Erin Grand~ Q&A!!!

  1. 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…”

Sterling Drake- Q&A!!!

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.

Taylor Tumlinson~ Q&A!!

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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! 
  4. 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”. 
  5. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? . Honest, heartfelt, unique, fun, TEXAN! 
  6. 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.
  7. 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! 
  8. What is one of your favorite quotes?  “If it were easy, everyone would
  9. Is there anything else you would like to share? Thank you so much for including me in this!I truly appreciate it!

Jarod Grubb~ Q&A!!!

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.

Cross Parallel~ Q&A!!!

Q: Hi Danielle & Jordan, can you tell us all a little bit about yourselves before you became a country duo?

Hey there! Thanks so much for having us on here 😀 So, some people don’t know, but we are also a couple (and recently engaged)! So, we actually met for the first time when we got together to write a song together! We can’t tell you what the song was about.. It didn’t matter! Lol but we’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since! We started performing together, supporting one another for our solo artist gigs. We were reluctant to become a duo for a long time, even though lots of people said we should! We eventually saw the vision and merged as Cross Parallel in January of 2019!

2. Q: How did you come up with the name “Cross Parallel,” and were there any names you were going to choose instead?

That was one of the hardest decisions for us! Coming up with a name! It took us like 6 months to decide on a name. We had a bunch of other options and we think we made the right choice! Haha. Some of them were “Paradigm Shift” and “Kings Cross”.. The name “Cross Parallel”, though, is about how when we met, we were from 2 opposite ends of the spectrum.. “good” girl and “bad” boy ;P (hence “Cross”). But when we met, we were so drawn to each other and eventually did everything together and our lives ran in “Parallel”. That’s what Cross Parallel means!

3. Q: What is the background story behind your latest single “Better With Time?” 

So, we wrote this song in Nashville on a writing trip we did together with Derek Norsworthy and Brandon Green, 2 great guys to write with. When we got engaged this last December, we decided it’d be a perfect time for the single, as it tells our love story! We recorded it in The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver in January and here we are! The song is about how we, as individuals and together, have grown and gotten better and stronger with time, and we hope other couples can relate when they listen to the song!

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

Catchy, powerful, relatable, diverse and unpredictable!

5. Q: Who are some of your musical icons? 

We are really all over the place when it comes to our influences, but as for our biggest icons, lets say: Queen, Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, Maren Morris, Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgraves, Bruno Mars. There’s more, but as you can see, it’s all over the place!

6. Q: What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?                                                                   

We love playing crowds any size.. The more the crowd is into it, the better! Festivals are always such a blast. Such a good time. We’re excited to get back in front of crowds soon!!

7. Q: What is your guys’ recording process like when creating/making music?                             

It can vary from song to song, but we both love when we can get into a studio with a full band and record live off the floor! So much magic can happen that way. Everyone is a part of the creative process and its just so fun. We can be particular about what we want from a song, but when you get new takes on a song from others in the studio with you, it can take it in a different direction.

8. Q: What made you want a career in country music?                                                                      

We both actually never thought we’d be country artists when we started dreaming of a music career! But there’s just something about country that draws you in. It’s probably the songwriting, above all else. It’s such a strong point of the best country music out there. 

9. Q: What are a few of your guys’ favorite quotes?

Jordan: “Don’t think, just rock”. My dad told me that before my first big show in my high school rock band. He actually wrote it on a piece of paper and taped it on the stage. I’ve tried to keep that in mind whenever I get nervous. I told Danielle it and now she loves the quote too! Danielle: “How much better can it get?”. Some very good friends of ours taught us this quote a few years ago. It’s the ultimate gratitude and attracting more good in your life at the same time!

10. Q: Is there anything else you guys would like to share? 

Well, thanks again for having us on here! Check out our new video for “Better With Time” on YouTube and follow along with us on our socials! We’re aiming to have our debut EP out at the end of the year!

Devon Beck~ Q&A!!!

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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! 
  6. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Full of Emotion.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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!
  9. What is one of your favorite quotes? Always be on your A game. You never know who may be in the room or listening. 
  10. 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! 

Gracia~ QA!!!

  1. 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! 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.  
  5. 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.  
  6. 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! 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.  
  9. 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.”  
  10. 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! 

Christian Yancey~ Q&A!!!

  1. Hello Christian, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician? So  I am 24, grew up in Mcdonough, GA, a small town about 25 min south of Atlanta. Before I really dove into country music I was a college track athlete at Ole Miss. My main event was the 400 meter hurdles, and I also was a part of the 4×4 relay team. I graduated from Ole Miss in 2020 with a degree in Managerial Finance. Then after my track career started writing and recording country music.
  2. How did you come up with the name “Old Bronco,” for your brand new EP? The song “Old Bronco” was probably the 3rd song I ever wrote. In highschool my first car was a 1993 Ford Bronco. I wanted to write a song about the memories I had in highschool driving that Bronco and that is what I had come up with. The song became a favorite and has been long awaited with my friends and family that had heard my songs so I decided that to be the title track for the EP.
  3. What is your favorite song off the EP? I can’t say that I have a favorite song on my EP, they all stem from experiences from my life with a twist of the country music style I love and grew up on. My favorite song is typically the mood that I am in for the day so its hard for me to pick exactly one. 
  4. Who are some of your musical icons? My biggest icons in country music that I grew up on are probably Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, and Randy Travis. I try to write music that would honor that style of country music. I have found a lot of respect for people in the industry now like Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, and HARDY. I feel like these guys are carrying on that same style of country music with their own twist. 
  5. What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? I typically sit down and write the songs on my piano or my acoustic. They typically start with an idea of title and I write to those ideas. Once I get the songs written I pitch them to my team and see what they think. Once we get ready to cut I meet with the musicians in the studio and talk about the direction I would like for the songs, the instruments that I want, style of country, etc. and then we cut the songs live. 
  6. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? I would describe my music as “Classic with a modern twist”
  7. What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? Well I have had the privilege of playing some awesome places, my favorite so far would be Southern Roots Tavern, McDonough, GA, Red Clay Music Foundry, Duluth, GA, Live Oak, Nashville, TN, and The Dogwood, Nashville, TN.
  8. When you are not working on your music, what do you like to do in your free time? I am a big outdoors guy, I grew up fishing a lot with my Dad, and for most of my childhood I wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. Over the past few years I have gotten into deer hunting a lot as well, so most of me free time is spent on those things
  9. What is one of your favorite quotes? One of my favorite that I have heard and has stuck with me since I heard it is “Pray like its 100% up to God, and work like its 100% up to you”
  10. Is there anything else you would like to share? I just want to give a thank you to my family and friends for being so supportive throughout this, and encouraging me to chase my dreams. It makes it a lot easier when you have the support that I have. Also I want to give a big thanks to my team that I work with for seeing something in my songs and helping me make these ideas come to life. And most importantly I want to thank God for this, my faith is a very important thing to me and God is the one who blessed me with the words to say and the ability to write these songs 

AJ Gatio~ Q&A!!!

Hello AJ, can you tell us all about yourself before you became a country musician? I was a college football player and student and then as soon as I graduated I moved to Nashville!

Who are some of your musical icons? Dierks Bentley – Just a well rounded example of how to be an artist. Great person, great music, and puts his family first. John Mayer – Not only do his lyrics make you feel something, it’s impressive how emotional his PLAYING is in terms of guitar. The 1975 – I’m all about adding weird things or parts to songs that don’t sound “normal”. Let’s keep it weird. 

How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? “It’s 100% me.” This time around, I’m hands on through the whole process.  It’s the first time I’ve played guitar on my own songs instead of having my guitar player do it (minus the electric parts).  Everything from song structure, to the riffs, drum production, comes from my brain.  I’m no longer leaning on someone else it build up the song for me.  I’ve also stopped chasing what “modern country” is, lyrically. This year I’m putting out a new song every 3-4 weeks and a lot of the topics/lyrics are things that most mainstream artists would never dare say in a song they’re sending to radio (I cover many self-criticizing topics to say the least).
This applies more so to the new songs coming out this year and not so much what I’ve put out previously but “It is who I am”. The new music is literally a combination of pretty much all my influences of what I listen to. Less chasing some sound, more letting my ear dictate the sound. 

What is the background story behind your brand new single “Do You Miss Me?” So I remember having the idea for the chorus around the time LAUV dropped his album.  In true pop music, some songs have literally the most repetitive, quick, vibey choruses that don’t require much thought or lyric. They let the melody carry the chorus.  Originally the lyric of “do you miss me” didn’t carry much weight with me, as I wrote it pre-breakup, however, once the breakup hit, the song really evolved into something more for me (so I tweaked the verses) and I knew we were gonna do a real version of it for the record. 

What made you want a career in country music? Creating or playing music with my friends is whereI feel the most joy and I really believe that life is too short to not be doing something that is fulfilling for you, personally.  Writing can sometime be therapy for me.  Playing Iive is the closest I get to feeling that rush you had when you were a kid and went to the playground.

What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? My favorite that I’ve played so far is Tin Roof Cincinnati.  Our hometown shows get WILD. I also loved a bar that recently closed due to the pandemic called NashVegas in Columbia, Missouri.  That was one of the first college bars I played and we would play there once a semester and I made so many good memories playing there!

What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? To keep it short… I typically make a demo at home of a song I’m thinking about recording to see if I can dress it up to sound the way I want to.  If it feels really good to me,  I take my rough version of the song (I’d say probably 75% of the way done) and take it to my co-producer Dan.  While I know a decent amount about production, Dan knows so many more tips and tricks that he can do to really make the song feel polished and shiny.  While we do this to finish the song, it also is a great way for me to learn new things about producing!

What do you like to do in your free time when not working on your music? Free time is a funny concept as I usually have NONE.  I workout, a lot. I don’t do it nearly enough for fun but I really, really like traveling.  
Is there anything else you would like to share?There’s gonna be a new song dropping every month for the foreseeable future! (at least well into 2022)

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Big trees fall hard”.  Literally first thing that came to my mind. No idea why.