“ ‘If The World Was Ending’ ”. Social Distancing, but make it songs…” at the beginning of the pandemic. What songs would you be singing today, some 235+ days later, that represent how you feel about making music for a living and missing people?
I always tend to lean into songs of hope, especially if I feel that I am lacking it. Some songs that make me feel good and give me hope are “Ain’t No Mountain High” -Marvin Gaye, “Wake Me Up” -Avicii, “I’m Good” -The Mowgli’s & “Watermelon Sugar” -Harry Styles.
“Sunbeam Wall Sit”. What has helped you the most to stay healthy even while quarantined?
My friendships. I am an EXTREME extrovert and I derive my hope, energy and substance from intentional, meaningful relationships. Also, in quarantine, I bought a set of resistance bands that you strap under your door to exercise with.. so those have been pretty clutch in the health department as well!
#SongsWeGrewUpOn. You chose Tim McGraw’s “Just To See You Smile”. Which songs do you think will define 2020?
I think “If The World Was Ending” is the ultimate apocalyptic/ “what the hell is happening in the world” jam.
I think “WAP” will always remind me of 2020 too! (if nothing else, it has supplied endless TikTok memes!)
Another one for me has been “Ice Cream” by BLACKPINK ft. Selena Gomez. It’s a 2020 jam for sure. It has become the soundtrack to my early morning drives to get coffee.
In April, you shared that response to an unreleased demo was incredible and you made “Summer Us” your next single. What’s the backstory to the song?
I love songs about summertime. I love songs that make me feel nostalgic. And I love “love songs”. “Summer Us” is a perfect little blend of all of those and brings all the “feel good vibes” that you could possibly want. I wrote it with some buddies as we were wrapping up the album and originally, we were gonna wait a while to put out another single.. but I just felt like the fan response was too good! So we just dropped it, knowing it would live on the South EP.
One of your favorite things is going with people on adventures in nature. Weekends growing up in Colorado were spent in the mountains. What places are still on your travel bucket list?
I would love to see Japan as well.
How do you think the uncertainty of the past few months has affected songwriting?
I know it has affected so many of my friends and peers. The uncertainty about the world, the economy, and our industry has been devastating.
For me, I get anxious if I’m not working on the craft, so It made me dive even deeper into the game. I’ve written some of the best songs of my life in this period and I feel really lucky that I have the support system that I do.
You asked fans what their favorite lyric was in “Say In This”. What’s your favorite all-time lyric from a song?
I have a few favs,
“I still keep your shampoo in my shower.. in case you wanna wash your hair.” — John Mayer, “Still Feel Like Your Man”
“God bless the broken road, that led me straight to you” — Rascal Flatts, “Bless The Broken Road” (just so classic, gives me chills every time the hook lands.)
And of course,
“Bitch, real G’s move in silence like lasagna” — Lil Wayne, “6 Foot 7 Foot”
Poetry.. pure poetry.
“Never ever base a decision on someone else or what they think. Find your compass and your own true north.” — Michelle McIntosh. “It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.” — Sara Teasdale How do these quotes represent your career and life to date?
I try really hard to be authentic. I think people, especially in today’s day and age, are starving for authenticity. Sometimes that makes me “uncool” or an “outcast”, but I’m learning at the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, it’s up to me whether or not I love my life. The more that I bend and break on things that are important to me, the more anxiety ridden my thoughts are. The more that I stick up for myself and what I believe in, the easier it is to sleep at night and go about my day to day.
“Wilderness”. It’s been in the works for over a year, the planning, the studio time, the writing, the re-writing, the photo/video shoots, brainstorming, edits, starting over. What inspired the album you call ‘wild’?
I wanted to go where no one has gone before. Wilderness can be defined as “somewhere that has not been inhabited.”
I feel like this sound that I have created and the way that we have put out this album is brand new to country music and I think, although it’s a “wild” idea, it’s authentic.. and authentic always shines through.
Telling fans that your EP North represents you 100%, the style of your music, your story, who you are as an artist. You said that this project was different out of the box and that it was a risk. However, family and friends’ response to the songs like “Good Thing” showed you that, even with the lyrics so specific to you, others were able to relate and connect. Which songs by other artists have had the same effect on you?
Sam Hunt has a song called “2016”. That song breaks my heart every time. It lets me feel like I’m not so alone or crazy.
JP Saxe has a song called “Woman Who Looks Like You”. The songwriting is incredible and I feel like he stole the lyrics straight from my internal monologue.
EP East is all about love and how you wanted the songs to be the soundtrack for everyone’s love journey, no matter what stage they’re in. You said Track 5, “My Person”, has genuinely changed your life — how so?
“My Person” is the “little song that could”. It continues to grow and find listeners, while racking up an all time high stream count for me. It’s my first song to hit 10 million streams and it’s definitely a fan favorite.
EP West includes the songs “You Always Hurt the One You Love” and “Delete All”. Taking the lessons your darkest hours taught you using them to shape you into the person you are today. Not everyone can write lyrics but we can all journal. How has writing helped you through your toughest times?
There is something magical about letting your thoughts and feelings out. Whether it’s songwriting, journaling, therapy, or a coffee date with a friend, emoting is essential to feeling emotions. I often don’t even really feel the weight of what I’ve been through until it’s in a song. And when I do, it’s incredibly freeing.
EP South. The last chapter of the Wilderness album. When things are going ‘south’, it usually implies not doing well. Why did you choose this direction to be the last released?
South is all about fun, summertime and nostalgia. I wanted people to leave on a smile. West can be a really dark listen if you’re newly and unexpectedly, single. I wanted some brevity and light at the end of the tunnel.