When the Music Stops - Angela Marie

A look into what it takes to make it as a Singer/Songwriter here in Music City.


Angela Marie 1.jpg

Angela Marie

What brought you to Nashville?

So many people have asked me why I would move from my hometown of Ottawa, ON Canada - a place where so many people know who I am and what I do, to Nashville, TN - a city where there are thousands of “me”s walking down every street and singing at every bar you pass. I don’t really see it that way, though.

First off, for many months of the year in Ottawa it’s so cold that it physically hurts to breathe, so I definitely dig the sunshine and flip-flop weather down here. But the main reason why I decided to pick up my life and move away from all my friends and family was to push myself to the limit. Sure, there are so many people who can sing, write and play better than I can and maybe I won’t stand out as much as I did back home; but what better way to learn and improve than to surround myself with the best of the best? That’s why I’m here, and that’s why I love this city.

Tell us about what it takes to be a singer/songwriter in Music City?

Oh man, we would be here for a while if I listed everything out! But, I think my #1 is that you better have some pretty thick skin. I’ve heard “no” so many times it’s not even funny, and I know the same thing goes for most singer/songwriters in this town. From “you're too much like Carrie Underwood”, “we just signed someone like you”, “you’re not pop enough for country radio” to “you just don’t have a chance”-- I’ve honestly heard it all, and I know I’m going to hear it many more times in my life. The people who last in this town are the ones who listen to those critiques and either forget about them or find a way to use that as fuel to push themselves to become a better musician/writer/performer.

Who/what inspired you to take this path?

I honestly can’t see myself doing anything besides music and I’ve always been that way. I went to university to have a “back-up plan” (even though they say you’re never supposed to have those down here) but throughout school and working other jobs, I always went back to music and made it my priority. I am also very lucky to have a family who loves music and has always been supportive of my dream. I think that’s a huge part of why I am the way I am and why it’s such a no-brainer to be doing what I’m doing.

Describe some of the roadblocks you’ve faced so far in your musical journey in Nashville.

I am a very proud Canadian, even though I see myself living in the US for a long time (and most likely forever). However, being a Canadian down here has definitely made things more difficult at times. Besides missing my favorite chocolate bars and some good quality maple syrup, figuring out the world of working in a foreign country, especially as a musician, is not easy. I am on what’s called a “P2 Visa” which is a visa for performers. This means I HAVE to make my living through music. I can’t go flip burgers on the side to help pay rent, I can’t bartend or babysit. I have to play gigs. I play downtown on Broadway for tips which is hard on my voice--and hard on my bank account sometimes haha. On the other side of that though, I play music for a living so I can’t complain too much!

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Biggest misconception the public has about the music industry?

That things happen overnight. NOTHING happens quickly down here. Even if someone pops up on the radio and nobody has heard of them and their song goes straight to #1, nobody is an overnight success. I promise that years and years of hard work and dedication went into that success before anyone knew their name. Tons of time is spent getting into good writing circles, networking with other artists and people in the industry, and a lot of time is spent practicing.

Things you are most excited about right now?

I have a whole bunch of music that I am working really hard to get released out to you guys! It’s been a long time since I’ve put anything out and my sound has definitely changed in the two years I have been in Music City. I cannot wait to see what people think! If you head on over to my Instagram or Facebook page and give them a follow, I’ll keep you updated with release dates!

Stay updated here:
www.angelamarieofficial.com
www.instagram.com/angelamarieofficial
www.facebook.com/angelamarieofficial

 

When the Music Stops - Rebel Union

A look into what it takes to make it as a Singer/Songwriter here in Music City.


RebelUnion_DenizenGuideNashville.com

REBEL UNION 

Our name is who we are. A band of misfits, or rebels if you will. A Star Wars nerd, a former baseball player, a shoe hoarder, and a cat lady. We are all unique and different in our own ways, and that’s what brought us together. Our music is a blend of our personalities and backgrounds. The beauty of that? You get to decide what genre that puts us in.

If you want to know more about us as individuals, check out our bios here: https://www.rebelunionmusic.com/bio/

What brought you to Nashville?

Besides the hot chicken…

Rebel Union moved to town as two separate duets. As those duets, we realized that the saying is true: “you must be present to win.” We knew, from our knowledge of the industry, that to be taken seriously and meet the right people to put us on the track to success, we needed to be in Music City!

The four of us met for the first time at a show in Georgia the week before both duets were supposed to move. It was perfect timing as we would all be new to town and wanted to get plugged into the writing scene. We started writing together, eventually singing those songs together, and decided we could do more as four people than we ever could as duets (plus, singing together just felt right and was where we wanted to go creatively). We came up with a name, created an Instagram to make it official, and BAM. The rest is history.

Tell us about what it takes to be a singer/songwriter in Music City?

Persistence! Singers/songwriters are some of the hardest-working people that I know. All of us have full-time jobs in addition to music, and we invest everything we make from music back into our craft. We are just working for what we know will be the eventual payoff:  getting to do what we love full-time. 

The ones who arelucky enough to do it full-time are constantly stuck in vans on the highway playing for drunk crowds or even empty rooms. That can get discouraging. To be an artist, you must develop thick skin, persistence, and a good work ethic. You must be open to criticism to get better, and try not to let the haters get you down 😊

 Who/What inspired you to take this path?

I know we all have different influences and inspirations (again, it’s what makes our sound unique). But mutually, we all grew up singing and playing instruments. I’m not even sure we could pin it down on one specific person or thing that put us on this path. At the end of the day, none of us see ourselves doing anything else. It’s all we have ever wanted to do. And you should do what you love, damnit.

Describe some of the roadblocks you’ve faced so far in your musical journey in Nashville?

Well there was that time Blake got our van stuck in the sand at the beach and didn’t make it back for our show in time…. but I won’t get into that. That was quite literally a roadblock.

On a more serious note: being in a band with your best friends and spouse is not as easy as it sounds. Or maybe it’s as hard as it sounds. I still don’t even know.

Thankfully, we all have always had amazing chemistry, that’s why we decided to do this thing in the first place. But it doesn’t come without its fair share of disagreements/tension/creative differences. We always find we grow the most when we get through disagreements, find compromises, and get to the heart of whatever the issue is. We have learned to communicate so well, we really pride ourselves on it. We have realized we are stronger and better together, and it’s what makes this thing so great and so insanely rewarding. We make an amazing team and it helps us overcome any roadblocks that do come our way. (We eventually got out of the sand, by the way). 

RebelUnion_DenizenGuideNashville

Biggest misconception the public has about the music industry?

I think the biggest misconception, even to artists themselves, is that you just kind of “get lucky” and “get discovered.” We hear all this all the time from fans who believe this is going to happen for us, and it’s very encouraging and kind! But, what we have learned since being in Nashville is that you very rarely just go play a normal writer’s round or show in town and an A&R rep happens to show up. Most of these things are very calculated and it takes a lot of networking, a ton of touring (or social media likes) and a lot of reading/knowledge about how the industry works to even set something up like a showcase or a label meeting. 

That’s another misconception people have: that there are no resources or guides out there for musicians on how to get started, put a team together, tour, etc etc. Yes, it’s not as cut and dry as some other careers. There is no one right way of “making it.” But there ARE steps in the process. And there are actually a TON of books, blogs, podcasts, and mentors in the music industry who are willing to help you put together a strategy and team to get you success. But, you must be just as diligent in learning the business side of music as you are in exploring the creative side of music.

Thing you are most excited about right now? 

Other than Denizen featuring us in this article and that fact that you are now reading it, whoever you are (HEYY!) we actually do have some big news. We just spent our first day of pre-production in the studio with our incredibly talented producer, Dan Hannon. We will be releasing 4 brand new songs, and we can’t wait to share them.

Follow us on Insta and we will keep you posted on the release dates!

Hear us: 

https://open.spotify.com/album/0sYQN0tNjGz26YIrrLNW29?si=TIMaMbm4TKOiS5T_Qv1HIw

When the Music Stops - Matt Rogers

A look into what it takes to make it as a Singer/Songwriter here in Music City.


MattRogersCountry_DenizenNashville

What brought you to Nashville?

-It really just seemed to be the natural progression. I have played guitar and performed most of my life. I started, like most do, in church. Then had a high school garage band. In college, it progressed to more writing songs and performing singer/songwriter events. Eventually, after moving back home I started playing weekends at local bars. Things changed when I moved to Macon, GA and put a band together and we began playing band shows. After a couple of releases of music and visiting Nashville more and more frequently, whether to write or for meetings, I saved some money, left a full-time job, and made music my full-time career. 

Tell us about what it takes to be a singer/songwriter in Music City?

-There's so much that goes into making this a career you can live off of. You have to spend equal amounts of time on branding, marketing, and learning how the business works as you do on being creative, being a better performer, player, and singer. It is most certainly a grind. It has to be something you're willing to put in whatever time is necessary. I am very goal oriented, so setting goals and putting a plan of action into place to achieve those has been something that's really helped me afford to still be chasing the dream and growing the career. In short, "If it were easy, everyone would do it." But when it’s something you honestly feel like you were put on earth to do, you pursue it. 

Who/What inspired you to take this path?

-It hit me one day when I was spending more time writing, practicing, booking, working on my website, that I was basically operating as a fulltime business. I released a song called "I Was Raised" that was received very well, and opened quite a few doors for me. It gave me the confidence to believe in what I was doing. In hindsight, looking at all the things that at the time I thought were catastrophic to my future were only there to ensure me on the path I am on. Things so specific you can only call it divine intervention. That's what keeps my fire lit. 

Describe some of the roadblocks you’ve faced so far in your musical journey in Nashville?

-No matter what you do there will be roadblocks. Things don't always work out the way you want, or more often, the way you expect them too. There have been deals that we had spent months negotiating that fell through. There have been songs on hold that never got cut. The thing about roadblocks is there are always different routes to the same destination. So you remind yourself there aren't enough NO's in this town, you dust yourself off, and get back to work. 

MattRogersCoutnry_DenizenGuideNashville

Biggest misconception the public has about the music industry?

-Most people, including people who are chasing music as a career, do not have a clue how business driven it has become. To the point it’s almost not even about music anymore. So many numbers go into effect. Ticket sales, downloads, spins, merch sales, and the list goes on and on. It is something that simply can not be ignored. You cannot be naive to that fact. This is why it is so important to learn the business and treat it as such when trying to put your music into the world.

Thing you are most excited about right now? 

-I have also been writing a ton of new songs and getting ready to release some new stuff, hopefully this summer! CMA Fest is coming up and I am very excited about playing the CMA Spotlight Stage this year, as well as, the Hard Rock stage, and WildHorse Saloon. I love getting to meet all the country music fans at Fan Fair X also. It’s just a cool time to be in Nashville and be a part of country music. 

What should people be looking forward to from you?

-A great songwriter in town named Hugh Moffatt once told me, "Dare to be ordinary." When he explained a little more, he said that so many people in this town try to be what they think is cool, or be something they aren't, because being themselves is too boring, or ordinary. The funny thing is, when we are being a pure version of ourselves, by design, that’s the only time we are truely unique. That's stuck with me for a number of years now. I try to make sure of that in everything I do involving my music, my brand, and what I am all about. 

•      www.mattrogerscountry.com

•      facebook.com/mattrogerscountry

•      twitter.com/mrogerscountry

•      instagram.com/mattrogerscountry

•      youtube.com/mattrogerscountry

When the Music Stops - KENNA

A look into what it takes to make it as a Singer/Songwriter here in Music City.


KENNAMUSIC_DeizenGuideNashville

KENNA is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with a story to tell. Devoting her craft to writing deeply heartfelt and creatively inspired works, Kenna's songs aim to bring you to a space where the moods and melodies of her music help you escape the world for a few.

What brought you to Nashville?

Music, 100%! I went to college in Boston at Berklee College of Music and moved down here shortly after I graduated in 2016. When trying to pursue a career in the music industry, your options are pretty much LA, NYC or Nashville. I couldn’t see myself living in the other two cities. Nashville made the most sense—and because I had previously spent a lot of time here before living here, it felt right to move down south. I’ve been here for almost 2 years now.

Tell us about what it takes to be a singer/songwriter in Music City?

It takes a WHOLE LOT—and not just one thing, its so many parts combined. What I’ve come to find in my time down here is that the people who live authentically, work hard, stop at nothing and are KIND have the most longevity in their careers. That’s the goal.

Who/What inspired you to take this path?

I’ve always been crazy about music. You can trace it back to 5 year old Mckenna with a pink toy microphone in hand, standing a foot away from the CMT awards on television—singing along with every word. Music has always been the language that came the most natural to me. No one In particular inspired me; it was just always in my heart, at the core of my being. My mom always told me to follow my heart, so you could say she fed the inspiration! 

Describe some of the roadblocks you’ve faced so far in your musical journey in Nashville?

It’s super tough to juggle so many things as a musician—any musician you know isn’t just that—he/she is a bartender, a server, an uber driver, a music teacher, a nanny, a photographer, a manager, a website developer…the list goes ON! There are social pressures to be a certain way and I definitely have a hard time with that. We, as musicians, have so many balls to keep in the air at one time. I am a personal trainer by day, which I am very passionate about, but it would be nice to not have 4 jobs. Besides all that juggling, over the last few years I have also come out to my community. I have been welcomed with open arms from my people, which is INCREDIBLE. But the not-so-nice side of it is that we do still live in the South. I believe that sexuality does not define a person. We all are the same at the core—just because I’m a lesbian, or she’s trans, or he’s Hispanic or black, doesn’t mean anything about character. It blows my mind that people still care so much about who someone loves. It’s an interesting mash up of genuine acceptance but also flat out ignorance when it comes to LGBTQ+ etc. topics in the South. But I do have hope for Nashville, as long as we keep the conversation going and boost awareness. I try to take every day as it comes and live my life with authenticity and passion. In the end, I deal with all of these roadblocks that have come into my path because I love music. It’s the direction I follow because I can’t imagine my life without it. How lucky are we, as creatives, musicians, etc., to have something that we are so deeply and undeniably passionate about? I’d rather live my life with excitement, passion and uncertainty, than just go through the motions of life. 

KennaMusic_DenizenGuideNashville

Biggest misconception the public has about the music industry?

So many times I’ve had people in my life ask me if I have a “back up plan” if things don’t work out in the music industry. That is my least favorite question. If I have to have a back up plan, so should everyone else. Nothing is ever promised—not even for the corporate millionaire.  Even more than that, people just think that the only way to be a working musician is to be “FAMOUS”. That’s just not how it is. You can “make it” in the music industry, and be happy, without being Taylor Swift! “Making it” for me is to live a happy and fulfilled life that I can sustain off of income from music—plain and simple! Working towards something uncertain is scary and uncomfortable—but I’ve found that the more uncomfortable I am, the more I change and the more I grow. It’s pretty amazing. Georgia O’Keefe put it perfectly-“  "I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do."

Thing you are most excited about right now? 

Currently I am running a Kickstarter campaign for my upcoming record that I am in the process of recording! The record should be released late summer or early fall. I am so excited to bring to life all of my songs and hard work from the last 2 years of living in Nashville. In addition to that, I am going to be touring outside of Nashville this summer and playing a lot of shows in town as well. All I want is to do is share authentic music with the world. If my music can resonate with one individual, then I have done my job. It’s an exciting season coming up! I have also recently released my single, “From The Grave” you can check it out on spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2URTargaciP1SelrUSd5oW?si=Jy0i7fUfRru8P3JXp9BDSg

You can find my Kickstarter campaign at : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mckennamusic/kenna-kreates-a-record

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://officialkennamusic.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/KennaMusicc/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/kennamusic/