Country in my blood
I grew up singing country. It's a part of me that I kind of forgot about. Some of the first songs I ever sang were by such artists as Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker (loved her!), Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks, and The Judds. When I was really young, I listened to nothing BUT country music. I loved it. I sang at Rodeos in Utah, county fairs, festivals, you name it. I even tried out for The Country Showdown in St. George, Utah a couple years in a row. I attached a picture of myself at the Utah State fair up in Salt Lake City, for your pleasure & my embarrassment. I won first place, the big blue ribbon, for yodeling at a talent contest. I was 14 years old and a proud little girl in my jean jacket. I sang a song called, "The Yodelin' blues."
What happened to my country background you might say? Well, I got "cool." Or in other words, super lame. Ha. High school happened to me, and peer pressure, and "hip" music, and I no longer talked about how much I loved Tim McGraw, but rather how cool punk-rock bands were. My friends all listened to Blink 182 and screamo-rock, as we called it. The kind of music where there's a double kick drum, and you can't understand the words cause the singer is screaming them out. The kind of music I listened to in my car when I snuck out at night and put in my fake nose ring. (Yes, I had a fake nose ring! I was too scared to pierce it, too scared of needles). It's funny to think back on all the silly things I did in high school. Who wears a fake nose ring? Oh yeah. Me.
Anyway, as I grew older, and started to write my own songs, I began to shape my own style. I left punk-rock behind and began to go the singer-songwriter route, which felt most natural to me then, and still remains true. ( I like to write songs the simple way: Me and an acoustic guitar, or me and a piano).
Now, at the good old age of 24, I finally feel like I've found myself as an artist. It took a while, but now I know what I love, and what is "me." I know what I want to write about, and how I want to write about it. I know what I want to represent, and what I want to stand for in my music. I know what instruments I want to put together to make a song. I know when to push a song to its limits, and when to let it be as it is, simple, and mine.
Being in the music industry for so long....the touring, the writing, the traveling, the performing. Well, one can get a little jaded sometimes. I needed a wake up. I think you'll find it very surprising that I hardly have listened to music in the past year. What do I listen to when I'm driving? On my I-pod? My computer? On a plane ride? Jogging?
I listen to talk radio. I listen to interviews. I listen to books on tape.
That's how jaded I was. That's how tired I had become of a thousand songs flooding my I-pod, a million different new artists popping up everyday. Song writing teams I had met on my ventures to make an album: Song writing teams I had respectfully declined. Teams of writers that sickened me in the way they constructed hit songs together like a child would put clothes strategically on a paper doll. I couldn't listen to the radio without saying to myself, "and the song's 30 seconds in so here comes the BIG chorus," or, "And the bridge is in at 2:45," or "It's gotta be at 130 BPM's (beats per minute) if it's gonna get on the radio."
I needed a wake up. A big reminder of why I love music, and why I do what I do.
That wake up came the first day of the Blake Shelton tour. The wake up was harsh and beautiful and liberating.
I can't remember feeling so many different emotions in one day as I did when I watched Blake's show. What an artist, and what a performer! I don't care if you like country music or not. A good musician needs to be recognized regardless. That is Blake Shelton.
Of course, I've always respected him. I enjoyed so much being on his team on The Voice. I enjoyed being his student, his friend, and still do. But watching him perform like that, in front of seven thousand people...in front of a sold out crowd all singing his words...Well, that was something else.
It not only awakened my love of music, watching him sing, but it also awakened the 14 year old Dia. The Dia in the jean vest. The Dia who sang on the back of a truck at the rodeo while horses ran around. The Dia who yodeled "Cowboy Sweetheart," at a nursing home luncheon.
Damn, there's still some country blood in me after all! And a lot of it.
Today, as I checked my facebook, wrote an email to my mom, put my make up on, organized my laundry, (It sure piles up on tour), I had my portable I-pod radio on. And I played The Dixie Chicks, Patsy Cline, Blake (of course), Garth Brooks, and Tom Petty.
I sang a lot. I cried...just a little, mind you! Woohoo, I love music!
Each new show I'm singing more and more to Blake's songs. (Ol' Red is definitely one of my favorites). That song reminds me why country music is great: The songs can really weave together a great story. Every night I'm backstage singing to "She wouldn't be gone," and "Who are you when I'm not looking." Even if I'm a floor below the stage, waiting to take a shower, I'm still singing along to the music that's seeping under the door.
I've gotten a chance, on special nights, to come out and sing with Blake on stage.
We sing a song together called, "I will," that's on my album RED. Singing with him each night makes me so happy (and so nervous). The first night before the first show, Blake and I ran through the song with the band and I completely messed up the words in the first chorus. Yikes! It's one thing to mess up on stage alone, but when someone else is singing with ya, it's like they're depending on you in a way, like both of us are pulling on a rope in different directions, equally weighted, keeping each other balanced and on our feet. The words that I'm singing to him, I truly mean. For someone who's given me so much, I wish I could give it back in some way. He gave me hope in a career in music when I was lacking faith in myself, and now he's revived that musical spirit again!
This tour has been truly amazing, and we're not even a week in! It feels so great to be out on the open road again, and to meet so many new people. I feel so blessed to be here with my friends, my band, Blake and his amazing crew, and all of you who come out to the shows. When there's 7,000 people singing along to a song in the same room, well, it really is magic. Thank you Blake for taking us on tour & letting me dip my toes in country music again! And thank YOU country music for sparking the fire in me once more and throwing me into a nostalgic, happy, lazy Tuesday.
I'm going to go through my I-pod now and flip through the bands that have truly touched me and just lay on the couch and listen to their records from front to back. I'm going to listen to Patsy Cline again. And tomorrow at the show in Madison, Carlo (my awesome guitar player) better play that banjo like mad on "Isabella." I love me some banjo! And dammit, I'm gonna buy me a cowboy hat!