Hi A.C., can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
My family had always been a musical family, but the first time I ever really performed was when I was eight years old in church. My pastor needed a young girl to sing “Where Are You Christmas” and he asked me to do it. From there, I started playing in the worship band at church and performing in musicals at my school and in the community. I started out writing contemporary Christian music, and that sort of slowly evolved into writing country songs. Upon high school graduation, I went to The University of Mount Union and got my degree in biochemistry all while playing shows on the weekends. I was looking at grad schools where I could get my M.D. / Ph.D., and I filled out the necessary applications, but I just couldn’t find the desire to turn them in. It was then and there that I realized that I really wanted to pursue my love for writing and performing.
- What was one of the first country album you ever bought?
Oh, that’s a hard one! We always had country music playing in our house, so we had a ton of albums, but I think one of the first albums that I very intentionally and specifically sought out was Sugarland’s Enjoy the Ridealbum. I heard “Want To” on the radio, and I just couldn’t get enough of Jennifer and Kristian’s writing.
- What is the background story behind your latest “Different Kind of Christmas?”
A few years ago around Christmas time, I was watching someone fill up a glass of eggnog, and as they (heavy handedly) poured the rum into the cup, I laughed and said, “A little less eggnog, and a little more rum, huh?” I laughed and then thought, “Oh! I need to save that line for a song!” Given that the line was about eggnog, I knew it had to be a Christmas tune. I’ve always loved the bluesy I’m-all-alone-at-Christmas type songs like “Please Come Home for Christmas” and “Blue Christmas”, so I decided that I wanted to write one of my own. I wrote that song back in 2014. It just goes to show how long it sometimes takes for music to get out into the world. I’m so glad that it finally is.
- Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2020?
I have four new songs coming out in 2020! I’ve been working with a producer at The Record Shop down in Nashville to really develop and hone in on my sound. At least one of these tunes is destined to be my next radio single in 2020. I’m so excited for everyone to hear this music, and I’ve never been more proud of a collection of works. I went through a very personal journey of discovering and rebuilding my own self-worth and self-esteem through these songs, and I really hope that they can do the same for someone else.
- What are some of your favorite venues or events to play at?
I love playing the fair and festival circuit in the summer! This past summer tour, I was so blessed to be able to play three state fairs (MN, OH, and NE) and countless other county fairs. I feel like a fair really tells you a lot about the community in which you’re performing, and expresses the uniqueness of the area. I love experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds of somewhere new and learning about each town I visit. The fair and festival setting really helps to immerse you in that.
- If you could sing a duet with any singer or group, who would it be and why?
Oh my, this is another hard question! If I’m stepping outside of the country genre, it’s a toss-up between John Fogerty and Amos Lee. I’ve had the chance to see both of them live, and each of their shows were incredible. They’re both fantastic writers and performers, and I enjoy their unique vocal styles. If I’m staying within the country genre, I’d have to go withChris Stapleton. I absolutely love his voice, his writing, and his live performance.
- Do you have any New Year resolutions for this year?
I don’t necessarily make a New Year’s Resolution, but I do use New Year’s Eve to assess where I’ve been and where I want to go. This year, I plan on releasing my next single to radio, touring throughout the United States, and recording/releasing the second volume EP of Campfire Sessions. I’d also love to try and set up a small Christmas tour. I host a Christmas benefit for the Salvation Army every year, and I’d love to take that show on the road as well.
- What is of one of your favorite quotes?
I have so many favorite quotes, but since we’re at the very beginning of the year with a blank page and a fresh start, I’ll give you the one I think about as the new year comes around. The full quote is much longer, but my favorite excerpt from it is this:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. . . I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
It’s from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but it is frequently attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, as he wrote the short story bearing the title, but not the quote.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have a live EP out on Spotify and iTunes right now called Campfire Sessions. It was recorded around a bonfire at a KOA Campground in Waterloo, IA this year during my summer tour. I’m hoping to record a new volume every year in the same way. I’ve always appreciated the raw and real, and this EP is a very authentic reflection of my writing, my voice, and the incredible musicians I get to tour with!