Come Find Camille Rae in Music City

By Lauren Schwab

IMG_1098I still crave Nashville. Since the high of meeting country music artists and seeing their excitement for me to tell their story, I realized this is what I am called to do. Just as the artists are called to write, sing and perform, they all have a story on how they made their calling a reality. Life can seem like a dream come true, but it often takes hard work and courage to make your dream happen. When I got back from Nashville last January, I had a phone interview with Camille Rae. I hung onto her every word while she took the time to tell me how she finally got the courage to go after her life dream and move to Music City. It wasn’t easy for her to hear people in her life saying she was crazy, or to move back from another country after pursuing other careers and leaving a relationship. Camille Rae is a bold and courageous woman making country music for the female powerhouse in us all. Read on to hear more on her musical inspiration, songwriting process and big changes for 2018…

14195912_1204018222982185_4255455979276846268_o

“I’m focusing on girl power and moving forward seizing every opportunity.” – Camille Rae

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

A. “I started singing when I was three and since then I’ve wanted to do this for a living. I started singing in church with my Aunt. I did talent shows and joined choir growing up. I went on to get a music education degree in college then taught school for a few years. The performance aspect has always been a part of my life. It’s always been a goal, a dream I’ve been working towards. I’ve been a full-time artist for about six years and I’ve been in Nashville four years.”

17629710_1428219550562050_2010382084290453821_n

“I had to be brave and make a bold decision and think about myself first for once.” – Camille Rae

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?

A. “I’ve always wanted to move to Nashville, I thought I would get there right after college but I got a job instead and then I got married and moved to Canada with my ex-husband. I tried musical theater, but it didn’t work out. About three years after living in Canada I told my ex-husband I wanted to move to Nashville. This has been my dream since I was a little girl and it’s my turn to go after my dreams after supporting him through his. I had no plan when I moved to Nashville and I started doing open mics. I had to be brave and make a bold decision and think about myself first for once.”

25152055_1693583984025604_552073172967693412_n

“I’ve always known since I was a little girl that I’m supposed to do something bigger with my life.” – Camille Rae

Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence? 

A. “I love singing everything; I trained in college to sing opera and classical music. I was brought up in Kentucky where there is bluegrass influence. My biggest influences were the female powerhouses of the 90’s like Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Faith Hill and Jo Dee Messina. All those classic voices, when you hear a song on the radio you know who they are.”

23244031_1659894667394536_2017884053271645631_nQ. How would you describe your musical style?

A. “My music goes back to that 90’s early 2000’s sound with the vocal production. Then mixing in the new age production with different loops and instrumentation that fit into the contemporary country pop you hear. I don’t like my style to be put into a box. It’s 90’s powerhouse country meets new age country, it gives you nostalgia then pushes forward into what’s new.”

Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 5.17.02 PM“My music is driven to stir those emotions to move past whatever you are going through.” – Camille Rae

A. “My recent album is Come Find Me. It is fifteen songs that mostly focus on a relationship I went through where you really love someone and care for them, but they are not in the same place you are. They’re not ready to be as emotionally committed as you are. It takes a toll because you try and you want to be that person who turns it around and changes their mind. Sometimes it’s not in the cards, or it’s not you. It’s something they are going through. This album is a story from start to finish of the emotions and situations I dealt with throughout that relationship. I like to write songs that talk about something deeper, something we may not talk about and keep to ourselves. Things we need to have a good cry about or be mad about. Music is very powerful and magical in a way that it can communicate to so many different people in different situations. My music is driven to stir those emotions to move past whatever you are going through.”

17309665_1412496158801056_6765844556743695739_nQ. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

A. “When I write by myself, I usually have a great idea or an experience I’ve dealt with or a person close to me has dealt with. Every time I write a song myself, I go from start to finish and write it in about ten minutes. I look back on the song and think, how did I do that? It’s almost like something comes over me, this needs to be said and put out there. When I collaborate with other writers, it’s all about finding the right people you mesh well with and feel like you’re equally contributing. Piecing ideas together, maybe someone has a good hook and someone has a good chorus and figuring out how all the ideas can be put together into a song; to make it marketable, for radio and keeping it modern.”

“I like to write songs that talk about something deeper, something we may not talk about and keep to ourselves.” – Camille Rae

21557921_1607341052649898_1496708661516565383_n“As a songwriter, there’s a format different artists are looking for. Once I write a song, I don’t always choose it for me, but when I do and take it into the studio, it’s about figuring out what style you want and what instrumentation to use. There are so many studios in Nashville and they’ll have hired professional musicians and you can get a package deal. You get a six-piece band for a price; they can help you produce to figure out the sound you want. So far I’ve produced my own vocals, so I go in and do the lead vocal, then go back in and do background vocals since I’ve been trained to do that. On my first album a lot of my songs were an acoustic version. To have another set of ears and eyes come in to see how big we can make this, can transform a song. To see the musicianship and see them enjoy making something bigger. The studio is one of my favorite places to be. It’s all about creativity and communication.”

26904296_1727845030599499_7834505914035104797_n.jpg

“I have a group of guys (musicians) I tour with regularly, but with studio musicians it’s almost two different worlds. You have musicians that are really good live; they have great showmanship, like being on the road and can change it up whenever they need to. Then you have your studio musicians that could probably do the live aspect of it, but they are more polished and go by criteria. They can get things recorded a lot faster, so when I do my studio work I usually go with the musicians they recommend or have on staff at the studio.”

“I can look back on my life and say I wish I had taken more risks or been bolder, but the one thing we do know is we have one life to live.” – Camille Rae

24130038_1681506495233353_3820361617942164011_n

“The people who really love you will support you and stick by you” – Camille Rae

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “I went on a tour out west, Colorado and Wyoming that was fun getting to see that part of the country and were great shows. Then I had my first CMA performance last year with an artist pass and I got to sign autographs. Then my last single, ‘I Need Me’, talks about being brave and taking care of yourself, made it to 26 on music row charts.”

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

 

26734217_1733593620024640_2089239833612178540_n

“I have to use the gifts I’ve been given to help people.” – Camille Rae

A“I can look back on my life and say I wish I had taken more risks or been bolder, but the one thing we do know is we have one life to live. If you know you’re meant to do something or you have a passion for something and you have the ability and drive to do it, then why not? There’s always going to be people that will doubt or think you’re crazy. I quit my teaching job to move to Canada when I got married and people thought I was crazy. I’m a practically minded person, I like to have plan, but I’ve always known since I was a little girl that I’m supposed to do something bigger with my life. I have this gift of singing and writing and being able to easily communicate or connect with people on a personal level. I have to use the gifts I’ve been given to help people. As I get older and have been doing this for a long time, some days I think I should give it up. Then I remember this is what I’m supposed to do and timing is everything and it’s not always in my timing.”

18739951_1490205717696766_6933625235132179145_n

“If you know you are meant to do something with your life then you need to take care of yourself.” – Camille Rae

“So my advice is if you know you are meant to do something with your life then you need to take care of yourself or you will be 80 years old and wake up and wonder where did your life go? Why didn’t I do that when I was 25 years old? If you take the risk, you may loose some people along the way, but you’ll know you tried. The people who really love you will support you and stick by you.”

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? 

A. “I’m doing a lot of changes, with a new team, but do plan to work on new music to release. I need to make some changes professionally to make a new beginning in 2018. I’m focusing on girl power and moving forward seizing every opportunity.”

To follow Camille Rae’s music and tour schedule visit https://www.camillerae.com and visit her social media:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

Spotify

 

Photo Credit to Camille Rae Facebook

Barrett Baber Uses His Voice to Encourage Fans to Fight On For Their Dreams

By Lauren Schwab

31206459_1654126644642871_4268763464303902720_nThere are many days when the alarm clock goes off in my dark room that I do not want to get out of bed. I wish I could stay laying in peace and comfort and not face the challenges of the day and hard work ahead. Then I say to myself, those animals depend on you, the pigs and your kittens need you. You have the gift to care for them like no one else can. The reason I tell you this story is the same reason Barrett Baber released his single “Fight On”. We all have something we are fighting for each day. My dad is fighting for his dream to farm, I am fighting to help him and share the stories of musicians like Barrett who help inspire us each day to keep fighting for our dreams.

14591854_1120382268017314_7301728328531418329_nBarrett says, “I come from a place of similar feeling. There are some mornings I don’t want to get out of bed because I’m exhausted from working hard and it seems like nothing is happening. I need that message too and there are people out there fighting harder fights than I am. I hope they can see me practicing what I preach and take encouragement from the song. No matter what you do, don’t stop fighting and one day you’ll be victorious, but the song talks about being in the fight and the only choice is to get up and fight on.”

I loved getting to talk with Barrett Baber over a phone interview. While on the road touring, he took the time to tell me his story growing up, musical journey from Arkansas to becoming NBC’s The Voice finalist and his song writing techniques. Read on to learn how the soulful country singer carved out a sound of his own and is connecting with fans in his Fight On Giving Initiative.

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

19601163_1360044064051132_6737617004974250834_n

Photo Credit: Jonathan Canaday

A. “Growing up in Arkansas, my dad was a preacher. Music was apart of my life through church. I remember at an early age just being able to carry a tune with my singing voice. My dad took a job as a preacher in a little town, Marion, Arkansas. We lived right across the river from Memphis, Tennessee. There was soul and blues; it was the melting pot area of different genres that blended together. I was really into R&B, in the 90’s there were bands like Boys to Men I was a fan of. Living so close to Memphis, I got to see a lot of shows in different venues.”

Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence?

A. “It wasn’t until later in high school I got into being a singer and songwriter when I discovered James Taylor and his Greatest Hits. I listened to the CD on repeat and was blown away by somebody who could just have an acoustic guitar with stripped down production, but have powerful lyrics that drove the song with great melodies.”

“I was in the music program in high school and in the choir. I got a voice scholarship to attend Ouachita Baptist University. That’s where I really started writing songs. I learned how to play guitar my freshman year.”

Q. How did you decide to move to Nashville and develop your musical style?

13241361_1004920612896814_6225101374779477160_nA. “I moved to Nashville for a year when I was 22. I didn’t know what I was doing and was young so I ended up moving back in with my folks. I really started gigging (in Memphis) for money. I would take my guitar and speakers I bought, I would play in bars for hours at a time. I was learning how to entertain and capture an audience. I played soul and learned how to take R&B songs that were not acoustic, and transform them into country soulful songs on my guitar. I became known for that in the region in Arkansas.”

 

After graduating with a degree in marketing and PR from the University of Arkansas, Barrett sold radio advertising then moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas with his wife where he sold television advertising for NBC.

“I knew I wasn’t being the best dad I could be because I wasn’t doing work that really fulfilled me. I knew it was my responsibility to be the best human being I could be and best example for my kid.”

Q. How did you decide to pursue music as a full time career? 

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 2.00.52 PMA. “That whole time in advertising I was gigging on the weekends and writing songs. I finally got to the point where I felt I was writing songs that were good enough to cut some demos and records myself. I got fed up with the corporate world and felt kind of empty. I knew I wasn’t being the best dad I could be because I wasn’t doing work that really fulfilled me. I knew it was my responsibility to be the best human being I could be and best example for my kid.”

“I always had a thought in my head that I would want to teach so I got my teaching license and became the debate and forensics coach at Fayetteville High School. I credit that decision for setting me on course for what I do now because I felt what I was doing was important; I started writing some of my best songs. When I felt fulfilled I started releasing better sounding records.”

“I am a firm believer that what you do, even if its not your dream job, it will aid you in your dream job once you get there.”

Q. How did you decide to audition for NBC’s The Voice?

12140774_903456203043256_5617901641797991620_nA. “I met a guy named Luke Wade playing at a bar in Fort Worth, Texas. He later auditioned for The Voice season 7. He asked to send a YouTube link of me singing to the casting director. Then I got an email from the casting director asking me to come to Oklahoma City to do a private audition.”

“I am a firm believer that what you do, even if its not your dream job, it will aid you in your dream job once you get there. When I was teaching I told the kids that I can’t stand in front of you and tell you to chase your dreams and take risks if I’m not willing to take those risks myself. I told them there was only one job I would leave teaching to go do and that’s make music. I think it was fun for them to see that reveled later.”

Q. What does your new single “Fight On” mean to you?

A. “I’m really excited about this song. It’s been a great couple years since The Voice. I’ve been touring and writing like crazy. I was able to release a full-length record, A Room Full of Fighters. I’m proud of that work because I did it independently with my manager and producer.”

“When I was promoting A Room Full of Fighters, I started using the #FightOn. That became my mantra last year because I was in a writing room full of people just like me in Nashville, who were fighting for there own dreams to come true. Then out on the road after each show I stand at the merch table, shake hands (with fans) and hear their story. ”

“I felt a tug on me to write about how we are all in a fight for something, even if those dreams are different it’s still hard to make them come true.”

“So many of the stories I would hear are of people overcoming adversity and people chasing their dreams. I felt a tug on me to write about how we are all in a fight for something, even if those dreams are different it’s still hard to make them come true. I had t-shirts printed that say ‘Fight On’ we sold. People loved them and I wanted to start supporting some smaller non-profits and individuals that have been reaching out to me, so I decided to give the net profits of every Fight On t-shirt that I sold.”

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 1.48.06 PM

“I met a sweet little girl from my hometown who was fighting a rare form of cancer. I went to high school with her mom and was talking to her after one of my shows. I could tell they were struggling, trying to beat this cancer. This is my first benefit; I’m sending checks to help this little girl.”

14088540_1061737637215111_3840982027878601004_n.jpg“I feel like this world we are living in needs this song and it’s message. The win for me with ‘Fight On’ is not whether it’s a hit, but when I get messages from people on my social media who tell me they needed to hear it. I think that’s the reason it will be successful and continue to grow into something special. There are so many people fighting to make their lives better and sometimes they need told to get back up.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing music? Tell me more about the process.

A. “I didn’t start working hard to be a good songwriter until about 7 years ago. I used to only write a song when I was inspired of felt like it and the results were the results. I would only write 4 or 5 songs a year. So 7 years ago when I decided I don’t know if this artist thing will happen for me, I started learning as much as I could about being a songwriter. I learned there’s more to writing when you’re inspired. I write daily and start almost every writing process with a title.”

14264095_1075361145852760_4222022514086450608_n“One of the first things someone asks in a song writing process in Nashville is if you have any good titles and we will see what sticks out to us. Then we decide what the chorus and verses need to say to support the title in a creative and poetic way. Song writing is like anything else, you get really good at it when you do it a lot. Now I am at a place self-confidence wise where I’m not afraid to sit down in a room with anyone, people who have written number one hits for major artists. There was a time where that would have scared me.”

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

A. “My advice is different than the standard, go for it. That’s part of it, there has to be a leap of faith by anyone that wants to do this. That leap of faith ought to be done in an educated way; in a way that isn’t reckless and is thought out. Nothing goes to according to plan every time, but there has to be some groundwork.”

“It takes grind, effort and determination. Often times, years of development when you see a successful artist or songwriter, regardless of how it appears.”

35922317_1718663774855824_3566853593526960128_n“It’s difficult to be successful as a musician and a songwriter. There has to be a lot of work, I worked day jobs for 15 years before I was in a position to where I could do this (music) all the way and I needed it. I needed those 15 years of work and playing hundreds of acoustic shows when nobody cared. I needed that development. Sometimes our society thinks when you have ability like being a vocalist, that the world should had you your success. There are thousands of people that can really sing, but it takes more than talent. It takes grind, effort and determination. Often times, years of development when you see a successful artist or songwriter, regardless of how it appears.”

“It appeared this way for me because all of a sudden I was on television like I was an overnight success, but that ‘overnight’ was about 15 years worth of work to get to the point where I could take that opportunity. It happened at the right time for me, I needed that to happen when I was 35 not when I was 25. When I was 25 I wasn’t making music at the level I needed to make it at and I wasn’t a grown enough adult to handle it and be on the road for a hundred days.”

“My advice is to understand things take time. If you’re not working at that everyday to get there in some way, then you’re falling behind.”

29683639_1632599200128949_2859449680212504693_n“My advice is to understand things take time. If you’re not working at that everyday to get there in some way, then you’re falling behind. So work, read books, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and learn as much as you possibly can about what it means to me a songwriter and artist. Learn as much as you can about the business side, because going in the better prepared you will be. Regardless of what you see on social media, doing music for a living is not all that glamorous. It’s beyond hard and at my level I do everything myself. That’s a good thing, but you have to ask yourself, is being a musician and songwriter what you what to do or is it about who you are?”

“Music is always been something I’ve done, I cannot exist on this earth without making music.”

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 1.49.19 PM“If it’s about who you are, then dive in and do that work. If it’s about what you want to do and make a living, then there are lots of ways to make a living in the music business that are important and valuable and you will probably make a better living than I do. Whether it is in publishing or at a label or a tour manager. There are lots of ways to work in the music business that are fun. If you’re going to make music regardless of what you do and every free moment you have is about making music I would tell that person to take that leap of faith. If it’s about making money, then there are better ways to do it. Music is always been something I’ve done, I cannot exist on this earth without making music.”

To follow Barrett’s music and the Fight On Initiative visit barrettbaber.com

Stream Barrett’s music on Spotify!

Social Media: 

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

Photo Credit: facebook.com/barrettbabermusic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Music Artist Greg Pratt Will Sew Up Your Heart With Different Strings

 

By Lauren Schwab

29718059_191999484918621_5152299689483173888_n(1)Country music is a sentimental part of my childhood. I remember my dad had an old guitar in the closet with rusty strings that I was so fascinated by. During car rides I would memorize every word to 90’s country songs. I fantasied about being like Shania, Martina or Faith with a guitar in hand. Later my dreams changed to writing the stories of country musicians. When I visited Nashville earlier this year, the deep melodies of Greg Pratt captivated my heart. He is definitely an artist I play in my car and try to memorize the the words just like I did as a kid. He has the “traditional country sound of tomorrow” that I could listen to on repeat all day. From hard core fast paced guitar pounding  songs to soft melodies with deep vocals to tug at your heart strings. Greg Pratt is “sewing up the heart with Different Strings.” Read my interview with Greg to learn about winning his dad’s approval, his responsibility as a songwriter to affect someone’s life and his newly released album!

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 12.45.40 PM

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

29983575_770862859783265_7372246208190493305_oA. “I started playing guitar at a young age. I opened up my Dad’s guitar (a top-of-the-line JF-30 Guild American Classic guitar) and I was not allowed to play it, so he put it right back in the case and gave me this old guitar (a weathered Ovation) that was painful to play with rusty strings. I didn’t start singing until right before I moved to Nashville so it was a pass time, it didn’t become serious until the past three years. Once you get it in your mind, you can’t get it out and it has become a career.”

30051965_770862836449934_339951653478635875_o

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?”

 A. “I quit college to come pursue this (music), I worked in a kitchen for the first year and did no music because I didn’t know how to get into everything. There would be times when I went home to visit my Dad for Christmas and I didn’t have the nerve to play the song for him. I put a song out to play on radio in 38 states… it was cool to get that phone call from him saying he heard the song and is supportive as a dad.”

“To me, country music has always been around the lyric and what you build around that lyric to send that message to change someone’s life if you can.”

30079171_129433151244524_2771368175055405056_nQ. Who’s your biggest musical influence?

A. “I grew up listening to traditional country including Alabama, John Denver, Garth Brooks, George Straight and George Jones. To me, country music has always been around the lyric and what you build around that lyric to send that message to change someone’s life if you can. I feel that’s critical to country music and there’s several ways to do that. One person’s method of getting that point across is different from someone else’s.”

 

 

A. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?

26678218_729525677250317_1424890396451611451_oQ. “It’s an album of eight songs called Different Strings, it’s a song I played tonight about my Dad. What I try to do with my projects is have songs that are all different, there are no two songs that sound the same, and they’re not interchangeable. Each one has it’s own story, vibe and feeling that will put you on a different island so to speak when you start the track.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

28763344_461614630908181_2448657513688596480_nA. “Someone told me to treat a song like a kid. I’ve never had a kid, but I’ve raised several dogs. If I treat a song like my dog, it takes time, training, care and develops a lot of different facets over the course of its growth. A song is kind of the same. When you first perform it out you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I play writer’s rounds and play downtown six days a week. The circles I play in allow me to play those originals for a brand new crowd everyday.”

27628730_738762449659973_1121290957842170411_oQ. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “My first one was when my dad actually gave me the guitars. There was an original song of mine and this lady came up and gave me a hug, crying and told me a story about something big that happened in her life and the song touched her in a way that she hadn’t felt in a long time. She said to me to keep doing what I am, my Dad saw that and he decided to give me the guitars. Those guitars are rare and I haven’t seen another one like them.”

 

“You have a responsibility as a songwriter, down to the individual word, to put it in a way that affects somebody else’s life…”

 

“Here at The Commodore, I was performing the song ‘What a Minute Really Means’, from my last project. A woman came up and said she lost her son in a car wreck a year ago, his funeral was last winter and she was so dead inside and didn’t even cry, but she cried with me.”

 

“…If we all adhere to that responsibility it will make an impact.”

“You have a responsibility as a songwriter, down to the individual word, to put it in a way that affects somebody else’s life. You’re playing to speak to someone else and it’s not always about the person performing it. It can be easy to write what’s going on inside of you, but to open that up to speak to someone else and their experiences can be more important. It’s a responsibility for songwriters and performers to deliver that message in a way that someone’s emotions can be dead for months or years but when they hear a tune or set of words in a song, immediately there’s life. If we all adhere to that responsibility it will make an impact.”

33338889_785610964975121_5965091940666966016_nQ. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with having the confidence?

A. “There are several confidence levels; one is actually getting here (to Nashville). My advice would be to not worry as much about what you sound like, but focus on delivering your message and making it a moment. Don’t focus so much about being on key, it’s important, but not what music is all about. It’s about getting that message out to spark emotion in people.”

33238864_129305407937826_416132101339873280_nQ. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “I’m trying to make sure quality music is made this year and get to the next level. That will take longer than a year, but it’s important not to give up. The website is up so anyone in the world can purchase music and merchandise and open up the opportunity for gigs across the country.”

“Focus on delivering your message and making it a moment… It’s about getting that message out to spark emotion in people.”

Visit www.gregprattcountry.com to support Greg’s music and find upcoming shows!

His new album Different Strings is now available!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/different-strings/1385860286

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 11.51.17 AM

Schedule for CMA Week:

Monday, June 4 – Tequila Cowboy 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 5 – The 5 Losers outdoor stage for Whiskey Jam CMA 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 7 – Crazytown Broadway floor 1 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
Friday, June 8 – Crazytown Broadway Rooftop 1:45 p.m.- 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, June 9 – Crazytown 10 a.m. floor 2 and Jason Aldean’s 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 10 – Jason Aldean’s 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Mellow Mushroom Broadway 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.

 

Social Media:

Facebook

Instagram @gregprattcountry

YouTube

Photo Credit to Greg Pratt Facebook and Instagram 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Garrett Eats, Sleeps and Breathes Music…Rewards on the Rough Road to Success in Music City

By Lauren Schwab

When you want to make a dream reality, there are no excuses you just have to do it. It can be hard to make the call, pack up the car and move. It can be hard going to the gig and singing to a room of strangers. You wonder what they will think, how will they respond and will it make a difference? When I talked to Warren Garrett on the phone, I didn’t have to be in Nashville to understand that a music career isn’t easy. You have to eat, sleep and breathe music. There are no excuses and the reward will be worth the rough road to success. Success doesn’t always come in wealth and fame, it comes in the connection you share with someone when they hear your song for the first time. Read on to learn how Warren got his start in music, made the decision to move to Nashville more than once and his new single Girls Get Wings

 

Q. How did you find your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 4.03.53 PM

A. “I grew up in upstate South Carolina and started playing music when I was eight. I tell people all the time how my dad and I joke when he says, ‘Son, I want you to play something,’ and the only thing I could think of to play is a mandolin. So I played the mandolin with my dad for a long time, until I was 13 and started playing guitar. My dad taught me how to play on his old guitar. We would write songs together, go out and play with old timers around town. We played old bluegrass and gospel.”

Q. How would you describe your musical influences and style?

A. “Playing with my dad, I grew up listening to everything from old school rock bands like Led Zeppelin to old school country like Hank Jr., George Jones, Waylon and Willie. I would play in church, playing guitar for youth group band. I always loved music in any fashion. When I lived in South Carolina I would help people record and play guitar for people. I sang a little bit, but I didn’t start pursing artistry until I moved to Nashville. I really came into my own in Nashville, figuring out what my artistry would look like. My style is a little more edgy. It’s old country mixed with a little rock and roll.”

Rough Road To Success Tip #1: Make it Work

It was now or never, so I did… I slept on a hotel floor the first couple nights in Nashville… and just made it work.”

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.38.32 PMA. “I knew I wanted to move to Nashville since I was little. I told my parents I want to do music. So the decision to move to Nashville was something I always wanted to do, but it happened on a whim. Two guys I knew from the musical circuit back home called one day and said, ‘We’re biting the bullet, we’re moving to Nashville.” It was in like two weeks, but it was now or never, so I did. We didn’t know what we were going to do, where we were going to live. I slept on a hotel floor the first couple nights in Nashville. I looked for jobs on Craigslist and just made it work.”

18010798_1901479670137391_4517877246674865137_nQ. How did you start meeting other songwriters and the people you are working with now?

A. “I’ve been in and out of Nashville going on four years now. When I first got here, I started working downtown. I was a bouncer for one of the clubs on Broadway. I asked the booking guy at the club I was working at how I could start playing? He told me to play a couple songs then he asked for me to play a couple more, then he hired me on the spot to do music instead of security. I’ve been playing for him ever since and that’s how I met a lot of my friends I still have today.”

Rough Road To Success Tip #2:

Believe In Endless Possibility

“You can do anything with a melody or lyric and watching that creative process happen with people in collaboration is so cool.”

 

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? 

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.39.09 PMA. “I moved back to town (Nashville) to be a songwriter, that was my goal. I started going to the writers rounds. You find your place and the people you like to write with. One of my favorite things about music is the creative process with endless possibility. I imagine it’s how an artist feels looking at a canvas. You can do anything with a melody or lyric and watching that creative process happen with people in collaboration is so cool. Everyone has a different process, but it comes together to get something you’re all proud of.”

 

 

“There is curiosity when you take something you and your friends created that you like for whatever reason, but seeing how a crowd responds or connects to it is a reward. My passion has always been connecting with a crowd by communicating with song and watching how people respond to music.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 4.02.34 PMQ. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “There are many that come to mind, from writers rounds and watching a crowd connect with a song they’ve never heard before, to shows I get to play on a daily basis. When someone I’ve never met before responds to something I did on stage because it connected or spoke to them, I think it’s the most incredible thing you can do in music.”

Rough Road To Success Tip #3:

There Are No Excuses

“Music is a constant thing, it’s not a job and it’s a lifestyle… If you really want to do it, you can do it. You don’t have an excuse.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 3.59.48 PMQ. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

A. “Nobody has any idea what they are doing! You just have to do it if it’s really something you’re passionate about. Like I said, all my friends and I eat, sleep and breathe music. We love it and it’s what we feel like we were created to do. Music is a constant thing, it’s not a job and it’s a lifestyle. When I first moved to Nashville I slept on a hotel room floor then the second time I crashed with a buddy and slept on an apartment floor. If you really want to do it, you can do it. You don’t have an excuse.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.39.48 PMQ. How do you guys sleep? I would have song lyrics in my head all night!

A. (Laughter) I get those calls at 2 a.m. from someone saying, ‘Dude, listen to this!” My friends and I make fun of each other all the time because we eat, sleep and breath music. I’ll have a conversation and somebody will say, ‘That’s a great line for a song.’ I’m learning from the really talented people I’m lucky to be surrounded by.”

Rough Road To Success Tip #4:

Get Around People Doing What You Want To Do

“All my friends and I eat, sleep and breathe music… I’m learning from the really talented people I’m lucky to be surrounded by.”

Q. What is your latest project and what does it mean to you?

A. “I’m going into the studio tomorrow and I’m so excited to record my first single Girls Get Wings. I’m going to be in a competition in North and South Carolina to get radio play down there. Listeners can vote for which song they like and I’m excited to see how people respond to me as an artist and the song. It’s a big step into moving forward as an artist.”

Listen to Warren’s new single Girls Get Wings on iTunes and Spotify now!

Buy Girls Get Wings on iTunes

Visit Warren on Social Media to hear his music and follow his journey in Music City!

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Photo credit: Warren Garrett Facebook and Storyteller Productions

Walker McGuire Isn’t Lost In Music City: The Duo’s story on meeting Luke Combs At a Bar + Their Harmonic Vocal Blend to Make Your Heart Throb

 

By Lauren Schwab

IMG_2700Driving through the Oklahoma plains in the back seat listening to the harmonic sounds of Walker McGuire just felt right that fall. Throwback to when I visited my friends attending Oklahoma State University in the fall of 2016. I fell in love with the raw unique sounds of the country duo. Walker McGuire had a sound of their own with song lyrics to make any newly single girl’s heart throb with songs like Till Tomorrow. Now as a newly engaged girl, they still make my heart throb with songs like Mysteries of the World

img_1633.jpgThis is why I couldn’t have been more excited to hear they were making their way to the heart of the Midwest to perform in Lima, OH right before my 29th birthday. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than rocking out to their music with $2 beers at UNOH Event Center. I was so excited to get up close with a small crowd. Walker McGuire took time to tell the stories behind their songs and hit songs they have written for major recording artists like Luke Combs. I even got the chance to meet them and tell about my interview with 90 Proof Twang as they are co-writers in the single Bench Seat. Read on to hear the story behind the music…

23435275_1211973635613108_483008458506293791_n“Within six months we had a publishing deal. I could stop waiting tables and he could stop selling software. It was a blessing. When we got our first deal, we went down to Mexico to write some songs. For any of you that have been down to Mexico, you know there can be some distractions down there. With the tequila, food and the women. This song was written on an airlines napkin on our way back from Mexico about a girl we met. We shot a music video in Key West a couple years ago. We weren’t going to put it on our record, and then our label said that song is going on your record because it reminds everyone of their first trip to Mexico.”

Song: Ol What’s Her Name:

“You guys ever heard of Old Dominion? Those guys write a lot of different songs for artists in Nashville. They write killer songs. They wrote a song a couple years ago called I’m On It. We heard it, called them and said, ‘Would you mind if we take this song, record it and make it a Walker McGuire song?’ At first they said no because they were going to put it on their next record. We decided to send them a cure-all to change their mind, whiskey. Whiskey fixes everything! This is one of our new songs.”

Song: I’m On It

“Were any of you embarrassed by your first car? I’m lucky I had one, but probably shouldn’t have had one at all. We were song writing and I said I probably would have picked up more girls if I had a pick up truck in high school or a better car.”

Song: Pick Up Game

“Johnny grew up in Kansas City, when he was young a girl moved to town from California. We were drinking beer one night while writing and Johnny told me about this girl. We thought we have to write a song about this girl, her name was Holly. This song will be on the second record and if you know it, you’ve been listening to us for awhile.”

Song: Holly Would

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 5.26.19 PM“I (Jordan Walker) was at a bar and a guy came up to me in a Carhart jacket, ball cap and a big red beard. He said his name was Luke and he just moved here (Nashville) from North Carolina and I want to write songs. He said he knew I was in a band Walker McGuire and he would love to write a song with me someday. I said, ‘Luke I got a plan. Since these beers are $4.25 a piece and I got a 12 pack at my house and drink my roommate’s beer’, since he had a little bit of money and I had zero dollars at the time.”

“So we went to my house to think of an idea to write. I asked if he had been going through anything? He said hold on and started texting. I said who are you texting? He said I’m texting my ex-girlfriend. I said we might as well go back to the bar we’re not going to write anything tonight. He said, no I want to write a song. I said let’s write a song about your ex-girlfriend. He said, no man we can’t do that. About the time he said that his phone rang. He said, Hello… I really don’t have time to deal with this. I said, is that your ex-girlfriend. He said, no that was my ex-girlfriend’s mom.”

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.32.09 PM

“I said, why don’t we write a song about your ex-girlfriend and her mom. He asked how we would phrase it? I said I think we call her mom you ex-future mother in law. He loved that idea… As of last year on my birthday this was the number one song in the country for two weeks in a row. This song changed my life and bought me a lot of stuff I don’t need. This is my first ever number one song, called When It Rains It Pours.”

Walker McGuire has just released their self-titled EP

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.33.50 PM

Click on each song below to learn the story behind the songs!

23551160_1214947958649009_8203941218255800571_o

Mysteries of the World

Lost

Til Tomorrow

18 Forever + How the guys met

Best Kinda Bad

It was awesome to meet the guys and I can’t wait to see their show again with all the stories behind their music!

Photo Credit: Walker McGuire Facebook and Luke Combs Facebook

 

 

Kyle Thomas is the Sound of Soul that Will Tug on Your Heartstrings in Music City

22528073_991544084320102_5502929587411496388_n

By Lauren Schwab

26232511_1036345983173245_6809390585599551076_o

Kyle Thomas plays a writers round at Commodore Grille in Nashville Photo Credit: Zoë Weaver @zos_zoominphotography

Music can touch a place in our hearts differently for everyone. We all have different experiences in life and love. Songs can activate our memories, desires and imagination. The soulful melodies of Kyle Thomas can tug on your heart strings like no other. My heart didn’t know the treat it was in for when walking into the Commodore Grille this winter. All Kyle needs is his guitar and soft voice to make your heart feel like it’s ready to float out of your chest. You will remember moments of love you hadn’t thought about in years and long for breathless moments over and over again. I sat down with Kyle after the show to learn about his start in music, influences, the decision to leave Ohio and move to Nashville, faith and future plans.

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?24837688_1019188384889005_6333662286148870270_o

A. “I grew up playing music and I jumped around from bass to electric guitar, trombone and keyboard. I was involved in choir and musical theater in high school. Then I got away from it and played football in college. We had a fellowship of Christian athletes, they heard I played music and asked me if I would start leading worship. I fell back in love with music then. I started writing music and decided I wanted to do it for a career.”

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?

A. “I’m originally from Ohio and after I graduated from West Virginia University I moved home for a year. I got a band together and did some regional touring. I finally decided if you want to be the best you got to be around the best. This is where (Nashville) the industry is for what I want to do, so I had to take the leap and come down here.”

“I finally decided if you want to be the best

you got to be around the best.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeIIyEzA2Qk

18422247_900856136722231_936520576040721484_o

Photo Credit: Cleveland Country Magazine

Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence? 

A. “Growing up through middle school my parents didn’t let me listen to anything but Christian and Gospel music, so I was heavily influenced by that. Once I started seeing some other music like classic rock while I was learning electric guitar, Steve Perry of Journey influenced me on vocals. A lot of my influences growing up were Motown and 70’s music with that funk, good vibe and harmonies. Along with The Temptations, Ben E. King and The Drifters. Then I started listening to some soulful stuff like John Mayer and Dave Matthews.”

“From my inspiration I want to try to do

something different, that’s really authentic

to me and who I am.”

Q. How would you describe your inspiration and musical style?

A. “When I moved back I did a lot of country because it was the easiest to get booked for. I am a country music fan, but to be authentic to myself I would say I’m more soulful and Jazz kind of musician. From my inspiration I want to try to do something different, that’s really authentic to me and who I am.”

18485723_905428199598358_7012359363537501612_n

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

A. “I love going into a room and creating, a lot of times it can be a release to write about whatever is going on in your life. It can also be cool to help someone else, I’ve had a lot of situations where people are working on albums and they have something they’re going through they want to write about. So it’s unique to help them through those situations and be able to write a song we’re both proud of…. It’s cool to play rounds with guys you write with then sometimes rounds will be with nobody you know and it’s cool to get an idea of what they do and network with them.”

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “I’ve got to play some cool shows like open for Craig Morgan and play at the house of blues and Hard Rock cafes in different places. It’s really cool to have people sing your songs back to you. More than anything it’s inspiring to me when you write something with someone that you really love jamming to. It’s cool to create something you love. You can write a hundred songs and not like any of them, but then there’s that one you do. My inspiration is to continue to search for that song that’s going to be meaningful to me.”

“You got to chase after what you love and once you decide to do it, it’s like anything else. You have to treat it like it’s more than a 9 to 5 job because you can never clock out.”

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 4.33.07 PM

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

22687873_994702714004239_2048838424403972742_nA. “If it’s what you want to do, just believe in yourself and go for it. There’s going to be people that ask what’s your plan? You’re not always going to have a plan; it’s an uncertain career path. You got to chase after what you love and once you decide to do it, it’s like anything else. You have to treat it like it’s more than a 9 to 5 job because you can never clock out. It’s practice, write, and reading helps a lot lyrically. When you are ready to do it, you have to be in a city like New York, Nashville or LA to write and network with other writers that can feed your creative process and help you grow.”

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “I plan to get a group of songs together and get in the studio. I’m meeting with publishers, so my goal is to hopefully be signed. More than anything write songs that are true to myself and I’m proud of.”

Kyle needs your support is recording his new music so we all can enjoy! Please support him in anyway you can by visiting: https://www.gofundme.com/kyle-thomas-ep or https://venmo.com @kylethomasofc

To hear Kyle’s new projects and upcoming shows visit http://www.kylethomascountry.com and follow him on social media:

Facebook

Instagram @KyleThomasOfficial

You Tube

Twitter @KyleThomasofc

Photo Credit to https://www.facebook.com/kylethomasofficial

@zos_zoominphotography

Texas Country Musician Kyle Park Says, “Don’t Forget Where You Come From”

IMG_1668

“Thanks for a great time last night Fort Worth! Always an honor to play Billy Bob’s Texas!” – Kyle Park

By Lauren Schwab

IMG_1523

Interview with Kyle Park back stage at Billy Bob’s Texas, can you spot his name on the wall?

Texas has a flavor of country music all its own. It’s tradition in pride and loyalty by fans is special by all means. When a Texas FFA girl introduced me to Kyle Park’s music while visiting her in Austin in 2010, I was forever a fan. Eight years later, I finally made the trip to Fort Worth to see Kyle in concert and better yet, interview him on how he has evolved as an artist in his music, his journey across the Lone Star state and beyond.

Walking back stage at Billy Bob’s Texas was like stepping back in time to see all the great country music artists who had performed on stage including Kyle Park. Kyle told the audience during his show how much it meant to him to have his name on the wall back stage. We sat down to talk about his start in music, song writing process, his advice and exciting plans for the year ahead.

IMG_1667Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

A. “I took guitar lessons when I was about 9 or 10. It was like two lessons; I didn’t like guitar. My dad passed away when I was 12, then when I was 14 I picked up the guitar again. It was maybe out of boredom because I lived in the country with no driver’s license, so I was stuck at the house.   The first song I played was a Chris LeDoux song called ‘Seventeen’. I played it for my cousin and he said it was really cool, that I should learn to play guitar, so I did. I loved music, but there were no musicians in my family. I think my love for country music came out of the challenge. It was so hard at first; I remember playing for 56 minutes out of every hour for 8 hours a day for 6 to 8 months.”

“I think my love for country music came out of the challenge. It was so hard at first; I remember playing for 56 minutes out of every hour for 8 hours a day for 6 to 8 months.”

IMG_1664

“When I was 16 I got the guts to play in front of a garage band full of my buddies. I loved singing, but I was scared to sing and someone say that wasn’t very good. When they said I was good and asked me to sing another one, it relaxed me and I started writing my own songs. When I was 17, I did nothing but guitar playing and singing. I took my guitar to the cafeteria at school and played parties. When I was 20 I put my band together and here we are 12 years later.”

1070054_10151556337318129_1811279045_n.jpg

Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence? 

A. “My biggest influences are George Strait, Clint Black, Mark Chesnutt and 90’s country guys. Chris LeDoux is a big influence because his style is unique. I also find out their influences are Merle Haggard, and I love him too. Then I find out Merle’s influences are Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys and I love them too. It’s funny how with my influences, I like their influences and they like their influences.”

Kyle went from playing his influences’ songs to opening up for them!

1613901_10152165424198129_6216048963662685438_n

Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you to share the message of “Don’t Forget Where You Come From”?

A. “That song is autobiographical to me because I did loose my dad when I was young. He didn’t work in the oil field; he was a plumber. I didn’t want to be a plumber, but if music hadn’t worked out for me, I know I would have been back at home taking over the plumbing company for my dad. That song reminds me of him so much. When we wrote the lines ‘Pray out loud, makes us proud, and don’t forget where you come from,’ we thought this is something we will tell my kids. It’s important to not do things your parents wouldn’t approve of. For me, in my music career and in this new album especially, I haven’t forgotten where I come from. This current record is absolutely me, and this song is the definition of the record.”

“In my music career and in this new album especially, I haven’t forgotten where I come from. This current record is absolutely me, and this song is the definition of the record.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing and recording? Tell me more about the process and how The Blue Roof Sessions was different for you?

tbrs cover jpegA. “That album was totally different, sometimes I feel it wasn’t received how I wanted it to be. I can understand why, because it’s my fifth album now and people had an expectation of what I would sound like because of the previous four albums. The Blue Roof Sessions intentionally wasn’t like that. As an artist, I wanted to do something different. Why would an actor make the same movie over and over? As a writer and producer as well, half those songs I had for years. I wrote the song ‘Work on Love’ so long ago, but just never found the right album to put it on. When I committed to making an edgy record, I had all these ideas of songs that would work so well. Just like ‘Don’t Forget Where You Come From’ or ‘What the Heaven’ wouldn’t have fit The Blue Roof Sessions record.”

“As an artist, I wanted to do something different… It was cool to stretch my artistic talent and do something different.”

“With that album we didn’t have a recording studio. We had a house, I leased a mansion on Lake Travis, and for one month I lived there from Sunday through Wednesday and was on the road Thursday through Saturday. I would get home on Sunday and work on songs to record Monday. Half the songs were written in the last ten years, the other half were written that month. We recorded 19 songs and I kept 12 that fit the project the best. I wanted it to sound cohesive. It was an old school sound with the big room and drums and echo vocals. So much of country music has rock in it… It was cool to stretch my artistic talent and do something different. I may never do something like that again and it may be the most rock music I ever make.”

IMG_1670Q. What is it like to play new music for a crowd and see how they receive it?

“Usually I will play a song live before the album comes out. It’s always the best feeling to have a brand new song, like right now our new song is ‘Ain’t Nobody Hotter,’ it’s not even on the radio yet. I’ll watch the crowd sing it when I know they haven’t heard it before, but they learned it in the last two minutes. It makes me feel good about what we’re doing and as a writer it’s the coolest thing. I’ll watch people sing every single word to ‘Don’t Forget Where You Come From.’ It takes a lot of time to remember the words to a song. It’s not like you can just hear it once, you may know the chorus, but to know every word you have to listen to a song 10 to 15 times. You have to like a song a lot to know every word and that is the absolute number one honor of being a writer.”

“You have to like a song a lot to know every word and that is the absolute number one honor of being a writer.”

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

IMG_1663

A. “My agent asked me yesterday, ‘When was you’re defining moment that you’ve made it?’ It wasn’t a big show; I was 21 years old on stage in Lubbock at The Blue Light Live. We had a pretty good crowd, it wasn’t sold out, but I made enough money to pay everyone in the band what I would, plus a little bonus. We had our own bed in our own room that night because a lot of times we would bunk up. I sold some merchandise and paid for my gas. We drove from Austin to Lubbock, it was a long way to drive and I still made money that night. I made like 300 bucks, but I thought man this is it. I’d rather chase this dream, be on stage playing music and watch people sing along, than any 9 to 5 job sitting behind a desk and being miserable. I was serious before then, but that was the moment when I thought I can do this forever.”

Throwback to the first Kyle Park song I heard and loved:

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

IMG_1665A. “Take every gig you can and play as much as you can because you never know when that one person that can make a difference is out there listening. It doesn’t have to be a record label; it could be someone like you spreading the word in Cincinnati. It takes that one person to get the ball rolling sometimes. For me in college it was a big deal, I would play at every fraternity and sorority party, every bar that was available to me. It didn’t matter the money, I would play two in one day if I could.”

“Don’t forget where you come from. There’s never been a time I thought music wasn’t for me.”

“Besides that, don’t forget where you come from. There’s never been a time I thought music wasn’t for me, but maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing or following the right path in my music career. Maybe I shouldn’t do this record, or song or hire this person. You always have doubts, but don’t forget where you come from. For me, it’s passion for music. It hasn’t been about the fame and money; it comes along with success.”

IMG_1666Q. How are your Texas fans different from when you travel to other states?

A. “Texas is definitely loyal and there are a lot of them. When we go from Midland to Fort Worth to Austin to the Valley to Houston, that’s like seven states in the Northeast. We can drive 7 hours everyday and still be in the state. We were in Wichita, Kansas a few weeks ago and there aren’t better fans, they love country music and to be there. Texas has so many artists and venues to play in. That’s why we’re great, but at the same time if you go somewhere like Kansas or Montana where they don’t get that many concerts, they really take it seriously and love it. It’s cool to be from Texas, playing Texas style music and be so from from home.”

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “I want the album to come out right now, I’m so excited about it. I wish we didn’t have to wait for so long. I think it will be June 1st. We are touring constantly, and I hope we will play a little more out of state this year than we have. We want to go more north and west as far as we can. By spreading the word, it will be a bigger year than last year. We will play more and reach more fans.”

Kyle’s new album will feature the released singles: “Rednecks with Pay Checks“, “Don’t Forget Where You Come From“, “What the Heaven” and “Ain’t Nobody Hotter”.

 

IMG_1674“On the new album I have a song called ‘So God Made a Farmer.’ I played at the Texas FFA Convention years ago for 10,000 kids. It was one of the coolest gigs I’ve ever played. I still have some people tell me it was the best show they ever saw 8 years ago when they were 15 years old. In 2013, I was watching the super bowl and there was a commercial with Paul Harvey. I had known Paul Harvey my entire life, but I thought it was the most incredible speech. His delivery was everything, but also every word he says. So I thought I have to write that song someday. I held onto that idea until last year, I finally wrote the song, ‘So God Made A Farmer.’ Anyone who had family in farming, I think it will be their theme song. The chorus is,

‘That’s why God made a farmer, To keep us between the rows. To work hard and love harder, and you’ll reap what you sow. So when you say grace for the food on your plates, Pray a little longer,’Cause that’s why God made a farmer.’

I will never forget my interview with Kyle Park. His musical advice to take a chance on love, know when to move on and to never forget your upbringing, has touched the lives of those across the Lone Star State and beyond. Kyle Park’s music can help you celebrate all the ups and downs in life, reminding you it is a great thing to be alive and you can make your dreams happen!

To listen to more of Kyle’s music and stay up to date on his new album and tour visit:

http://www.kylepark.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

You Tube

Spotify

Snapchat @ontheroadwithkp

Photo Credit to https://www.facebook.com/kyleparkmusic/photos/

One more of my favorite songs!

Eric Burgett Plants His Dreams in the Corn Field to Harvest in Music City

19511474_10155472273844138_1472715993270083429_n

By Lauren Schwab

Every press of a key on his piano can take your mind to the Illinois corn field Eric Burgett first planted his Music City dreams in. If you are a farm kid like Eric, you may share his love for working with family, bonfires and cold beer on Saturday night then singing Hallelujah on Sunday morning. Eric’s music will give your small town saturday night boot stompin’ good time a classical melody of it’s own. I interviewed Eric on how growing up on a farm influenced his music career and how he sets himself apart with his masterful piano playing.

17759974_10155182645599138_8581690678814241743_n

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

A. “I grew up in a small town in Latham, Illinois. It was a town of about 400 people and I grew up on a corn and soybean farm. We had some livestock for showing in 4-H. I have two brothers and the three of us found our love for country music. We were always on the tractors and in trucks, our friends loved country music and we had bonfires every weekend.”

“I played piano at my church and at my parents’ bar called the Korn Krib. The Korn Krib started out as a shed and it burned down. We rebuilt it out of two grain bins and had a grand reopening in 1998. There was an upright piano at this bar and I remember hopping up on the bench during the dinner hours and playing for tips.”

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 3.49.57 PM

21765730_10155762870224138_8314178273022447430_o“In college I got involved in classical piano, I had been taking formal lessons on reading music and playing by ear. I started my own country band and played at local bars. It was always me and a piano at the front of the stage with my band behind me.”

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?

A. “I went to college near my hometown so I could make trips back to help during harvest. I then auditioned to a school in Nashville, Belmont University, for my master’s degree in piano. It was always part of the plan to take my music to a higher level and support myself financially in piano playing.”

10431326_10152591765609138_8180191462436976583_o

“The best part was I’m in Nashville, Music City, being able to connect with all these country artists doing what I was doing. They were up and coming artists going back to their hometowns to play shows. I was able to support myself through grad school playing piano on the side. It’s been great to still be here doing what I love.”

Q. Was is difficult to leave your family farm to pursue your music career in Nashville?

A. “When you write a song with someone you really get to know a person in that 4 to even 8 hour writing session. You talk about your life and a big part of that conversation in any writing scenario is usually that I came from a farm and then leaving the farm to pursue your dreams, but going back to the farm to help during harvest. It was tough to leave the farm and go to the big city, but Nashville has that small town feel. I love going back once a month to see people and play at my parents’ bar.”

Q. How would you describe your musical influence and style?

eric2

Photo Credit: Caitlin Miles

A. “Growing up there was always Billy Joel and The Beach Boys. I played Piano Man by Billy Joel many times. My brother got me started playing piano; I would listen to a Beach Boys tune and loved their harmony and melodies. Phil Vasser is a big influence of mine; he’s been the piano man of country music. I love his lyric ability and what he does at the piano. I look forward to keeping that tradition alive myself.”

Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?

A. “I released my current single called Town You Never Heard Of. It’s an ode to myself growing up in a small town in the Midwest. I enjoy seeing my hometown crowd appreciate the tune. My hometown fans mean everything to me and being able to share this tune with the world has been amazing. The piano is a central focus of my music, but my lyrics about growing up in a small town on a farm is going to stay in my music.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

 Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 3.55.37 PMA. “Everyday you start with a blank document; it’s like when a painter starts with a blank canvas. On that canvas you paint a picture of whatever you’re feeling that day. I enjoy sharing my stories of growing up in a small town and on the farm with other writers, both emotional and funny. It’s cool to see the story of however I’m feeling come to life on a blank piece of paper. Nothing gives greater satisfaction than seeing your song come to life in the studio, especially with some of the greatest musicians in Nashville.”

 

21463202_10155717530949138_6176695053043586290_n

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “The event that’s impacted me the most is signing on with my management company. I have a great team behind me. My producer understands and sees the direction of my music in regards to where I came from. They’ve been a blessing to me in moving forward with my current single and finding opportunities to perform in venues that cater to my style of music.”

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 3.56.06 PM

A. “Whatever fires you up, like for me I hear the firing up of a tractor back home in a cornfield, take that and run with it. The best way to do that is to show up and be apparent in the community you see yourself in. Upon moving to Nashville in 2012, I would go out and network to make sure I was meeting people and connecting with them in whatever way I could.”

“Eric Burgett, one of the most unique talents you will find in Music City. His writing and performing definitely fit in with what is out there on the radio, but with his piano base, he definitely sets himself apart.” – Billboard Magazine1523147_10152938114559138_2453400673103869174_o

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “At the beginning of January, we played a fair showcase in Indianapolis in hopes of landing more county fair and festival shows. We recently played one in Illinois as well. We will be hearing back from a lot of those towns to get more exposure in the summer. I’m most excited about putting out new music. We are hoping towards the summer to work on a EP to release five or six new tunes.”

23845593_10155934737344138_2834279878711276915_o“My fiancé and I are getting married in June and she plays a big part in my career in supporting me. She’s seen the ride of my music ever since ten years ago when we met. She’s from Chicago and we met in our college town of central Illinois. We went our separate ways after college and reconnected years later.”

If you make a trip to Nashville, you might catch Eric playing for the Nashville Ballet, church on Sundays, on an episode of “Nashville,” or even teaching piano at Belmont University as one of the youngest professors in the school of music. However Eric will always have the farm fields of the Midwest in his heart and music. “There’s nothing like having a hometown fan base and having that front porch light to go back home to,” says Eric.

 

To listen to Eric’s music and follow him on social media visit:

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 3.59.27 PM

https://www.ericburgett.com

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Photo Credit:

https://www.facebook.com/kornkribbarandgrill

https://www.facebook.com/ericburgettmusic

http://ericburgett.chriswithersphotography.com

Ciera Flory is Fearless on the Big Stage

10548330_273522602834246_8370304321691934598_o

By Lauren Schwab

Her guitar maybe her comfort, but Ciera Flory is fearless on the big stage. Since she was a young girl, Ciera told her mom she wanted to be a singer. Ciera is proof if you give a girl the right guitar and a love story to sing about, she can conquer the music world with her confidence to touch the lives of girls everywhere. I sat down with Ciera and her mom before the show to learn of her start in music, influences and big dreams ahead.

IMG_1252

Ciera and her mom, Josephine perform at Southern Comfort Bar & Grill in New Paris, Ohio

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

A. “It’s been the one thing I’ve wanted to do. I always said I wanted to be a singer. I learned guitar when I was 13 and started writing when I was 15. I really started pushing (to make it a career) when I turned 18 and graduated from high school.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 2.14.51 PM

 

 

 

“My mom always supported me. As a kid I looked up auditions and she would take me,” said Ciera.

Now by her side on stage, is Ciera’s biggest fan. “She played by herself, I didn’t have any musical background. Then I thought maybe I can learn the bass and help her,” said Josephine, Ciera’s mom.

 

 

Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence? (past & present)

21715_375535429299629_3309868136567018459_n.jpgA. “Taylor Swift made me really break out (into music) and start writing. I also listened to Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana and Disney music.”

Q. How did you begin your music career?

A. “I wrote songs for a few years then got a deal with Tate Music Group who produced my album. I started playing out a bunch; anywhere I could get a gig. I started putting music on ReverbNation and created my Facebook page. Social media is really important (to connect with fans).”

Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?

11188438_375535395966299_7231755086476061524_n

Ciera promotes her debut album, The Best Thing

A. “I’ve always been pop (music), but I liked veering into the country side because Taylor Swift was country. I really love new country; it’s my favorite kind of music. Mainstream pop is really good too and I think pushing myself into mainstream pop would be easy to do.”

Now a new signing with Ophir Entertainment, she is creating pop music. “I’m getting into mainstream pop to see what’s being done to help with my writing and what to come up with next.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

22218620_744743622378806_3164918113489432634_o

 

A. “It varies from each song I write. Sometimes I think of a line in my head then grab my guitar and build a song story around that line. Like in my song Without You, I started with the first lyric, ‘I can’t believe the songs we used to sing never meant anything’ and went from there. This is going to be a better off without you type of song.”

 

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

10426655_499491656904005_1766353154720830208_n

A. “I auditioned for American Idol and waited in line for 12 hours in the rain. They give you ten seconds to sing a song with five other people in the room. I sang Bartender by Lady Antebellum with my guitar. I was told to stay back then she said for me to audition online, that I was good but they couldn’t take me at that point. However, I had auditioned a couple years before that and got nowhere. So I had been working on myself and people noticed.”

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with having confidence?

A. “The best thing with confidence is just playing as much as you can in front of people. When I first started, I would get up on stage and was shaking like crazy. My voice would shake and cut out. You just have to get through those moments and get stronger.”

10711001_306155869570919_1031910045207298181_n.jpgQ. How do you develop your set list between playing your originals and cover songs people want to hear?

A. “If I like a song, I’m going to play it. I get requests sometimes and my mom says we should do some songs. My mom and I have fun all the time. I love being able to play with my mom.”

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “Since I got signed with Ophir Entertainment, I’m going to see how they want my career and to help me with the business side.”

On building her own brand, “I try to stay as true to myself as I can and I want to be seen as a nice girl,” says Ciera.

Listen to the sneak peek of her debut album, The Best Thing:

Follow Ciera Flory on Social Media and get the latest on her music:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CieraNicoleFlory/

YouTube: Ciera Flory YouTube

Twitter: @CieraFlory

ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/cieraflory

Photo Credit to: https://www.facebook.com/CieraNicoleFlory

I am sure Ciera will appreciate this throwback to her inspiration, now Ciera is Fearless on the big stage inspiring girls everywhere!

 

 

 

 

Josh Gallagher is Following His Dreams, How Bout You?

15965463_1254218587995058_6531523538347655785_n

By Lauren Schwab

From singing his heart out along to Garth Brooks’ albums as a kid, Josh Gallagher did not know he would one day be in rehearsal as a finalist for The Voice TV show with Brooks himself telling Josh he has what IT takes. Josh is a self-taught guitar player with determination to make his dreams happen now. As the Nashville crowd applauded the down to earth man with a contagious energy for life, I hopped up on stage at Puckett’s to interview Josh on his musical journey.

Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?

15390854_1226564144093836_5845725696180145482_n

A. “I started playing guitar when I was ten. My dad got me my first guitar. I taught myself how to play guitar; I never took a lesson. I was always intrigued by music and was in rock bands when I was younger. I started playing back home in Pennsylvania. I thought maybe I could do this as a career, so I gave it a shot!”

Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?

 20728087_1470103669739881_5059339276728980552_nA. “After living in Pittsburg I moved back home and started playing in local bars. Each crowd and venue kept getting bigger. My friends, family and fans would tell me all the time that I need to go to Nashville and chase my dream. I was working a full-time job, playing every weekend and having a lot of fun. I didn’t ignore those comments at first, but brushed them off for a while. Then it hit me that I could really give this a shot. I love doing it (music) and if I could call it a career and have fun then it’s not a job.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 3.01.40 PM

 

With the support of his wife, Lindsey, they headed to Music City. “It happened to work out that my wife and I met in Pennsylvania, she wanted to move out of state anyways when she graduated from college,” says Gallagher.

 

 

Q. How would you describe your musical style?

15327388_1226564294093821_7810745971014475397_nA. “It’s hard for me on what to call our sound or style of music. It’s definitely influenced by country music, but I grew up playing in rock bands. I love that heavy distortion, big loud cabs and right in your face rock n’ roll. So if we can mix hard heavy rock n’ roll with 90’s to early 2000’s country music sound, that’s what we’re trying to do and find new sounds overtime. The original music we were playing a year ago is different from what we are playing now. We have evolved and are constantly trying to find new sounds and tones to make us different.”

 

“Josh is definitely somebody that I can hear on the radio right now. He is definitely the guy that fits in what is popular in country music.”— BLAKE SHELTON

19990360_1444693572280891_5167695927276818139_nEncouraged by Blake Shelton’s words, Josh values making his unique sound. “Everybody out there is going to find their own way somehow. We are going to go the hard way and pave our own path, find our own sound and eventually be different from what people are used to hearing on country radio,” says Gallagher.

Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?

12936752_1016649878418598_7190827426935204517_nA. “The new single ‘How Bout You?’ will be released in February. This song was written with two good buddies, Mark Addison Chandler and Will Duvall. We sat down and were throwing around some ideas and Will started playing a little riff on his guitar, which is the opening guitar lick on the song. Once we started writing it, all three of us fell in love with it. That song came out of nowhere and they say the best songs come when you’re not expecting them.”

Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.

A. “It’s cool being a singer and songwriter because you get the chance to go sit in a room with some of your best friends and try to make magic happen. When you make it happen you can then take that magic to the studio with your band, put it on record, cut a vocal on top of it and go make that same magic on stage. You get to perform it to people that may not know how the process goes. I get enjoyment out of the entire process.”

19397034_1421535984596650_6649416546089353173_n

“Josh, you have this effortlessness that makes you seem like you’re not here to make it, it feels like you already have. You seem like there is this place for you on country radio that I feel is just waiting to have you there. It was amazing, great performance, great usage of the stage.”— MILEY CYRUS

12647135_970616393021947_7460627390418955990_nAs he impressed Miley Cyrus on The Voice stage, Josh knows what happens off the stage is all preparation for what happens on it. “I’ve been focusing this past year on looking at things from a songwriter’s standpoint instead of the artist; to go into a write with an open mind.

We have a lot of songs that are very good. I may never cut them, but if somebody else likes them they can cut them. There’s a cool dynamic about being a singer and songwriter, you get to make a living and love what you do. It’s incredible and leaves me speechless a lot of the time, I can’t believe I get to do this for a living,” says Gallagher.

 

Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?

A. “While I was on The Voice, we went into rehearsals the week Garth Brooks was there. An impactful moment for me was when he put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You have IT… If I’m a manager, if I’m a producer, if I’m a record label – that’s the guy I want because he has a career in front of him.’ That was impactful for me because my Dad used to listen to Garth Brooks all the time when I was younger. Dad and I used to lay on the floor, just blare Garth Brooks cd’s and sing our hearts out. I’ve always been a fan and looked up to him all my life, so for him to put his hands on my shoulders and say something that meaningful really hit me the most.”

garth

“This kid, as soon as he opens his mouth – you believe him,” said Brooks, as he insisted, “If I’m a manager, if I’m a producer, if I’m a record label – that’s the guy I want because he has the career in front of him.”— GARTH BROOKS

Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?

14956650_1187258738024377_4903075919442861999_nA. “We are all still struggling to get our voices heard that’s for sure. You have to absolutely love it first of all. If it’s a hobby of yours that’s awesome, but if you think you really want to do it for a living, go for it to the fullest extent. When you fall in love with something you do for a living, then it’s not work. You wake up everyday and count your blessings if you get to that point. I’m still counting my blessings everyday, we still have a long way to go, but we are having a good time on the way there. So I would say, if you love it, do it. It’s going to be scary but you got to pull the trigger. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it next month or even tomorrow, whether it’s moving to Nashville or picking up a guitar or singing.”

“I love the fact that you are such a strong country singer. I see you being able to be a guy who releases huge country smashes. I think the sky’s the limit for you. Tonight a country star was on that stage doing that. That was amazing. I am blown away by you.”— ADAM LEVINE

img_1105.jpgKnowing the sky is the limit, Josh pushes himself to accomplish his goals and encourages others to do the same. “You have to be bold and push yourself outside of your comfort zone to get there. When you make yourself do it and push yourself, you find it’s easy. Be persistent, it’s going to be hard, I still struggle with stuff. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. People are going to tell you the rest of your life, whether you are a musician, a principal, a plumber, a race car driver or whatever, that you aren’t good enough. So don’t let their negativity bring you down, rise above it. Take the high road and then a few years from then you can say ‘I told you!’ says Gallagher.

Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?

A. “Our main goal is to get the single out, get it pushed through marketing and social media and out to radio. We want to get it out there the right way so a lot of people can hear it. I would also love to release a full-length album. There isn’t a timeline on it yet, which is great for my first album. I think if you’re going to do it, do it right. Plan it out and ask what’s the direction we want to go, do these songs fit, what songs do we need on top of the ones we have? I think the plan is to release the single first, then an EP and keep fans engaged. I’m really excited about this year. I really want to connect with my fans; it’s an incredible thing when you can get up on stage, whether it be for 20 or 20,000 people and connect with them…I’m a very lucky person.”

You can listen to Josh’s released singles on iTunes, “Pick Any Small Town,” “We Always Had,” and “Ain’t No Angels.” His live performances from “The Voice” reached top spots on iTunes and were downloaded by millions.

Follow Josh on social media to learn about new music and live performances:

Website: joshgallaghermusic.com

Facebook: facebook.com/joshgallmusic

Instagram: @joshgallaghermusic

Twitter: twitter.com/joshgallmusic

YouTube: youtube.com/joshgallagher11

Photo Credit to: facebook.com/joshgallmusic