Informal Bio for music fans… (If you want the hyped-up, name-dropping, industry version–go here ;)
So this bio thing makes me feel like I’m back in second grade and the teacher’s asked me to tell the class “a little about myself.’ Yikes! My family moved that year, and I was totally freaked out about having to start over making new friends. But I suppose if you’re reading this, then you’re curious about me, so I’m flattered….and I’ll do my best to give you a window view to my world =)
First of all, I’ve had a love affair with pianos since before I can remember. We didn’t actually own one until I was nine. Before that momentous occasion, I would play on anyone’s piano I could get my hands on. I’d been making up my own songs since I could talk, but once I got the piano, I started writing them down. I organized a songwriting/singing group in my grade school with some friends, and we came up with songs that sounded like the only music we had in the middle of nowhere, Kansas…Top 40 pop radio. I keep thinking one of my classmates is going to blackmail me with those songs one of these days!
My first real gig was at a biker bar when I was twelve. It was also my first time singing with a rock band, and I honestly felt like I’d been struck by lightning–but in a seriously good way! The early band days were both an adventurous and educational experience. We covered a lot of other people’s music, everything from Led Zeppelin to Aretha Franklin–pretty much anything with power that pushed me vocally was what I loved most. I learned more about being a performer, which was kinda scary in the beginning for a shy girl like me ;) Sometimes I still feel like that on stage. In any case, there wasn’t much of an original music scene where I was living, but I was always writing and secretly longing to perform my own songs.
After graduating from Wichita State University, I moved to Nashville. That’s when I really started sinking my teeth into my art. Nashville’s the kind of place where a lot of people are trying to write a hit song for some big country act to record. I dabbled briefly with the whole business of cowriting for the Nashville market, but I quickly decided that scene just wasn’t for me. So I decided to focus on writing what moved me as a human being and hoped that maybe other people could relate. A lot of what I write about is personal trials, growing pains, and finding some freakin’ light at the end of the tunnel! Music is a voice for the things that are sometimes too frightening or painful to say out loud, and it always seems to help me find my way. People who know me, know that I’m a somewhat shy & soft-spoken person….so they’re always surprised when they hear me sing with a not-so-small voice!
My first album, Errors & Admissions, was pretty much what the title suggests–confessions. I went through some big life stuff during that time. I’d been pushing myself ridiculously hard toward my goals and ignoring my heart. Then I got derailed from the so-called ‘perfect plan’ I’d had for my life, and it made me take a look at what was really going on with me. Music is my best form of therapy, so I wrote my way out of the hole I’d fallen into, and ultimately I became a much happier person for going through the rough parts. Strange how it works out that way… I teamed up with a very talented, recent Berklee College of Music grad, Peter Overton to produce the project. A friend had just turned me onto Patty Griffin, and I’d fallen in love with her Flaming Red album. So, I told Pete that I wanted to create an album with an intensity like that! We were both very green at the whole recording process, but we had fun figuring it out. I’m still very proud of what we created together.
My latest album, Girl Invisible, is a tribute to the school years and the challenges we all face. I think it’s is a really hard time for most people in one way or another, and to quote one of my favorite lines in Patty Griffin’s tune, “Tony,” “I hated every day of high school.” That pretty much sums it up for me! Maybe if I’d been more into sports, pep rallies or prep fashion, I’d have felt less like a book-smart freak who only wanted to write songs. For the longest time, I was convinced that I was some kind of alien who’d ended up on the wrong planet. Of course all that was before I moved into a music community and found my tribe =) I’ve discovered many kindred spirits/partners in crime since coming to Nashville, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to keep pushing forward without them. (You know who you are, and I love ya!) During the time of this album, I was also teaching music lessons , and I found a lot of inspiration working with some awesome kids. Many of them had their fair share of struggles with their parents, school, friends, even church. I wanted to give them hope and to let them know that it gets better in time. In writing those kinds of songs, I gave myself hope too–funny how that works. Jim Reilley, the producer for the project, is a phenomenal artist in his own right. And even though he’s got all kinds of feathers in his cap to prove it, you’d never know it just talking with him. I was a bit starstruck by him when I first saw him perform live in Nashville. He was the first artist in town to really take my breath away with his honesty and vulnerability–he was the real deal! So when he approached me about making a record together, I was almost giddy. Our vision was to capture what I do in live performance, and I feel like it’s the kind of record that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re right there in the room with us. I was also really lucky to have some rockstar players on the album. Instead of being creative control freaks, we let them bring their own magic to the songs, and it made them shine!
I also released a single, “Can’t Touch You,” that won first place in a Twilight Battle of the Bands, although technically it’s got nothing to do with vampires ;) I write a lot of songs, so it’s hard to keep up with getting them all recorded. But I recently have started building a studio with a grand piano in my home, which has been a life-long dream!!! So I’m hoping to be able to get more songs out, and faster than before. And at this stage in the game, I’m completely independent. So, it means a lot to have you here checking out me and my music. I can always use help in getting the word out about what I do, so please check out the How You Can Help page.
I hope I fulfilled your wildest fantasies of everything you wanted to read in a bio ;-)….thanks for stopping by!