How did you get started in the industry?
Sometimes I feel like I fell into this industry just a little bit at a time. I've been playing, singing, and creating consistently from a very young age, but never understood what it meant to be a part of the industry until my college years at Belmont University. I started out with sporadic gigs, which turned into making connections and finding more gigs, which turned into becoming more involved in the studio, and eventually led me to really begin pursuing my own project for the first time. Getting involved in this industry truly is a "learn-as-you-go" experience that can be surprising, unpredictable, and a little awkward at times. However, it is rewarding and the challenges push you to improve very quickly.
What are you looking forward to this month? This year?
This month, I'm really seeking to be very intentional about fostering and nurturing sparks of creativity. Oftentimes, I fall into the trap of dreading the creative process because I frequently sabotage myself with intense self-examination, self-criticism, and comparison. I'm endeavoring to move away from this toxic mindset that blocks creativity, and am looking forward to delving into and exploring new sounds and new themes in my art this coming month. I'm working to become open to any and all ideas I have, and to see them through to completion and fruition.
I'm hoping to extend my creative search into the next year and hone in on releasing an EP that reflects who I am, as well as putting together a high-energy show for touring around the country.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Artistically, so many incredible musicians have inspired me throughout my life. Legends such as Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Billy Joel, and Esperanza Spalding, as well as newer artists like Andrew McMahon, Dirty Loops, and Relient K, have all left their unique mark on me that shows up in some form in my music. In particular, Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories totally revolutionized the way I've approached producing, arranging, and analyzing music. It's such an iconic work of art.
However, I'd say Adam Young is the artist who really jump started my interest in pursuing music professionally. His plethora and range of work is truly remarkable and he's created such a variety of vibrant projects from synth-dream pop, to top 40, to orchestral scores. I've never stumbled upon any other artists who write with the expressive, imaginative wordplay he exhibits in his discography. The musical autonomy he demonstrates as a producer, songwriter, vocalist, engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and mixer really inspired me to become as proficient as possible in my craft. Additionally, I've always admired the amount of grace and humility he's exuded in such a competitive industry.
Personally, my parents and older sister continually inspire me with their values of kindness and honesty - possibly two of the most vital qualities to develop throughout life.
What is your greatest accomplishment yet?
I feel pleased that I've been able to overcome so many setbacks - both personally and professionally - to continue pursuing a career in music. Countless times I've wanted to give up on my goals, but with a lot of help and determination, I'm still working at my craft. This industry can definitely be mentally exhausting, so having strength to persevere really can be a big accomplishment for artists.
Favorite way to unwind after a long day?
I'd like to say that I go write music haha, but I've discovered this gets my brain working into overtime rather than helping me to relax! Instead, I enjoy simply listening to music without trying to analyze anything about it. I've also recently re-discovered how much I enjoy reading. It can be very therapeutic to absorb myself into a totally different world for a little while.
What do you love most about your work?
I just love how music uniquely stirs something within our souls that nothing else quite does. Watching others connect and relate to each other through music - whether it's to express joy or share sorrow - is so incredibly rewarding and I'm grateful to be a part of that experience.
What is something you have struggled with in your career?
Uncertainty, self-doubt, and the frustration of practicing persistence. One of the sacrifices of pursuing the arts is the incredible amount of change and uncertainty that must be endured. It can be extremely anxiety-inducing to never be exactly sure where your next paycheck will come from, if you're growing as an artist, and if you're finding fulfillment and enjoyment in your work (as opposed to going through the motions for money). I've found that intentionally choosing to revel in the adventure of it all and to become more adaptable to new situations can be healthy ways to cope with these struggles.
What advice would you give to young girls looking to do what you're doing?
Don't feel pressure to prove yourself constantly, even though double-standards exist and at times, you may have to fight to have a voice. Countless times - in all situations as a pianist, vocalist, producer, and writer/arranger - I would feel so intimidated walking into a room and thinking "Alright, as the only woman here, I require myself to be the best in order to be accepted and taken seriously." Try not to fall into this mindset since it will only generate anxiety and hinder you from pushing yourself to your true potential. Do what you love with passion, and let no one sever you from your positive pursuit of it.
Don't let a fear of "proving yourself as a woman" halt your learning and growing experiences either. Seek out upstanding folks with integrity who will respect, support, and encourage you to actively foster your creative and intellectual growth. Welcome healthy criticism from these people, and do your best to weed out unwelcome, toxic criticism of your artistic worth from those who seek "proof" of your value simply for being a woman in a male-dominated field.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to see myself continuing to grow and develop as a creative. I want to practice freedom from self-judgment and intimidation when I create, and to be more intentional with fostering connections with other artists. I'm excited to continue sharing new music, growing in my skillsets, and touring around the country.