audiences can sense that. So, after a little soul-searching (and lots of rides on my horse to clear my head), I dusted off my boots, went back to the country songs my dad and I had written, wrote a couple more, and recorded my album.
3. Who are some of your musical icons?
Other than the ladies I mentioned before, I’ve always been incredibly inspired by Dolly Parton. Her vision as an artist, businesswoman, and philanthropist has always amazed me, but more than anything, her humility and poise is astounding. I’ve always admired her greatly, and I hope to one day be able to express my appreciation for her in person. 🙂
4. If you were not a singer what do you think your career would be?
To be honest, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Horses are a lifelong passion of mine, but even when I worked full-time with horses, I felt like something was missing. I loved my work, I love the animals, I loved my students, but there’s something in me that needs to sing, to write, to perform, to connect with people in a way only music can. I tried denying it for a while and dove deeper into my work, but when something like that is a true part of your being, you can only try to shove it in a corner for so long haha… I know who I am and what I want to do, and I’ve really got no choice other than to pour myself into music as best as I know how!
5. If you could do a duet with a singer or group who would it be and why?
You know, I have had a song idea for a little while, and I’m not done with it yet so I can’t say what it is haha, but I envision it as a duet with Reba and a couple other red-haired country singers. 🙂
6. What is one of you all time favorite songs you ever recorded and played?
Wow, that’s a great question! To be honest, I have a special connection with all of the songs that I’ve recorded for this album, because they are all reflections of my own life. However, I have a really special connection with “Head in the Clouds” and “I Will See You Again”.
I wrote “Head in the Clouds” while I was living in Los Angeles, in more or less a state of desperation not knowing what was happening with my music career. It’s an honest reflection of this slightly-scattered, rather dysfunctional yet optimistic way my brain works. I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning, sitting in my car parked on the side of the road. Even though it’s a happy song, it actually chokes me up every time I hear it, because I know it came when I was in a rather dark place, looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I think everybody has those moments where deep down, you know it’s gonna be all right, you’re just not exactly sure how.
“I Will See You Again” was a song I wrote for a dear friend’s funeral after her sudden passing. When her husband called and asked me to sing at the service, I knew I had to write her a song- she was one of the most supportive people in my life and always encouraged my music, writing her a song seemed like the best way to honor her. That song will always be special because of her.
7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years in your career?
If all goes according to plan, in five years I’ll have had a few great tours under my belt supporting some artists I admire, with a shelf full of CMA’s, ACMA’s, Grammy’s and whatnot… I’d like to use music as a platform to start a foundation that’s both an animal sanctuary/working farm where at-risk youth and other groups can go for camps/retreats, work with the animals and receive counseling and healing. I know it may sound silly but I’ve got it all dreamed up in my head! Maybe in ten years the foundation will be up, I’ll be five or seven albums into a lifelong career. I don’t ever see myself stopping music. It fuels me, and my other passions stem from it.
8. What is one of your biggest accomplishments that you are most proud so far in your career?
I’m relatively new in my career in country music, and even though I’ve had some successes previously in pop/rock and EDM, I am more proud of the songs I’ve written for this album than anything I’ve ever written before. There’s a saying, “it’s all about the song”, and I really believe it’s true. I’ve had songs placed in movies, on radio, and even on the Billboard charts, but this batch of new songs feels like a piece of my heart. We wrapped up recording last night and I’m on cloud 9. 🙂
9. Do you have any new things coming up in your music career for the rest of 2016 or 2017?
I’m hoping to build my fan base, and possibly see about partnering with a label to release my album. I feel like time is of the essence and I just want to get going already haha! I’ve been in contact with a few festivals and I’m in talks with them about performing, but no solid dates yet.
10. What do you like to do in your free time?
I visit the barn just about every single day to see my horse Cairo. He’s totally an all-purpose horse, one week we will be competing at a jumper show and a week later we can be out at my friend’s ranch sorting cattle. I love that he’s a rescue/mutt but can hold his own with some really fancy horses haha. With music being so busy right now, we mostly been just pleasure riding and hanging out lately. He’s such a clown, I love spending time with him. I also enjoy painting, working out, being outdoors, quality time with my friends, and eating. I really like eating haha.
11. What is your top 5 favorite songs that you could listened to every day?
Don’t laugh… my morning “pump up” song is “Wait For It” from the Hamilton soundtrack. The other four in no particular order: “Run” – George strait, “Fire Away” – Chris Stapleton
“Something Worth Loving Me Back” – Leanne Womack and bros Osborne, and “Little Sparrow” – Dolly Parton.