Originally from Atlanta, Alaina Beach moved to Music City in 2015 and became involved in the songwriting community. The singer-songwriter recently released her latest single, “This is How You Get to 99,” a touching, emotional track about her grandmother. Right before the holidays, Beach took some time to talk about her roots, the song and more.
Did you always know that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
I have been singing my whole life. I learned to play guitar in high school and was writing songs in college. In 2013, when I was in Greenville, South Carolina my friends encouraged me to play my songs out. I connected with a producer, John Briglevich, in Atlanta and in 2013 and 2014 we recorded some singles. It was my first time in a studio and John really taught me so much. I realized that I still had a lot to learn and being in Nashville, around such incredibly talented musicians, took my writing to the next level.
Was your music always country-leaning?
When I started, it had more of a folk sound. I grew up listening to bands like the Indigo Girls and Jewel. As I began recording and adding instruments, my songs developed into a country sound I liked.
Sarah Darling takes listeners on a journey through cinematic songs about stars, dreams, and romance on her new album, Dream Country. The singer-songwriter, who has released several albums garnering 1/2 million downloads worldwide and two number one videos on CMT and GAC, is gearing up for the project's release on February 10th and graciously took the time to talk about the album, what's ahead and more.
The last song you released was “Little Umbrellas” back in 2013. What have you been doing since?
“Little Umbrellas” was the last track I put out to the world, but over the past few years, I have been diving into a brand new record which I am so excited about. The new album is called Dream Country and it comes out February 10th. This record is something I put my heart and soul into and I hope people identity with it. I had the chance to make it independently from start to finish with every decision being mine, so this is a very personal project that I’m really excited to share with the world. It’s very dreamy, romantic, and sweet and talks a lot about the stars.
The record was funded via a Pledge campaign. Was it the first time you did something like that?
This was the first time I ever made an album with the fans and it was an incredible experience. I was so much more involved in the process and felt so personably attached to it. My fans, friends, and family paid money to help me make my dream record which was really amazing. The people who Pledged are getting the music, but I feel that they changed my life by allowing me to make this record. This project means so much to me and it’s all because of them taking the time to do something they didn’t have to do. They’re wonderful.
Raised in Connecticut and currently residing in Florida, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones recently released her new single “Tough Guys.” The song, from a forthcoming country album, is a tongue-in-cheek foot stomper that speaks to personal empowerment. As the single takes off on Sirius XM’s The Highway, Jones kindly answered a few questions via email about the single, it’s accompanying video and more.
Since many listeners might be new to you, can you briefly talk about when you decided to pursue music professionally and what drew you to Nashville and Country Music?
I have been writing poems and stories since I could read. When I was nine years old I began singing lessons, and once I realized I could set my poetry to melody, I knew that music would be my life’s work. I went to Nashville for the first time when I was seventeen and fell in love with the community of songwriters and musicians there who emphasize craftsmanship and storytelling.
You play a wide array of instruments! When did you start learning them and were you self-taught?
I took piano lessons as a young girl and picked up the guitar when I was seventeen. I felt inspired by Jewel, who was the first artist I saw capture an audience’s attention with just her voice, her guitar and her stories. I toured solo acoustic for several years, and I learned other instruments in order to make my show more compelling and varied. I also became a fan of acoustic blues, so I began playing slide and experimenting with different tunings, which led me to the banjo, the harmonica and the dobro.
Growing up just outside Chicago, Hadley Kennary always loved music. The singer-songwriter attended Berklee College of Music and after graduation, moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. A finalist for the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival's Songwriter Showcase in 2015 & 2016 and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival's Troubadour Songwriting Contest in 2015 & 2016, winning 2nd place in June of 2015, Kennary released her latest EP, the incredibly honest, Momentum, in August. Recently, she kindly took the time to talk about the EP and much more.
When did you first become interested in music? Was it something you always wanted to pursue?
I’ve always been musical whether it was playing piano and guitar or being in band and choir. I went to Berklee to pursue songwriting, but I ended up majoring in music business. However, I moved to Nashville about two and a half years ago and am currently pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter.
You've released a full-length album and two EPs. Where do you draw from in your music?
My music definitely has some Country in it, but it fits in more with the contemporary Americana movement that’s happening right now - and that’s one of the reasons why it’s nice to be in a place like Nashville because while there’s a strong commercial Country theme, there’s also strong Roots and Bluegrass themes as well. Personally, I draw from more pop-minded singer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson as well as the powerhouse female singer-songwriters from the 90’s like Shawn Colvin and the Indigo Girls. They’re my roots, my Bible if you will.
Your latest project, Momentum, was released this past August and contains five new songs. Did you write them all?
I did. The majority of the time I tend to write by myself; I’m not against co-writing by any means, I do it every once in awhile, but I find when I want to tell my own story writing on my own better serves that purpose.
Georgia native Andy Velo has been garnering fans since the release of his self-titled EP in 2012 and his second, Blue Collar Cruise, in 2014. Recently, the singer-songwriter released his new song, “God Made A Back Road,” which brings back that traditional country feel in a heartfelt song about the place you find peace. Velo kindly took the time to speak about his roots, the track and more.
Growing up, when did you realize that you wanted to pursue music?
If I look back, I knew at an early age. I remember being eleven or twelve and being fascinated by music, but I decided to pursue it full-time seven years ago. I was playing side stage at a Brad Paisley concert in Florida and on that long drive home to Atlanta, I realized that I had opportunities in music in front of me - and I knew that I want this to be my life. That’s when I made the commitment to figure out whatever it was that I had to do, and do it. By no means have we arrived, but seven years in and I’m still here.
Was it always country music you were drawn to?
Oh yes, without a doubt; that’s my soul. I love all types of music from pop and rock to classical, but the root of my original love for music was country, particularly Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and a lot of stuff from the 80’s and 90’s.