1. Hi Mac, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
Music has always been a part of my life, I know that sounds cliche but it has. Growing up I played all kinds of sports, my main sport being hockey. My family has a deer camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and that is where I was first introduced to live music. My cousins all played and were fantastic, still are. I always looked forward to going to camp to watch them play. I was always so busy with hockey so I didn’t get to go as much I like to. When I graduated high school, I was given the opportunity to play in the United States Hockey League, the top junior hockey league in the country. I played a couple years and decided to hang up the skates and start going to college. I was young, figuring out life, and then I decided to teach myself guitar. Haven’t looked back since.
2. When did you start listening to country music and when did you know you wanted a career in it?
I grew up listening to traditional country music, Motown, and Irish drinking songs. True story. My dad always listened to Johnny Cash, Merle, Willie, all the good ol’ boys. Mom loved her Motown music. My mother always loved to sing and had me singing karaoke with her since I was a kid. My family has always loved going to concerts, my first was Bruce Springsteen when I was ten years old. One of our favorite artists is Kenny Chesney. We have been going to see him for the last ten years every summer. One year, Kenny was on tour with Tim McGraw, and I remember watching them in awe. At the time I was just starting to really get into playing gigs and such and I just remember watching them thinking, I want to do that. I want to play music and have people be in that moment with me someday.
3. Who are some of your musical icons?
I have to say I have so many influences in the music industry. Eric Church is in a league of his own. His song writing is great but his performance is magnificent. His presence and attitude is inspiring. Kip Moore has a style and a way with words that have inspired me in so many ways. He also is an incredible performer, he has the kind of fun people want to see on stage. Kid Rock, good hometown guy, is one of the best performers I have ever seen in my life. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his talent. Johnny Cash, one of the best story tellers to ever put pen to paper. Garth Brooks, amazing performer and still going strong. James Taylor, Pearl Jam, Aretha Franklin, Pink, Adam Levine, Donna Summers, I could go on and on. These are just a few influences, but they inspire me in some fashion every time I put pen to paper.
4. How did you come up with the title “Dynamite,” for your latest EP?
When I moved to Nashville, I had this vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I have written plenty of songs up to this point in life and wanted to try some new things. I wrote a lot of ballads and love songs and wanted to try to get into some more upbeat melodies. I went and saw my neighbor at the time, Eric Paul, play at a place in Printers Alley called, Alley Taps. I was blown away at his overall stage presence and incredible guitar skill. We became great friends over time and started jamming a bit. I had this idea in my head for some lyrics but it was really about the music. I wrote Dynamite so I could have Eric Paul play on the track. He nailed it, I love the song and what we did with it. So I decided to make an EP and that song would be the title track. It’s powerful and that’s why I chose that to be the name of the record.
5. What is your favorite song off “Dynamite?”
It’s hard to say. I wrote all the songs, so naturally I love them all for different reasons. I think my favorite song on the record is Faith. That song means more to me than you could understand. It’s a song about my mother and her battle with cancer and my internal battle with God. It’s beautiful.
6. Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019?
I am getting ready to release a new single, Coming Home, February 8, 2019 if all goes according to plan. The music industry can get crazy sometimes haha. I have other songs in the works and plan to tour around the midwest as much as possible this year.
7. How would you describe your music in three to five words?
Real. Relatable. Honest.
8. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Be fabulous”- Bill Burton
9. Is there anything else you would like to share?
We are all good people. Just always be the best version of yourself.
Hello, can you give me a little bit of background about your outdoor apparel line?
FWD (Pronounced Forward) Clothing Company started in June of 2016 with the mantra of “INSPIRING OTHERS TO DO MORE.”– Do more for yourself. Do more for others. Do more to live a fulfilling life. A lot of our designs are centered around living a fun, laid back, and outdoor lifestyle with the idea of always striving to do more.
Being based in Nashville, TN – I originally started, and continue to do so to this day, creating Nashville centric apparel (Tees, hats, sweatshirts, jackets, etc.) to showcase the booming and ever-evolving city our brand started in. Coupling one of the hottest cities in the country with our own unique twist to each design, we have seen great success with the brand.
Comfort is, and always will be, a key ingredient with every piece of clothing we create. By creating what we feel is a great brand story, cool designs, and comfortable apparel…we have set ourselves on the right track for something special.
“INSPIRE OTHERS TO DO MORE” -> #liveFWD
How did you decide on the name “FWD Clothing Co,” and was there any other names that you were thinking instead?
It’s interesting you ask this question…in a recent video we released on Instagram, I discuss why the brand was started and how the FWD name came to be. Originally we went with Going Forward but as time passed, we knew the adjustment to name was necessary and it would fit perfectly to the market we were after. It emulated the style of other brands we strived to be like yet allowed us to have our own unique story.
Some of the brands we appreciated that told a great story were ones like: (i.e. MVMT Watches, RVCA, Patagonia, etc.) – And a common thread throughout was simplicity and a minimalist brand name that spoke volumes when dissected on a deeper level! This was something we knew we had and really wanted so that is why we made the brand adjustment.
It’s important to note that no great brand happens over night. We may have pivoted our brand in the public eye (public eye of our 5K followers that is ha-ha) but it has been a key ingredient in our continued success today.
The word forward had appeared everywhere…commercials, billboards, license plates…you name it, I saw it. It was such a testament to my life story of always pushing FWD no matter what life threw my way…I knew immediately it would be a focal point in the brand name!
Where do you see “FWD,” in 5 to 10 years?
The 5 to 10-year plan for FWD encompasses several of our own boutique stores in dynamic, hot cities like Nashville. The key, though, is to not move too fast and find just the right spot like our current Mobile 12 south Nashville location. Along with several of our own boutique stores, we hope to land a few larger retailers as well as expand our online ecommerce platform. Lastly, we hope to continue to spread our product offerings and continue making a huge impact around the world.
Have any famous celebs worn any clothes from the collection?
We have been fortunate to get some awesome people to support the brand…one of our biggest supporters is Kip Moore. He fits the brand vibe perfectly and loves being outdoors more than anyone we’ve ever met. Plus, he’s one of the most talented musicians around and being that our brand was founded in Music City, what a better advocate to have than him!?
A few others we have had the pleasure of getting gear into their hands include Miley Cyrus (yes, she actually stopped by the mobile VW Shop in Nashville one weekend to purchase which was super cool). Michael ray and Jimmie Allen have been seen rocking our FWD Guitar Pick necklaces (something we dubbed “A PICK WITH A PURPOSE”). – You can check the necklaces out on our website to learn more!
Last but not least, we have also gotten product into the hands of several reality TV stars from various shows like the bachelor/bachelorette and Very Cavallari!
What is one of your favorite event(s) to be a part of?
We love being a part of our non-profit partner Make-A-Wish of Middle, TN. Each month we sponsor one kid, create some awesome, one-of-a-kind apparel for them, and donate a certain amount of money that goes toward a trip they have chosen for their wish. Being able to meet these families and the kids is something that cannot be put into words…the only way to describe it is incredible. The positivity that radiates from everyone of them while dealing with such difficult situations is remarkable. On top of that, Make-A-Wish Middle, TN is led by the awesome Beth Torres and her entire staff/team are such a pleasure to work with! They also donate 80% of their donations towards the wishes year after year which is an incredible statistic for non-profits.
Is there anything new coming up with your company in 2019?
We have a lot coming this year. From Custom manufactured clothing (shirts, ¼ zip pullovers, jackets, outerwear, hats) to Custom FWD Shades and everything in between…it’s going to be a big year for us! We are also hoping to land our first permanent retail location by this summer and are in talks to hit several music festivals around the U.S. so stay tuned!
What advice would you give to a up and coming clothing company?
This is an awesome question and I have been getting asked this more and more lately (it seems to be a common theme ironically with our mantra being “inspiring others to do more”) ha-ha.
Anyways, although we have made significant strides in 2.5 years, we are miles upon miles away from where we want to be. We still consider ourselves to be up and coming as well, so the advice I will give is purely what I tell our team everyday. JUST START!
Take your ideas, put it out into the universe, and see what happens. Create a brand that means something to you, that tells your life story, and begin creating product and content for it! Your story may be just the key ingredient to helping someone else tell or find their story (in our experience, this has been key because so many can resonate with the FWD story of life’s ups and downs and simply having a lust to DO MORE in life). These individuals, in turn, want to be brand ambassadors which is huge for any brand).
Founder of TOMs Shoes, Blake MyCoskie, discusses in his book, START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, that getting advocates or brand ambassadors…whatever you want to call them, is crucial for brand success. Imagine if you could have 10, 20, 50, 100, or 1,000 advocates telling your brand story because they were inspired by it!? With all the great advertising out there, there still is nothing better than a personal word-of-mouth recommendation! I truly believe that. So go build it and find your advocates!
The word lifestyle gets thrown around so much in today’s branding world but if you can truly and authentically create a lifestyle and story that resonates with others…you are on the right track!
When you fail, and I say when because you will, learn from it, grow, and let it go. You will have bad designs that flop, people will criticize your brand, and not everything you create will work…but that’s okay! Go back to the drawing board, use it as motivation, and keep pushing FWD!
Lastly, if you can consistently work hard, stay patient, and build upon as many genuine relationships as possible, you will do well!
Think of it like this, when someone goes into cardiac arrest, you immediately perform CPR on them until a more permanent solution is available. The techniques used in CPR provide oxygen to the brain and generate blood flow to the heart so that the person can hopefully and eventually stay alive. Just like breathing life back into an individual, you have to breath life into your business idea! By giving that idea life you are performing a business version of CPR that in a way exhibits C (Consistency), P(Patience), and R(Relationships). Consistently performing the correct techniques, patiently waiting for all the hard work to result in the best possible outcome, and relying on yourself and others to build genuine relationships will help your business ideas come to life!
What is one of your favorite quotes?
There are so many quotes I love but one that has been with me since day 1 is this:
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog!”
This quote is everything to me because it showcases the idea that no matter how big or small someone is, if they have the determination and mindset to make it work…they will get it done! CPR!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I just want to thank you for this awesome opportunity to be featured on your blog! It is truly a privilege to have done this and it is our hope that if just one person reads our story, and is inspired, then we have done our job! So thank you for showcasing us on your platform!
Continue to create awesome content, follow your dreams & passions, and pursue your wildest aspirations!
Strive to do more for yourself, for others, and to live a life that makes you happy!
Hi Hayden, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?I grew up in Dallas, TX. I played football all throughout high school. I decided to learn to play the guitar when I was about 15 years old, but never thought i’d have a career in music. I then went on to college at Texas A&M which is where I sang in front of anyone for the first time in my life.
Who are some of your musical icons?A few of my musical icons are George Strait, Cody Johnson, and Jon Pardi
When did you start listening country musician?I had listened to country music a little bit my whole life, but I really started playing it nonstop when i was about 12-13 years old.
How did you know you wanted a career in country music? . Like I said, I never would’ve dreamed that i’d be pursuing this as a career. I was in College Station, TX one day at my apartment just practicing the guitar and singing a bit and there was a knock on my front door. It was a young lady from down the hall who said she heard me and wanted me to sing her a song. I tried my best to not do that, but between her and my roommate they talked me into it, and without me knowing it my roommate recorded me and put it out on social media. Now, here we are!
What has been your favorite event to play at? My favorite event to play at was either The Rustic – Dallas, or opening for Jake Worthington in Brenham, TX at the 4 Star Concert Hall.
How did you come up with the name “First Rodeo,” for your latest EP and what is your favorite song off it? The name “First Rodeo” was actually just the name of a song before it was the title to the album. When my team and I were coming up with album names, that was actually the first one I threw out and everyone seemed to like it since it’s my first album “First Rodeo” made sense. As for my favorite song, I can’t really pick one because I love them all, but my top two would have to be “Don’t Bother Calling” and “More Than Enough.”
Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019? 2019 is going to be a huge year for me! I am getting a band together right now, so hopefully we’ll be playing some bigger shows/venues and I’ll also have new music coming y’all’s way this year!
If you had describe to your music/sound in three to five words, what words would your choose? Authentic Texas Country.
What is one of your favorite quotes? “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” -Davy Crockett
1. Hello Brittany, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician? Growing up I was involved in my church youth choir and I competed in pageants and talent competitions around the state of NC, so music has been a big part of my life for quite some time! I attended East Carolina University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work. But, my heart was with music, so two months after my college graduation I packed up and moved to Nashville.
2. What has been your favorite venue to play at so far in your music career? So far, The Stewart Theatre in Dunn, NC has been my favorite venue to play at mainly because it was my first hometown show where I performed my original music and the theatre was nearly sold out with close to 500 people in attendance. It was such a great time!
3. What goes into naming a EP? I’m sure quite a bit of brainstorming! But, the only EP I have released so far was a self-titled EP.
4. Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019? I hope for more shows and more new music to be released. I do plan to film an acoustic video for my current single in the very near future.
5. Who are some of your musical icons? I have always been a big fan of the powerhouse vocalists such as Martina McBride, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes and bluegrass songstress Alison Krauss.
6. What is the background story behind your latest song “Playing With Fire?” This song is about having feelings for someone that you know is bad for you and will keep breaking your heart, but you still keep going back to them hoping things will change. So, in essence you’re “Playing With Fire”.
7. If you have to describe your music in three words, what would they be? Real, Catchy, JAMS 🙂
8. What is one of your favorite quotes? “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
9. Is there anything else you would like to share? I am a cat mom to a 10 year old tabby cat named Ozzy!
A beautiful singer, songwriter, and gifted producer, North Carolina native Katelyn Clampett truly is the complete package. Her lively range, genre adaptability and wonderful writing skills have taken her all around the world. Clampett was a backup singer for Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. Also she has gathered admiration from Victoria Beckham, Vince Gill and Kara Dioguardi.
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers discovered Clampett at the age of 2. She next went on to receive a Songwriting and Vocal Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. After winning many songwriting awards at Berklee, she went west to compete on American Idol Season 9. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Clampett was invited to join Selena Gomez and The Scene as a backup singer. She also went on tour as a backup singer (keyboardist and acoustic guitarist) with Victoria Justice and Ariana Grande, and she also shared the stage with some popular country artists, such as Dan+Shay, Love and Theft, Frankie Ballard and Kip Moore.
On November 30, 2018, Clampett released her new single “Home for Christmas.” This new song was written by Clampett and she also produced the track herself in her home studio in Nashville, with the help of a all female production and recording team: Alex Kline (guitar), Robyn Dell’Unto (co-production), Sarah Emily Berrios (mixing) and Amy Marie (mastering).
1. Hello Katelyn, how have you grown as a country musician in the past year? I think I’ve grown immensely as a person, which subsequently has grown me as a country musician and songwriter. I’m very comfortable with myself at this point, and comfortable with saying things that I think I used to feel too introverted to say out loud. I’ve really learned how to trust myself and my natural instincts too. It’s funny, on “Home for Christmas,” a couple of the lines that I almost took out (out of fear of being “too true”) are the ones that stand out most to people. I’ve really learned how to hone the skill of not going down the rabbit hole of second-guessing to the point of paralysis, but to really trust my abilities and be confident in my perspective’s ability to connect with others when writing. Overall, I’m a lot less of who I’m told I should be this year, and have very much grown into myself, allowing my quirks to be on full-display. 😉 I think there’s a lot of liberation in that. 2. What is the background story behind your new single “Home For Christmas?” I wrote it one day by myself in my home studio in Nashville, after thinking about holiday plans and feeling a massive rush of anxiety about it (some members of my family like to plan Christmas wayyyy in advance- cue eye roll). I realized that most Christmas songs out there are about the joys of the holidays, and I think it can be pretty anxiety-ridden and sometimes painful for a lot of people. So I wanted to take a comedic stance on how uncomfortable the holidays can be. I feel like everyone thinks their family is crazy to some capacity, and I wanted to paint that picture and make people laugh/relieve some tension about their holiday situations, so that they know they’re not alone.
3. What is one of your favorite holiday traditions? Every year, my brother (who’s 28 years old now- a full-fledged adult, mind you) will wake me up at the crack of dawn to go see what’s under the tree. His love language is clearly “gifts,” and I always deliriously bark at him for disturbing my beauty sleep (always right on the cusp of those solid 8 hours). But his enthusiasm is so childlike it’s precious and it makes me feel somewhat like a kid again, which I think is a really important thing! 4. Is there something you wish your fans would take away from this song? To just recognize and acknowledge the craziness of the holidays but not let it bring you down or effect you. To realize the humor and lightheartedness in potentially dark home atmospheres, and to realize that, if that’s you, that you’re not alone. 5. Was there any other artists or producers that helped to create this song? I wrote the song and produced the demo alone in my home studio. The finished production is mostly my original demo, where I played banjo, mandolin, did the programming, engineering and editing. I’m proud to have had the help of some incredible women and musicians finish the song with me, including Robyn Dell’Unto (who helped me finish the production), SarahEmily Berrios (who mixed the song), Alex Kline (who played dobro and electric guitar) and Amy Marie (who mastered the song). Proud to have had a badass all-female production team on this song! 6. Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019? You’ll just have to wait and see. 😉 But I have spent 2018 writing/producing for other artists as well, so I’m very excited for 2019! 7. Is there anything else you would like to share? Music video is coming out soon! And if you like it/resonate with it, add it to your Spotify playlist! ❤
1. Hello AJ, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
For sure! I grew up in Ohio primarily just playing whatever sport was in season. I grew up just jamming whatever my dad had rocking in the car (Bee Gees, Neil Diamond, Brice Springsteen, etc.). I got my first guitar in middle school but I never really learned how to play it until I got to college.
2. Since 2015, you have been living in Nashville and played over 300+ live shows, what has been your top three favorite venues or shows to play at?
The coolest place we’ve played so far was the Hampton Beach Sea Shell Stage this past summer. It’s just this really cool little out door amphitheater backed up right on the beach in New Hampshire. I love playing at Belcourt Taps and Dawghouse in Nashville acoustically. The Listening Room in downtown Nashville is also super dope.
3. What is your process when writing a new song?
Honestly it depends on the day, who’s in the room. There’s no real set way to write a song and everyone is different. If you have 3 different people in the same writing room, it’s gonna look a little different every day. For me, I like to have a general idea of a chorus or hook before even throwing it out in a write. I write by myself a decent amount and then once I get to a point where I realize what that song is/could be, I sorta save it until I write it with someone I think can serve the song well.
4. What is the background story behind your latest song “Whiskey Working?”
So we wrote that in March or so. It was one of those songs where I had the “that’s the whiskey working” hook sort of looped and we (Davis Branch and Sean Stemaly) wrote to that. I went through a really hard breakup over the summer and the song really started to resonate with me and I felt like I was channelling it pretty well so I just recorded it as soon as I could!
5. Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019?
A LOT OF NEW MUSIC. I’ve been working with my producer (Aaron Patrick) a lot and we’ll just record a whole song in a day, sometimes write it and record it in the same day. We’ve probably got about 15 that we’ve done in the past few months and we’re gonna start putting some out as singles once we hit spring. There’s also a couple surprises before then too…
6. Who are some of your musical icons?
This is gonna be a little all over the place, but artists like Dierks Bentley, John Mayer, The 1975 and so many more. Dierks is just such a humble, relatable singer man. I got into songwriting mostly through John Mayer. That was the gateway drug. The 1975 just refuse to be put in a box. Their creativity is so inspiring to me.
7. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I think people have such a bad perception of failure. You learn so much through what didn’t work. Trial and error has been great for me. Especially with touring and music.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Come out to a show! I love to meet people in person more than anything. Instagram and all that social media stuff is cool but there’s nothing like the real thing.