Congratulations on your new single, Running On Empty. Tell us a bit of the story behind it.
Running on Empty was one of the first songs I wrote… actually, to be exact, the second. I never knew I could write lyrics until I was in a very vulnerable place, so this song is personal to me. This song is about giving everything you had in a relationship to try and make it work, but being left with nothing more to give, and that’s what the lyrics ” I got nothing left of me, do you ever just feel like you’re running on empty,” mean. When I write music, my lyrics are relatable; I write to connect with the listener on an emotional level.
How young were you when you started singing? And when did you decide that you would pursue a music career?
I started singing at the age of two. My parents often caught me singing Over the Rainbow as I sang myself to sleep at night. Music has always been in my soul. It runs through my blood, and through my Father’s side of the family, in which there are many of us! Ever since I was a child, music was a dream. I took singing lessons and piano lessons for about ten years, and acoustic guitar lessons for about two years. It has always been what I wanted to pursue, but as a young child, that dream almost seems impossible to reach. As I went through high school, music was always on my mind, but I knew I had to go to college before I could pursue that dream. I chose a career in the medical field that I knew would allow me to work on my music career and here I am now, with a band I always dreamed of having, playing shows and releasing music!
Your Dad plays bass in your band, which is very cool. Tell us a bit about your musical family.
My Dad’s entire side of his family is musical – they all play an instrument, sing, or draw and paint! It is so amazing to come from a family who can all relate to you and support you artistically. My Dad does play bass in my band, though he is a pianist as well, and I absolutely love every second of it. I think it is so special that my Dad and I both get to share our passion and dreams of music together, not to mention it is the best feeling to have constant support by my side. My Dad’s dream has always been to play for a huge crowd of people, and I hope that I can get us there together, just so I can see the look on his face and live in that moment with one of my biggest inspirations, my Dad.
Name one of your influences and let us know how they have inspired you in your music career.
I have many influences in music. A few of them would be Chris Stapleton, Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. When I think of country, I instantly think of Shania or the Dixie Chicks! They are what I grew up listening to, and what I sang. I remember I started to listen to country music in elementary school after my grade 8 teacher told me I sounded like the Dixie Chicks, after I had tried out for a school talent show and got the part. I quickly went home to see who they were and what they were all about, and from there they have always been such an inspiration. Over the years, country has changed so much, from traditional to country pop. The first time I ever heard Chris Stapleton sing, it blew my mind. I could not wrap my head around how talented he was as a writer and singer. He has been a huge inspiration to me, as I myself love to sing soulful country/blues.
What have you learned about songwriting from the first song you wrote until now?
I have learned that songwriting comes from the raw simple truth. I say that, because I could never write before, at least, I didn’t think they were worthy songs. I didn’t know what to write about; I was so young and nothing inspired me enough. Songwriting is telling stories – it can be personal and scary to share your thoughts and emotions, but the best songs come from your heart. If you can dig deep and write what hurts, or even what makes you happy, I think the finished product will always mean so much more. And people will see that and hear that in your music, or when you are out performing live.
Who would be your ultimate duet partner and why?
My ultimate duet partner would be Chris Stapleton, because his music connects with you. Every time he releases a new heart wrenching song, I wish it were mine! His lyrics are so relatable, you can actually picture what he is singing about without even watching a video. Every song he writes is incredible, and his voice is so distinct and soulful. He is so talented in so many different aspects, it would be a dream to duet with him.
You do a great job in your video for Running On Empty. Do you feel comfortable in front of the camera? Are there more videos ahead for you in 2019?
I used to be a drama queen as a child. My parents have a lot of home videos and I was usually recorded at talent shows or recitals as a kid. I also did a bit of modeling throughout high school, so I am not too shy in front of the camera. This was my first music video; I was pretty nervous at first, and it took a while for me to warm up. There are so many people watching you and you’re just wondering how ridiculous you look, but once I warmed up, I decided I should probably just own it, or this video is going to look terrible!
I will probably have one or two coming your way. I just finished recording a new song and I do hope to have a video to release with it! My goal for 2019 is to also release my first EP, hopefully by the Fall.
Which musical hero of yours would you like to meet and what is the burning question you have for the person?
Again, it would be Chris Stapleton. Though I would have many questions, my question would probably be: “What is the best and most encouraging advice you have for an emerging artist like myself to help me succeed in music?”
And finally, what advice do you have for a new artist starting out?
My advice to anyone starting out is: network and make connections as much as possible. Don’t waste time waiting for someone to come to you – if you want something, you need to make it happen yourself. You need to be determined and not take everything to heart. Make music for you because you love it and want to share it. Don’t make your dream into something you end up resenting down the road; know it will take you a long time to get where you want. Though you may be eager, you have to work hard at it if you really want it. Don’t compare yourself to other artists, because everyone’s goals are different and everyone’s success is different. Enjoy the ride and just do what you love.
Dave Woods is a monthly columnist for the CMAOntario Newsletter and has been hosting the popular online radio show In The Country with Dave Woods since 2009! To hear episodes, please visit www.inthecountryinterviews.com, www.soundcloud.com/dave-woods-3 and iTunes.