Hailing from North Carolina, singer-songwriter Erin McLendon earned her Bachelor's of Music degree in Commercial Voice (with an emphasis in Music Business) at Belmont, but she continues to “study” music as an extension of her personal and artistic growth embracing various styles into something that is uniquely her own. Recently, the newcomer released her latest project, MAKING IT UP AS WE GO, a seven-track collection of tunes with clever and relatable storylines that make for a welcome listen. Via email, McLendon kindly took the time to answer a few questions about her roots, the record, and more. Get to know her in the interview below!
You graduated Belmont with a Bachelor's of Music degree in Commercial Voice with an emphasis in Music Business, did you always know music was something you wanted to pursue?
Being a recording artist and stage performer has been a dream since childhood, but it wasn’t on my radar as a viable career path until I visited colleges and learned that I could major in music business. The education offered so many potentials to open different doors in the music and entertainment sector.
I hear a lot of varied sounds on the album, which I love, so where do you draw from artistically?
I listened to a variety of artists growing up. My parents listened to two entirely different radio stations taking us to and from school. My Dad tuned into a station that played Queen, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith and Phil Collins. While my Mom listened to Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Buble and Rod Stewart. In middle school, I changed the channel to listen to country music. I loved all the musical stylings of the artists I grew up listening to and I’ve always been a "curious" listener; I like to explore various genres and learn from them. What drew me to country/Americana was the honesty and rawness of the lyrics. I don't really follow any genre-specific rules; I incorporate sounds and lyrics that I am drawn to and that I find interesting. I’m a firm believer that if you shut yourself off to other genres of music, you’re limiting yourself and your music from being the best that it can be.
Did you write all the tracks on the album? If so where do you pull from when writing and if not, what drew you to record the songs?
I wrote and co-wrote all of the songs on my new album (MAKING IT UP AS WE GO); "Honolulu Love" is a solo write -- a song that I wrote coming back from Hawaii. I really love going into writing sessions with an idea or two and seeing where it goes. Most of the songs on the new album reveal where I am in my life right now. I’m at a place where I’m very comfortable and happy with who I am, with what I’m doing and where things are going!
Why did you choose to title the album Making It Up As We Go, which is also a track on the record?
"Making It Up As We Go" is actually one of the most auto-biographical songs I’ve ever written. When you graduate from college, you’re suddenly expected to know exactly what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. But, let’s be honest; that’s ridiculous. I’m five years out of college now and I look back at who I was then; "that girl" is almost completely different from the woman I am today. I chose “Making It Up As We Go” as the title track because I think it offers a message to remind ourselves that everyone grows and changes as they go through life. Every day is a mystery as to what’s actually going to happen; so…we’re all literally “making it up as we go!
I’m always curious to know why artists bookend their albums the way they do. “God Made A Woman” is such a great way to kick off the record with such on point-fun lyrics. Why did you choose to place that song first? And then similarly place “You’re The Only One" as the closer?
“When God Made A Woman” was either going to be the first track or the last track on the album because it has such a great opener with the drumroll and the line “In the beginning…” I thought this line was simply perfect to start out the record and then, alternatively, at the end there’s an “Amen!” (Which would have also been great conclusion track!) We put “You’re The Only One” in the track listing as the album-closer because it was originally the lead single from my last album (FIRE AND WINE); the team really liked the song and we all felt it stood strong; so, we re-recorded the track to complement the recordings on the new album.
Can you please tell the story behind “Don’t Believe My Eyes Anymore?”
Oh, boy… We'll, before my fiancé and I started dating, I often used the “Tinder” app. (Yes…I know..insert "Monkey covering his eyes" emoji here! Man, do I have some disaster stories from that experience but, we don’t have enough space or time to tell them all!) “Don’t Believe My Eyes Anymore” was about how you can look at a person and be attracted to them--they "appear" to have it all on paper (or on the phone screen). Then…you meet them; you get to know them (or spend a mere 15 minutes on the date and they ask you to buy them a beer) and you come to the realization that this person is not at all what you are looking for. Sometimes, you go with it to see what happens, and other times, you walk out the door and don't look back!
What’s ahead for you? Where can people catch you live?
I’m currently working to coordinate a radio tour and setting up more shows. Folks here local, or tourists, can catch me at Belcourt Taps in the coming weeks (October 10, October 20 and November 14); anyone and everyone can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my website! www.erinmclendon.com.
Finally, what are you listening to? Is there one recent release you recommend people check out?
I'm really digging the mood playlists on Spotify; Spotify plays artists I've not heard of and it's a treasure hunt. As of late, I've been streaming the “Happy Tracks” playlist; “Hypnotize Me” (Taylor Berrett) and “Lucky” (Mark Broussard) are my favorites of the day.
For more information visit her official website
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify
Purchase her music HERE