What is your name?
What is your genre of music?Predominately country however, I refer to myself as an American fusion artist because of all the influences I incorporate into my work from various genres of music; Blues, Folk, Country, Rock n’ Roll, Jazz & Pop.
Give us a little bio about you.
I grew up the sixth of twelve children in the mountains of East Tennessee and started singing in my grandfathers church when I was five years old.
What made you go in to music?Finding out that I could make a living doing the very things that I loved the most, which were singing, writing songs & performing!
Are you a signed?
Well I have my own label, Raptor Records. We’ve just recently partnered with Man in the Moon Records, a label based out of the UK. They’ve leased some of my music and will be releasing on their imprint – so I’m excited about the projects we’re working on together.
Your brand new album ‘Mountain Songbird’ , what is the meaning behind it?
Well I’ve been working on this album for about ten years now.
I decided I wanted to do an album of my sister (Dolly’s) songs to honor her because I believe she’s one of the finest songwriters in history – just absolutely brilliant!
Of course I’d been approached to do album(s) of her music in the past but I never felt it was quite right.
Finally when I decided to do it And began bringing in different people to help me work on it – I had some difficulty finding musicians & producers that didn’t try to take over the project or make it something it wasn’t. So I basically wound up producing the entire album myself but I’m real proud of how it turned out.
Mountain Songbird has been a labor of love for me. Dolly was very touched when she listened to the album. She got real emotional when she heard the title track ‘Mountain Songbird’ and she particularly liked the way I re-did ‘I Will Always Love You’ and how I added all the harmonies on it. She was happy with it and that made me really happy!
Tell us more about some of the other tracks on the album.
The title track is actually a song that I wrote for Dolly.
It sort of sums up how our family felt when she went off to be a star. It’s very personal but hopefully it helps people better understand the bond we all share.
As you might imagine, it was a daunting task to choose 10 songs from a catalogue of over 3,000. My sister Dolly has written well over 3,000 songs! The ones that I picked as my very favourites were the story songs. I joke that Dolly can write an epic novel into a two and a half minute song, but it’s the truth!
The last track on the album, More Power to Ya, Dolly and I wrote together one night when she came to sleepover at my house. It’s a real fun empowerment anthem & we did it as a duet so she came in to the studio and sang on it with me!
You are performing at Cornbury Festival this year, how excited are you?
I’m thrilled! Honoured & thrilled! Lol Festivals are so much fun, there’s always a great energy with the audience and I love getting to see lots of different artists perform too!
How did Cornbury Festival come about for you?
One of the guys I’m working with at Man in the Moon Records actually got me on the lineup – he thought I’d be a good addition!
Are you excited to see any of the other Bands and Artists there?
Oh yes, like I mentioned that’s one of the best parts of festivals and big shows like this is getting to meet new artists and watch them perform so that’s always fun.
You recently did a headline tour, what City was your best crowd?
That would be like choosing a favourite child! Lol The UK audiences have always been so wonderful to me – every crowd gave me a special memory to take home!
Will we see you back here in the Uk after Cornbury Festival, like Manchester or Liverpool ;)?
I certainly hope to be back! I’d love to work over her a lot more in the next few years. So absolutely. Manchester, Liverpool – wherever they’ll have me!
Do you play any instruments?
I don’t consider myself a fantastic musician but I’ve always played enough to write songs. I play the guitar, autoharp, mandolin, dulcimer, fiddle, piano & beat around on the drums some too! I have some bongo drums I incorporate into my show occasionally here in the states.
Who are your influences?
Just a mix of artists really! People like Fats Domino, Don Williams, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner & the list goes on…
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Just from everyday life and the people I meet along the way.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully still just doing more of what I’ve been doing. Writing, singing, recording, maybe doing some more acting! I’d like to do some more stage acting – even perform on the London stage! Maybe I’ll be playing the Cornbury Festival again too if they’ll have me! Haha
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
When I’m not working I like to be at home cooking, I’ve written three cookbooks. That’s always been a passion of mine! Painting, reading, spending time with family and friends. Cooking for everybody! I hike a lot! We have beautiful parks in Nashville & all over Tennessee!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Probably just the Motown sound as a whole. When I was a teenager I loved the music and the energy someone like Tina Turner could create was totally mesmerizing to me. That’s when I knew I wanted to perform.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
To be myself no matter what. Always knowing who I am in spite of what’s going on around me because this is a crazy business and a crazy world.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Be true to yourself and believe in yourself because there are plenty of people who can get you off focus by trying to make you doubt yourself if you aren’t careful.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Be your own best friend.
Where in Nashville is the best place to Vistit?
The Parthenon in Nashville.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
1- Go to the bathroom before you hit the stage. Wear comfortable shoes.
2- Make sure nobody can see up your dress from the stage!
3- Be well rehearsed.
4- Never be in an altered state of consciousness – the audience deserves you at your very best!
5-And most importantly, don’t forget to always be kind to people because you meet the same ones going up as you do going down!
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Yes I do! They can keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Follow me on Spotify & buy music on iTunes! I’m everywhere. Lol