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Music Pays My Rent Celebrates Music Careers & Gives Back Through MusiCares

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Katy DuBois grew up in Arkansas and spent her childhood on the football sidelines with her Dad, riding horses and barrel racing with her Mom, and dancing and performing in musicals at her community theater. She became interested in writing her own songs as a teenager and while in high school began traveling back and forth to Nashville to play writer’s rounds, attend meetings, and co-write.

Growing up in Arkansas. What drew you to co-writes in Nashville that connected you to form Maybe April in 2012?

I have always loved music and performing. I started doing dance when I was six and musical theater shortly after. As a teenager I became interested in songwriting and realized Nashville was the place to be. I lived about four hours away, but would make trips there often to co-write, play rounds, and network. I was hooked from my first trip. It is a magical place with a community of like-minded people all chasing a dream. I can be discouraging and overwhelming, but also incredibly inspiring. I was young when I started my journey, but I am so thankful for the people I met and the things I learned along the way!

I went to GRAMMY camp Nashville in the summer of 2012 and that is where Maybe April was formed!

Read in your duo’s bio that your first co-write lead to a songwriting showcase. What’s the backstory to that first co-write?

Alaina and I met, along with our former bandmate Kristen, at GRAMMY camp Nashville in 2012. I didn’t know what to expect at the camp. I thought it might be a cheesy “Camp Rock” kind of thing, but it ended up being one of the most pivotal weeks of my life! They have all these different tracks you can do as a high school student from instrumental to production to management, but we were all in the songwriting group. All the students had to come up with a project to present to industry professionals at the end of the week. Our mentor, Drew Ramsey, suggested that the three of us try writing a song together.

We wrote a song called “Loving You Still”, threw some harmonies and a performance together, and we all knew pretty quickly that it was something special! In 2013 we all moved in together in Nashville to pursue Maybe April! About a year later, the Recording Academy flew us out to LA to play “Loving You Still” during GRAMMY week. It was a surreal experience!!

From there you started touring before being named on CMT’s “Next Up Now” and on Rolling Stone’s “10 Best Country, Americana Songs To Hear Now” lists.

Your debut album, “The Other Side”, takes the listener along on that journey from hopeful dreams to critical recognition. What was it like the first time you were performing and fans were singing the lyrics back to you?

It was pretty crazy!! First time was definitely our Moms, haha, but when we see people in the audience at a show who actually know the words to our songs we honestly can’t believe it! We are just so thankful when people enjoy our music and it helps them through something or makes them feel happy. We have had a few musician’s do covers of our songs online and we always think, “Wait, what? Did they mean to do that?”. That is pretty cool.

Americana storytellers. What story have you not told, but hope to write about soon?

Sometimes it can be fun to make up stories, but for the most part we love writing about our lives. It’s what we know obviously and a form of therapy! I would like to write more about my family, growing up in Arkansas, and the struggles of being in your 20’s! There’s always more stories to tell, it’s just about finding the best way to get them out.

Normally you’d be promoting your recent release of your Audiotree session. How have you been able to connect with fans during the quarantine?

We love Audiotree! This was our second session with them and we are very thankful for what they have done for our career. It’s been tough to still connect, but that is the beauty of social media! We have done a couple instagram live’s and IGTV’s. I am constantly trying to brainstorm new ways to connect while not being in person.

You just started Music Pays My Rent, a business you describe as “​a lifestyle and apparel brand that highlights and celebrates artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors.​” How were you able to go from an idea to a product in a short time?

I’m so used to having multiple irons in the fire at all times, so during this quarantine when a few of those irons got taken out, I had to fill it with something new! I basically just spent all of my time working on the idea, website, and designs, then just put it out into the world and hope people liked it!! I am definitely still learning as I go.

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The artist stories you’ve shared, how their musical journey and their ability to pay rent go hand-in-hand. An amazing story to come from, as you describe, “​my inability to sit still”. Your business is giving back, 10% of profits to MusiCares. How has MusiCares been able to help industry people during the pandemic?

Yes, I do have a problem not having something to work on! MusiCares is an amazing organization. I wanted to launch this brand to celebrate the artistic and music industry, but also wanted to give back to that community at the same time. As an independent singer/songwriter I have been applying for relief funds left and right just like everyone else who has cancelled tours. MusiCares helps people in this community during hardships year round, but they have gone above and beyond during this pandemic. They are providing relief to thousands of individuals in the music industry who are hurting from loss of work during this time. I am extremely thankful for organizations like them to look out for us!

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What is your business plan moving forward once the quarantine ends?

I would love to get back to face to face co-writing, touring, and just seeing people I love! For “Music Pays My Rent” I hope to continue spreading the word and connecting with like-minded people. The internet has been really helpful for my launch, but I think human connection always wins in any business.

Just out here trying to be the person Mr. Rogers knew I could be”. Besides Mr. Rogers, who inspires you?

Yes, I am trying to make Mr. Rogers proud! I am also inspired by my family, my husband, bandmate Alaina, my friends. When I see people take risks and go for their passion it’s super inspiring to me. It can be a complete stranger, but watching someone not hold back in life and really living it is contagious! I also used to work at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville. There’s something about hearing the songwriter sing the song that is an incredibly special experience.

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A positive message you want to share with fans as we all try to navigate through these uncertain times?

Find joy in the little things! Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile, write a friend a letter, take up a new hobby. It can be easier said than done, but I think this can actually be a beautiful time to sit back and realize what truly matters to us.

Katy DuBois Instagram

Music Pays My Rent Instagram

Maybe April Instagram

Written by

Music Feature Writer on Medium

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