Straight Outta Nashville


Interview: The Sifters

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

November 10, 2015

The Sifters are no stranger to the Nashville music scene — they’ve been performing and writing together as a duo for the past 3 years. A mutual love of bands like The Civil Wars shine through in their own music but don’t worry: their music also has hints of country rock and acoustic folk music all wrapped up into one. The Sifters have tons of experience playing out around town, even performing at intimate venue The Listening Room. With tight harmonies and undeniable chemistry, The Sifters are ready to make you feel through their music.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Jon Wesson: I was born and raised just north of Nashville, so I have been around this amazing city my entire life. I have had many friends that have moved away from Nashville but what keeps me here is the amazing people and music that come from this area. Nashville is THE best city in the south, from its food, to community, to the amazing musicians you meet and constantly connect with.

Brit Templeton: I moved here with my parents when I was 7. And although I didn’t get to experience all of the amazing things until I was a little bit older, I instantly fell in love with the warmth and kindness of the people! I’m originally from California, so I learned quickly that southern hospitality is a real thing. To be able to live in a place where there is exceptional food, music, and people is a pretty special thing.

MusicDash: How did you meet and decide to become a band?

Jon Wesson: We met at a writers night Brit’s mom was having at her bakery/food shop in Springfield, TN. Both of us were in different groups at the time, but after Brit’s group split, we got together one day to put some songs together for the next writers night. We tested the waters of writing and playing together and had an undeniable connection. Everything just seemed so easy and natural from the get go. We shared a love for the duo The Civil Wars, and began covering a lot of their songs for YouTube viewers, until we had our own material to share with everyone. We have been through a lot together personally as a band, but we have only grown stronger because of it.

MusicDash: What has been your favorite or most memorable show to date?

Jon Wesson: I think our favorite show to date was probably our performance at the Exit In. It was a Hurricane Sandy Benefit show and we got to showcase a couple of our new songs we had been working on. We opened for a friend, Jonathon Jircitano, and his band The Hollywood Kills. The energy in that place was really cool, and there were many different genres playing that night so it was great to come together for such a good cause.

MusicDash: You all do a lot of cowrites. Who would be your dream cowrites?

Jon Wesson: Jason Isbell, a true storyteller. John Mayer, my guitar hero and a very underrated lyricist.

Brit Templeton: Joy Williams for sure. Her songs have so much raw emotion and truth to them. I would love to be able to pick her brain! I think we would both love to write with The Civil Wars together. They are our musical heroes.

MusicDash: What inspires you artistically?

Brit Templeton: We are inspired by the same things mostly. Hearing a great song on the radio or at a performance and we also find inspiration in life experiences, good or bad, Mostly bad though haha! We find it easier to write sad songs about what we’ve experienced. We are also inspired by reading books and/or articles and being outside in nature.

MusicDash: You’re about to start a Kickstarted to support your new EP. Tell  us a little bit about that. What are your plans for the EP?

Jon Wesson: We are very excited about it! This will be our first EP as The Sifters and it is a chance to share everything we have been working on with the public. We really try to put our personal relationships (ups and downs) into each song and we hope that people will be able to connect with them. We plan to release it sometime early next year on iTunes and other platforms. If you donate to the kickstarter you will get the EP early along with bonus tracks and artwork! We are extremely excited to get in the studio and start to really craft these songs!

MusicDash: Tell us about a song that you’ve written that’s been the most meaningful for you.

Brit Templeton: “Silence” for sure. It’s about being in a relationship that on the outside looks happy and healthy, but underneath it all, both sides are uninterested in the relationship. It’s pretty heartbreaking which we love haha! It has a very real meaning to us both. We also love it because it sounds happy and upbeat but lyrically it will tear you open.

MusicDash: What are your goals as a band? Any places you want to play? Cities you want to visit?

Jon Wesson: I think our goal for this band is to connect with people through our music. We aren’t necessarily chasing fame our anything we just really enjoy writing and singing and we hope that people can find something to latch in our music. As far as places to play, I mean who doesn’t want to play the Ryman?! It is definitely (to most Nashvillians at least) the Mecca of all venues. From the history of musicians that have graced that stage, to the acoustics, it’s just an amazing place to be for a show.

Brit Templeton: We want to visit as many cities as possible. Jonathan has never been past the Mississippi, so anything is fair game for him!

You can find The Sifters at:



YouTube: The Sifters



Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Elizabeth Mossell

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

November 1, 2015

Elizabeth Mossell is for sure one of the hardest working people that I’ve ever met and her success as an artist thus far proves it. She was invited to play the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge’s 55th Birthday Bash, opening up for some Country greats like Randy Houser and Troy Gentry. She sings wherever and whenever she can — Broadway and every other venue around town that you can think of. During her sets, Elizabeth will play covers but it’s her originals that really leave you captivated.

I heard her track “Maybe This Time” a while ago — at least a couple of months. Living in Nashville, you hear a lot of different songs from a lot of different strangers or friends in a lot of different bars and restaurants. But none has stuck with me quite like this song. So when Elizabeth agreed to do an interview with me, I knew that we had to do something special. Thus came the Living Room Sessions — a Straight Outta Nashville first. So, if you have an extra five minutes today, please listen to this beautiful song. I promise that you’ll love it.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Elizabeth Mossell: I went to LA my sophomore year of high school and all of my junior year I was homeschooled. I tried to do music and a little bit of acting. I was really set on going to LA  for college. My voice teacher from home recommended Belmont and I toured it two or three times during high school. I really wasn’t super fond of it. I didn’t really feel like it was for me. When it got time to apply for colleges my parents told me that the only way that I could go to LA was if I paid for it so I kind of got stuck between the two options of staying home and going to Nashville. That was the furthest they’d let me go, and I didn’t want to go to New York because that’s more musical theater. I randomly chose Belmont, I didn’t really choose it for Nashville. I definitely got really lucky. It’s definitely like a God moment that I’m so fortunate to have picked coming here in general because I don’t even know what I’d be doing right now if I wasn’t here.

MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about your musical background and when you started writing and singing.

Elizabeth Mossell: I started singing when I was around three. My parents have videos of me singing. As a baby I always just loved music and did karaoke and little talent shows at school when I was growing up. I started writing last August and wrote my first two songs and auditioned for the songwriting program at Belmont and got in. I really haven’t stopped writing since then which is crazy because I never did it before.

MusicDash: What is your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’ve had so many really awesome shows. I’ve been lucky enough to perform literally almost everywhere in Nashville. Probably my favorite was at The Row. This was me first starting out performing in Nashville and I managed to play five different requests and I got requested a song that I had no idea how to play on guitar so I sang it acapella and the entire bar sang along. It was so cool! People were dancing in front of the stage and they loved it. It was such a good feeling.

MusicDash: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from somebody either in the industry or not?

Elizabeth Mossell: The best advice I’ve received is just to have fun with what you’re doing. I think that sometimes I get caught up in the work of it and I have to remember that I’m doing it because I love it. I never want to wake up and have this be a job. It should always be what I love to do. When I get to the point where I’m stressing myself out with it, obviously I’m doing something wrong. You shouldn’t feel that way when you’re doing something that you love. And I do love it.

MusicDash: Has your writing process changed since you first started writing?

Elizabeth Mossell: It’s definitely changed. You’ve heard my first songs to now and they’re a lot better. Another piece of advice somebody gave me on songwriting is just to keep it simple. It’s hard starting out when you first start writing songs. You want to write about everything. You want to write one song that says everything. The amazing thing about songwriting is that you can write about one instance  and then you can write about another and another one. It doesn’t have to be one big idea, it can be a small little idea. That’s really the beauty of it. We can write so many things about the same thing in different ways. I think my songwriting has definitely improved to where it is a lot more simple. I started writing my humor songs!

MusicDash: You play a lot around town. Do you plan those by yourself? How are you making your connections to do that?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’ve booked everything since the first day I’ve been performing. I’ve just been super determined and a little pushy probably 😉 about getting booked at different venues around time. I’ve been extremely either persistent or really lucky to get booked cause a lot of people have booking agents or people to help them out and I’ve done it all on my own.

MusicDash: So you recorded an EP in February. What was that process like for you?

Elizabeth Mossell: It was good! It was an awesome experience but I don’t think that I was really ready for recording an EP at the time. But I don’t regret it at all. It was definitely an awesome experience and we had a lot of fun. We spent so many hours up until like 5 AM. We went from 12 noon until 5 AM the next day just nonstop recording. I recorded vocals for hours. It was just so fun to see everybody do what they do best in the studio. I’m still getting songs back even now. I just got my third one and they sound really awesome. I’m already ready to get back to record my new ones. That’s the hard part about it. You record them and the m and the next day you write a better song and you’re like “dang it I should have recorded that one.”

MusicDash: What’s next for you career-wise? What are you planning?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’m just trying to write a ton, just write all the time. I really need to add more songs to my repertoire list: more originals. I’m doing more performing on Broadway which is going to be really helpful with getting experience being a performer and learning how to connect with the audience and how to break the barrier and how to connect to them whether it’s through a song I’ve written or a cover. Building up my social media and getting my name out there and trying to build a fanbase is where I’m at right now.

You can find Elizabeth at:





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Interview: Anna Vaus

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

October 26, 2015

I knew after hearing one song of Anna Vaus’ that she was everything that I was looking for for Straight Outta Nashville. I reached out to her immediately and everything wrapped up within about a 10-hour period. It is always a pleasure to find someone else who works just as hard as you do. Someone who is focused and determined on their dream and will do anything to make it work. As you’ll see in this interview, Anna is as cheery and positive as the sunflower-yellow color of her website makes her out to be. And she understands — whether it be about what small town life is like or what it’s like to be single (but ready to mingle with Kris Kringle), Anna’s got you covered. A lot of people say that there’s a Taylor Swift song for every mood, and I think that Anna certainly lives up to this quote as well.

MusicDash: Tell us about your musical background. How and when did you first start out?

Anna Vaus: Honestly I was just this little kid who liked to make up songs about princesses and butterflies and then make my family listen to me sing them. Until middle school, where I started to experience these real and challenging things that were new, exciting and challenging things for a kid to go through; being left out or having a crush on a boy in math class. But there was this compelling voice that kept telling me not to just go through these things, I had this innate desire to do more than that. So I turned to writing songs. I wrote my first “real” song at 11 about a boy who broke my heart (naturally) and since then songwriting has been and evoking, magical process I get to do every day.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Anna Vaus: I grew up living and breathing music and my dad is actually an artist as well, so he taught me that Nashville is a place where you get to do that for the rest of your life if you choose to. I think the other amazing thing about Nashville is that it fosters songwriting like no place I’ve ever seen before. To be surrounded by insane amounts of talent that started because someone picked up a guitar and a pen is the coolest thing to me.

MusicDash: What’s your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville to date?

Anna Vaus: I think my favorite performance in Nashville would have to be at Kimbros Pickin’ Parlor my freshman year. It was my first writers round I had ever played in town and I was just absolutely terrified. I prayed a lot about it and came out alive, such a shocker I know! But I love that performance because it was this wall I had to break through to be where I am not so I’m thankful for that opportunity today.

MusicDash: You’re going to be playing at the Bluebird (one of Nashville’s most famous venues) in February. What was that experience like and what did you play?

Anna Vaus: I actually randomly stumbled upon an article talking about how the Bluebird Cafe holds writer’s night auditions a few times a year and one was coming up, so I decided “why not go for it?” I kind of just walked into this situation and got to be the quirky me that I am by playing my song “Friendzoned” for about 60 other writers and six or seven judges. I guess they liked the song because I got invited back to play on February 21, so that’s going to be a serious dream come true.

MusicDash: Since you’re already about to play the legendary Bluebird, are there any other venues that you’re just dying to play?

Anna Vaus: Honestly, I’m dying to play anywhere anybody wants to have me. A big part of my heart instinctually wants to play an arena one day but that is so far down the line and an out of this world idea that right now I’m content playing just about anywhere. But yeah, I think my dream is to play in my hometown arena one day, that would be beyond what words can describe.

MusicDash: You write some really incredible songs and you even change the words up on some of your covers (like “Every Bruin’s Got Somebody But Me,” a homage to the life of a single girl at Belmont and “Drunk and Lazy,” the ex girlfriend’s side of the popular country song “Drunk on a Plane.”) These videos have thousands of views. Where do you get your inspiration for these videos and what has the response been like?

Anna Vaus: I think the best way to answer this is to describe myself. Like I said, I’m just this insanely quirky person that enjoys making quirky things as a result, and I think that really shows in my songwriting. Whether it’s a parody of a song like “Drunk on a Plane” or the I’m-sad-because-I’m-single Christmas song that I wrote, “If Kris Kringle Were Single,” it’s a display of who I am, minus the whole sad-because-I’m-single thing… I’m doing alright with that.

In terms of the response, I’m really grateful to have incredibly supportive family, friends, and fans who share and post my songs so it’s a wonderful feeling to see something like that come full circle from creating it to watching people share it across social media. I will say my favorite response to the songs I’ve written and parody/covered has been a comment from a friend of my parents who said to me “you know, you’re really good at writing songs about being single.” I was like, “Oh. Awesome. I’m good at being single, well alright then.”

MusicDash: You recently released ‘Friday Night Crowd” on Soundcloud. The song perfectly encapsulates life in a small town. You must be speaking from experience here! Tell us about your hometown and if it has inspired some of your other lyrics.

Anna Vaus: Yeah, so spoiler alert: I wrote this song about my hometown. I actually wrote it after seeing someone from my high school who had graduated with me post something about how boring a place Poway (my hometown) is, and then that Friday he posted a picture of himself at our old high school’s football game. It was this self-contradicting complex that was humorous but also kind of sad at the same time and that’s what inspired me to write “Friday Night Crowd.” I definitely have some other songs I’ve written inspired by my hometown but that’s more thanks to the people, specifically heart-breaker boys, living in it rather than the place.

MusicDash: What’s coming up for you?

Anna Vaus: Well, I’m really excited for what’s to come! In terms of big things I’m looking forward to: I’ll be playing at Belmont’s ASCAP Writers Night on November 10 and at the Bluebird early next year so I’ll be counting down the days to both. As for now, my mind is totally focused on writing, writing, writing, and just getting better at what I do. The sky is the limit and I’m ready to chase it.

You can find Anna at:



YouTube: Anna Vaus



Article by Kaitlyn Midgett


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Interview: Hannah Ayrault

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

October 20, 2015

At the beginning of October, I went to the TowerTube showcase. I’m always on the lookout for new artists to feature in this section and TowerTube has been a great resource for me (three of the artists that they have featured are on my wishlist). I know Nicole Lowe, the founder and one of the producers of the YouTube channel. She told me that when she was planning the showcase, she had to have Hannah Ayrault be a part of it, even though her session had not come out yet. This is the best way that I can describe Hannah’s talent — “we need her on board.” I felt it, Nicole felt it, and I’m positive that a lot of other people who come across Hannah’s music are going to feel it too.

Hannah is one of those songwriters who, if I came across on YouTube when I was 15, I would have been her biggest fan. It was at that age that I discovered that I loved simple, beautiful, and meaningful songs — ones that might break your heart if you let them in the best way possible (case and point “So Close So Far” off her new EP). This is what Hannah Ayrault brings to the table. If you are a lyric lover, you will love Hannah Ayrault. Mark my words.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Hannah Ayrault: I chose to come to Nashville because Belmont University had been my top-choice university since Freshman year of high school. I really wanted to attend a school were I could pursue music, specifically songwriting, and when I visited I fell in love with the campus and the city. There’s music everywhere and there are so many opportunities for young artists.

MusicDash: When did you first fall in love with music and what lead you to songwriting?

Hannah Ayrault: I’ve been singing since I can remember, and I started playing piano by ear at age three. Somewhere during elementary school I realized that I really liked to write. But it wasn’t really until middle school until I really put everything together. I wrote my first song in eighth grade and I performed it at the school talent show. I always kind of looked at music as a hobby and something I excelled at but would never pursue professionally. I was accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy, which is an arts boarding school in northern Michigan, for my Senior year as a songwriting major, and that’s really where I decided I could make a career out of this.

MusicDash: What inspires you musically?

Hannah Ayrault: I’m really inspired by other artists. I’ve been listening to Jason Mraz for about ten years now, and he’s definitely my biggest inspiration musically. His music made me want to write songs, and I’m still a huge fan today. I listen to a variety of different things because as an artist, Believe that you need to appreciate many different forms of music, not just music in a specific genre. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and I still love listening to oldies. I also grew up playing classical piano, and that music inspires me greatly as well. I like weird indie artists that few people have ever heard of (Lo-Fang and LP to be specific). And I’ll find myself listening to Top 40 songs too, they’re a guilty pleasure of mine.

MusicDash: What had been your favorite of most memorable performance thus far?

Hannah Ayrault: I sung the National Anthem for Detroit Tigers twice at Comercia Park in Detroit. Those performance were memorable because tens of thousands of people heard me sing at once and I had such an outpouring of love and support from my friends and family. I also had an EP release party this summer back in Detroit which was really fun. I had a full and and the place was packed. The party was one of those moments where my love for music and performing was reaffirmed, which was really nice.

MusicDash: You’ve recently done some work with TowerTube. You had a live session with them and you were a performer at their first showcase. How was that experience and how did you get connected with TowerTube?

Hannah Ayrault: I met Connor in my Spanish class, and he and Nicole produce TowerTube together. I shows in terse and they had an open spot, so it came together really nicely. TowerTube has been a really great platform for me. They shot a really cool video of me playing an acoustic version of one of my songs, and interviewed me as well. They also just put on a showcase of local singer-songwriters affiliated with Belmont (students and alumni) and it was really great to play there. Nicole and Connor are so nice and supportive and really love music, and that’s something I really like to see. I hope TowerTube takes off because ti’s a really great outlet for artists affiliated with Belmont.

MusicDash: Your new EP “Me Right Now” came out on October 14th! Tell us a little bit about the recording process.

Hannah Ayrault: The recording process for Me Right Now was awesome. My friend Ben, who’s an audio engineering major here at Belmont, recorded and produced one of my songs. He showed it to his friend Jon, who is a producer in Nashville, and we met for coffee in September of 2014 and decided to work together to record this EP. It was a long process – much longer that I expected. We spent two months on rewrites and preparation, and then we spent a few months recording demos. WE didn’t get to the actual recording until January 2015. Our last recording session was in May. It was such a great process, and I’m so glad we took the time to do it right. It’s an amazing feeling to hear your songs come together. It’s fascinating as well to hear other people’s ideas about your music. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, but the final product is better than I could have imagined.

MusicDash: What track on the EP are you most excited about releasing and why?

Hannah Ayrault: I’m excited to release all of the tracks! If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the title track, “Me Right Now.” I actually hated this song for the longest time because I had to rewrite almost the entire thing. Lyrically, it’s poignant and sums up something that a lot of people my age feel at this time of transition in our lives. We’re not kids, but we’re not really adults yet and we’re still trying to find our place in the world. It’s short and sweet and the production is perfect.

MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals surrounding music?

Hannah Ayrault: I want to be able to make a living off of music. Whether it’s selling out stadiums or playing small gigs back home, success to me means having the ability to spend my life doing what I love. And I really hope I get to do that. With my original songs, I really want people to connect and feel things. I want to write music that helps people get through life, whether that is a rough transition period or missing a friend or being in love for the first time. And even if one persons touched by what I write and put out there, I’ll consider that a success.

You can find Hannah at:





Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Judah and the Lion

Archive, News, Straight Outta Nashville

October 4, 2015

Although Judah and the Lion have only been pluckin’ and singin’ since 2011, the band’s career has reached great heights. They’re currently on tour with Ben Rector and have taken selfies with the likes of David Letterman. But naturally, they got their start in the small town/big city of Nashville, TN where they met as “friends of friends.” I had the privilege of interviewing the band’s mandolin player, Brian MacDonald. Here’s what he had to say about the band’s exciting career so far.

MusicDash: What initially drew you to Nashville?

Brian MacDonald: I was drawn there honestly because it’s the “music city.” I wanted to have a career as a musician and I knew that there would be a lot of excited people with a similar mindset in Nashville. We all met at a college there called Belmont University.

MusicDash: What is your favorite/most memorable show?

Brian MacDonald: Ooo, that is a tough question. There are a lot of memorable shows, and each one for a different reason, as you can imagine…!! A lot of shows played outside in the freezing cold, things gone wrong, etc… but if I had to give one favorite, I would say our first show in Athens, Georgia a couple years ago. It was one of those nights where the stars aligned. We sold out a pretty big show at the 40 Watt, the fans loved it. It was a bog moment that’s never been totally recreated. That show felt like our first real rock show, and I’ll never forget the new feeling.

MusicDash: Both of your releases so far “Sweet Tennessee” and “Kids These Days” have made the Billboard charts. What was your initial reaction to the response you got from your music?

Brian MacDonald: We are so thrilled. It seems like each thing we release does better than the thing before, which is really encouraging. We are so thankful to have loyal fans that support us even when we take out music in varying directions.

MusicDash: You have some really great music videos including “Rich Kids” and “Sweet Tennessee” that were shot around Nashville. What was the inspiration behind these videos?

Brian MacDonald: “Sweet Tennessee” is inspired by the state we live in, and the state Judah grew up in. Such a beautiful hilly landscape and a truly special place for us all. We definitely try to create a real fun environment in those music videos. Especially in ‘Rich Kids,” we called upon a lot of fans and close friends and basically threw a party, and caught it on camera. We made a HUGE bonfire, one of our buddies did a firework show. It probably wasn’t very safe, but we had fun, and we were really happy with the video.

MusicDash: You got to perform “Kickin da Leaves” during David Letterman’s last season earlier this year. How was that experience?

Brian MacDonald: It was surreal. We were so honored to be on that, especially on Letterman’s last season. It all happened so fast that it was almost hard to take in that moment. But looking back we are so thankful we got the change to do that.

MusicDash: What inspires you artistically?

Brian MacDonald: Definitely our community around us. We love writing about our friends, lifestyle, love. All through a lens of joy and positivity.

MusicDash: You just started your tour with Ben Rector in support of his new album. What do you think fans can expect from this show and this pairing?

Brian MacDonald: We are loving being on tour with Ben. I think it’s a great pairing. Fans can expect that we will give everything we have each night to create an energetic atmosphere. We just want to get the crows a little sweaty before Ben gets out there.

MusicDash: What are your career goals at the present moment?

Brian MacDonald: We wanna keep making music and sustain a career. We want to create a successful environment for us to start having families too, because that is super important for us. It’s hard to do on the road, but it’s possible. We’re super excited to release another album early next year. I think it will be a little different for our fans… maybe even shocking, I don’t know. It kind of makes me think of folk, hop and roll…. kinda hard to explain but we’re jazzed!!

You can find Judah & the Lion at:



YouTube: Judah & the Lion



Interview by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Piper Slattery

Archive, News, Straight Outta Nashville

September 20, 2015

I’m sitting across the table from Piper at a small, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop right off campus. We’re catching up from the long summer, people watching, and laughing like crazy. What I can tell you about Piper if you’ve never met her is that she cares and she listens to your dreams and what you have to say about them. A girl after my own heart, Piper gets excited about everything (she excitedly played her song “Third Wheelin'” for me at a school coffee shop the week she got the final mix back and asked me what I thought.) Her debut EP “Anywhere” was released in July and I can say with absolute confidence that all of the tracks on “Anywhere” show Piper at her best — with her personality shining through.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Piper Slattery: I’ve always been drawn to country music, which is how I fell in love with songwriting. I love how Nashville is centered around music and how the people are so encouraging because they’ve been in the same boat. Back home, no one really understood what I wanted to pursue. It is so normal here and that normalcy gives you a sense of optimism. I actually moved to Nashville without ever visiting, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

MusicDash: What is your favorite or most memorable performance thus far?

Piper Slattery: My most memorable performance was my EP release show in my hometown of Melbourne, FL. It was so cool because I got to share my music with the people who have been with me on this journey ever since I was little. They were so supportive and it meant a lot to me. I also got to play with a long time friend who I performed with in high school, so it was a big reunion.

MusicDash: I know that your debut EP “Anywhere” was released in July. What was that process like for you?

Piper Slattery: The process was cool because it happened really organically. I brought what I’d written back home to Nashville, continued to write while I was here, and was introduced to my producer through my voice coach. We just started recording in his apartment and I would record vocals in the closet. I would go to class during the day and work on mixes at night. It was a really comfortable environment but it also forced me to step outside my comfort zone. There were a lot of late nights, visits to the Twice Daily for coffee, and lots of laughs.

MusicDash: What inspires you?

Piper Slattery: I get really inspired by the way people, myself included, process life and handle their emotions. It is something I’ve always observed and channeled into my songwriting. I’m also very inspired by dogs. They constantly love unconditionally. They make something that is so hard for the human race seem like such a simple concept. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without dogs.

MusicDash: Last month, one of your tracks “[Insert Name Here]” was played on The Iceman Show, which broadcasts to 139 countries. What were you feeling when you heard yourself on the radio?

Piper Slattery: It was so cool!!!! It felt good to have someone else press the play button. It means the world to me that people are embracing my music.

MusicDash: When did you first start writing songs and how has your songwriting process changed since then?

Piper Slattery: I started writing songs when I was 14. I started off by writing about made up situations and transitioned into writing about my own life. I went from writing solely by myself to co-writing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve experienced more and been able to write about broader topics. I’ve also learned to be more vulnerable, at least in my songwriting.

MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals?

Piper Slattery: My ultimate goal is to be able to wake up everyday and do what I love, which always has and always will be creating and playing music. I want to be able to serve people through my music and help them through situations, the same way that my favorite artists have done for me.

MusicDash: What’s next for you?

Piper Slattery: I’m going to be playing shows, creating content for YouTube, and co-writing with new people.

You can find Piper at:




Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Geddes The Sea

Archive, News, Straight Outta Nashville

September 13, 2015

Sit down with Geddes the Sea for a little, and you’ll learn everything you need to know. Seriously, the guy is an open book — just read this interview. His honesty and his willingness to risk it all to get where he’s going makes Geddes the Sea a force to be reckoned with. I for one cannot wait to hear what else Geddes the Sea has up his sleeve.

MusicDash: What is the inspiration behind your stage name?

Geddes the Sea: That is a great question that actually has a long, complicated answer. But to sum it up, Geddes is my middle name. Geddes the Sea is my solo project, and I wanted a way to show that it is definitely a part of me and personal to me. The Sea comes from a quote that I love. When someone accused someone else that all of their good deeds and efforts to change things for the better would be nothing but a single drop in an endless ocean, the man responded “What is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?” That imagery has stuck with me, and personally I use it as an analogy for my fans. So yes, I refer to my fans as “The Sea” and I use it as part of my projects name to emphasize the fact that I would be nothing without the people who support me and my music.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Geddes the Sea: Nashville drew me for a few reasons. Number one being that it’s the music capitol of the world. I’m from out west (Provo, Utah) and I had always wanted to move somewhere pretty far from where I grew up my whole life, just to experience something new. Nashville (being 1500 miles away) seemed like a great fit. Plus I love the warm weather and I love southern folk. And I have to say that I LOVE it here. So many talented people, whether it be musicians, producers to photographers and writers such as yourself. It is really nice to be able to be immersed in such a talented city.

MusicDash: Tell us a little about your musical background.

Geddes the Sea: The first instrument I learned was actually Viola. I started when I was 11 years old. To be honest, I really didn’t think of my music as something I should do until I turned about 16. By then I had taught myself 13 other instruments and I was composing a lot. The high school I attended was fortunate enough to have a really amazing orchestra conductor, and I was lucky enough to be a part of one of the best High School orchestras in the state. I also have a profound love for music theory. I guess you could say that I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to music theory.

MusicDash: For the first time in a long time, you’ve released new original music on Soundcloud. How was the response for “Holy Ghost?”

Geddes the Sea: Yes! That was so fun to release! The response has been amazing. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to get a big response for it. I had just moved out here to Nashville, and I kind of left my following from Utah behind (I had a completely different band back then). People were saying that they thought they were hearing it off the radio, which is a such a great compliment. And everybody was so kind to share it as well.

MusicDash: I know that you’re supposed to release an EP soon! When is it being released and what was your inspiration behind the sound of the EP as a whole?

Geddes the Sea: Things got a little crazy for me the last few months, and I was struggling hard to make ends meet, so music kind of took a backseat for a while. But I can say that I am working on more music right now, and I will be releasing the EP sometime in late fall. The inspiration for this new sound (all of Geddes the Sea is a new sound to me) would be the fact that I didn’t want to do something that sounded like the previous music I’ve released. I have really gotten into synthesizers and I’ve discovered that I really like writing stuff that sounds great in your car stereo, so you have that to look forward to.

MusicDash: If you could record any other genre, what would it be?

Geddes the Sea: I would definitely record R&B. I absolutely LOVe any R&B vocalist. There’s something about those silky smooth runs and soft falsettos that really draw my ear in when I listen. I also love the vocal harmonies that are included with that genre. And I love that the genre can be something as modern as Justin Timberlake’s “20/20 Vision” or something as classic sounding as Allen Stone’s “Unaware.”

MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals?

Geddes the Sea: That is a great question! I would really love to be a film scorer ultimately. But I also really love playing shows and writing lyrics and songs. And recently, I’ve found a passion for producing. There’s something so fun about taking a song that someone has given you, and turning it into something that sounds just like what was in their head. But to sum it all up, if I end up in basically anywhere in the creative side of the music business, I’ll be happy.

MusicDash: What’s next for you?

Geddes the Sea: Next I’m really working on getting this EP out. I also have a top secret album that I am working on (sssshh!). I’m actually really excited about this album. It’s been about two and a half years in the making, and it’s going to be epic. I’m also focusing on expanding my reach, and creating stuff that my current fans will enjoy and want to share. Something else I’d really like to do is make my music accessible to everyone who wants it. I have his a lot of rough patches financially, and I remember walking down the CD aisle at Walmart thinking “Man I really wish I could afford that.” I’d love for every person who really wants my music to have the opportunity to have it, whether they can pay as much as everyone else or not. That is why up to this point, everything that I’ve released has been free to download. However, I do want to be able to live off of music at some point, so I recognize that I can’t release everything for free. But if you want to support me and my music, there is a page on my website ( that shows you a few different ways you can contribute.

You can find Geddes the Sea at:






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Interview: Koa

Archive, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

September 8, 2015

You may have seen Koa at one of their sold out shows or just heard of them. Each instrument that layers another is truly an incredible sound and you can tell what musicians have influenced them. Koa is bound to find fans in people who usually enjoy both fast paced songs slow love songs. Their unique sound is what makes them so special and different than most bands.

MusicDash: What is your favorite song to play live?

Conor Kelly: For me, if I had to pick, that song right now would probably be Maybe Next Time. That song is in every set that I write because I think it has the deepest groove and is one of our “hookier” songs if that makes any sense. Lately we do a really fun drum break where Will and Ryan (drummer and percussionist) get to go off and explore some different musical territory. Its a cool moment in the set for me where I can just admire the talent of this band. Chase also has this hypnotizing vocal that tells such a great story and I love the guitar in that song! Maybe Next Time has a lot of attitude and speaks to many emotions, so right now I would say that one is my favorite.

Chase Bader: For me it depends. An extremely exciting part for us is to watch songs come to life and grow through playing them all over. I really enjoy our song “Gemini.” It was my first approach at a more narrative song and it’s one we love closing with. The groove and especially the sax lick are addictive!

MusicDash: What inspired you to make a band?

Conor Kelly: Well, Chase and I first met in fifth grade, so I would say our musical connection and him as a writer and singer was my original inspiration for starting this band. The short story is that for the better part of 10 years we have developed a friendship that has been nurtured so deeply through music. Playing and writing songs was never any sort of hobby or something we did to pass the time, writing songs was our life. So when it came time to go to make a move, we were either going to let playing together fizzle out, or make it really count and actually pursue it as a career. Two years later, here we are!

Chase Bader: yeah Conor and I have been friends for a long time and pretty much since the beginning of when we started hanging out we talked about doing what we’re doing now. We always envisioned writing and creating music that carried the emotion we both felt from our favorite bands. We learned how to write and record through just doing it ourselves and with the help of friends along the way. Ultimately, the inspiration came from wanting to create something that spoke to others.

MusicDash: When you write a song, what usually inspires you?

Conor Kelly: For me, the essence of a good song is the way it can emotionally move you. It is truly an amazing thing the way a song is able to connect with you on a deeper than surface level. For me, that is the inspiration enough! Being able to make someone truly feel something great with a song is everything I hope to accomplish in songwriting. Chase has a really special gift of being able to do that through his writing, so as a co-writer, I feel that I have a unique role in this process being able to listen to the original draft of the song (for the most part) unbiasedly and ask myself, what can I add to this song that really “adds to this song”? Songwriting itself is always inspiration enough for me.   

Chase Bader: Agreed. A good test for us is removing all the instruments and if the song fundamentally with music and lyrics can work with a solitary vocal and an acoustic guitar or piano then you know the song has a depth that carries something special. Writing from experience is something I do constantly because you write best from what you know. That’s how I think we can connect as a band. You use your experiences to help find a similarity between others and this can allow the writer to talk about something that may have never happened to them before.

MusicDash: Where do you see yourselves in a few years?

Conor Kelly: I see us being the biggest band in the world! No joke! I really believe in our music and I really believe in our amazing team and band. I am so inspired by the rest of the guys and am constantly trying to learn from them and impress them. I also see our first record out there done the right way, and people hopefully digging it, as well as being on the road with bands like Moon Taxi, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and JJ Grey and Mofro! We work really really hard and put so much of ourselves into our songs, so in the end I want to accomplish nothing more then having a real emotional connection with our audience. So for me whatever that looks like, I hope that is where I end up!

Chase Bader: Haha yeah we really have big goals. We believe in our music and each other and we couldn’t do anything else. You find something you understand beyond everything else and you work at it. We’re working on developing a career out of this to provide an amazing experience for the people out there who enjoy what we do. It’s all about the journey for us!

MusicDash: What was your favorite Nashville show?

Conor Kelly: Definitely our last show at Exit In! We had an amazing audience and I feel like the band was performing really well that night. We actually ended up tracking that set and listening back to those songs has been really cool! It definitely was a night to remember.

Chase Bader: I loved Exit In as well. It was a huge moment for as a band. It cemented our progress as musicians to where we had started to where we were at that moment in time. Overall though, we’ve loved touring. Learning to interact with audiences different from Nashville and learning to play to huge crowds has been a complete joy.

MusicDash: What was the writing process for ‘Cool It Down’ like?

Chase Bader: “Cool it Down” was a song I wrote almost three years ago now originally. I had been going back and forth about the idea of the what I wanted in my life and how I was living at the time. At that point I was writing a lot of music by myself, playing with different bands, but I was kind of lost trying to find my voice as a musician and writer. “Cool it Down” was the beginning of a phase of writing that thematically spawned the early versions of much of Koa’s core catalog. I think back to those original days and playing cool it down at open mic nights I used to do in my hometown of Birmingham and I smile because it’s incredible where a song can take you.


You can find Koa at:



YouTube: Koa




Interview by Megan Bennett

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Interview: The Vespers

Archive, News, Straight Outta Nashville

August 30, 2015

The first time that I heard The Vespers was at my very first Noah Gundersen concert. I went to this concert not only to hear my favorite album of all time, Ledges, performed live, but also to write about it for an online blog. Naturally I had my phone out for taking notes and admittedly texting. But when The Vespers came on stage, I stopped what I was doing and was completely enamored by their performance. After the first song I slipped my phone back into my purse and didn’t touch it for the rest of the evening. I remembered everything without even having to take notes.

This is what’s so special to me about The Vespers — They’re refreshing and captivating in every single way. Lyrically, vocally, performance-wise: you name it, The Vespers have it. There truly isn’t a band quite like The Vespers.

I had the opportunity to talk to the band’s percussionist Taylor Jones and I am honored that the band took the time to be a part of this project.

MusicDash: What captivated you about Nashville?

Taylor Jones: The fact that there is so much world class talent here. It’s hard to believe it sometimes, but we live in a town where a great deal of the most heard music in the world gets recorded. That motivates us to work harder to keep up with our friends around us.

MusicDash: What is your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville?

Taylor Jones: The first time we played Belcourt Theatre as a young band. We had just released our 1st album that day & sold the theatre out that night. It was quite surreal for us.

MusicDash: How did you all meet and start making music?

Taylor Jones: We met through a mutual friend then started playing together about a year later. The pairing was originally just gonna be for one show, but then it evolved from there.

MusicDash: What was the inspiration behind your song “Sisters and Brothers?”

Taylor Jones: Its inspired by what we’ve learned from traveling together over the last 5 years. That we need to take care of each other while we’re all still alive & working together because all that can change in an instant.

MusicDash: How has your sound changed throughout your years as a band?

Taylor Jones: It’s changed as we’ve changed. We’re constantly getting into different artists & sounds & that leads us to write differently. We’re getting older too which changes the subject matter as well.

MusicDash: What was it like working with Grammy nominated producer Paul Moak? How did that connection come about?

Taylor Jones: Paul is great. He is all about collaboration and authenticity in recording and we loved that about him. He made that record exceed all of our expectations in the band. We met him through another mutual friend that thought it would be a good pairing.

MusicDash: You’ve just been added to the lineup for Nashville’s own Live on the Green with some big names like Passion Pit and Ben Folds. What are your expectations?

Taylor Jones: Our expectations of ourselves are to go out there and deliver the best on stage product that we can. We expect there to be a lot of people in attendance because of the great lineup, so we’re gonna try to be that extra surprise that no one saw coming.

MusicDash: What’s next for you?

Taylor Jones: We’re going to write another full length album and continue to tour as much as we can. We’d love to open for some other artists too if the right situation came up.

You can find The Vespers at:






Interview by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Taylor Edwards

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Straight Outta Nashville

August 13, 2015

I could fill a couple of pages with everything that’s cool about Taylor Edwards. Her Sugarland cover of “Little Miss” was in an episode of the hit show “Hart of Dixie.” She covered T. Swift’s “Shake It Off” the day after it was released (complete with a string player). And, most recently, she’s shared the stage with both Meghan Trainor and Hunter Hayes. From the sound of things, this is only the beginning.

Personally I have such an admiration for T since I aspire to work in the music business. Every video that she puts out, every show that she self-promotes, everything that Taylor does is well thought out and executed in a way that ensures the best results. I know that this kind of talent and understanding will take her far.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Taylor Edwards: I absolutely LOVE country music… so I think that was the initial draw. As I made more trips before actually moving to attend Belmont University, I started to see how the town nurtured its songwriters and that became a huge LOVE factor to me. Songwriting is my foundation, so when I realized that aspect of the city… I knew I had found a new home.

MusicDash: What is your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville?

Taylor Edwards: My favorite performance in Nashville actually happened recently. This past May I won the Grammy U Songwriter’s Showdown and one of the prizes was to perform at the Nashville Grammy Block Party. I opened for LeAnn Womack, Hunter Hayes, and Meghan Trainor. It’s definitely the most star studded bill I’ve been a part of and it was such an amazing opportunity for an up and coming artist like myself.

MusicDash: What is your favorite song that you’ve ever written?

Taylor Edwards: HARDEST QUESTION OF ALL TIME. Seriously though. This honestly changes on a daily basis because I feel like my “new favorite song” is always the last on I wrote. I do have a song that I wrote about my 4 year old sister that can get me pretty choked up when I perform it. The song is called “Young at Heart” and it’s about having to be so far apart… both in age and in distance. Even if that song never sees the light of day (release wise), it will always be a special one.

MusicDash: Tell us a little about your musical background. When did you realize that you wanted to be a singer and songwriter?

Taylor Edwards: Growing up, I think I was involved in almost every elementary and middle school play or musical. I loved Britney Spears when I was little and was always caught singing along with Shania Twain when my Dad would play her CD for me in the car. Music is something I’ve always innately had in me, but it wasn’t until the summer before my freshmen year of high school that I picked up a guitar and taught myself chords from YouTube tutorials. When I learned my way around the guitar, songwriting just kind of came naturally. It wasn’t anything I had to force myself to do or learn. I’m lucky that I figured out that creative outlet when I was 15 because it sure helped make high school and the drama that comes along with being a teenager (who’d rather play shows and make YouTube videos in her bedroom and NOT go to parties) a little bit easier.

MusicDash: I’ve known you from your YouTube days when it used to be just you in your room with a guitar. Do you think that your path would be different had you not joined YouTube?

Taylor Edwards: I owe a lot to YouTube and the people who have become a fan of my music through YouTube. Social media is such a game changer for artists these days and I feel really lucky that I’m in a generation of artists that can use it as a tool. It’s allowed me to create a solid fan base and reach people I wouldn’t have been able to reach outside the walls of my bedroom. I absolutely love live shows, but it’s such a cool thing that you can spend 3 minutes recording a video and instantly share it with millions of people.

MusicDash: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten by somebody in the industry?

Taylor Edwards: I had dinner with a really good friend of mine who works in the industry a few weeks ago and she said something that really stuck with me. We were talking about how it can be so easy to start comparing yourself and your career to other people. You worry about what “this person” is doing, or “that person” and before you know it, you’ve completely lost sight of your own aspirations. She said “Y, you’ve got to put your blinders on and do what you do best.” I think that’s been my favorite advice since moving to town. It’s something everyone struggles with — human nature — and I think it’s important to realize that not everyone’s plot line is supposed to be played out the same.

MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals?

Taylor Edwards: Right now, my biggest goal would be to put out a really solid first record — hopefully within the next couple of years. I’ve spent the last 3 years trying to hone in on that sound and vibe I want to portray as an artist and I think within the last 10 or so months, I’m finally onto something. I’m also soooo antsy to tour. My dream tour would be with Sugarland… (I keep crossing my fingers that they’ll make another record. HA!) I’m ready to make music my big girl, real deal, do-it-everyday job. That is the biggest goal right now. Maybe win a CMA or a Grammy or something too. That would be cool. 😉

MusicDash: What’s next for you?

Taylor Edwards: WELL… I’ll be a senior this year at Belmont and I’m actually doing my fall semester in Los Angeles so I’m excited to see what’s musically in store for me out there. I’ll continue to write, write, write  and play, play, play. I’ve been in the studio working on some demos of some songs I’m really excited about right now and those will pop up on my Soundcloud within the next few months for fans to get a taste of. I’ve got some fun YouTube videos that I’m excited to see come to life too! I might be leaving my Nashville home for a little bit, but there will be no shortage or music or cool content.

You can find Taylor Edwards at:



YouTube: Taylor Edwards




Article by Kaitlyn Midgett


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