Patrick Thomas~ Q&A!!!

1.     Hello Patrick, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country music artist?

I have been making music for as long as I can remember.  The story my parents tell is taking me to see Titanic in theaters when I was about 7 years old. They whisked me away for “bathroom breaks” when the content became too inappropriate, but that didn’t stop me from soaking up all of the wonderful music in that film.  When we came home they found me at the piano playing the underscoring from the movie.  I don’t think country music really happened until I was sixteen and started singing in a country show at six flags over texas. I heard Lonestar’s “Amazed” on CMT and couldn’t believe that those kind of straight-forward, romantic lyrics could go with such beautiful music. By the time I was in college I had picked up a guitar, and that’s really when the country started flowing out.

2.     What made you want to have a career in country music?

Honestly, it kind of fell into my lap.  I always wanted to be someone who could bridge genres. A country Michael Buble, or a country Coldplay, but I didn’t really identify as a “country artist” until my late teenage years. One day I woke up and thought, “hey I drive a truck, I wear cowboy boots, I’m from Texas, I write songs from the heart…aww what the hell…I think I’m a country artist!”

3.     What is one of your all-time favorite country music albums?

Pure B.S. by Blake Shelton is sure up there for me. He was still singing a lot of those rangey ballads that first put him on the map and I couldn’t get over it. That whole record was just fantastic. This is a huge throwback, but I’m also a big fan of Ray Charles’ country record. Oh, and really anything Brooks and Dunn. 

4.     What is the background story behind your latest single “On My Way To You?”

This is one of the first songs I have released that I did not write.  I have said from the beginning, may the best song win, and I’ve always believed it. I didn’t want to be one of those artists who refuses to release a song unless he or she can change a line to get some writer credit (yes it happens.) I just want to record GREAT songs.  In my opinion, love songs don’t get much better than this. One day, probably five years ago, my girlfriend at the time (now fiancé) and I were going through old demos I had in my itunes folder. We stumbled upon this song that another industry friend had played me and instantly fell in love.  Well before I decided to cut it, Lauren had made the decision that this song (and not my version mind you…the demo version sang by one of the writers), would be our first dance.  I just hope I did it justice. 

5.     What is your recording process like when creating and making new music?

I’m a live performance guy through and through, so I won’t act like the recording studio is my absolute favorite place in the world, but it does come close.  There is nothing like closing your eyes with some great headphones on and getting lost in a song. I like to pull up an image or some words on my phone that inspire me, look at that a few moments before I begin, and then just let it flow out.  I really prefer full takes and think that’s how we make the real magic happen. I’m also lucky to work with a producer who happens to be the best vocal engineer in town as well.  He can read my mind and makes things happen without me having to ask him. It’s wonderful!

6.     How was your experience on The Voice?

Honestly, it feels like a lifetime ago. That said, my experience was wonderful.  To fly cross country at twenty years old and get a crash course in the entertainment business, all the while rubbing shoulders with my heroes, is a blessing beyond description. I will always be grateful for the show and the opportunities it brought me.

7.     How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?

Soulful country for the heart

8.     What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?

I LOVE “The Listening Room” in downtown Nashville. When the Bluebird Cafe became a tourist attraction, (after the show “Nashvillle” on ABC), The Listening Room really stepped in to cater to larger audiences.  They have some amazing FOH sound engineers and it’s always a pleasure playing there. I also got the opportunity to play the historic Ryman Auditorium.  I’ll save that story for another time. Truly, an other-worldly experience.  Lastly, I’ve played a number of symphony halls across the country with my show “Country Legends.”  Each hall is different, but they are all equally spectacular and beautiful. 

9.     Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d just like to encourage folks who are fans of my music, to follow me on Spotify/Instagram, etc.  Those follows, and pre-saves of music, pre-purchases on itunes…they are all VERY helpful for an emerging artist’s career. Can’t thank you enough for that!

10.  What is one of your favorite quotes? 

I’m embarrassed to say this, but I really don’t have a favorite quote. At least not something that wouldn’t sound super cliché! I guess I’ll quote my mother and her mother as well who would always say, “This too shall pass.”  Seems fitting during these trying times. 

Austin Merrill~ Q&A

1. Hi Austin, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?

Well, I started singing and writing country songs when I was 18, so I guess before that I was a professional child. But more recently, I was a lieutenant in the Tennessee Army National Guard prior to becoming a full-time musician. I actually just finished up my time in uniform. It was the honor of a lifetime to serve this great nation, but I am happy to close that chapter of my life and focus entirely on music.

2. What made you decide to have a career in country music?

Music has always been a passion of mine. My mom and dad played almost exclusively country music in the car and at home, so when I started expressing myself through original songs it was only natural that I drifted toward the genre that I knew best. I love country music, both old and new, and I try to show that through the songs I write.

3. Do you have a favorite lyric in your new single “All In?” 

“You’re the jackpot, I’m a longshot. I might win, then again I might not, but I’m all in.” I think those two lines sum up the story as good as any others. Love is a gamble, and sometimes you have to risk it all by putting yourself out there for someone. You might win. You might lose. But you’ll never know until you try. 

4. Who are some of your musical icons?

I grew up on all the 90’s country greats. Basically, every artist from that era and beyond had at least a couple of hits that have influenced my sound and style. If I had to choose a few in particular, I’d say Vince Gill, Alan Jackson and Keith Urban are the artists that drew me in the most. They each have very definable, unique sounds, and I enjoy and appreciate their music to this day.

5. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?

Haha, that’s a tough one. I guess I’ll choose the words: different, new, and familiar. I think my voice and songwriting style live in their own space and have a uniqueness to them, but listeners will still hear elements of traditional country music that are very familiar to them. I may bring a fresh sound, but people can tell I’m a country boy at heart.

6. What are a few of your favorite venues or events to play at?

The coolest show I’ve ever played was in downtown Nashville at a venue called Acme Feed & Seed. I got to open a sold-out show for the band Shenandoah, who is one of my all-time favorite bands. That was a surreal moment. Marty [the lead singer] even brought me back up on stage to help them sing their classic hit “Church on Cumberland Road.” It doesn’t get any better than that.

7. What do you like to do in your free time when you are not working on your music?

I think it’s important for an artist to have hobbies completely unrelated to music. It helps provide balance. I’m a lifelong snowboarder, and I play a lot of disc golf when the weather is nice. I’m also a good hackeysacker. If I’m walking by and I see a good hack circle going on, I’m absolutely joining in. But try as I might, even during my free time I’ve got a song in my head I’m working on.

8. What is one of your favorite quotes?

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little.” A career as a recording artist can be a rather selfish endeavor, and I believe it’s important to pursue anything in this life only for the right reasons. If the music I create helps someone through a tough time in their life or helps them process certain emotions, then it’s all worth it. Whatever we do in life, it has to be with others in mind.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’m really excited to release my new track “All In” to the world, and thank you for the interview. If people want to join me on this crazy journey I’m on, follow me at @austinmerrillmusic for updates on new songs, videos, tour dates, and everything else Austin. Take care and stay safe out there. 

Paige King Johnson~ Q&A!!!

1.     Hello Paige, can you tell a little bit about yourself before you became a country artist?I grew up in a small North Carolina town listening to all the classic country artists that paved the way for people like me today, including Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard & Waylon Jennings. I loved music even as a little kid and was always singing something around the house or in my car seat. When I was 10 years old I got my first guitar as a Christmas present from my Papa and instantly fell in love with performing, playing and everything in between. The rest was history!

2.     Who are some of your musical icons?I look up to all the strong women in country music who have had such remarkable careers over the years like Loretta, Patsy, Dolly, Reba, Shania, and so many more! I also love current artists who are doing their best to keep that spirit alive like Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, and Lori McKenna to name a few.

3.     How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?Modern Retro Country

4.     What is the background story behind your brand new single “Just Like You?”I wrote this song in April of 2019 with a dear friend of mine from college, Regan Rousseau, about the give and takes of a relationship. I think the beauty in being loved by someone is that they accept you each day for all the parts of you, good and bad. And that’s when relationships work – when both people commit to loving each other a little more every day. I hoped to capture in this song each act of kindness, appreciation, and altruistic behavior shown to me to highlight the fact that the simple ways of loving someone can be the most beautiful things in life to them.

5.     What is your recording process like when making and creating new music?I love getting in the studio with my producer, Bill McDermott, because we get each other on every level musically. Our relationship was founded on our shared love for so many artists and their styles, so it was only fitting that we worked together. I had a pretty good idea of the general sound I was going for with this record, but Bill really helped bring all those ideas to life through the speakers which was so fun to watch. It’s truly a process to get everything just like you want it, and for me I knew I wanted it to sound like me and I knew I wanted it to sound country. As long as we had some steel guitar, I was happy! 

6.     What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?This is a hard question because I love to travel and this job of mine takes me to so many new places all the time! Still though, out of all the venues I’ve seen, some of my favorite places to play are still the local places back in my hometown in North Carolina where I cut my teeth as a performer. Any chance I get to go back home and play for people back in the places I grew up playing is so special to me.

7.     What do you like to do in your free time when not working on your music? When I’m not working on music, I really really enjoy both being active – preferably outdoors – by running or hiking, and also experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. I’m such a foodie, which is the main reason why I have to be so active.

8.     What is one of your favorite quotes?“If you see someone without a smile today, give ’em yours.” – Dolly PartonI try to stay on the optimistic side of most things just because I don’t enjoy being a sad person.
9.     Is there anything else you would like to share?Along with the song that released on Friday, October 2 and the lyric video on my YouTube page, I’m also very excited to be releasing the official music video for “Just Like You” very soon! Keep an eye out on my Facebook page and website for more updates.

Dani Taylor~ Q&A!!!

Hi Dani Taylor, can you tell us a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?

Hi! Before I became a country musician I was in college and got my bachelor’s in English literature. I also used to work at a golf hitting range before I became a full-time country artist. I never learned to golf even though I was offered free lessons.

2. Who are some of your favorite music artists of all time?

Kacey Musgraves, Patsy Cline, Sam Smith and Joy Williams.

3. What is the background story behind your brand new single “Man of Few Words?”

“Man of Few Words” was the first song I’ve ever written out of pure imagination. My co-writers Will Rambeaux and Sherrie Austin and I rewrote the song 2 times to make it perfect. I had the hook for a while and Will rambled off “he’s a man of few words and he saves the three best for me” and I said “SOLD!” And we wrote the song but ended up rewriting it another day and then once more because my intuition told me it wasn’t just right yet. I wrote the song about dating a type of man I’ve never dated before but would love to be with one day. I put myself in the shoes of a woman who recognizes her partner is quiet but his actions speak his love louder than any words could.

4. What is your recording process like when creating new music?

Luckily, I was able to record “Man of Few Words” before the pandemic hit. It was finished beforehand by my amazing producers Brad Hill and Dave Thompson. They knew exactly what to do with the song without overpowering it. They are so talented and I am very grateful to have worked with them.

5. How would you describe your music in only 3 to 5 words?

Positive, introspective, uplifting and supportive.

6. What are a few of your favorite venues to perform at?

I miss performing so much. The first venue I’ve ever performed at was the Commodore Grille, which will always hold a special place in my heart. I had a couple of shows planned that were canceled because of the pandemic. But I hope to perform at the Analog one day soon when it’s safe to do so.

7. What do you like to do in your free time when not working on your music?

I love baking, painting, watching historical documentaries and/or crime mystery shows. 

8. What is one of your favorite quotes?

“If it is meant for you, you won’t have to beg for it. You will never have to sacrifice your dignity for your destiny.”

– Edgar Allen Poe 

9. Is there anything else you would like share?

I have a Christmas song called “Does It Snow in Nashville” scheduled to be released November 6th! 🙂 I’ve been holding onto this song for a few years and I’m so ready to release it! I was born a week before Christmas and my middle name is Noelle so it’s only natural that I write and release Christmas music.

Krystal King~ Q&A!!!

1.     Hi Krystal, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?

Music has always been a huge part of my life, so honestly, sometimes it is hard to separate the two. But before I moved to Nashville, I was working in Charlotte, NC as a music therapist for a hospital. I did this for a year after graduating from Appalachian State University. During that time, I realized that while I loved that work, my heart was still set on Nashville. I currently work as a psychiatric music therapist Part time while pursuing music. 

2.     Who are some of your musical icons

Such a huge list. My first were Alan Jackson, Shania Twain, and Reba. Later the Dixie Chicks and Sugarland. Now some of my favorites include Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris. I tend to lean more towards traditional country music sounds. I’ve also discovered a “new” love for 60s music like Carole King and Otis Redding. 

3.     How would you describe your music in only 3 to 5 words?

Modernized classic country – I love mixing the story telling and raw emotions if older country with modern phrasing and catchy melodies. I’ll forever love the sound of steel guitar. 

4.     What is the background story behind your latest single “Slow Love?”

My friend John Hemingway brought the title to our write and we started talking about our own loves. He has been married for over 45 years and I am a semi-newlywed of 2 years. Our dating experiences and life were very different, but we both shared this value of a love that grows, changes, and lasts forever. I think the song has become more and more personal after I wrote it. It was especially sweet to get to make my first music video, for this song, with my husband. 

5.     What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?

So many! I think Nash House in Nashville is sort of my current home base and I play there about once a week. It has such an awesome stage, great sound, and also caters to both cover songs and original music. 

6.     What is your recording process like when making new music?

To be honest, it has truly varied with each recording and I am still discovering “my process.” I think my favorite recording is still my song “90 Proof.” I was able to put myself into this song and I worked really closely with the producer to find the right sound. Shout out to Mike Loudermilk for being able to create what was in my head. 

7.     What has been one of your favorite accomplishments that has happened in your music career? 

I think most recently would be my first music video! You can find it on YouTube, IGTV, and my Facebook. It received over 1.5 views in less than a week and it was just really cool to see a full visual representation my music. 

8.     What is one of your favorite quotes?

I remember seeing this quote in my sister’s yearbook as a kid “Lifes a garden, dig it.” It was so silly and cheesy that it stuck with me. But, simply put, I love life. It is full of possibilites ready to grow.

9.     Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just a little antidote: I remember being a camp counselor and sleeping in a platform tent. About the 3rd night, the campers noticed a large spider. After seeing 1, they noticed all the big spiders. 2020 is kind of the same. We can see all the bad if we look for it. The bad is not hard to find; however, we can also find so much good. In 2020 I’ve released 3 singles and one video. Celebrated 2 years of marriage and one year with my puppy love. It’s ok to struggle, but remember the good too. More good coming your way with my first EPK ….and who knows what’s coming for Christmas. 

Chris Moreno~ Q&A!!!

1.     Hi Chris, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?  I grew up loving music as a kid and  playing guitar and songwriting was an outlet of expression for me. My band broke up when I went away to college and after that I got a sales job and I stopped playing for a while. Eventually I rediscovered my love for music though and I’ve been giving it my all ever since.

2.     What made you want a career in country music? I’ve always thought that seeing other people connect to songs that I’ve written was the coolest thing in the world and since music always made me feel less alone in the world, I wanted to give that feeling to others.

3.     What was one of the first country albums you bought? All of my early childhood music memories are mostly rock , pop, and hip-hop but I eventually discovered country and “Me and my gang” by Rascal Flatts was the first album I bought. 

4.     What is the background story behind your latest single “Used to This?” It’s a story about meeting someone who’s able to break down your walls. You meet them and you realize that you’re scared to fall for someone and be vulnerable but you decide that they’re worth the risk. 

5.     How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? honest, nostalgic, raw, hopeful

6.     What is your recording process like when creating/making new music? I like to write songs on an acoustic guitar and usually I’ll come up with a melody first and then dive into the lyrics. I’m always trying to re-write my own lyrics until every word feels right and is exactly what and how I want to say it. Once that’s accomplished, if I think it’s a strong enough song I’ll go into the studio and record it. 

7.     When you are not working on your music what do you like to do? I’m really big into fitness! Weight training has always been a very cathartic experience for me and I like to listen to music during it and really push myself. Aside from that I love spending time with friends just hanging out and I also like to travel. I try to always find some time in the day to get outdoors.

8.     What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? Middle East & the Bell in Hand in Boston. 

9.     What is one of your favorite quotes? “You’ll worry less of what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do” – David Foster Wallace – At first this might sound sad but it’s actually pretty liberating. Everyone’s focused on their own lives, go live yours!! 

10.  Is there anything else you would like to share? Thank you so much for your time and for listening to my new single 🙂 

Conner Sweet~ Q&A!!!

1.   Hi Conner, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before becoming a country musician? Before I became a country musician, I was just a kid with big dreams, growing up in middle Tennessee. My life was centered around school, church, and learning to play guitar. 
2.  Who are some of your musical icons? My musical heroes would have to be Alan Jackson and Keith Whitley 
3.  What is the background story behind your latest single, “Times Like These?” “Times Like These” was written the first week of March 2020, just a few days after a tornado tore through Nashville. I went in for a writing session with Liz Hengber and Lance Carpenter, and we were talking about all the good coming out of people during such a hard time. The stories of helping hands and kind hearts lead to us writing “Times Like These.” 
4.   How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? It’s just Country
5.  What are few of your favorite events or venues to play at? My background of performing on lower Broadway (Nashville) has given me a real love and appreciation for the loud Honky Tonks that line the street; however, there’s also something magical about some of the quaint performance venues that plays home to so many of the intimate writer’s rounds.
6. What is your recording process like when creating new music? I love making new music. Each project is different from start to finish, and with every project, I like to take my time. I want to feel confident in every aspect of my music before I put it out. It may be nitpicky, but I always try pushing myself to create the best music I can.
7.  What do you like to do in your free time when you are not working on your music? This summer I’ve spent a lot of time on the water. I love the sun and the waves. I love making music, though so it’s hard for me to take breaks sometimes. 
8.  What is one of your favorite quotes? I love George Strait’s music, and one of my favorite quotes is from one of his songs. It says, “there’s a difference in living and living well.”
9. Is there anything else you would like to share? Just thank you to all who have loved and supported this song. I’m so honored by the impact this song has had on some people during these times.   

Tezza (Q&A)!!!

1.     Hello Tezza, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a  country singer?

I was born and raised in upstate New York with a love of horses, music and performing. My family owned a local ice cream shop which I worked in as a kid and then all the way through high school. My mom, sister, and I loved horses and would spend the weekends going to the barn, riding, and competing in horse shows. I still and will always have a special place in my heart for horses!

2.     What was one of the first country concerts you ever went to?

One of the very first country concerts I ever went to was at a local music venue called Magic City Music Hall. It was close to my house and we used to get all kinds of great bands that would stop and perform on the way to their next show. I remember seeing Little Big Town perform there before they really became famous. I was blown away by their harmonies, their songs, and their live show. They even had The Wreckers opening for them which was just an added bonus!

3.     What is the background story behind your brand new single “Mercury Rising?”

Mercury Rising is my brand new single and is available everywhere now! It’s country with a little twist of pop melodies and rock guitars. It all started with a little melody and title I had, “Mercury Rising”, and really just fell right out

4.     How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?

Pop country with a Northeastern Twist

5.     What is your recording process like when creating new music?

With this set of songs I went into the studio and tried to make each song unique yet cohesive with each other as a whole. I’m so happy with the way they came out. It was really important to me to focus on making and creating music that was really “me” and that I could be proud of

6.     Who are some of your musical icons?

Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, John Mayer, ACDC, Rihanna, Miranda Lambert (quite the mix I know)

7.     What are a few of your favorite venues or events to play at?

CMA Fest and I also really enjoy when I get to travel back to NY to open up for other big country artists

8.     What is one of your favorite quotes?

I’m not much a quote person but I’m a sucker for a good story song

9.     Is there anything else you would like to share?

 The official music video for “Mercury Rising” will be available soon! It will be released in just a few weeks so make sure to follow me on social media to find out the exact release date. You won’t want to miss it! Instagram: @the.tezza

Willie Shaw~ “Q&A”!!!

1.     Hello Willie, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a musician? Hey! My name is Willie Shaw and I grew up in Southern California playing sports my whole life. I ended up receiving a baseball scholarship to The College of William and Mary and graduated with a Masters in Accounting. I had been a street performer in my college town of Williamsburg and some odd connections led me to Nashville where I worked with NASA and then Northwestern Mutual with a team of financial planners. While I was working in financial planning I sang in a bar on the right night and a CAA agent introduced me to Warehouse West Entertainment which is my current home. 
2.     What made you want a career in music?I’m not sure I was dying to have one honestly. Don’t get me wrong, music has always been a deeply rooted passion of mine but I never knew how to get into the industry and most of my life was planning for the ‘real world’. After being introduced to the right people though it felt like a natural fit so I ran with it. 
3.     How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?Emotion enveloped in rhythmic color.
4.     Who are a few of your musical icons?It depends which decade haha. My parents are 7 years apart so I had an upbringing of vastly different eras. Typically I like to trend toward the old american song book and listen to Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and other big band war time music. However, my mom was a huge fan of the singer songwriter movement of the 70’s so I got my fair share of Beatles, Jim Croce, James Taylor, etc. Some of my favorite modern acts are Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, FKJ, Tom Misch, and lately Morgan Wallen oddly enough. 5.     What made you want to move to Nashville, TN? I visited after school and I liked the idea of moving to a city where I knew literally no one where I could try and make a name for myself. 
6.     What is the background story behind your latest single “Come Through?”During quarantine I had a ton of time on my hands and figured I’d write some more songs. It turns out it’s pretty difficult to write songs when you’re not able to live life. So- I would start sketching out a track and see where it would take me. Somewhere along that process I decided to ask my Instagram followers for input. So I would make a track- post it, and say what does this sound like? I would receive responses and then try and crank out a song as fast as I could. Some of the words in the song were actually submitted by other people and I tried to tie them together. A friend of mine actually put her name in the suggestion box and that’s why the song is saying “Anna I’ll be singing to you”. Other words were dream team, quarantine, beach, and corona. It became quite a fun project. 
I wrote the song within 30 minutes or so and stopped once I got to the end of the chorus. I sent it over to Robopop to hear what he thought and he said “send it immediately”. He turned the track into what it is today. What is so special about his production is that we didn’t trade notes at all. I sent it to him. He sent it back. That was it. 
I love this song because of the euphoric dance fantasy you feel while listening to it and then subtle smirking that happens because of the sarcasm in the lyrical melancholia. 
7.     What are a few of your favorite venues or events to play at?I was able to play the Troubadour not long ago and that was pretty awesome. I also was pretty lucky that I got to play the Bluebird Cafe. I would have to say I feel most comfortable playing the Listening Room though here in Nashville. 
8.     What is one of your favorite quotes?What good is the world if you forfeit your soul. 
9.     Is there anything else you would like to share? I have written over 220 songs since September 2018 and I can’t wait to start sharing them with everyone.