This talented teen has the wisdom of a seasoned musician and is the epitome of an old soul. Her new single, "The Healer," will have you asking, "I'm sorry ... you're how old?" The 16-year-old carved out time to answer our Five Questions and a Shameless Plug and trust me ... you'll be impressed by her maturity, down-to-earth perspective and sage advice.
1. You’ve been writing music for quite some time. As you mature, how has your songwriting changed? (style, subject matter, etc.)
One of the first songs I ever wrote was in seventh grade, a song called Awkward. It was about liking a boy but being too socially awkward to talk to him. My latest original, which I wrote not too long ago, is called Humerus, which is about liking someone but being too socially awkward to talk to them. As you can see, subject matter hasn’t really changed all that too much! However, I can say my writing style has definitely advanced and matured. I know I’m still a teenager, but I have gone through things that my seventh grade self couldn’t have predicted. It’s safe to say that I see some things differently now than I saw them back then, and that has affected my writing style very much.
2. What advice would you give to young girls and boys who want to pursue music as a career?
To anyone wanting to pursue music as a career, my only advice is the same as Scar’s in “The Lion King.” Be prepared. And also make sure that you really, really want it. Maybe because music is an art form, some people think it only takes talent and that’s all you need to make it. Sorry to say that this simply ain’t so. It’s not easy to be a musician. It takes time and effort and more energy than you might be willing to spare. So much more goes into being successful, a lot of which has to do with business and marketing. A good team can really help you out. Support, connections, those things are so important. Being talented will only get you half the way there. And your team doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just people who know what they’re doing and will stick with you. (I would recommend PARENTS as a starter, if that’s an option.)
3. What is your favorite instrument to play and why?
While I’m much better at piano than I am at guitar, I’d have to say it’s more fun to play guitar. Maybe the fact that guitar is more difficult is actually the reason that it’s a lot more gratifying when I learn to play a song on it. Not that I’m a master at piano or anything. But something about guitar just makes me feel happier, though I can’t quite name it.
4. You’ve recorded with some pretty huge names in the music industry. What did you learn from those experiences?
I’ve learned that a name doesn’t really matter much to me. As long as a person is good at their job and they take me seriously, then I’m content. Not to speak ill of the big names that I have worked with in the past, not at all. But while it’s obviously reassuring to work with someone who has found great success in what they do, I’ve also found that these accomplishments don’t always mean they’re the perfect match for you. What I really want in a person who I record with is someone who I can connect with and who genuinely wants to work with me. That’s all I need.
5. What is your favorite cover to perform and how do you make it your own?
My favorite cover to perform would probably be Son of a Preacher Man, done in the style of the wonderful Joss Stone. I made it a part of my set quite early on; it’s near and dear to my heart. Which makes it funny to hear that when my coach Shaun first showed it to me, I did not want to sing it at all! I think it was the song that really drew me out of my performance shell. My coach had made an arrangement slightly different from Joss Stone’s, with this huge, daunting ending. I remember recording it, feeling too afraid to even try those big notes in fear of my voice breaking. And then I tried them out, and I peaked the speakers. Shaun was really proud, and even though I thought it sounded terrible, I was proud too. And then I started performing it on stage, slowly gaining more confidence in the ending. It’s usually at the end of my set, and that’s because the energy change when I sing it is almost tangible. It makes me feel loose and good and free and people can feel that.
Finally, a shameless plug … what would you like our readers to know about you?
Goodness, what to say. I don’t really know what to say. I’m just the average person trying to start a career, like anyone else. There are ups and downs, although perhaps there are a few more downs than ups. Any career path that anyone could chose is difficult, and it’s definitely no different with music. I have a habit of giving up easily, quitting when things feel too rough or even too big to handle. So far I haven’t given up on music, although of course success is never guaranteed. So who knows what the future will bring. I certainly don’t. Hopefully that made any sense at all.
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