Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Songwriter Feature - Abby Lindsey












I met Abby Lindsey a few years ago at a publishing house in Nashville. The first time I heard her sing I was completely blown away! THIS FRIDAY Abby is releasing her first single, "She Knew Better" that she wrote with two of my besties, Lydia Dall and Aimee Walden. The first time I heard this song, I cried. I'm so excited that this song is finally going to be released into the world!

You can pre-save "She Knew Better" on Spotify before it comes out! Pre-saving an artist's song gives them a better chance of being put on major Spotify playlists! 

I hope you'll join us tonight on Instagram LIVE at 8pm central time for some original music! In the meantime, I would like to pass the mic over to Abby Lindsey so you can get to know her!


When did you start singing/playing music?

My mom will say “since I could talk” and she’s not wrong lol, but I really started to do it with passion and joy when I was probably 9 or 10.

How did you get into songwriting?

I really wrote a lot of poetry in junior high and high school because I loved English so much. I didn’t know how to play guitar so I normally just made up my own melodies to go with my poems. 

Who are your biggest influences?

LeAnn Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, and Adele.....weird mix I know 

What are you listening to right now?

Can’t get enough of Lennon Stella or Patrick Droney. Hardy’s album is incredible also! 

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Oh man only one? Probably Chris Stapleton 

What is "She Knew Better" about? What do you want listeners to know about what the song means to you?

This song is about realizing you let someone really good slip away, and the next girl was smart enough to not let that happen. This is the story of my first love and I wrote this song the day after he married someone else. Tough right? But this was a very healing song for me to write because it was kind of my closure. My peace. My closing of the book if you will. This song reminds me that everything happens for a reason and that it’s okay to have regret because we don’t always actually “know best.”

If you could write a song with any person dead or alive, who would it be?

Kacey Musgraves 

What was/is your experience in quarantine like as a musician?

Very odd. Never thought “zoom” writing would become the new normal, but I got everything in place for this release so I’d say it was pretty productive. Which was good because I had to do something to keep me busy since there were unfortunately no gigs allowed or anything for that matter lol. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?

Just like when you’re applying for a job, it’s not your place to decide whether or not you’re qualified for the position. You’ll never be considered if you don’t put yourself out there and make yourself known.



MORE ABOUT ABBY LINDSEY 

Abby Lindsey is a singer/songwriter born and raised in the valley of the Ozark Mountains in Van Buren, AR. Being a native of the south, she was no stranger to the good ole country classics like LeAnn Rimes, Randy Travis, Trisha Yearwood, and Jo Dee Messina, which would come to inspire her dream to be in country music. 

She grew up singing in her church, pageants, ball-games, and hometown events. She was even an All-Region choir member in her high school. But nothing satisfied her hunger for more with music. So she decided to pack up everything she could fit in her Jeep and head for music city — and as Jo Dee Messina says “the rear view mirror torn off and I ain’t ever looking back and that’s a fact.” And that’s exactly what she did. 

She moved to Nashville with $50 in her pocket and lived in the pool house of the family she nannied for before finally getting on her feet and establishing a name for herself in town. Now she calls East Nashville home and continues to immerse herself into all of the magical and creative things Nashville has to offer. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Music Video Feature - Mary Moore "Cold Hands"

Last week's songwriter feature, Mary Moore, just released a brand new music video for her single "Cold Hands!" I'm so excited to show you this video and to give you the behind the scenes scoop with Mary!

 


What inspired this music video?
'Cold Hands' is all about not getting to know each other - keepin it surface level. I liked the idea of wearing wigs to "mask" who you really are, and not letting someone know the real you. I also knew I wanted the video to be dancey and a little edgy - typically I stay in the earthy rainbow colors, but I wanted this video to be punchier, and the bright RGB colors felt more like the song than an evergreen, maroon, or navy blue. I also love the clash of the white wall background and the black outfits. It keeps the video bright, but also a little darker at the same time - which I feel really sounds like the song. 'Cold Hands' is this warm, enthusiastic bop, but talking about the sad, meaningless dance so many of us do in our single 20's phase. 

What do the wigs represent?
Oops I answered up there, but to me the wigs represent a mask in a way - a pretend person you're putting on. Like each wig is a character you're playing up for the other person, but you have no intention of letting them see who you really are, and you're asking them to not know you either. 

Which wig color was your favorite and why?
My favorite color is red, so I loved the red one. Also "Cold Hands" feels so red to me. It's angry, yet warm. And red is this passionate, angry, but still bright color. I really liked the cut of the green wig though. I think the side bangs is a much more flattering hair cut on me, but the red was fun because it almost made me unrecognizable haha. 

What was your favorite scene in this video?
Probably my favorite scene in the video is one where Danny is sitting at the table, and he is pretending to talk to me as if I am still sitting across from him, but I am messing around leaning in front of him and his eyes get SOOOO WIDE but he still keeps pretending like he is talking to me, but looks so afraid. It makes me laugh SO much. And I think it looks really cool because it's a ton of fierce movements in one shot. 

What was your favorite behind the scenes moment of making this video?
Man, it was so fun because so many of my friends were at the shoot!! It was basically like a big hang and we were also shooting a video! My good friend Brooke Greenberg directed, and our whole girl gang crew was there helping play PA. I think the scene that was the funniest is where I am sitting on the stool and each of the boys and I are touching each other and it was SO FUNNY because it's just our friend group watching and laughing at everything we do. Sometimes we would take it too far and then all of us would burst out laughing. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Songwriter Feature - Mary Moore









Mary Moore is a free soul and kind spirit with absolute star power.  In the classic Nashville sense, I met Mary at writers' round, and shortly after we booked a co-write. I was beyond blown away with her raw unique vocals and her stage presence.  

She recently released a new song called "Cold Hands." I'm so glad this song is finally out in the world because it has been one of my favorite's by Mary for a very long time!

I hope you'll join us tonight on Instagram LIVE at 8pm central time for some original music! In the meantime, I would like to pass the mic over to Mary Moore so you can get to know her!


When did you start singing/playing music?

I started singing before talking - just always a love for it! I really got into it from writing and just kind of always writing as a kid!!

How did you get into songwriting?

When my family moved back to Virginia we bought an old wooden piano for $100. I was obsessed. Something felt nostalgic about it even though it wasn't mine. I sat and would play for hours after school, just singing feelings into melody and lyrics. I didn't even really know I was songwriting. Songwriting was just how I always processed thoughts. 

Who are your biggest influences?

I was really obsessed with Lady Gaga all of growing up. Her artistry is unique and crazy, and her songwriting is SO CATCHY and has great lyrics as well. I also grew up singing rock music, and that has influenced me in a lot of ways. Now I am really inspired by the storytelling and imagery in folk music but also love the pop format. 

What are you listening to right now?

I've been crushing some L√ČON and Donna Missal!!

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Brandi Carlile

What is "Cold Hands" about? What do you want listeners to know about what the song means to you?

“Cold Hands” is about wanting to be intimate but not vulnerable with another person. It’s about scratching the itch that a meaningful relationship would give you with a casual fling. 

If you could write a song with any person dead or alive, who would it be?

Kacey Musgraves!!

What was/is your experience in quarantine like as a musician?

oof weird - I was fine with it, until looking back recently at allllll of the stuff I had planned to push myself to the next level this year. Tons of shows canceled. Just a bummer. But I sulked for two weeks in August and I am fine, and ready to just make it work in quarantine. I really miss the road and playing shows. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?

Keep doing good work, enjoy the work, and be patient. This is not an overnight thing, you are building a foundation, and just keep building that foundation. You'll make mistakes, play to empty rooms, and write lots of bad songs, but just keep going.



MORE ABOUT MARY MOORE

Mary Moore is a folk-pop/indie-pop artist living in Nashville, TN. With powerhouse vocals and storytelling lyrics, she has been captivating stages and connecting to people from all walks of life. Mary’s vocals are comparable to the power of Brandi Carlile and Florence + The Machine, but also with the sweet, quirkiness of Regina Spektor.

Mary grew up in Richmond, VA where she filled her life with music and performance. Mary played piano, french horn, and mellophone, and participated in dance (pointe, ballet, modern, and hip-hop), show choir, choir, musicals, marching band, and wind ensemble. Mary also was the lead singer for a classic rock cover band that toured in Virginia from age 13-18. Mary went to the University of Virginia for college where she became the Music Director of the award winning acapella group the Virginia Belles.

After graduating college Mary relocated to Nashville, TN to hone her craft as an artist. Mary has found growing success as a force on stage, her music has been heard on Lightning 100 and Mary has played notable venues in Nashville like the Listening Room Cafe, the High Watt, and The Basement.

Mary’s debut EP “Rooted Heart” was released in the summer of 2019, the songs gushing with imagery of the natural world and showcasing Mary’s writing and vocal chops.  The title track “Redwoods” was promoted on NPR “All Things Considered” blog, helping the song and Mary reach a new audience. Mary followed up the EP release with a tour all over the US, playing house concerts and Sofar Sounds shows from the cobble stone streets of Boston to the Redwood forest in San Francisco. Mary has racked up 100k streams on her music and she has been gaining fans with her inviting stage presence and entrancing performances.

Mary just released her latest single "Cold Hands"!!! Mary hopes her songs don’t just give listeners comfort, but give them the freedom to flourish in the messy and the darkness. Happy Listening!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Songwriter Feature - The Springs









The Springs are a married country music duo who met playing music in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe.  Holly and Stewart are two of the sweetest souls I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and if you know me personally you'l know that my birth name is Holly Stewart and we always get a laugh about being name twins! I believe they once even closed out a tab of mine at a bar by mistake! Stewart was one of the first people I met in Nashville back when we were both teenagers but I didn't see him again unitl one day when I went into a blind co-write with Holly, Stewart and Lydia Dall.  I've loved getting to know Holly and Stewart over the last few years as a friend and as a co-writer. Their music is so uplifting and wholesome and it always makes my heart feel lighter. Be sure to check out their music video below for "I'm Gonna Love You," I had the pleasure of being on set for that shoot! See if you can spot my hair in the background! 

I hope you'll join us tonight on Instagram LIVE at 8pm central time for some original music! In the meantime, I would like to pass the mic over to The Springs so you can get to know them!



When did you start singing/playing music?

My dad always grew up singing and so of course I would sing along with him too. My parents realized I enjoyed singing so much that they would buy me a karaoke machine for Christmas just about every year with new karaoke tracks to sing along to. I performed in my 6th grade music class concert and from then on, I fell in love with it. Instead of playing sports in high school, I told my parents I wanted to sing at any local fair, festival and coffee shop that would have me on the weekends. Once I graduated high school in 2010, I moved to Nashville and the rest is history. -Holly

I played sports mostly in school and thats where a lot of my focus was until I was injured and couldn't play as much as I wanted to. I then picked up my guitar and started trying to learn to play along to songs I would hear on the radio. I then joined the Future Farmers of America band that my high school FFA teacher put together. But, I would say the one thing that really got me into music was when my high school was hit by a tornado. It killed several of my friends, and just grieved by writing a song. I wrote this song, and people were telling me how much it meant to them and how it really helped them "heal" from that sad day. From there I started a band, moved to Nashville. -Stewart

How did you get into songwriting?

It's funny because when I was younger playing all the fairs, festivals and anywhere that would let me ha-ha, I never really even thought about songwriting until this couple came up to me (Donny & Susan Grace) and had listened to me at one of the festivals I was singing at and had asked me if I had ever written. Of course, I said no, so they were kind enough to kind of take me under their wing and teach me the ropes of songwriting and how it all worked. -Holly       

For me, it was definitely when I went through that tragic day of my high school being hit by a tornado. I realized how music can be healing, so I wrote a song about it, and that was the first song I had ever written. 

Who are your biggest influences?

Mine would definitely have to be Garth Brooks, Keith Whitley and probably Conway Twitty. -Stewart     I have ALWAYS loved Lee Ann Womack, Faith Hill and Shania, of course. I just grew up in that era, when they were at the top of the charts and they were ALL I ever listened to ha-ha! -Holly

What are you listening to right now?

We are such variety people. Once day we maybe listening to Keith Whitley (90's Radio on Spotify) and then the next, we are listening to like 1970's funk! It's the craziest thing, but we love it ALL!! haha!! -Holly

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

I would have to say Garth Brooks, for sure! -Stewart     I would say Celine Dion! I'm a HUGE Celine fan. I could listen to her voice day & night! -Holly

What is "Dont Need Fixin'" about? What do you want listeners to know about what the song means to you?

The song we are currently promoting is about not having everything you want but being happy with everything you need. As humans, we get so caught up in what everyone else HAS and is doing, and sometimes what we are doing and what we have is exactly what God has planned for us! Nothing more and nothing less. This song "Don't Need Fixin'" is all about how it's OK to not keep up with the Jones's. With social media and the time of life we are in right now, it's so hard not to compare ourselves to others, and we hope our listeners know that it's OK not to be on top. Sometimes what you see about others are highlight reels. Be thankful for the life you do have. 

If you could write a song with any person dead or alive, who would it be?

I have always been a Jimmy Yeary fan, so I'd love to write with him. -Stewart     I would say Nicolle Galyon. -Holly 

What was/is your experience in quarantine like as a musician?

BORING! haha! Kidding, but seriously! We are the type of people who love to GO, so having to stay cooped up in our home has been challenging. We are slowly and safely getting back to some sort of normalcy, but it's still been challenging! We are just ready to get back on the road, play shows and hug our fans!

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?

Be yourself, everyone else is taken. This is a favorite quote of mine by Oscar Wilde, but I think it pertains SO well to those who are aspiring singer/songwriters in the industry! 


MORE ABOUT THE SPRINGS

Although they both grew up in Alabama, Holly Helms and Stewart Halcomb of The Springs first met playing the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. “Up before me was this girl. She sounded great. She was beautiful. I instantly knew I had to talk to her,” says Stewart. Little did they know they would become partners, offstage and on, amassing over one million streams across platforms, and opening for stars like Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, Reba, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, and many more. 

When it comes to The Springs, the only real surprise is that it didn’t happen sooner. “It took three or four years before we became a duo,” explains Stewart. “We didn’t pursue anything initially but the more we dated, we realized that we made a great team,” details Holly, “We each have our strengths, and when we put them together, people in the industry noticed.”

Once together, there was no stopping them. Their live shows began to endear them to a rapidly growing fan base; they have made regular appearances at CMA Music Festival; charted on the Billboard Country Chart with their latest release, “Old Fashioned,” hitting #33; and their albums have landed on top 10 lists on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Music. But perhaps most importantly, the two are now married.


“We got engaged at the Bluebird, right where we met,” smiles Stewart, “I was able to get her parents and my parents there on both sides of the stage. It was magical.” Several years on, they are strong as ever, with new music coming in the spring, a tour in the works, and more. “God has truly blessed us in so many ways. We are so thankful for the success we’ve had thus far, and are so excited to see what happens next,” says Holly, “The best part is we get to do it with our best friend, and the person we love the most.”

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Quarantine Crafts

Today marks day 164 days that I have been living in quarantine. It has been an interesting six months, to say the least. I've listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks almost three times through, I've written many songs, posted 100s of TikToks, watched half of Netflix, and I've gotten very into crafting!

If you're also interested in getting into crafting, I'd like to share a couple of my favorite quarantine crafts!

Crocheting

I have been crocheting for a while, but during the first few months of quarantine, I dove back in.  I made my first full blanket! This year I fell in love with Bernat Pop yarn from Yarnspirations.  I love the way this yarn slowly changes from one color to the next. They have so many choices of different colors to match whatever you have in your house!

   

I also discovered my new favorite crochet hooks! These hooks have a comfortable handle that makes them easier to hold onto!

 


Polymer Clay Earrings

I have gotten extremely into making polymer clay earrings! I hope to open an Etsy shop soon! If you'd like to see some of the earrings I've made click HERE

This is the clay I used to get started 

 

These are my favorite affordable earring backs

   

I highly recommend getting these small cookie cutters!

 

Getting mica powder and clay stamp sheets can add some extra pizzazz to your clay creations!

   











Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Songwriter Feature - Olivia Frances














Olivia Frances is one of the sweetest souls I've had the pleasure of meeting.  Her music is just as sweet as she is.  I was blessed to write a song with Olivia on the first day we ever met and we've been friends ever since.  I'm super excited to introduce you to this gem and her music.

I hope you'll join us tonight on Instagram LIVE at 8pm central time for some original music! In the meantime, I would like to pass the mic over to Olivia Frances so you can get to know her!


When did you start singing/playing music?

I started playing piano at age 6 and picked up guitar and songwriting at age 12.

How did you get into songwriting?

I was really inspired by Taylor Swift's "Our Song" and wrote my first song about my 6th grade crush called "The Spark" soon after hearing her.

Who are your biggest influences?

Kacey Musgraves, Bon Iver, The National

What are you listening to right now?

Josie Dunne, Fruit Bats, Keyler Matthews, Tame Impala

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Jack Johnson

What is "Orchid" about? What do you want listeners to know about what the song means to you?

The song I'm currently promoting is one off of my latest album 'Orchid' called, "The Bee & The Rose." I had the intention to write a song for the bees as they are dying at an alarming rate. It's been studied that pollinators affect 35 percent of the world's food crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading crops worldwide. I wanted to write a tune to use as a catapult to talk about the bee crisis on stage. Very grateful that Michael Astrachan wrote it with me!

If you could write a song with any person dead or alive, who would it be?

Carole King

What was/is your experience in quarantine like as a musician?

It has been filled with ups and downs and letting go's and freeing myself of the burden to control what's out of my control. It's been hard but I've found clarity in many ways and I've had more time to record and write and reflect inward.

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?

Learn how to record your own quality guitar/vocals however you can (GarageBand, Logic, etc). It's important to go through the process of hearing what you sound like as this will help improve your vocals skills and musician skills. Also, it'll help keep your song catalog organized and up-to-date. Plus, if someone wants to hear what you're working on, it's easy to have an MP3 at the ready to send them. You got this!

 


MORE ABOUT OLIVIA FRANCES

Olivia Frances is a multi-award-winning pop/folk artist. 
Her infectious positive energy and unique “sunshine-story-pop” 
is catching the attention of listeners worldwide. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Songwriter Feature - Tiffany Williams
























Tiffany Williams is one of my very favorite Folk/Americana artists and I'm honored to call her a co-writer and a friend. I met Tiffany because my parents saw one of her shows in Louisville, KY, and were blown away. They called me the next day and told me I just had to look up this incredible Folk/Americana artist and see if she'd like to write a song with me! We've now written a few songs and played a few shows together here in Nashville. I am so excited to introduce you to Tiffany and her music! 

Tiffany William's new single "If It Wasn't" coming out August 28th is now available for Pre-Save! This is a duet with Jonathan Dean. When you pre-save an artist's new song on Spotify you help their chances of being put on an official curated Spotify Playlist! If you have a moment to pre-save Tiffany's new song, it would mean a lot to us!

I hope you'll join us tonight on Instagram LIVE at 8pm central time for some original music! In the meantime, I would like to pass the mic over to Tiffany Williams so you can get to know her!





When did you start singing/playing music?

When I was 25. Late bloomer! Prior to that I just sang (very) casually in church and then college choir.

How did you get into songwriting?

I’m a fiction writer. And I’ve always been musical (flute, baritone in high school/college). So the two sort of converged without my consent!

Who are your biggest influences?

Patty Griffin, Ray Lamontagne, Gillian Welch

What are you listening to right now?

Briston Maroney and Phoebe Bridgers 

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Otis Redding

Can you tell us a little more about "If It Wasn't?"

https://americansongwriter.com/if-it-wasnt-tiffany-williams-jonathan-dean-song-premiere/

If you could write a song with any person dead or alive, who would it be?

Lori McKenna

What was/is your experience in quarantine like as a musician?

Sort of an existential crisis at first. I’ve not been super productive, but I have written a couple of songs. And I’ve recorded (in a safe way!) a couple of singles.

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer/songwriter?

Get out of your own way, honey. 




MORE ABOUT TIFFANY WILLIAMS


Tiffany Williams is a native of Eastern Kentucky. She is a coal miner's daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter and an exciting emerging voice who crafts achingly beautiful songs about what it means, in her experience, to be from the Appalachian Mountains.

"I love Appalachia as I love myself," she says, "with an intimate understanding of its shortcomings and virtues, with compassion and forgiveness, and with fierce hope. It’s home and always will be, but, for me, it took moving away to write about it."
When she "took off down the big road," she ended up in Nashville, where, for the last five years, she has honed her songwriting through commercial, co-writing, and solo pursuits.

Her debut EP, When You Go, released January 18, 2019, features five tracks, all of which were penned by the artist and are a meditation on life in the mountains—a place, as echoed in the title track, that "you can't leave […] when you go."
"Most of these songs were recorded at Appalshop, in Letcher County, where I'm from. I'm really happy it worked out that way," says the singer/songwriter.

The album was produced by Britton Patrick Morgan of Louisville and benefits from the fine musicianship of Ellie Miller, Taylor Shuck, and Dave Roe, who played bass on the road with Johnny Cash.

The melodic dissonance of her upbringing—the natural mountain beauty balanced by the difficulties of rural life—is a unifying theme of When You Go. Tiffany delivers heart-worn songs with a room-silencing, angelic alto that takes listeners on an authentic journey of longing, alienation, and undeniable beauty.

"These songs are about the fallout of love and loss, the need and hope for the balm of companionship against the mystery of existence, and loving and longing for a complicated life and place you know you have to leave," she says.
 In addition to her keen abilities as a songwriter, Tiffany is an award-winning fiction writer (publishing as T.M. Williams). She is the recipient of the 2011 Jean Ritchie Fellowship for Appalachian Writing and the 2017 Denny C. Plattner Award for fiction. Her stories have been featured in Still: The Journal, Waxing & Waning, and Appalachian Heritage. While she is still writing songs, she is also currently at work on her first novel.

"I'm a lexophile—a lover of words. That's always been central to everything I've done—from teaching high school English and studying Appalachian speech and sociolinguistics in graduate school to writing songs and stories. Songwriting has a special place because I feel that's where I can truly operate at the confluence of all the things that are dear to me—words, story, and music." 

Though she has made Nashville her home, Tiffany still holds on to the place that made her. "My family goes back several generations in Letcher County. My 5th-great grandfather is buried on the hill above the house I grew up in, and the creek that runs in front of that house bears his name. I don't get back there as much as I'd like, but I keep it with me, always."

 

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