- 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.
Hello, Maddye! Can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
Hi…yes! I’m Maddye Trew. I grew up just outside of Memphis in a spot called Atoka, TN. It was a ‘one Kroger, one restaurant where you saw everybody’ kinda town. I have a little brother who was a record-breaking quarterback in the city, so our parents always called us their ‘little Peyton Manning and Carrie Underwood.’ Both sets of my grandparents lived next to us, so my little brother and I always had support with our fun passions. My mom got a job as a choir teacher at the school I ended up going to, so I jumped in on that with her and was a choir kid until I graduated in 2014. I was in every musical we put on, and I really miss that part of my life. Someday in my career, I’d love to add Broadway to the resume.
What made you want a career in country music?
My first concert … and my Nana. We enjoyed watching American Idol together so much that she bought us tickets for the Season 2 tour with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. As soon as the first song ended, I knew that becoming a famous singer and playing the FedEx Forum [in Memphis] was what I wanted to do. I was so jealous, and I have relived that moment at ever concert I’ve attended since. Being from TN and loving Shania Twain, I grew up with a love for country music, and when I turned fifteen, I decided to go for it by auditioning for American Idol myself. Sadly, my Nana had passed away by then, so I was also going in her honor.
My first shot was in St. Louis where I made it to the second round. We were thrilled, and we figured if we made it past one [round], we should make a trip out of it and go every year. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I got my golden ticket to Hollywood. That became the last confidence shove I needed to go to Nashville to pursue a career in country music, and I know my Nana is still cheering me on to do it, too.
Who are some of your musical icons?
Carrie Underwood, Patsy Cline, and Shania Twain. If I met any of these women, I wouldn’t be able to hold my self together. Carrie Underwood is my top icon. I strive to have the professionalism, respectability, and standing as her. She’s just a nice country girl that can wail her heart out on great music. She’s got style, humor, and wears the most beautiful dresses. I honestly think I’m her top Spotify listener. Every morning I play whichever album, mostly Storyteller, in my car and imagine it’s me performing at any of the renowned stages in Nashville or my home city, Memphis.
Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” was the first song I learned from a voice teacher and played out with a full band. Having those educational experiences at an early age led me to love and focus more on her vocality. I enjoyed singing in mixed voice after that. I write songs now while keeping her phrasing in mind. Her phrasing and mixed voice is so smooth, and I love her lower notes. Check out “Leavin’ on your Mind” – the live version. You’ll be speechless.
Shania Twain is the pop side of me. She was the first country artist I gravitated to at an early age. My mom had the CD of her Come on Over album, and we would play it over and over in the car. She said that I wanted to listen to it so much that I would finally just get in the car and ask her to play the specific numbers of the song on the CD; I had the numbers memorized. She [Shania] is also just such a performer. I wanted to move like her and take the crowd like she does. I really loved pretending it was me, as her, in the backseat. Mom said I crushed it.
How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
Gosh, I don’t know. Um, I know how I would want others to describe it. Authentically, unapologetically “Maddye!”
What is the background story behind your new single !That“s the Lonely Talkin“?”
“That”s the Lonely Talkin ‘” written by my friends Katie Barbour and Jimmy Thrasher. With Katie, loneliness was connected to divorce; for Jimmy, it was his becoming a widower. When I heard first heard the song, I was in middle of losing my “normal,” as my parents were separating. It’s really a universal take on grief, and I love songs like that. Songs that can reach everybody. And as it did for us, I hope it gives people a space to listen and sing through the pain while remembering that
everyone else around you also has theirs, and you’re all in the same boat. So, you’re not totally alone.
What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I love playing the !Porchlight Pickers” round at the Local in Nashville. It’s a good vibe. I always hang out after the show with my family and friends that come to see me; we grab a beer and enjoy the next round. I’ve had the honor to be on the Listening Room stage a few times – both the one in Nashville and the new one in Pigeon Forge. Killer venue, and they have my favorite drink, the !Hide the Wine” – named after Carly Pearce’s song. I hope to have my own drink there someday. Lastly, Belcourt Taps. It was my first writers round. It’s a very welcoming spot to the new dreamers, and everyone knows everyone there, so you can make friends and find talented co-writers.
What is your recording process like when creating and making new music?
My super-creative producer, Luke Buishas, is helping me to discover and refine my sound as I cut both pop and traditional country songs, because I love it all. He’s helping me find my lane. After I write a song and give it to him, there are no rules. We mess with it. Experiment. I will send him reference tracks of songs or sounds that can completely change the original melody or idea of how it started. I’ll attach notes and markers of the spots where I like the instrumentation or the phrasing of another singer in the reference track.
Recording vocals is fun. We will change the phrasing a lot to really hit the emotion; the idea is to make it so relatable that the audience might sing these same lines to themselves. We really wanna tell the story successfully with both the vocals and the coolest sounds we hear. And there’s always a “behind-the-scenes” story of some certain part in a track where we may see the work, the deliberate choice, but to the audience, the song is done the way it should, be in its entirety – and they feel the emotion.
But on our end, to get them to that point, we represent that emotion through the instrumentation. For example, let’s say a heartbreak song focuses on the anger side of the relationship. The drum hit is you … mad. Then we add a sudden musical stop after the drum hit, symbolizing the “wait. Think. Dang…I still love them.” We’ve given you space in the song to make that turn and feel that. Producing a song is fascinating. It’s all storytelling, and I’m blessed to have Luke teaching me his studio magic.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” – Erma Bombeck
- Hello Erin, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician? Looking back on my life before music, well, there wasn’t anything but music really. I grew up always playing music or involved someway in it. Before i moved to Nashville from Lakeville, Minnesota i never had a job. I was always paid to play my music which is definitely something i miss haha.
2. What made you want a career in country music? I started realizing about halfway through my high school career back in Minnesota that academics were not my strong suit. I knew music was what I always wanted to do, but assumed I needed to go to college first. I was told by my family and teachers that college wasn’t for everyone and that it would be in my best interest to move to Nashville. Once I had that affirmation, I knew right then and there that going into music as an artist was exactly what I needed to do, but also seeing all the artists I look up to doing what I wanted to do really made me want to chase the dream as well.
3. Who are some of your musical icons? I have so many but my top 3 are probably Maren Morris, Keith Urban and Bruno Mars)
4. What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? The recording process for me is the most exciting. I feel like I get my most creative once I get into a studio. Im extremely comfortable in a studio as well so I feel like the process all in all goes pretty quick and smooth. It typically starts in the morning and ends by then end of the day for an EP project.
5. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? I like to say its Soulful, Cheeky, Sexy, Fun. and unapologetic. I speak my mind and sing what I want and its the realm when you hear what you hear!
6. What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? In Nashville I would say The Listening Room and in Minnesota I would say The Troubadour Wine Bar
7. What is one of your favorite quotes? I don’t know who said this but I always live by it. “play every show to the best of your ability because In that audience is someones first show and someone’s last show…”
1. Hello Sterling, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country singer?
Thanks for the interview! I was originally born in the south east and since then I’ve spent time in just about each corner of the country. I particularly spend a lot of time between western Montana and Nashville. I’ve been involved in Nashville as a songwriter for three years.
2. What made you want a career in country music?
I don’t think I originally intended to seek out a “career” in country music. I just enjoy writing songs and playing music and at some point I realized that my passion needed to supplement itself financially in order to continue pursuing it.
3. What is the background story behind your brand new single “Roll the Dice?”
Roll the Dice is a simple song about taking a chance on love! I attempted to package the song in a contemporary interpretation of Western Swing arrangement, one of my favorite forms of music. I sure hope it translates well with others!
4. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
Neo-traditional country music
5. Where are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I’ve had the opportunity to play some amazing venues but I have to say my top venues would have to be:
-The Old Saloon, Emmigrant, MT
-The American Legion Post 82, Nashville,TN -White Horse, Austin, TX
-Luckenbach Dancehall, Fredericksburg, TX
6. What is your recording process like when making and creating new music?
I usually accumulate a collection of songs and try to find a consistent production value or instrumental arrangement amongst them. Then, I’ll take them into a studio live room and cut them all together with arranged musicians. When it comes to my own artistry I like to arrange the production and work alongside an engineer.
7. Who are some of your musical icons?
Roger Miller, Ray Price, Larry Sparks, Glen Campbell, Ralph Stanley, Willie & Waylon, Red Steagall, Bob Wills, and Marty Robbins
8. What do you like to do when you are not working on your music?
I spend about a half of the year working as a hired hand for a ranch in western Montana. I enjoy being an ever-evolving student of both horsemanship and stockmanship. I also like seeing the country through visitings other friends of mine in the ranching community. You learn a lot by experiencing the different ways in which folks get the job done. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time on the road. When I get some down time I enjoy learning about history through books, music and film. I’m a low key nerd.
9. What is one of your favorite quotes?
Ride me down easy, Lord, ride me on down. Leave word in the dust where I lay. Say, I’m easy
come, easy go, and I’m easy to love when I stay” – Billy Joe Shaver
10. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I hope you all enjoy the latest single! Keep an eye out for more music and an upcoming EP by fall this year! Find me on Spotify, Instagram, or Facebook.
- Hello Taylor, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician? I guess I was pretty much born into music! My dad had a band while I was growing up, and I remember jumping on stage to sing with at a very young age. My life has revolved around music for as long as I can remember! I have performed on my own most of my life. I grew up in a small south Texas town on the coast (Portland, Texas), and am a proud Texas Aggie graduate (class of 2016!). I have spent most of my life in and on the water, and I love to fish almost as much as I love to play music. I traveled a lot with my family growing up, so I definitely have a love for traveling as well. After living in Nashville for over 4 years, I decided to make the move back to my home state of Texas. I’ve always loved the Texas music scene, and felt like it had been calling my name!
- How did you get into country music and how did you decide you wanted a career in it? As I said previously, my dad was a musician and that’s what truly pushed me into my music career. Both of his parents, my grandparents, played music and occasionally wrote songs. They didn’t pursue music as a career, but a hobby. My dad on the other hand, pushed music a little harder. He was in the same band since he was young and has the most incredible voice and ear for music. He never pushed me to play music, but I couldn’t help but want to do what he did. I was so drawn to it! With only a little help from my dad, I taught myself to play the guitar. He encouraged me to play gigs on my own, and before I knew it, I was playing all over south Texas! I started writing early, too, and decided I was going to venture to Nashville for a while to learn and grow as a person and as a musician/artist. A music career has always been my dream, I just cannot imagine my life without music!
- Who are some of your musical icons? Well of course, my dad, but I’m also inspired by the musicians I grew up listening to. My dad is a lover of country music, and my mom is more of rock and alternative music fan. So I was inspired by them both! Some of the artists I grew up listening to that have always inspired me are: Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Pat Green, Matchbox Twenty, Keith Whitley, and Jo Dee Messina to only name a few. The list goes on and on! Since I really started my career, my biggest and current inspirations are Lee Ann Womack, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Randy Rogers, and Patty Loveless. There’s honestly so many – especially like some of my friends that I’ve met in Nashville who inspire me in so many ways!
- What is the background story behind your brand new single “Bigger Than Texas?” Bigger Than Texas is an extremely vulnerable song I wrote about a heartbreak I experienced in early 2020. I had used the phrase, “I love you Bigger Than Texas” like the phrase, “I love you to the moon and back” in that relationship because we were both from Texas. We hit a rough patch, and had a short breakup. I was heartbroken to say the least, and it was a tough situation for both of us to be in. I was out at a bar in Nashville one night, and a mutual friend of ours said, “you know he’s thinking about moving back to Texas?”, and when I heard that my heart sank. I thought, ok, if he leaves, it’s definitely over. I went home that night, picked up my guitar, and started the chorus of this song in tears. I wanted to write something that he would know was about him if he heard it. I called my favorite co-writer and best friend, Karleigh Schmidt, and told her I had something. I asked her to finish it with me, and we had the song in a couple of hours. Sure enough, the first time I played it out, someone posted a video to their Instagram story, and he heard it. When we began to mend the relationship he said, “I still love you Bigger Than Texas, too”.
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? . Honest, heartfelt, unique, fun, TEXAN!
- What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? I spent a lot of time this go round focusing on writing before rushing out an album. It was really hard to narrow down my favorites for this record, but I loved having so many to choose from. I collaborated with my producer, James Cook, multiple times before jumping in, and bounced ideas back and forth with one of my co writers, Karleigh. I had a very solid idea of what I wanted before we got started. Once in the studio, you feel what’s right, and sometimes it takes you in a different direction than originally intended. The recording process is a time to really get creative, and it is SO much fun.
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? I’d have to say my favorite is Brewster Street Icehouse in Corpus Christi, TX. I was lucky enough to perform there when I first started chasing this dream, thanks to my dad. It’s an awesome venue and one of the best in STX! I also really love playing at the music venues on Demonbreun street in Nashville. Its a different experience than playing for listeners. When you’re playing at a local area in Nashville, you’re playing for other musicians, industry professionals and other songwriters. Its really cool to build relationships after gigs at these venues and watch your friends grow in music, too. I love playing at venues near my hometown the most, because that hometown support always blows me away!
- What is one of your favorite quotes? “If it were easy, everyone would
- Is there anything else you would like to share? Thank you so much for including me in this!I truly appreciate it!
Hello Jarod, can you tell us a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
Yes! I was born and raised in Montana. I grew up playing baseball and fly-fishing as well as enjoying the Montana outdoors, skiing, hunting, rafting, etc. I played college baseball and really tried to turn it into a professional career. After that, I opened up a house painting company and a sailboat chartering company on Flathead Lake (Montana). I also coached high school baseball for a few years. To fast forward a little bit, I then spent some time in Texas where I owned a small baseball academy, and of course, got into the Texas Red Dirt country scene even more! After that, I lived in Boise for a short time where I started my first band, the JGrubb Band, and played all over Boise. My next move was Nashville after meeting a guy named Gary Tackett, Billy Currington’s first lead guitarist, who really encouraged me to make the move. I’m so glad he did!
What made you want a career in country music?
I’ve always been in music. My parents had me in piano lessons from 6 years old and I played the saxophone starting in middle school. I picked up the guitar in college and started writing songs. I spent a year of college in Texas and learned all the Texas country jams, especially Pat Green. I entered the Colgate Country Showdown and won our local chapter with 2 of my country originals. It was the largest chapter of the competition in the nation and I performed for 3,000 people! It was pretty nerve-racking lol. But, I did all that just for the love of it. It wasn’t until I got to Boise, where I felt like if I didn’t start a band, I would regret it. I really got some great encouragement along the way at the right times, especially from Gary Tackett, and I felt like I could have a shot in the country music business.
What is the background story of your debut song “Tiki Bar On The Beach?”
Tiki Bar was actually the very first song I wrote in Nashville. It really came out of just a songwriting exercise to get into the writing habit after moving. Usually, I don’t finish songs I start for workouts, but I did on this one and when I started playing it out live it got a surprisingly good response. I was surprised because I feel like it’s a very simple concept and song, but sometimes “simple” is honest and speaks to people even more than something clever would.
How did you come up with the name “Tiki Bar on The Beach?”
Having just moved to Nashville (when I wrote it) to chase the dream of being a country artist, the concept of chasing your dreams was fresh on my mind. So that’s what the song is about – not being afraid to take a risk and follow your heart. One of my dreams is to own a house on the beach. I thought of what that would be like and where I would hang out and it would be at a Tiki Bar on the Beach. Kind of like Cheers on the ocean. Like the song goes, if you asked me where I would be if I could be anywhere, “You could find me way down south, at the tiki bar on the beach.”
Who are some of your musical icons?
I just love musicians who are pure writers and can perform their own stuff stripped down – just themselves and a guitar or piano. Pat Green was huge for me in Texas, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, John Denver, John Mayer and so many more. Lately Old Dominion too!
How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
Original. New. Beachy.
What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I have played around a bit here in Nashville. This past year I have landed at Margaritaville on broadway and Margaritaville Hotel. Those are my favorite spots! They fit my style, so I can play the Kenny Chesneys, Jimmy Buffetts, Jack Johnsons and of course my stuff like Tiki Bar. Hopefully, I’ll land at Tortuga Fest and Gulf Coast Country jam this next year.
What is your recording process like when making and creating new music?
I’ve really developed a specific process. Without boring you with all the details (lol); it starts with idea gathering – little snippets of musical thoughts that I put in my phone’s notepad or voice memo. Lots of those come from mowing the lawn. It takes me forever to mow the lawn because I’m always stopping. After that, I turn those ideas into verses or choruses. When I’ve got a collection of those I finish writing the ones I like and trash the ones I don’t. Then, I take time to learn and demo those before I write another batch. It’s a good cycle for me. I feel like it keeps me fresh instead of non-stop writing.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog!! I’ve been blessed with all the people I’ve met along the way who have influenced and helped me and I’m so grateful!
What is one of your favorite quotes? “I learned how to speak the same way I learned how to ride a bike – by doggedly making a fool of myself.” -George Bernard Shaw.
- Hello Devon, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician? Before I became a musician, I was a high school student who was struggling to find their fit in the world. I wasn’t good at sports; orchestra & chorus was NOT for me. but I always loved music, I just didn’t know how to get involved. When I found my fit, singing country stuff, I never looked back.
- What made you want a career in country music? I never knew you could have a career in music. Honestly, when I pictured musicians, I pictured me standing on the side of the street, playing guitar & singing, with my guitar case open, asking for money. I had no idea I could go to local venues and play on the weekends. I attended my first open mic and that really opened my eyes. It showed me that there are alternate ways to peruse this career and be able to support myself.
- Who are a few of your musical icons? I wouldn’t say I have famous musical icons. My icons are the local musicians that took the time to help me become the person I am today. They spent so much of their free time giving me tips, what to do, what not to do, and lessons on playing guitar. Without them, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have today, and I’m so very grateful for that. I hope to pay it forward one day.
- What is the background story behind your brand-new single “Mirrors?” My last single was released July of 2020. I had a set-back that following year and lost complete direction of where I was going in the industry. Fast forward to January 2021, I sat down with the co-writer of this song, Sam Grow, and he helped me voice how I was feeling. This song helped me find my new direction and I’m so thrilled people will be able to hear my side of the story.
- What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? I like to switch up my style every time I release something new. I don’t like being predicable. If you listen to my songs, they all are just a bit different in their genre, topic, structure, etc. I like to go in and trust the producer, to see what he can come up with and then we just go from there!
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Full of Emotion.
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? I’ve played many venues in PA, they are all great and I love the hosts, so I’m not going to pick there!!! But in Nashville, I really enjoy playing at The Local, Nash House Saloon, Tootsies Orchid Lounge Broadway, & Tin Roof Broadway.
- Is there anything else coming up with your music in the next few months? Yes! I have another single coming out hopefully this summer!! It’s my favorite song I’ve written so far. I’m so excited for everyone to hear it!
- What is one of your favorite quotes? Always be on your A game. You never know who may be in the room or listening.
- Is there anything else you would like to share? Thank you very much for your willingness to interview me. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I can’t wait to read the article. Thank you!
- Hello Gracia, can you tell us a little bit about yourself before you became a country singer? Well. That would probably be when I was in the womb… Hahaha. I have really been singing and have had dreams of this since I was a child. Ever since I learned that it was not possible to become a mermaid, I set my sights on the entertainment industry. I did a lot of acting when I was younger in community productions and such, and that didn’t really stick. What did though, is singing. We used to live out in the middle of a cornfield, and there was a big shed in the backyard with a concrete circle where a grain silo used to be, and so in my head I kind of made it like a little ampitheater, and would go and SIIIING all night long to nobody, but I would pretend obviously that I was putting on these large, sold out concerts. As I got older I definitely did kind of start re-evaluating my life plans; especially being from a small town, you usually don’t get the option of like, “oh yeah, you actually CAN move away and become something bigger than this”, and so, while I kept singing locally, I started to consider nursing school at the end of high school. Which was genuinely probably not something I actually WANTED to pursue, but like, everyone else was doing it and ya know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Plus, music never seemed attainable in my world back then, just because I never really was exposed to the right environment with OPTIONS to do so, you know? I lived in a town where everyone went to school and stayed there and settled down. So it always seemed like this very far away, unreachable dream that only very lucky people were able to obtain. This was also back before Instagram was even a thing (it took off my senior year of high school; back when we all used like awful filters and posted anything and everything), and so, it wasn’t like it is in the current world with social media platforms and more opportunities than ever without even leaving your hometown. SO, I was like, well. I guess I’ll start trying out for singing shows. So I started auditioning for reality shows, in hopes that I would make it. I think I did American Idol like 4 or 5 times, and I never made it to the Hollywood week. I auditioned for the Voice for season 2, and didn’t make it, so I went back for season 3. They remembered me, and I remember I got a call at my job working in the kids center of a fitness facility in my hometown, and got told I was going to the next round in LA. From there, it was history!
- What made you want a career in country music? I grew up on country, and grew up IN the country in a small town in Illinois. My entire family listens to country, so it’s just what I grew up on. I remember my mom had like, Trisha Yearwood, Blake Shelton, Shania Twain, and LeAnn Rhimes’s debut CDs, and I’d always listen to them when I was young. While I appreciate all genres, country has always been what I’ve been drawn to. I will say though, my love for pop is a close second, and I’m most inspired by pop music; so I try to incorporate pop lyrics and sounds in to my music, alongside country elements.
- Who are some of your musical icons? Halsey, Kelsea Ballerini, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain and Lady Gaga. Which, they are all so very different, butI’m inspired by different things from each of them. I love everything about them as artists, but I’m most inspired by Halsey’s attitude and her lyrics and ability to make a sad song bop, Kelsea for her personality and style of music, Dolly because… she’s Dolly and extra as hell (same) but 100% herself, and Gaga for that reason as well. Shania, she’s just amazing and truly paved the way for pop country artists.
- What is the background story behind your brand-new single “hey? So I started writing this song and didn’t even really MEAN for it to end up being like, what it is now, but it ended up becoming a love song about how my boyfriend and I met. The storyline in the song comes from past experiences I’ve had dating. I had been in a relationship that ended badly, and spent a few years just really being wary of being involved with anyone else beyond anything casual, going out a lot, etc. We ended up in a relationship and he’s great to me, and has kind of been the reason I slowed down and realized that it’s not so bad when you’re with the right person.
- What was your favorite part of being a part of The Voice? Honestly I loved the entire experience. From just the excitement of being on the show, the crew and other contestants that became like family, and just getting to experience hanging out in LA and being around so many amazing artists. I made a lot of lasting friendships and continue to make them! It’s kind of funny, we all may have been on different seasons, but it’s like, we’ll meet on whatever social channels or even in real life, and it’s just like, distant family kind of. Like, we all went on this show and have this common denominator. Haha.
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Fun, bubbly, and feel-good. For now. I want to release some deeper tracks in the future, but I’m currently sticking with the upbeat bops!
- What are some of your favorite venues to play at? Honestly, I don’t think there’s been many places I didn’t enjoy playing! I just love doing what I do. I of course, LOVE supporting national acts or headlining fairs and festivals, but I also love smaller more intimate venues as well. They’re both so great in their own ways. There’s such a rush with the bigger venues and shows, but the smaller ones are always so fun, especially when everyone’s having a good time and you get to interact with people on a more personal level. It feels like you’re at a home-town bar/venue and I love that feeling equally.
- What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? So usually ideas come to me and I just jot them down and come back to them, sometimes I write the entire song right then and there, or sometimes I save it for a co-write because it’s just not coming out how I expected. It just depends on the song, really. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want it to sound like, and the vibe of the song whenever it comes to my head before I even start writing. Which of course sometimes that changes! As far as making the music itself, I enjoy being in the studio while the track is being produced, and being able to listen and build it alongside the producer. Looove watching it come to life.
- What is one of your favorite quotes? Okay well… I cannot pick one, so top 3?! I literally like, collect quotes on Pinterest, so I am full of them. Hah. I LOVE Dolly’s quote, “Find out who you are, and do it on purpose”, “You will never influence the world by trying to be like it”, and lastly, “Be somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody.”
- Is there anything else you would like to share? That everyone should go CHECK OUT “hey” NOW, ADD IT TO YOUR SUMMER PLAYLISTS. Also, I’m getting ready to release more music so be on the lookout!