Behind the Stage: #WhatHappensInASmallTown’s Lindsay Ell & Ell Access

With Lindsay after she sang the national anthem at the Titans game in September!

Calgary, Alberta native Lindsay Ell began playing the piano at age 6. Two years later she switched to guitar, and by age 10, she was writing songs. Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Randy Bachman became her mentor — introducing her to jazz and blues guitar artists (including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Derek Trucks). Ell’s latest song, What Happens In A Small Town, is a duet with Brantley Gilbert. It is currently a Top 40 hit as it continues to climb the country charts.

What Happens In A Small Town (Official Video)

Ell’s first full-length album, The Project, was released to critical and commercial success — it topped the Billboard Country Chart.

Last year she released a cover album of John Mayer’s Continuum.

Courtney and Sarah with Lindsay in Louisville, KY on Sugarland’s Still the Same Tour

Fans Courtney and Sarah started Boss Lady Updates (ed. side note-Lindsay’s band’s nickname for their lead singer is ‘Boss Lady’) in support of Ell and her music.

What first connected you to Lindsay and her music?

I first saw Lindsay four and a half years ago as an opener for the Band Perry on their last tour. She had a like three song set and I actually was only in the venue for the last one, ‘Trippin’ on Us’, her very first single to radio! I saw the way she played her purple (my favorite color) guitar, The Goddess, and was hooked.

After that concert, I looked up her and her music, started following her on all socials, and that was that! She had a couple other stand-alone singles around that time that looking back seemed to fit the definition of what country radio wanted to play, so it’s truly surprising to me that she didn’t get more airplay with those songs!

When I met Sarah in April, we talked about artists we like and I mentioned Lindsay. Well, she mentioned she had seen her in Chicago back in November (2017), and hadn’t really known who she was. After the trip, she started listening to her music and kept telling me about how much she was loving her. It was clear she was hooked!

How did you decide to start BossLadyUpdates?

It’s funny because I never had the idea of starting a fan page until this year after my friends brought up the idea to me after they saw just how much I loved her. I actually met Sarah at a Kelsea Ballerini concert in Seattle. The next week I saw Lindsay for the first time since I had seen her the first time back on the Band Perry tour. Unfortunately, when I was younger I was less willing to travel to and go to shows by myself, so I never had a great opportunity to see her again until now.

Before the show, Sarah asked me why I hadn’t ever started a page. My excuse was that I was too busy with school and work, but after the show, my perspective completely changed. I was one of very few at the show that night that knew every word to every song. That really opened my eyes to how I could help spread the word about and promote Lindsay.

Sarah agreed to help me with the behind the scenes, so with things like running contests or generating graphics. Sarah is great at all of this! She helps create graphics, videos, formulate ideas for page events, among many other things. This system has really been the biggest help because I already do day-to-day with Lindsay — checking her socials, looking at what she has been tagged in, following what she does and what she is involved in — so we stay pretty balanced!

What have planned to help promote Lindsay and her music?

Last summer we had our first big contest. We encouraged fans to request Lindsay on Mediabase consistently throughout one week. We worked with Lindsay on prizes for the contest, which was great! She really took a vested interest in helping us with the contest, which really showed us how much it meant to her.

When Lindsay released ‘Champagne’ to radio, we had a fun idea planned to help promote that one. We announced it and got materials for it back from fans. We’re also trying to formulate a good way to continue to promote ‘Champagne’ and encourage people to be requesting.

Over the summer, we decided to expand to Twitter because we wanted to reach a larger audience. We’re still working on building our fan base on there, but it is definitely coming together.

With Lindsay in Calgary, Alberta (her hometown show) on Keith Urban’s Graffiti U tour.

We have also been discussing other ways to document and share our travel experiences with the other fans. We started documenting our experiences as we travel to see Lindsay on the stories on our Insta page. These stories are literally us being idiots, but we’ve had people tell us they love watching them and others have come up to us and recognized us from them. So, that’s been a fun way to promote excitement for seeing Lindsay. That’s why we started a blog and vlog. We’re still trying to get these parts running smoothly, but it’s a fun way for us to share our experiences with other fans.

Stemming on that, we decided to start a segment called ‘Ask Lindsay’ on days where we are in person at shows. We’ve asked fans to submit questions they’d like us to ask Lindsay. We ask her a question and at either meet ‘n greet or signing, Lindsay lets us film her answer! We thought that might be a cool way to let fans get to know more about Lindsay in a different way!

We’ve also recently gotten involved in ‘Women Request Wednesdays’ with a bunch of other fan pages. The idea is on random Wednesdays, we encourage fans to request all of their favorite female artists. We want, as a group, to show fans, radio, and the industry, that fans want to hear female artists on radio. We’ve been very proud of the fan base for getting involved in that and helping us request Lindsay and the other females in the genre!

Your page shows all the time and care you’ve devoted to its creation — how do you get all the content?

You wouldn’t believe the amount of time we spend in the deep, dark depths of Instagram. Most of our show updates come from searching location tags, hashtags, and random people’s stories. It’s quite the process. We check each tag for the show probably fifty times a night in hopes of finding use-able updates. We usually can find enough to have a decent amount of updates for each show, but you wouldn’t believe the number of shows she plays where we find nothing for!

What’s really nice is when we know fans will be at the show! When that’s the case we ask them if they’d be willing to send us pictures and videos. We always give people credit for using their videos or pictures! When we are at the shows, we use our own videos and pictures, which certainly works well! I record every song at every show we attend because we like to have them for ourselves, but it helps with updates too because we can just clip the parts we want as updates and use those.

Lindsay Ell — Champagne (Official Audio)

In terms of other content, most comes from press releases, interviews, or videos we come across of Lindsay. We knew leading up to it when ‘Champagne’ would be announced as a single and when it would go to radio. We had talked to Lindsay about it, but we didn’t announce it until after she had. That’s one thing that is important to us — making sure official announcements like that come from her first. We always follow up as quickly as possible, but they definitely come from her first!

With Lindsay after the fourth Speakeasy Social Club show in St. Paul, MN. She’s the biggest nut we know! Her eyes were definitely closed on purpose haha!

How do you help promote her singles and albums?

We started the page shortly before ‘The Continuum Project’ came out. Leading up to its release, we had a countdown going. So, every day, we would post how many days were left until the album. The night it was released, we put a new story up every minute in the ten minutes leading up to the release!

Lindsay Ell — Criminal

To promote ‘Criminal’, we ordered custom bracelets with our page name, Lindsay Ell, and ‘Criminal’ on them to hand out at CMA Fest. We also ran the request contest earlier in the summer to get people involved in requesting it. We knew when the official announcement of ‘Champagne’ was going to happen, so as soon as that officially went up on Lindsay’s pages, we reposted that. We have a couple of ideas for the promotion of that in the works.

With Lindsay with our Lindsay head cutout in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Keith Urban’s Graffiti U tour.

One thing we did when we were in pit at the Keith (Urban) shows up in Canada was make signs with lyrics on them for fans to hold up during certain songs. We did ‘Champagne’ the first night to promote the single. The second night, we did ‘Castle’ because it’s Lindsay’s favorite song on her album. The third night, instead of doing lyrics, we wrote ‘Criminal’, ‘#1’, and ‘Congrats’ because ‘Criminal’ went number one in Canada and we were in her hometown. It was a pretty special moment looking around during the song and seeing all these signs up throughout the pit. There’s no way we’ll ever forget that moment!

Some ‘Criminal’ signs for the pit in Calgary, Alberta on Keith Urban’s Graffiti U tour.

We know that Lindsay is writing for her second album every single day and she has said she started recording in December, so we’re hoping that sometime within the year we will get to work on promoting a new album!

Anything else?

We were definitely really nervous about starting this page. We didn’t think that we’d have the time to devote to it and we wanted it to be perfect for Lindsay. We’ve realized that it’s a lot of hard work, but that the hard work definitely pays off. We get to connect with other Lindsay fans and that’s been the most incredible thing! Seeing people be so happy because of her music or because of how she connects with them in meet ‘n greet is super rewarding.

Lindsay group pic with large group of fans with special needs! One of the sweetest moments we’ve ever witnessed!

We truly have never seen an artist who wants to connect more with their fans than Lindsay. Of course, we love her music, but to us, this page is about much more than just her music. Lindsay works so hard and is such a great person. She is truly the whole package and deserves every success in the world. We just want to be there supporting her and connecting with fans every step of the way!

This is a #TKOriginal of us watching Lindsay. Seriously…Lindsay’s manager, Taylor, is the best for capturing this picture of us in our happy place!

Connect with Boss Lady Updates:



Boss Lady Updates Website

Connect with Lindsay Ell:





Lindsay Ell iTunes

Music Feature Writer on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store