CRS Week Kick-off Is For The Girls

One of my favorite line-up’s for CRS week: Abby Andersen, Hannah Ellis, Jesse Lee, and Abbey Cone. I was way too excited to see this happening. All of my favorite girls into one writers round at The Listening Room Cafe. What more can I ask for?

Starting off with the young and beautiful booming voice, Abby Andersen, who was in my Artists To Watch article (shameless plug). I am SO excited for her. She sang her soon to be hit “Let Him Wait.” This song is such a powerful message for young girls in this generation nowadays. It’s only a matter of time before this song is blasting in every girl’s bedroom. If you think girls were playing hard to get, this song just made guys lives 100 times more difficult. Sorry boys, Abby’s telling us who’s boss.

From Hannah’s E.P. dropping last fall, to having co-writes for album’s like Russel Dickerson and Danielle Bradberry; Hannah has been on her game lately and isn’t turning back. Her positive attitude and stunning voice make the songs she’s been a part of honestly sound better than the original. As much as I do love “Messy” on Danielle Bradberry’s new album, Hannah’s twist on it was extra special. Take a listen for yourself.

Everyone knows Jesse Lee is a talented songwriter, just ask her co-writers: Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young. Coming off her two #1’s, “Peter Pan” and “Like I Loved You,” you can certainly say Jesse is just getting started. She’s just as talented behind the microphone as she is behind the song lyrics. Here’s one of my favorites from the night, “Life Is Pretty Damn Good.”

Seeing Abbey Cone for the first time in forever has been long overdue. Hearing her new songs did not disappoint. Her voice is electric and I can’t get over how obsessed I am with her. There’s no doubt in my mind she’s clearly going places. She will always be one of my favorites and this song of hers I am sharing is exactly why. Here’s “I Never Asked You.”

Even though I wasn’t able to attend most of CRS week events, I was satisfied with catching this round with most of the girls I’d pick myself to see in a writers round. Supporting women songwriters and artists is most important nowadays and always. These four talented ladies will be taking over country airplay before you know it. Keep your eyes out.

 

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Keith Urban Pop-Up Show: Graffiti U Tour Announcement

Wednesday afternoon I was sitting in class just going through a normal day, then my mom called me and informed me that Keith Urban announced a pop-up show at Exit/In here in Nashville. Usually, I’m aware of these things but I am extremely sick and was ready curl up in my bed. But what did I do instead? Leave right after my class 4 hours before doors open to stand outside in the freezing cold for Keith. Yes, I think I have bronchitis.

Right when we were able to get in, we ran up to the front. What else would you expect from me? He came out and sang a few bangers, then announced his tour Graffiti U, with his superstar opener Kelsea Ballerini. Of course, Kelsea came out and sang a couple songs. However, Keith played some of his new songs off his new record Graffiti U, and damn are they good. Lucky for you my partial OCD of recording every little thing came in handy last night.

One of the first songs he sang off the new record, “Texas Time”, hit all the states, including New York (that’s me). It’s a fun, different take on Texas and I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it at all. I’ll admit, I was ready to get a cowboy hat on and start line-dancing. I don’t even know how to line dance. Take a listen.

The next song Keith sang “Same Heart”, is a representation of who he is today. It’s pure, genuine, and a song every artist should be able to listen to and take notes. This one is definitely going to be people’s new favorite.

Finally, the song that blew me away was “Parallel Lines”. I was hoping and thinking this is going to be his new single because this could be the wedding hit of 2018, and after today I was right. Not only that, but this is a different vibe from Keith, and I’m digging it.

 

At the end of his show, he starting talking to us about how playing these small venues and all showing up for the same reason makes us all “one”. Not you, me, or anyone else, we’re all one. Music is what brings people together through good and bad, and he reminds us of that. Keith’s gratitude and humbleness has been so powerful over the years. He is one of the best artists and entertainers of all time, and there’s no doubt his new record Graffiti U  will be another success for him. Thanks for the free concert Keith, you’re my broke-college-wallet hero.

 

The Secrets Of SoundCloud: My 2017 Playlist

Whether it’s a weekday or Friday night, if these songs aren’t played in the first 10 minutes of my friends and I sitting in my dorm room, something’s wrong. My friends and I might be the only ones who do this, but it’s fine because after this post you’ll be doing it too.

You’re heading over to SoundCloud. Yes, you heard right, SoundCloud. Some people love it, others might think it’s all about dropping mixtapes. However, you have to do what you have to do to hear songs that aren’t released yet.

These songs and artists you’re going to be hearing are going to be stuck in your head forever because they’ve been stuck in mine for way too long. I’m not complaining though because that’s when you know it’s clearly something special, well in my head it is. Here are my go-to SoundCloud songs on repeat:

“I Wish You Would” – Abby Cone

First of all, Abbey is a complete goddess. Secondly, All of her songs on SoundCloud will be in your head, especially this one. I’m constantly singing it in my head throughout the day. Seeing and hearing her live is an experience I’m all for 25/8. If you see her playing a round in Nashville; go. You won’t be disappointed.

“Just Asking To Dance” – Nicholas Wayne

If there’s anyone who’s going to have a year next year, It’s Nick Wayne. His voice is just.. you have to listen. From seeing him play writers rounds to SoundCloud, he gets you in your feels really quick. Not in a bad way of course. He’ll have you thinking about that ex you don’t even have kind of feels. It’s only a matter of time before Nick makes his mark when his album drops in 2018.

“Holdin’ Up” – Trannie Stevens 

I first heard this song with Trannie singing it at Song Suffragettes and fell in love with it. I immediately went to SoundCloud right after hoping to find a demo, and luckily it was there. I never looked back after that.

“We Got All Night” – Jordan Reynolds 

Jordan has been a favorite going to writers rounds. I can’t get enough of his voice. This song has been a feel-good hopeless romantic jam that’s been on repeat for my semester. I’ll probably be saying this a lot for other artists too, but all of his songs are too damn good not to listen. He has cuts on Dan & Shay’s new project coming out next year. Oh, you bet they’re gems.

“Now” – Josh Kerr

This is the most nostalgic sad song but for some reason, you want to play it over-and-over. You know that song that makes you want to look out a car window and feel like you’re in a movie? This is that song. Yes, this is what I think about. This song is honestly crack. I think my friends and I are half of these loops. I’m not even sorry if you get addicted.

“At The Bottom” – Sydney Cubit

I had to add this in because it’s been on repeat for the last week. It’s the most lyrical genius song I’ve ever heard. She’s preaching what every girl is thinking. Take a listen to this one. Actually just do yourself a favor and listen to her entire SoundCloud, thanks.

These were only a select few that have been on constant repeat, there’s so much more I could babble on about. I probably sound like I’m geeking out over this, however, I don’t care. These artists have been a major savior for me when I get bored with listening to Spotify or Apple Music, so give them the loops they deserve because I said so.

 

 

 

Artists To Watch 2018

This year has been a breakthrough for many artists including Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce, and Danielle Bradberry with their chart crushing albums. Now, it’s only a matter of time before some of my favorite artists I’ve seen live at writers rounds for the longest time get their chance to shine. These are some of my picks for artists to watch for 2018:

  1. Devin Dawson 

Devin is changing the contemporary country music game. From the beginning when I heard his song “Dark Horse” played live at his shows, I knew he was something special. His original song ‘All On Me” has over 36 million streams on spotify. Now, his other single he has released, “I Don’t Care Who Sees” has over 4 million streams. His unique sound to country music is not only refreshing, but is going to make his career take off. His debut album Dark Horse will be released Jan 19; watch out.

     2. Abby Andersen

The idea of people not knowing or hearing who Abby is hurts my heart. Abby has the voice of an angel and her single “This Feeling” is my top played on spotify this year, and should’ve been yours too. It has half a million loops on spotify and I wouldn’t be surprised If I was 25% of the loops because of the amount of times I listen to it. Hearing her new content live at rounds in Nashville gets me overly excited for her. 2018 doesn’t know what’s about to hit, Abby’s coming in hot.

     3. Cale Dodds

Warner Music signee, Cale Dodds, has been killing the country spotify charts in the last year having over 5 million loops for “People Watching” and “Lying”. “All Over,” being his first official single with Warner Music, has over half a million streams and isn’t stopping there. He hasn’t disappeared on Spotify’s playlist “New Boots,” this entire year, and it’s only a short amount of time until he gets the recognition he deserves. The future is only bright for Cale. Listening to his music and randomly bumping into him at Urban Juicer in Nashville has made me curious on what’s to come. Yes, we’re basically best friends now because I ran into him in Nashville. Try not to be jealous.

     4. Ryan Griffin

I cannot talk-up Ryan Griffin enough. This guy is crazy talented. From watching him live at CMA fest to the Listening Room Cafe, he deserves big-time. Ryan has just entered into a well deserving joint publishing and development deal with the one-and-only songwriter/producer busbee and BMG Nashville. Even though we all know that Ryan is the co-writer of Kelsea Ballerini’s hit single “Dibs;” Ryan’s heart wrenching song “Woulda Left Me Too” has over 3 million streams on Spotify. It’s time for the world to discover Ryan Griffin. 2018 is his.

   5. Tyler Rich

California grown Tyler Rich has been up-and-coming the last couple years, but 2018 is going to be his big break. The first time I ever heard of Tyler was when he opened up for Dustin Lynch in 2015 and my mom literally went on stage and took shots with him. Yes, you heard that correctly. After that show, I had his EP “Valerie” on repeat. Now, here we are in 2017 and he just recently signed with Big Machine Label Group. Ladies, if you want a bop, I suggest blasting “Teach Ya Girl” as loud as you can in your car. You’re welcome.

    6. Emma White

Baltimore born and raised, Emma never saw herself in the Nashville scene. Her R&B route somehow went the country route, and I’m not opposed to it. Emma’s self titled EP has been my go-to this past year. Her voice is so soothing you can listen to her on repeat and I’m living proof of it. Her single “OVERTHINK IT” was one of my most played on Spotify this year, do you believe me yet? Getting to know her this past year was a privilege. She’s a class act and most certainly the most humble human I’ve ever met. This year was just the beginning for Emma, and I’m excited to see the big things in store for her in 2018.

If I’m right about all of these, which I will be, you’re welcome for giving you the heads-up.

Brett Young: Behind The Caliville Tour

On Nov 17, I had the privilege of attending Brett Young’s Caliville tour as a VIP. The man, the myth, the legend, Brett Young never lets you down meet & greet and performance wise. You may say I’m a tad biased because of how many times I’ve seen Brett live, but if you’ve experienced what I have then you’d be too.

The VIP included an acoustic show, meet & greets, and a poster. Well worth the money if you like hearing a heavenly voice while staring at eye candy. No, but honestly, Brett is the sweetest most down-to-earth human you will ever meet. He doesn’t have one bad bone in his body. It also helps that he’s better live than studio.

I haven’t heard some of his new songs on his self-titled album that dropped in February of 2017 until this night, and it was well worth the wait. But first, let’s talk about VIP.

Brett played two of his hit songs “In Case You Didn’t Know” and “Like I Loved You;” he also he answered some questions from fans. The VIP was small and acoustic-style with just him and his guitar. When it’s just Brett and his guitar, this happens..

You can’t dislike “Memory Won’t Let Me,” and if you do, I dislike you. Written by Brett Young, Justin Ebach and Steven Dale Jones, It has a California-summer vibe when you give it a listen. This song has single & hit written all over it from start to finish.

One of the best heartbreak song’s of the year is “Mercy” on his self-titled album. Written by Brett Young and Sean McConnell.  It’s heart-rending, yet you don’t want to stop listening to it. I think this might be one of my top favorites from Brett. The lyrics are so vulnerable, which makes it a fan favorite. He had the crowd belting this song out for his encore.

 

Brett Young’s Caliville tour is just the beginning of his career. He’s been up-and-coming since last year, but I think he’s ready to break out into the superstar he is. His humbleness and perseverance put together brings out the person he is today. Make sure you keep an eye out, Brett Young’s destined for nothing but great things.

Unapologetically Obsessed With Kelsea Ballerini’s New Album

Kelsea Ballerini did it again. Having such high expectations for her new album “Unapologetically,” and she fulfilled them. I’ve been very impatient after hearing her teasers she released a few months ago, and now that it’s finally here, I can say it’s the best lyrically written album I’ve heard this year.

Her album written as a storyline of her life is so unique and relatable to people, especially young women. We’re growing up with her from “Graveyard’ to Legends,” and that’s what makes it so special. From start to finish this album is pure gold and there ins’t a song that isn’t a hit.

She’s played some of her new songs on the road, but I’d have to say some of my favorites are the tracks that she saved for us to hear.

Starting with “Machine Heart, ” written by Kelsea, Greg Wells, and James Abrahart. This track is one of the pure songs for girls in their teens/twenties going through finding out who they are and realizing their heart isn’t something people can take advantage of. It’s about self actualization. Kelsea nailed the lyrics. There are too many lyrics I can pull out, pretty much the entire song, but the words that really stood out to me were:

“I kept it quiet
But now you’ll hear it scream
Cause good or bad or right or wrong
It’s finally found its beat”

Her emphasis when she sings the lyrics stands out. You don’t even need to be actually paying attention when you hear the song, because it’s striking enough to grab your attention right back to it when you hear it.

Ladies, “Get over Yourself” written by Kelsea, Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman is the sassy bop of the century. The amount of times I’ve replayed this song and felt like a badass is unhealthy.

“I didn’t miss a beat when I heard you were seeing, somebody else
And, I’m, over you thinking that every move that I’m making is just a game that I’m playing, because my heart is still breaking
Boy, I’m over you, I’m over you”

She unleashed her inner ego that every girl has been wanting/needing to hear. If you forced me to pick a favorite song from this album, this would be it.

“In Between” written by Kelsea, Jimmy Robbins, and Shane McAnally shows exactly what us college students are thinking. We’re all stuck in the middle of not knowing what we’re doing, but somehow Kelsea calmed it down for us in this melody. I think it’s a song us girls need to hear when we’re not exactly sure where our place is in life.

“I’m half head up in the clouds, half feet down on the ground
‘Cause it ain’t that simple
As an adult sittin’ on that page when they say, “Act your age“
But you’re stuck there in the middle”

Kelsea says “It captures as honestly as I could exactly where I’m at in my life right now,” and I think every girl can relate. It’s the last song she recorded for her album and one of her favorites.

Kelsea’s future is nothing but up from here. She is going to be the game-changer for women in country music, whether people like it or not. After dropping “Unapologetically,” she’s dangerous in the music industry. There’s not one song on this album that can’t break top 10 on the charts, take a listen for yourself.

 

Girls Of Nashville: Reminding Music Who’s Boss

A seasonal songwriting show, Girls Of Nashville, showed just what women in music are made of. Every year these girls come together celebrating artists and songwriters, and it doesn’t disappoint. Colbie Caillat was there, so obviously it can’t even be close to disappointment. Do you believe me now?

Maddie Larkin started the first round, and at the end of the night became one of my favorites. Her debut single “45” that released in August, has quickly looped over 50,000 plays on Spotify. I’ve heard many stories from my friends on how talented she is, but have never had the chance to see her until this night; I’m glad I did. She did sing her single “45,” but another song she sang “Expectations,” is a future hit.

Warner/Chappel and THiS music writer Emily Weisband has been killing the music industry lately. She earned her first Grammy for Contemporary Christian Music Performance/song, along with her first Dove Awards MusicRow Award nomination. Did I mention she recently just announced she’s being featured on Luke Bryan’s new album? She’s been one of my favorites for a long-time now, so just being able to finally meet and see her made my night. She sang her co-write “Good Time To Be Alive,” recently cut and on Lady Antebellum’s new album. Additionally, she sang one of her new songs “Naked,” that she wrote for her little sister whom was comparing herself to other girls that her “boyfriend” was seeing. One of my favorite qualities about Emily is how up-front and real she is with her lyrics, and “Naked” exemplifies perfectly what I’m talking about.

If you don’t know Caitlyn Smith, what are you doing with your life? After years being spent in Nashville writing songs for Garth Brooks, Meghan Trainor, and Dolly Parton, she’s finally having the big break she deserves with her EP “Starfire.” Caitlyn has that voice where she can sing the alphabet and it would still blow my mind on how good she is. She was hitting notes I didn’t even think were possible. She made it look easy and was a total natural. Here she is singing her song off her EP, “Tacoma.” 

I have to throw Colbie Caillat in here because my middle-school self was freaking out right when she started singing “Bubbly.” She told her story on how this song came about; how she recorded a bunch of songs not even thinking she was making an album. Her friend put all her demos on Myspace and it quickly became popular. Hearing her story intrigued me because even though I’ve listened to her music constantly, I never knew the exact story on how she started. She moved to Nashville one-year-ago and says its the best decision she has ever made. Here’s Colbie singing “Bubbly,” you’re welcome.

Girls Of Nashville season showcases exactly what people need to see when they come to Nashville. Every women who was on that stage killed it and showed people what women in music are made of. This is only the beginning for women in music, and these ladies proved that during this round. Each year it gets better and better even when you think it can’t. If you live in Nashville or are coming to visit, make sure you come to one of these show’s. Women in music are taking over, you heard it here first.