Originally hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Caroline Glaser made the big move to Nashville, Tennessee a few years ago — a fact that is highlighted on her self-titled album that will be released on June 24th. Caroline Glaser’s album is uniquely “her.” When you listen to her voice fill the room, you’ll come to find that you want her to tell you her stories. And Caroline definitely has some stories to tell — from spending some time on the hit TV Show “The Voice” to opening up for Straight No Chaser. And although not all of us can be as fortunate to get to know Caroline over coffee in Nashville, we can get to know her through her music. Her raw honestly is as good as it gets.
MusicDash: You’re originally from St. Louis. What initially drew you to the Nashville area?
Caroline Glaser: I found a booking agent in Nashville around 2013 and he set me up with some meetings and writing sessions right away– I just kind of fell in love with the city and people. It’s such an inspiring place.
MusicDash: Was there any specific moment during your life that made you think “I want to do this forever”
Caroline Glaser: My first little headlining tour in 2013 was super pivotal for me. That’s when I really fell in love with performing my original music for people. There were a LOT of ups and downs (probably mainly downs), but I remember on my drive home just thinking about how I could never picture myself doing anything else.
MusicDash: Let’s talk about Caroline and the Chocolate Factory! Where did you get the idea for the EP from? What happens if you get a golden ticket?
Caroline Glaser: Well I LOVE the film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had it on one day and during the “cheer up, Charlie” scene I thought about how cool it would be to cover that song– it’s so beautiful. It gradually turned into a cover EP exclusively for people who pledged on my pledge campaign (for my new record). I ended up really being proud of the EP though and wanted to do more with it– so I started selling physical CDs on my website and on tour. I hid Golden tickets in 15 of them and they’ll get an exclusive Tee shirt with the first batch of signed CDs once they come out on June 24th.
MusicDash: Your first ever full record is coming out on Friday the 24th! Congrats! What can you tell us about the record?
Caroline Glaser: Thank you so so much! I’m really excited about this one. I co-produced it with a friend of mine, Michael Kight. He had been playing out on the road with me for a little over a year when we decided to do the project together, so he definitely had a good feel for the direction I wanted to go in.
MusicDash: What was the writing process like for this record? Did you do any cowrites?
Caroline Glaser: I wrote/cowrote 8 out of the 9 songs on the record. The second to last track is a cover of “Your Love” by the Outfield and about half of them were written with some awesome writers here in Nashville. I wrote most of the material in 2015m although there are a couple older ones in there.
MusicDash: I know that this is a hard one, but what is one of your favorite songs to perform live?
Caroline Glaser: I guess it kind of depends– my favorite venues to play are intimate theaters/listening rooms. In that setting I really love playing “Waterfall” — it’s probably one of my favorites on the new record. In a more lively/fun atmosphere like a club or something, I like playing “Wolves.” It’s one of the most upbeat songs I’ve written.
MusicDash: What has been your most memorable performance?
Caroline Glaser: Probably when I opened up for Straight No Chaser at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. I grew up seeing huge acts there, so that was pretty surreal.
MusicDash: What is it about making music that captivates you?
Caroline Glaser: Oh gosh, everything form the lyrics to the melodies. I’ve always been a huge music lover.
MusicDash: Recently you released a live video of your song “Wishing Well” that you recorded at YouTube Nashville. How did you get involved with them?
Caroline Glaser: That was such a fun video shoot– it was just an opportunity that resented itself through my management team. I was really really excited to do it. Such a cool popup event.
MusicDash: You’ve been on tour with artists like Us the Duo, Kris Allen, and Nashville-based Liz Longley. Have any other artists that you’ve connected with so far offered you any words of advice about the industry?
Caroline Glaser: Just really to not get discouraged. There are a LOT of ups and downs in music and I think patience and motivation are truly the most important qualities for success.
MusicDash: If you had to describe your sound for somebody who’s never heard you before, what would you say?
Caroline Glaser: Hmm that’s tough– I would probably put it under the “indie-folk” category, but there are some soft rock/pop elements to the new record. It’s all pretty mellow though.
MusicDash: Besides your upcoming release, what’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?
Caroline Glaser: Writing, writing, writing! I’m already working on some upcoming projects that I am suuuuper excited about. Between records, though, I’m hoping to tour quite a bit. Still working on getting that nailed down.
Originally hailing from Indiana, Harpooner is a three-piece band that has a love for the Beatles, and infuses that influence into their music. Although the band formed in 2012, “Rose Park” will be their first full length release, which is due out in digital stores on June 24th. Surrounding the release, Harpooner has been playing shows all over the US — from Nashville to North Carolina to New York.
Last week I had a chat with Scott Schmadeke of the band, and here’s what he had to say.
MusicDash: What originally drew you to Nashville?
Harpooner: I’ve been touring with Tennessee acts for years and grew tired of taking the Megabus down every other week.
MusicDash: How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
Harpooner: Basement shows in Bloomington (where we are from) are the bloodline of creativity in that town. We played a few of those under different names (Lennie’s House Band, The HawtDawgs, MilkyMilky) but Harpooner stuck finally and off we went.
MusicDash: So you’re currently out on the road with Houndmouth. What have been some of you’re favorite cities that you’ve been to so far?
Harpooner: The Houndmouth guys are great. One of my best buds from Bloomington, Tim Smiley, does FOH for them and gave me the spot once the position became open. Austin was great, until I scraped up my legs falling into Barton Springs naked with many a strangers around.
MusicDash: I saw you were at Shaky Knees this year. I was there too! Which performances did you absolutely love?
Harpooner: Shaky and the accommodations were fantastic. Free Barber and Tattoo Artist for musicians was dynamite. After all the years living in the same tiny town as Murder By Death, I finally got to see them 20 hours away from home. We chummed up real quick.
MusicDash: Tell us about your single “Carolines.” Where did you draw the inspiration from?
Harpooner: Well I was dating three different Carolines at the same time for a long period of time, so naturally, you could say, twice as much inspiration to draw from.
MusicDash: You also just released the video! Who directed it, where did you shoot it, and again, where did that inspiration come from?
Harpooner: Andy Beargie in Bloomington, IN (Blockhouse Studios) pretty much has been our creative champion for this entire project since day one. He has engineered, mixed, produced, finished the album photo and design, and shot the music video. He is the only true inspiration to the band because of how talented and kind he is. Long LIVE ANDY!
MusicDash: Your LP “Rose Park” is due out June 24. What can your listeners expect?
Harpooner: An interstellar, socially injust, and heartbroken year of 2014.
MusicDash: What album has been your favorite release of the year so far? What albums are you most excited for in the coming months?
Harpooner: Life of Pablo – Kanye West. Nothing else is relevant.
MusicDash: Besides your new release, what’s coming up next for you this year?
Harpooner: I’d love to start a family, maybe even open a flower shop with a piano in it… Nah, I’ll probably just be other people’s bitch for another decade or so. A boy can dream though, right?
The Niles Rooker Trio might be young, but the band already has a specific goal in mind — to bring Nashville the vibes of their favorite 50s and 60s hit tracks. With an EP already under their belt and performances at some of Nashville’s hottest venues, the trio is already impressing us over at MusicDash (we can see them taking over your nearest festival stage real soon).
We spoke to Niles Rooker, the lead singer of the band, ahead of the release of their new single “I Won’t Sleep,” due out June 3rd. In the meantime, add their track “Beach Talk” to your Summer Playlist — linked below!
MusicDash: What originally drew you to Nashville?
Niles Rooker: I had always wanted an excuse to move to Nashville. The music scene here is impeccable. That’s basically the gist haha.
MusicDash: When and how did you get your start in music?
Niles Rooker: I started songwriting at the age of 12. 10 years later and I’m a lot better at it haha. I’ve always found people to play with since then but when I got to Nashville, playing with Jeff [Meloen] and Ryan [Lemp] changed everything.
MusicDash: How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
Niles Rooker: Jeff and I met at school and started off as a duo. We were wearing the same shoes on the first day of classes and struck up a convo. From there, we talked music for several minutes. We went from trying to jam in a storage unit to Jeff’s landlord barging in unannounced telling us to be quiet. We wanted to get a third member with a bass so that we could add a new dynamic to my songs. Queue Ryan Lemp.
MusicDash: You have a new single called “I Won’t Sleep” coming out on June 3rd! Tell us a little bit about that. What can we expect?
Niles Rooker: It’s an upbeat Elvis/Cash influenced song that’s full of energy and fun instrumentation. It defines some of our sound as live performers. You can expect quick and catchy hooks that even get stuck in our heads.
MusicDash: I know that you guys changed your name recently. What inspired that change?
Niles Rooker: It’s kind of funny, we were just using my name since I’m doing the writing. However, there was always one drunk dude at each show shouting, “No! Not your name, what’s the name of the band!” We all still joke about that. Even further, I like being called the trio because it emphasizes everyone’s parts and contributions. When you think that only three people are up on stage or in the recording, you can appreciate what is being played more.
MusicDash: You’ve released an EP before. What difference in sound can we expect between your new single and your previous EP, if any at all?
Niles Rooker: The single goes in a more country rock direction. It was highly influenced by Chuck Berry, Elvis, and Johnny Cash. And that’s not to say that’s what the next song will be. We like diversity and right now we’re attracted to a plethora of different directions. We also spent more time filling up the sound of the new single with overdubs and some new instrumentation for us as a band.
MusicDash: What has been one of your favorite or most memorable performances in Nashville?
Niles Rooker: As an artist, a recent show we played takes the cake. We hit the Exit/In for the album release of some close friends of ours, Floralorix. The energy was on fire and our parts were crushed for 35 minutes of euphoria.
MusicDash: Are there any venues around Nashville that you’re dying to play?
Niles Rooker: The Ryman and Ascend! I love all the venues of Nashville and we have played at a vast majority of them at one time or another. I hope to snag an opening slot at Ascend in the near future somehow. 9. What inspires you to write songs? Other musicians. I’ll be listening to music on my phone or at show and I’ll get that feeling, “I need to write.” Everyone should be inspirational. That’s how you can push each other to be better.
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you this year?
Niles Rooker: We have a tour planned this July/August that travels through the southern states. It’s our first time on the road so we are truly stoked to get out there and rock!
Andrew Tufano was probably voted “most likely to succeed” in high school. And if not, he probably should have been. He has fire in his eyes and passion in his heart, and that alone could get you far in the music industry. But it’s the talent that’ll shoot him straight to the top. Last summer he came off of a self-booked country-wide tour and released some new music, and this spring, Andrew’s going to get to touring again. But not before doubling the amount of songs he’s written so far in his career. I sat down with Andrew at a Nashville coffee shop called Eighth and Roast last month. Here’s what he had to say:
MusicDash: What are your favorite things about Nashville?
Andrew Tufano: Coffee’s up there. Eighth and Roast is up there. The things that keep me here are the people. That’s really what it is. Everybody’s here: there’s so many musicians and so much talent here. It’s very hospitable. There’s a lot of friendly people. Pretty much everybody I’ve ever asked to get coffee with and pick their brain, no matter how busy they are, they make time. You can’t do that in New York. People would just be like “no, talk to my assistant.” So I really love that aspect. It really makes up for the amount of gigs that don’t pay you. Cause if that weren’t here, I’d be out of here in a heartbeat but that keeps me here. Everybody’s here and I love it.
MusicDash: How did you get your start in music?
Andrew Tufano: My parents kind of forced me to play piano for a couple of years. That was where it started. I think I was in second grade when I got a little Casio keyboard for Christmas. They had me take a lessons for two years and I was like “okay, whatever.” They bought a full sized keyboard because the teacher was like “alright, he’s got to the point where this isn’t going to work.” Shortly after that I really wanted to quit but they were like “no, we just bought this full-sized keyboard. You’re going to keep taking lessons for at least another year.” And sometime during that I started playing a lot of Billy Joel and a lot of other stuff I really liked. Because when you’re first starting out you can’t play those types of songs. I got to a certain level where I started enjoying it and I just got hooked. I did instrumental songwriting a lot. I did a lot of electronic composition. I had Scorewriter and I entered this competition and they flew me out to Dallas to give me Sibelius. I was in that whole sphere and then I completely switched over in eighth grade to guitarist singer/songwriter. I’ve been doing that seriously since high school.
MusicDash: What’s your writing process like?
Andrew Tufano: The writing process is just ridiculous. I’m doing this project this winter where I’m writing 100 songs in 100 days. I’ve been writing a lot because of that. I’ve been writing the songs two weeks in advance so that I can sit with them for a little while before we record them. They’re going to be written within a hundred days but released within a hundred days two weeks later. There’s lyrics all over my room and it’s insanity. The biggest struggle for me is just organization. Mostly my writing process is a logistical nightmare. I’m trying to streamline that. It’s just me spewing out ideas, ferreting at first (either musically or lyrically). Usually I have a melody and chords in my head and I get those down. And then just taking that and editing it. It’s not even creative at that point. It just feels like I’m putting together a puzzle. So in a nutshell, its insanity.
MusicDash: Who would you say that some of your influences are?
Andrew Tufano: I’ll kind of take an artist and listen to them nonstop for a couple of weeks and then I’ll completely drop them. Right now, I’m on Ray LaMontagne. This morning I listened to that 2004 album he had four times in a row all the way through. And then I’ll kind of borrow some of his ideas. That’s kind of what I’ve done, so as far as inspiration goes, there’s this weird collection of artists that I’ll get really into and take some of their ideas or stylistic things and then move on. If I had to name one, it would be Billy Joel. In my childhood that was all I would listen to. I played like his entire discography. Since then it’s just such a collection that it’s hard for me to name a handful of artists.
MusicDash: I know this is tough, but what has been one of your favorite performances in Nashville?
Andrew Tufano: Honestly, one of my favorite performances that I’ve had here happened a few days ago in Puckett’s downtown. Usually when I play there in the winter, there’s not a lot of people there. It just happened to be packed, line out the door and I just lucked out. The people were just having such a good time and it was a good response after every song. I was making jokes with people and there was a lot of communication from the stage as opposed to just a one way “this is my stuff, you listen,” people were interacting and calling out songs. It was a really good time. There have been a lot of different types of shows here. I’ve played some house shows here and a lot of writer’s rounds, and some charities and hospitals. A big variety, so it’s hard to compare.
MusicDash: You went on a pretty long tour of the US last summer. Tell us a little about that. Where were some of your favorite places to play? How did you go about booking it?
Andrew Tufano: Let’s see. I played the Bluebird twice on the tour. Once with a trio, once solo. It was a really long tour! I just love playing there. They have an MC that goes up and says “guys, be quiet. No cell phones, listen.” It’s not a big room but everybody’s staring at you and listening to every word. Even at listening room shows, everybody’s not going to hear every word. There’s going to be people talking. There’s a little bit of pressure and you start second-guess like “I’ve never really thought about this lyric before. Everybody’s listening to it!” Usually I just sing and people forget once I get to the chorus.
My favorite city was probably Seattle. There’s no mosquitos there, everybody’s really chill. I’ve never really spent too much time on the west coast until this summer. There really is a west coast/east coast thing. There’s a different culture. The west coast has this sort of chill/hippy, a lot of tech people there. There’s a lot of art. I really like that aspect of that, so I really liked Seattle a lot. The west coast though, I didn’t have a lot booked. I had a house show in Seattle, but it wasn’t that big. The east coast was more of a tour – we had a show almost every day. The west coast was more of a vacation. We had like seven shows on the whole coast and we were there for about three weeks. It was a show every three days or so. The other days we were just kind of hanging out in the city and exploring and spending all of the money that we made on the east coast. It was such a good experience.
On the tour we played about 35ish and I booked them all myself. The reason that the east coast was so busy was because I was doing independent booking. I honestly just bit off a little more than I could chew. I booked it chronologically, so the further we got into the tour, the less we had booked. The first two weeks it was like every night we had a show. It was great! Then we just kind of slowed down and by the time we got to LA, it was like “alright.” I think there was a five day period with no shows so we were just driving around in Arizona.
MusicDash: So you had your EP that was released in September. Tell us a little bit about it. What was the process like for you?
Andrew Tufano: This was the first professional thing that I put out that wasn’t recorded in a studio. I have two other EPs that were recorded in a studio in Virginia. This one, I did in two different house studios with the Rhett Walker Band. They essentially made the album. They all played on it: the guitarist, the bassist, and the drummer. The drummer was the producer and most of the songs were recorded and mixed in the drummer’s house. Some of the parts were recorded in the guitarist’s house.
That’s something that honestly ten years ago I think wouldn’t have even been practical. Just the way that technology has improved. You can get such good sound out of somebody’s house. So I’m really excited about how it turned out. So I’m really satisfied with how it turned out. That helped save money too. I didn’t have to book studio time and the guys were so cool. Kenny Davis was the producer. He’s just an awesome guy. A really talented guy. He’s the first producer that I’ve worked with that isn’t in the same vein of instrumentalists as I am. I play the guitar and piano, so I’ve always worked with guitarists and pianists. We’d have similar ideas, which I hadn’t even realized until working with him. He’s a drummer and he’s be like “oh, we should do a half-time groove in the chorus.” He thought about things a little differently so it was great working with him.
That was all recorded February through April. I printed the CDs in May and I had them exclusively on the tour. So the songs have been done since May, but the digital release wasn’t until September 1st. There was a release show in D.C and the last leg of the tour was the release, but I actually had it the whole time on tour. It was kind of a little fun thing to give people.
MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about the Amplify Entertainment 100 songs in 100 days project!
Andrew Tufano: How do I put this? It’s going to be the death of me! It’s going to drive me to insanity and back. So I had this idea for a project near the end of my tour. I was trying to figure out what to do next and I have a tour booked February 20th to March 20th. I have another tour in the works from April until May but I had this whole block of time in the winter. I wanted to do something cool and something interesting and I wanted to challenge myself and push myself. I kind of played around with the idea of 100 songs in 100 days. I had done weeks called ‘7 in 7′ — 7 songs in 7 days and that was kind of challenging. So I don’t know why I thought that this would be okay. Like I’m going to go home after this and write a song.
So far it’s been good! I’m just surprised that Amplify Entertainment was on board with this. They’re really talented guys. So we have Forrest producing it, Joey and Mitchell are the Audio and Visual guys. I’m surprised that they’re on board. They all are for whatever reason. I think that the release is December 8th. We have 7 videos recorded already, We’re doing 5 or 6 videos on Sunday. We’re going to try to stay 10 videos ahead because there will be times that one of us goes out of town. So we need to be 10 videos ahead or the project will fail. There’s no other way.
So yeah, that’s the project. I really want to test the relationship between creativity and productivity. I think that’s what it is. I’ve had a lot of people tell me “oh, you’re right brained. You’re really creative, so you’re probably not good at organization or the business side” and I don’t think that being good at one thing inhibits you from being good at another. I don’t think that’s related. I don’t think that that’s very scientific either. You can have two halves of one brain. Like I was talking about with writing is that you have to sit down and write it all and then you have to make it all work. It feels different. I do think that a lot of people will limit themselves. That’s kind of a limiting belief to say “I’m a creative person, so I can’t do this. I need to find a manager. I need to find someone else to do it.” That’s just kind of selling yourself short. So, I kind of want to challenge that.
All of the videos will be finished by February 20th but the last video won’t come out until March 7th or 14th. And I’m giving a Ted X talk about how everything went. I don’t know what I’m going to talk about yet, but it’s the culmination of the whole project just to kind of be like “this is what I learned, this is what I had problems with, this is how it went.” I’ll play a few of the songs. And then we’re hopefully going to do a documentary about the whole experience.
MusicDash: What else is coming up for you in 2016?
Andrew Tufano: I just sat down with a booking agent about my schedule for next year. She’s like “give me all the dates you have booked, where you want to book, where you want to tour.” I have the tour in February and March going down to Florida cause it’s warmer down there. I have a tour in April and May with a band in the southeast. And then after that, I didn’t have much planned. I’m probably just going to move out of my apartment and tour around. I’m never there and I feel like “why am I paying for rent?”
I literally wrote an email saying “I don’t know what I’m doing after May.” I literally told her that I’m down for whatever. I want to go to the west coast again. A friend and I are trying to tour the Rockies. I have a fiddle player and we’re going to tour from Nashville to Boston on these dates, but I don’t care where we go in between. We can hit the east coast, we can go up the midwest. Things are just so up in the air. After I write 100 songs, things will look different. My entire show will be different because I’ll have new songs. I think my style will be different.
Hopefully this will gather a little bit of a following. I don’t have a big YouTube following right now, so hopefully this will get me a little more in the YouTube scene. I think it’s just a matter of adjusting on the fly and seeing where things go. I’ve always been comfortable with that. That’s why I freelance and why I don’t have a job right now. I would prefer to just take things as they go. If I have too much planned, I feel trapped.
Every time I’m interviewed and I’m asked this question, I say the same thing and that frightens me. It’s like “well I have the next few months planned, but after that, we’ll see.” I’ll let you know.
These past couple of months have been huge for Kyler Daron and his band. They’ve played Belmont University’s Rock Showcase, released an EP called “Whispers in the Woods” which was mixed by Grammy nominated Paul Moak, and played a release show at Nashville’s own The End. Although Kyler Daron’s band is in his name, it is clear that the band members are all about collaboration and fun — just watch them on stage. During their cover of The Killers’ “When You Were Young,” Kyler changes the lyrics to “I look a little bit like Jesus,” and captures the attention of the audience instantly. Combining humor, heart, and honesty, Daron’s music feel a little bit like home.
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Kyler Daron: I was brought to Nashville, like almost anyone, to be among some of the best musicians and artists in the nation. Choosing to come here was the best thing I could have done for my musical career. Being surrounded by all of these talented people really has made me up my game.
MusicDash: When did you start forming your band and how did you hone in on your sound?
Kyler Daron: I’ve been cycling through bands and members for the last four years or so. Some have stuck around throughout the years, and new friends have been made along the way. The group has really solidified in the last year, and we couldn’t have more fun doing what we do. I’m not sure at this point even that we’ve truly honed in on our song! Everything is still really fresh, and we’re still experimenting with our studio approaches and live performances of the songs. I’m also writing all the time, and trying to create from different perspectives and influences.
MusicDash: You recently performed at the Belmont University Rock Showcase, which is a pretty big deal around these parts. What would you say that you took away from the experience?
Kyler Daron: Rock Showcase was a straight up good time. That was our first time playing on a stage of that size with that much technology and production, and we had a lot of people come out and see us play! Things couldn’t have gone better in my opinion. To be honest, we were just honored to play the gig. There was a great lineup of bands and we made a lot of friends during the few days of prepping and playing the show.
MusicDash: Tell us a little about your new album!
Kyler Daron: ‘Whispers in the Woods” was almost a miracle. A few months after the release of my first EP “Ellie,” we started talking about going into the studio to record a few demos. We scheduled a session, and had about a month to practice for it. At the time we scheduled the session, we had two songs we planned on recording. At the end of that month, somehow we weeded up with six songs. It was wild. What was even more insane was that the recordings came out so well that we decided to just turn it into a record. We got more ambitious and launched a Kickstarter for mixing and mastering. The next thing I knew, I had a physical copy in my hand of something that I was truly proud of. These songs are organic. I almost feel like I didn’t write them, like I stumbled upon them somehow.
Despite how quickly these songs were written, they all kind of stem from a few realizations I’ve come to in the last years. The things I wanted to evoke in this record was inspired by the thought of being stranded, alone in some remote forest somewhere, without the constant pressure and distraction of culture and technology. What would you learn about yourself? What kinds of truths would one come to? What do we think about when we were taken out of the context of society? These songs are for the most part, the musical interpretation of things that keep you up at night.
MusicDash: What inspires you to create art?
Kyler Daron: I think that we have the fundamental desire to create as humans, We all have our own experiences and as artists I think our goal is to convey those things through an expression that can’t be communicated through a written or verbal dialogue. I love the way that people come together in that as well. My desire is to use my creative abilities in such a way that helps people understand themselves better and encourage them to interact with others in the world in a virtuous way.
MusicDash: Since the New Year just started, what were some of your favorite albums/songs that were released in 2015?
Kyler Daron: 2015 was a great year for new records. I have to say though, my favorite overall was probably Brandon Flowers’ new release, ‘The Desired Effect.” It’s beautiful. Such a fantastic collection of tunes.
MusicDash: Any exciting plans for the new year so far?
Kyler Daron: Well, I won’t reveal too much, but we’re back in the studio headed toward new material. Keep your eyes open! It should be an exciting year!
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a “wish list” on the notes in my phone which consists of artists that I want to feature on Straight Outta Nashville. Last month, I found myself at the ASCAP Writer’s Night at school and Katie Buxton played her song “Painted Hearts.” Not even halfway through the song, Katie was on the wish list.
Katie Buxton writes the kind of songs that you’ll carry with you for a while. She captures the uniqueness of the images that she’s hoping to portray through the complexity of words and coated in beautiful melodies. And she makes it all seem so effortless. Katie is definitely an artist worth getting to know and I hope that you’ll take that chance on her. She is so deserving of it.
MusicDash: What originally drew you to Nashville?
Katie Buxton: When I was fourteen I knew that Nashville was just a place that I really wanted to see, so my mom took me over my spring break. While I was here for the first time I visited Belmont and happened to make some connections with people in the industry, so it gave me a reason to come back. I visited Belmont about two more times before I decided to apply and I knew it was my first choice, so when I got accepted I immediately knew where I was going to end up. Those first few trips I took down to Nashville before I made the move really validated that it was the right place to be for what I wanted to do, just through the people I met and everything I could see that was going on in this town.
MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about you session with Amplify Entertainment!
Katie Buxton: Amplify is honestly such a special company and they’re doing seriously awesome things. I found out about them several months ago when they first started filming their Single Sessions and I thought they were awesome. I loved how professional the videos looked and how every video captured the vibe of the artists so well, from the location to the angles and the lighting. I finally signed up to do one a couple months ago and ended up filming at Hound Dog Commons in East Nashville and played my song “Painted Hearts.” I was so impressed with how comfortable they made me feel and just how genuine every single person is that works for them.
MusicDash: Where did you get the inspiration from for “Painted Hearts?” It’s such a beautiful and captivating song!
Katie Buxton: Thank you so much! “Painted Hearts” is definitely a very special song to me. Ever since I can remember I’ve had a really intense and deep connection to the Native American culture that I can’t really describe in words. About two and a half years ago I was attending a summer program at Berklee College of Music in Boston and at the orientation, a faculty member performed a Native American chant with a frame drum. It immediately hit me and that chant just stuck with me. Around a year and a half later, I was sitting in my room with that chant playing in my head again and I had the thought of writing a song and story around it The words seemed to pour out of me without any effort and I think it was finished within about ten or fifteen minutes. It came from a very deep place inside me and it’s still one of the only songs of my own that makes me get emotional almost every time I play it.
MusicDash: You have some really exciting things going on this year so far! You’ve been accepted into Belmont’s Bear House Writer Management. What kind of opportunities will this partnership allow you?
Katie Buxton: Bear House has been really great for meeting other Belmont writers and getting more opportunities to play out. It’s also a really cool way to meet industry professionals because they come in to give seminars and talks fairly often, so it’s easier to get connected since it’s such an intimate setting. It’s been a good way to become familiar with the relationship of writer and manager, because that’s something I hadn’t experienced before. I’m hoping to play more writers rounds, find more cowriting partners and just make more connections in general.
MusicDash: I hear that you have a new EP coming out soon! What can you tell us about it? What can we expect?
Katie Buxton: I do! The EP will be released sometime between now and the end of December. It’s four songs with what I think is a cool variety of styles and a good representation of what I do. I’ve found that it’s almost impossible for me to stay in one genre and I think you’ll probably hear that in this EP. One thing the songs do have in common is that they are meaningful in some way and each has a message of its own. Once it’s released you’ll be able to find it on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Noisetrade, and basically any service you use to hear music. I want to use this EP to get my name out, as well as just share my own truth and what I’m about as a person and an artist.
MusicDash: What’s some of the best advice you’ve received from somebody in the industry?
Katie Buxton: Recently I was talking to my songwriting professor Jodi Marr about my goals and how I feel like I’m still trying to hone in on my sound. She told me, “Be Katie Buxton but thirty feet tall.” I really love that because it’s so easy to look at other artists who have been successful or that you just like and try to imitate their style in some way, but the artists who stand out are the ones that aren’t like anyone else. It’s a nice reminder that when you’re centered in your own authenticity, you’re magnetic and everything falls into place the way it’s supposed to.
MusicDash: I was looking over your website and I loved what you said in the “my purpose” section. Can you sum that up for our readers?
Katie Buxton: Basically, I want my music to touch people on a deeper level. I want every one of my songs to have weight, to be meaningful, and to hold some kind of intention. With my lyrics especially I really strive to help people awaken to their own light. That’s really my purpose – to spread light. I know that that’s what I’m here to do, and I just want so badly to help people along on their own journeys.
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you?
Katie Buxton: Hopefully a whole lot! Right now I’m really focused on getting my EP finished and then into the hands of as many people as possible, but I’m already starting to think about what I want to release afterwards. I’d love to do more acoustic sessions as well just because they’re a lot of fun. I’m also in the process of planning shows for the near future. But other than that, I can’t give a clear answer yet – I have a lot of things currently in the works that will manifest in time, so it’s a matter of waiting to see how everything comes together and takes shape.
Here’s something that you probably don’t know about me — I get very defensive when people cover Adele. I subscribe to the belief that it is almost always a bad idea. I can think of only a handful of instances in which I’ve been proven wrong. Kylie Odetta is one of those instances. She took “Someone Like You,” a song that is so beautiful but is usually sung one specific way (exactly like Adele), and made it her own. Not only do I give her mad props for this, but I am so impressed with her vocally.
To balance things out so to speak, something that you might not know about Kylie is that she has one of those voices that would allow her to sing whatever genre she wanted. If she were to send any record label a demo of her singing any genre, they would believe that that genre was what she was meant to sing. I heard her live at The Sutler during a writer’s round, so naturally everything was stripped down. Kylie’s performance was just her and the piano (with the occasional accompaniment of the George Twins). They played a song that they cowrote together called “Stuck on Yellow” and it was both fabulous and witty. Overall, I was just so enamored by her talent. Her vocals reminded me of that of Christina Aguilera, and I would SO turn my chair for Kylie on The Voice.
Kylie had been on my radar since I started this project, but she wasn’t from Nashville, so I never contacted her and her team about setting up an interview. Right after I heard her cover, I messaged her manager. Kylie comes to Nashville a lot and performs around town, so I decided that now was the time to expand my reach. Sometimes things work out perfectly, because by the time I set up this interview, Kylie had just finished her new EP, which will be released early next year.
MusicDash: I know that you’re from South Carolina but you come to Nashville quite a lot. What has been your favorite performance here?
Kylie Odessa: My favorite performance so far was a writers round that I did with Moriah Domby and Eli Rhodes at Belcourt Taps. Moriah, Eli, and I actually met while playing a show in Asheville, NC and so it was really fun to re-connect with them for my first show in Nashville last year,
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Kylie Odetta: I first came to Nashville to record an EP when I was 13 years old and it was such an eye-opening experience. I had never been in a city that was so focused and centered around music. Since then I have been back many times over the years and I find something new that makes it more welcoming each time. I also know a lot of good friends and fellow musicians who live there so it’s nice to come and write – essentially the amount of things going on musically in this town is what drew me to it,
MusicDash: I know that your first release was in 2014 and you will have another EP released in 2016. How have these processes been different?
Kylie Odetta: I released an album in 2014, an EP in 2015, and now I will be releasing another EP in 2016! Each time I go into the studio to record something new, the process is different. For my first album, “Waiting Game” I was really focused on showing people something that was more true to who I was as an artist and would separate me from the “pop” world. We messed around with a lot of different vibes but everything still had an underlying theme. That followed into the next EP “Breaking Habits” where I went into the studio with an open mind to see where the music might lead me. That allowed for some of the songs to turn out fantastic but not necessarily in a style that I felt able to or comfortable with replicating in a live show. The purpose behind this upcoming EP is to break things down and focus on the piano, vocals, and lyrics. Now there is production behind some of them but it’s much less than in the past and everything has a more organic feel. I was hoping to capture the essence of what I do in a live setting and my heart for these songs.
MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in music!
Kylie Odetta: I began playing piano when I was 6 and I started writing songs when I was 8. the only answer that I have as to how it all came about is definitely God. I STILL don’t know how I am able to write these lyrics and melodies that come out of myself and onto the paper! I recorded my very first EP at age 12 in a family friend’s attic and fro there I went on to play at open mics and my school talent show and the county fair. This life is a journey and I certainly can attest to that – one thing continued to lead to another and my first EP got me to work with the producer for my 2nd EP and first music video at 13 which then allowed me to perform in a showcase where I met my now producer and made even more music. Those songs and the shows I had begun to play around town, getting my name out there, evolved into me getting the opportunity open up for bigger artists when they came in town for shows through my local radio station. And so on and so forth… hat’s the beginning of things I suppose but there’s a million little steps and trials and triumphs that I have gone through throughout the years.
MusicDash: Tell us about your affiliation with BMI.
Kylie Odetta: When it came time to decide which PRO to go with we did our research on them all and talked to a few fellow musicians and then settles on going with BMI! I’ve always been told that to own your publishing is an extremely helpful thing so that is why I created a “publishing company” with BMI.
MusicDash: What is your usual writing process like?
Kylie Odetta: Typically I will be sitting at the piano, practicing, and I will end up coming up with a little riff then following it through writing a song. Other times lyrics will hit me throughout the day and I will joy them down in my notes app on my phone and go back to it. The lyrics, the melody, and piano chords usually all come at the sam time, in the same sitting though.
MusicDash: Favorite spot in Nashville?
Kylie Odetta: I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but there’s this place that has cookie dough egg rolls for dessert and it is quite literally the most amazing bite you’ll ever put in your mouth. [editior’s note — Kylie was talking about Jackson’s Bar & Bistro]
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you?
Kylie Odetta: I’ve been traveling a lot lately and playing a ton of shows so up next for me is the holidays and spending time with family! I’ll also be focusing on getting all of our ducks in a row with press, shooting a music video for the EP release, finalizing the edits of the songs, an promoting it. It’s set to come out either late January or early February.
The Pressure Kids might come from all different corners of the US, but they certainly came together in a big way when they arrived in Nashville. As prolific musicians, The Pressure Kids had 30+ indie rock songs in their back pockets only months after their formation. The band has been playing around Tennessee for a while now, their songs known for getting you up on your feet and making feelings permeate from your heart to deep in your bones. Their music is nothing short of melodic and I know that you’ll love what you hear.
MusicDash: What initially drew you to Nashville?
The Pressure Kids: We were all students at Belmont University.
MusicDash: How did you all connect and start making music together?
The Pressure Kids: We lived across the hall from each other in our freshman dorm. There were a lot of sounds going on those first couple weeks, everyone kept their doors open.
MusicDash: What has been your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville?
The Pressure Kids: There have been some really stage special memories for us, but I think our EP release party at Exit/In earlier this month takes the cake. Killer energy in that room, tons of our all time heroes have at one time or another like plugged their amps into that stage before. Very humbling stuff. We also got to share that bill with some of our darling friends that are big starry eyed visionaries doing stellar things to redesign the musical landscape of this city. Big night for us.
MusicDash: In September you played at Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN. The Festival had a lot of big artists on it like Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow. How was that experience for all of you?
The Pressure Kids: Wild. It was our first experience playing at a festival before, and to have it be this big beautiful first annual thing in our own backyard, alongside some serious luminaries, it was just big time wow for us. We like got to ride around in one of those golf cart things at one point. Wild day.
MusicDash: Your newest release “Tiger” came out earlier this month. I heard that you recorded it in Brooklyn! Tell us a little bit about the process.
The Pressure Kids: Every step of making “Tiger” was kind of like accidentally walking into someone else’s surprise party, very coincidental and supremely fun. When we left for our trip all we knew was that we were going somewhere in Brooklyn to maybe hopefully record some songs that weren’t even really written yet. I smashed this poor woman’s car the morning we left. We went up with a dude named Tiger we met a week earlier in Memphis. We made the record on the top floor of this big storage unit in Brooklyn with this mega metal dude who has made records with some bands we really adore. It all just sort of unfolded in this thrillingly unexpected sweet strangeness.
MusicDash: You guys have been making music together for about a year or so. How did you go about choosing what songs you were going to record and release on “Tiger?”
The Pressure Kids: We actually ended up writing, arranging, and recording all of “Tiger” on site, As a band we’ve always liked to keep things little risky. There’s a terrifying freedom when music teeters on the edge of existing. We wanted to give all these new colors and characters a chance to seep into the tunes, instead of just taking up some Nashville jams we already had hammered out and recording them in NY. We had a few licks in our pockets, but most all of “Tiger” came to be up in Brooklyn.
MusicDash: Do you have any venues or festivals that you’re dying to play?
The Pressure Kids: Oh man, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Ryman would be a dream.
MusicDash: What’s up next for you guys?
The Pressure Kids: We’re taking “Tiger” out of town, getting to some new towns close by, making some new friends. Things are going to get really cold soon too, lots of tunes to write.
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!
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.