I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm not outdoorsy in any way, shape, or form. I grew up in the affluent suburbs of Atlanta, which is anything but southern or rural. No one rode 4-wheelers, shot shotguns, or really did anything outside. We just went to each other's houses (mostly my rich friends' houses, that had home theaters) and watched movies and ate ice-cream. And I had no problem with this. I hate being cold or doing anything outside that resembles exercising (i.e.: hiking...rock-climbing...people do this stuff for fun?!) Also, I never grew up around animals (besides the cat we had for only about 9 months) and mostly just feel bad about their forced captivity, from a distance, of course.
But, I was recently asked to house-sit on a farm for a friend. I was told a farm-hand would take care of the chickens, rooster, goats, sheepdogs, and pony, so all I had to do was take care of the cat and dog inside. Last fall I had a successful bout of house-sitting with a cat and dog, so I felt that this would be no problem and that it would be a welcome change of scenery!
Well, while I was there, we ended up having, as the government calls it, a "State of Emergency,"
(meaning the ill-prepared southerners freaked out about a couple inches of snow and ice, while the northerners scoffed at us). But, as an already worrisome driver myself, I was not about to drive out there, so I ended up being stuck in the last place I would expect- a farm! On top of being stuck on the farm (with no cable or internet) the farm hand said she could not make it out in the weather, so I would have to feed all the animals!
So, for the past couple of days, I have been getting up when the rooster starts crowing at 4:30am, and going out to feed the farm animals. While on the farm, I've fallen in love with a sheepdog. I think I like him so much because he actually gets to live out his calling and protect the other animals in the field, and he does a fantastic job!
And while I've been without cable or internet, I've done some songwriting (because- what else was I gonna do?) Here's a snippet of a little ditty Billy and I were playing around with yesterday- thought ya'll would enjoy hearing the work-tape from my iPhone. No effects or edits, just simple- like life on the farm! Link to song is here.
A lot of people have asked about when and where I am touring this year. So, I hope I can answer those questions, along with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about a show I am so excited about!!
When: I have been taking a short break from performing for two reasons:
A. To focus on the wedding planning I have to do-- (but, I can't help it that I secretly like planning my shows more than my wedding...shhh...don't tell anyone. It's just that music is my most favorite thing ever! [besides my fiancé])
B. To focus on writing and recording my EP (which always takes longer than you think it will, and it takes time to write the absolute best songs with the best style in order to present the music to my favorite people ever- the people that listen to the music! [besides my first favorite, my fiance])
Where: It takes a lot of money to tour and the farther out you travel, the more money it takes. Thanks to social media blogs and other platforms, my music has been able to reach across the globe. I am so grateful for technology and how my music can be heard by people practically anywhere! But, the downside for me is that I personally cannot reach everyone with a live show. The cost of touring is greater than the money usually made on a tour, which makes it hard without an investor or label backing us. And in Nashville, no one is playing for "fun." Every musician is here to make a living, so it's kind of offensive to them if I ask them to play with me as my backing band for free. So, every show I do costs money, which is why we have been traveling to places where we can easily drive to from Nashville and not have to spend the night.
BUT! I am so excited to announce my solution to reach anyone, anywhere!!! March 23 at 7:30pm CST, my band and I will perform a Stage-It Show. Stage-It is a website where musicians can broadcast a performance and anyone, anywhere, can watch the show from the comfort of their home on a laptop. WOOHOO! I can't wait! And, there will be a prize for the top supporter of the night- an original song written by me, on the topic or idea of your choice! GUYS! I'm SO EXCITED!!!! Tickets are pay-what-you-can and go on sale....NOW! There's only a limited number, so grab them while you can!! Click Here!
When you're 5 years old and you're busy singing into your hairbrush, you never stop to think what grown-up life will look like as a musician. I've learned that it doesn't look like the 5 bedroom/3 bath house with a finished basement and a pool table that you grew up with. It looks more like living in a hallway with people constantly walking past your bed to get to their room, or spending 6 months in an old motel in a town that doesn't even have a grocery store. It looks like turning down good paying day-jobs for less paying day-jobs, because there's more flexibility to work on your music. It looks like a lot of things that don't make sense and the cost, literally and figuratively, is, at times, overwhelming.
And that last sentence pretty much captures how I've felt while house-hunting with Billy, my fiancé. (for all the romantics, proposal story can be found here).
It's one thing to just take care of yourself as a musician- living in the hallway doesn't sound as bad. But it's another thing to be married and live in the hallway-that sounds terrible! Also, add the fact that your fiancé plays drums and you teach music lessons, so there's no way you can have shared walls with other people, which cancels out anything possibly affordable (i.e. apartments, duplexes, and town homes). Then, add on location costs to being close to one of the fastest growing, and newly popular, cities (thank you, Nashville TV show). After you add it all up, you're left with a mind-numbing puzzle: no money, but need a house that's subsequently unaffordable. And yeah...we're still scratching our heads on this one too.
It seems like there's no winning. We could live super far away, but then all our money and time would go to commuting. We could live in the ghetto, but then the mothers of my music students probably wouldn't want to drop their kids off...so finding the happy medium is the goal.
House hunting has made me do some thinking, and when I start thinking, you never know where the analogy will lead! For now, let's turn our attention to cats: Music sometimes seems like the cat that doesn't love you as much as you love him. You spend so much time cuddling him, feeding him, bathing him, but he seems like he's just not that into you. Sometimes he purrs and looks like he's gonna cuddle you- and then he's really just sniffing you for food. But, you still have high hopes that one day he'll see the light, and see how worth it you are.
The cat who's just not that into me
My hopes are that music begins to love me more than my cat does, so that maybe one day I can have a place to live. But until that day happens, I'll keep house hunting...and keep feeding my cat.
You may have seen me recently advertise for my show with Old Dominion in Atlanta last week. This show was the first time I felt like I was playing in the big leagues and there were a couple factors that led me to believe this:
A. Old Dominion showed up in a shiny new tour bus (and those things are not cheap!)
B. Old Dominion's next stop in GA is the Georgia Dome Arena.
C. They brought a full stadium light show to the venue.
D. 94.9 The Bull, Atlanta's biggest Country radio station, was there promoting the show
E. A record label flew in from Nashville to scout
Once I put all these factors together, I felt like there was a lot of pressure for me to do well. In addition to the pressure I put on myself, someone came by and told me that I needed to bring my A-game with all the "important" people on the guest list and someone else told me they had another show in mind for me but we would "see how the night went." WOAH! Way to add to the pressure!
After hearing all this, I was super nervous backstage before the show. I haven't mastered the "before" the show yet. I need to find a way to clear my mind of negativity, but as a natural worrier, I usually just think of everything that could go wrong, and it didn't help that there was no room for error with this show! However, once I got on stage, all my worries went away and I completely focused on the crowd and putting a good show on for them. The audience was packed by the time I got onstage- which is unusual for the opening band, so we were really grateful! They already had drinks-in-hand and were so enthusiastic about being there. We started our set off with "Where the Black Top Ends" by Keith Urban and everyone immediately started singing along. When we got to the first original song, I thought we might lose them with something unfamiliar, but they stayed pretty with-it the entire time. When I would talk about the story behind my songs, saying things like, "this song is about a girl who used to be my friend, but then started making out with the guy she knew I had a crush on," everyone would interact and shout things like "that's just wrong!"and "boo!"--it was great.
The set went by so fast and I was really sad that our time was over, but it was an unforgettable experience. Last year, there were some shows that happened where I wasn't sure if people actually cared we were up there...but this was the complete opposite. People were so sweet afterwards telling us how much they enjoyed it, I sold a lot of CDs, and I genuinely felt like people were excited about my music. It was the push I needed to start 2015 with a bang, and it really motivated me to keep keeping on.
If you were in the crowd, I owe you a huge thanks! You inspired me more than you know.
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.