NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 21, 2020) –Karissa Ella is encouraging women to remain true to themselves with her new single “Girls.” Exclusively premiered by Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country, this song is bound to be the song of the Summer with it’s important message and feel-good vibe. Karissa is encouraging all the girls to be independent and reminds them that they are all beautiful with this new song. Listen to the single here.
“This song is a reminder to embrace who you are and never change! We are all strong, unique, and beautiful. Keep doing your thing and keep taking over the world! I am excited to hear what listeners think of my new single ‘Girls,’” says Ella.
“A catchy hook that encourages girls to be the best versions of themselves.” – Juliet Schroder, Celeb Secrets
“Girls” was written by Karissa Ella with Kalsey Kulyk and producer Alex Seier and is featured in Nashville Briefing’s New Music Round Up playlist and NYCountry Swag’s New Country Music playlist.
As most artists have experienced a change in plans this year, Karissa is no different. Making the best of the situation, she has been busy working on new music. Expect more from the budding singer/songwriter throughout the rest of the year. Keep up to date with Karissa on her website, Instagram and TikTok.
About Karissa Ella Karissa Ella’s youthful and soulful style is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of country music, and she’s been recognized for it by Radio Disney Country, CMT and countless media outlets. Inspired by the likes of Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson, Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood, her music, writing and live performances attract people of all ages. Armed with a Music Entertainment Degree from Belmont University and having been singing for crowds from the young age of 10 years old, Karissa is one of country music’s rising stars! Karissa Ella currently resides in Nashville and performs at venues and private venues throughout the U.S, especially in Tenn., Wis. and Ohio. In June 2018, she completed her first EP, having co-wrote two of the three songs. Her second EP, Blossom, came out Summer 2019 with songs like “VACAY” featured by Parade.com and “Me and Luke” by Medium and Taste of Country. Expect more new music from Karissa in the coming year. For more information, visit karissaella.com.
Dream Country may just sound like a nice album title, but for Sarah Darling, it’s also her own personal genre of music. “I call Dream Country my version of country music,” Darling said. “The subject transports you to the wide open spaces. It feels dreamy and cinematic.”
Dream Country is the latest album by the Nashville-based country music singer and songwriter. It also marks a shift for Darling. Six years removed from her last release, 2011’s Angels & Devils, Darling looked to take more chances on this record than she has previously.
“Dream Country was more experimental,” Darling said. “Musically there are a lot of strings happening, which is new.”
One thing that gave Darling some more freedom on this album was the fact that it’s the first time she would be releasing an album independently. “It felt a bit scary to release something independently,” Darling said. “But at the same time, it was so liberating! That tension drove me through. I was truly myself and my heart has felt fulfilled by the process.”
“It was very hands-on for me,” she continued. “It was me trusting my intuition completely, which can be hard. I was changing a lot of things constantly when it came to mixes and overall feel. I wanted the songs to sound like their titles. I think there is something defining for me with Dream Country.”
With all the experimentation and risks that Darling took in putting the album together, her biggest concern was what her fans would think of the finished product. As it turns out, she was pleasantly surprised by the fan reaction. Not only did her fans here in the U.S. welcome it, but she said that it also helped grow her support in the U.K.
I call Dream Country my version of country music. The subject transports you to the wide open spaces. It feels dreamy and cinematic.
All of that helped prove that being true to herself on this album was the right way to go. “It’s always risky to change things up,” Darling said. “But artistry is a constant evolution of who you are. I’m a believer that if you are truly you, then people can relate. This album was exactly what I wanted to say at this point in my career.”
As for her actual songwriting process, Darling said this is one area that has always changed throughout her career. “My songwriting process is never the same,” Darling said. “It’s all about the vision, though. I had a strong idea for all of my favorite songs before writing. I usually circle for a week on something before processing. Then it feels great to get out.”
While she mentions that she loves all the songs on the album, Darling did single out two that are her favorites. One is her ode to the Cowboy State—Wyoming.
“I adore ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ so much,” Darling said. “It feels like a classic I want to sing forever and it transports me back to the Teton mountains every time.”
The other is a more personal song. “A close second is ‘Halley’s Comet,’” Darling said. “It’s a personal take on my journey as a singer and about shining wherever you are.”
Through this whole process of writing, recording, and releasing Dream Country, Darling said she feels like she’s grown as an artist. “I feel like I know what I like more,” Darling said. “It’s important as an artist to know what your story is in music and why you do what you do.”
She’s also come to understand that if she knows the music she’s making is good, there’s no need to worry about her fans not thinking the same thing. “I’ve realized that great music is great music,” she said.
Next up, Darling will be starting the process to put together new music, along with spending the summer touring in the U.S. and U.K., bringing her Dream Country sound directly to her fans.
From a local bluegrass band to Dollywood and the Grand Ole Opry, Carly Pearce can truly say she’s had a steady rise to the new light on her now. After being featured on Josh Abbott Band’s single “Wasn’t That Drunk” in early 2016, Pearce was already in a reset; a new publishing deal, new label, new writing partners, and new experiences. She was ready to make an official debut in the country music scene. According to Wide Open Country, with a batch of new material in hand, and contemporary writing partner in busbee, Pearce took a chance with Sirius XM. There, J.R. Schumann felt tied to her well-received single, “Every Little Thing.” According to Pearce, out of all the songs she dropped off, the success of “Every Little Thing” confused her at first, but ended up making perfect sense: “I think country fans love the truth. This song is the truth and they feel that.” After its release on Sirius XM’s hit country station, “The Highway,” it went number one in a matter of weeks and sold over 4K in sales.
So how does a musician celebrate a personal story of heartache? It would seem awkward for some, but Pearce took it easy and simple. “I’m pretty sure I went and had a glass of wine with some girlfriends!” she says. What else is the solution for such a straightforward song about a complicated feeling? The lyrics, “The look in your eyes like a window, the taste of your kiss soaked in wine / Every little thing, I remember every little thing / The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting—every little thing,” read like a personal conversation with oneself, but also a conversation with someone you trust to simply listen.
Since “Every Little Thing” has taken off on satellite and mainstream country radio, Pearce feels she’s reaching new areas in her craft and those interested in hearing it. “It’s hard to put into words,” she says. “I have put so much work into this—so much blood, sweat, and tears…it’s an indescribable feeling to see it starting to pay off. I’ll never take it for granted.”
She is currently on her radio tour promoting “Every Little Thing” with some large stage performances mixed in, such as the Grand Ole Opry, where she performed in the presence of other artists, like Zac Brown Band, Crystal Gale, and Trace Adkins. Since different stage locations aren’t unfamiliar to Pearce, touring continues to bring excitement. “I love being on the road. I love waking up in different cities,” she says. “I try to make the most of the time I’m in the cities to experience a little of what’s unique to them. Sleeping in a bunk is pretty crazy!”
Being around different people isn’t limited to traveling, as Pearce speaks of positive feelings when she decided to begin a co-writing partnership with various musicians and producers. She cites it as natural and fresh with different perspectives for a particular subject. “I think I definitely have benefited from many other co-writers in how I articulate things in songs,” she admits. “Even from a melodic sense, I’ve learned a lot of phrasing ideas from other writers that I’ve then taken and fused into my other [writings].”
I think I definitely have benefited from many other co-writers in how I articulate things in songs.
The new label Carly Pearce calls home is Big Machine Label Group, the same label holding Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, and Cheap Trick. BMLG’s CEO, Scott Borchetta, reached out to Pearce and was on a plane back to Nashville to meet her less than 24 hours after the song premiered on Sirius XM’s “The Highway.”
“It’s truly a dream come true…Not only are they an incredible label with incredible artists, but they are allowing me to be 100% authentic to my artistry and respect me. I’m so blessed,” she says.
Being able to start off the new year with goals achieved, Pearce keeps her eye on the big prize, making it clear the competition lies with herself and no one else. “I never want to get to a place where I feel like I’ve completely ‘hit the bar’ of my potential,” she says. “I don’t think any truly successful artist gets to that point. I want to continue to push myself in every area of my career, including how I bleed my heart into my songs.”
Other goals for Carly Pearce in 2017 are quite simple and are within reach. “I’d love to take ‘Every Little Thing’ to the top of the country chart, make an incredible record that I’m so proud of, and play as many shows as I can!” she tells us.
Upon taking any stage—after warming up with a country cover and having a glass of wine—Carly Pearce continues to hold composed and confident, bringing in new fans and listeners eager to watch her career soar.
Last night was Country’s night to rock. Well, that was the slogan of CMA’s Music Festival which aired on ABC. The actual festival took place back in June at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN, but for those of us who couldn’t cash out money for travel and concert tickets, we were able to catch the show in the comfort of our own homes. Singers Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett took the reigns to host this year which gave Little Big Town a break from hosting duties for the night!
As a Country music lover, I’m not sure why I haven’t watched this before. Where was I last year? Nonetheless, the broadcast was just as you expected–musical acts back to back to back! The first to take the stage? None other than Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, right off the bat. Even now, I’m a bit on the fence about that performance. For first-time Country music listeners, I wouldn’t say this would be the best song or act to introduce them with since it delves into the number one reason why so many people pass on listening to country: it sounds like a Top 40 pop song! But, it did get the crowd at the stadium going!
The night went on with huge names taking the stage such as Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, and the legendary Chris Stapleton, who made his CMA Music Festival debut. Funny, since he swept this years’ award shows with multiple accolades! If you’re still unfamiliar with Stapleton, remember that day when the internet exploded after Justin Timberlake performed a little known song called “Tennessee Whiskey”? Yeah, it was a duet with Stapleton!
You know there had to be a few curveball mashups and songs thrown in or how else would non-country lovers want to watch this? To my surprise, Steven Tyler also made his CMA debut performing “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere” straight from his country album that is set to be released soon. It’s hard to say whether the song fell more into the country genre, or if it was a bit more indie rock. At this point, the lines blur when it comes to what is considered country. At one moment you have a rap segment and another, the song sounds like it belongs underneath the rock genre, which is exactly what happened when I heard Steven Tyler.
Pharrell sang with Little Big Town and pop singer Elle King shared the stage with Dierks Bentley. These random collaborations always crack me up because you never know if it’ll be a hit or miss. For example, Elle King and Dierks Bentley? Not impressed. As much as I love each artist individually, it just wasn’t cutting it for me. Pharrell and Little Big Town? I expected way more.
The ladies had a big win of the night for me. Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum with Cam, Cassadee Pope, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert did no wrong. Even newcomer Maren Morris was impressive when she came out to sing with Rascal Flatts!
With over 20 performances and several minutes of conversations with the host, the CMA Music Festival was an overall entertaining night. Probably more entertaining to those who were actually at the venue to experience it live, which I hope to do someday in the future. Next thing I’m looking forward to is November 2nd, when Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley reunite for the 50th Annual CMA Award Show. That should be good.
What did you think of the CMA Music Festival this year? Let us know in the comments!
When country pop singer Jillian Jacqueline was working on the single “Prime” off her new EP, she knew she wanted it to be an anthem for everyone. “[It’s] a reminder to enjoy where you’re at, and that youth is just a state of mind,” she tells us. The rest of her EP follows suit and gives off a sunny, youthful vibe, too. Here, we chat about the making of her video for “Prime,” her inspiration while growing up, and her Instagram-famous French bulldogs, Huck and Gus, who make a cameo in her video.
Cliché: First off, tell us a little about your life growing up. Did you always know you wanted a career in music? Jillian Jacqueline: I started acting in plays and musicals when I was really young in my hometown in Chester Springs, PA before my mom took me to NYC to audition for a Broadway show when I was 9. I ended up landing a co-starring role in a Christmas play at the Beacon Theater in New York with Kenny Rogers, which turned into touring with him for 5 years after that. He’s still one of greatest mentors and influences in the music industry.
In our house, we pretty much only listened to country music when I was growing up, although, as I got older, my parents shared the music of Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, The Beatles, and others with us (my three sisters and I) that expanded our tastes into other genres. But truly, the first artists that ever made me want to sing were Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley. I bought box sets of all their greatest hits and sat in my room for hours in the summer learning every nuance of every vocal. My sisters and I started a band when I was about 11 that became our whole lives; touring, writing music, recording, etc. for several years. We called ourselves The Little Women Band and mostly played gigs around New York City where we had moved in the early 2000s. We were probably the only kids wearing cowboy hats and boots singing country music in Greenwich Village. [Laughs]
For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you best describe your sound? Someone once described it to me as “neon country” and I kinda love that. It’s a really cool thing to realize all of your influences and experiences with music growing up become this melting pot of sound and it’s something you can’t really control; it just comes out of you, and if you trust it, it feels real and right and genuine. So, as I began concentrating on writing songs for my first solo project, I found myself drawing from all my love of what Sheryl Crow, Third Eye Blind, Patty Griffin, and Patty Loveless had all done on records I learned from. I guess it’s just my version of country, but it feels very lyrically eclectic and sonically more pop-driven than most other country on the radio.
“Prime” is such a fun, catchy single! Was there something in particular that inspired you to write it? YES! Feeling happy wherever you are is SUCH an important thing. I’m trying to learn and live every day of my life. It’s easy to get caught up in the ticking time bomb that life can be, worrying about what I wish I’d have done or what I want to do in the future, and forget that this moment is the most powerful and beautiful thing I’ve got. So, “Prime” is my anthem for everyone, including myself, who needs a reminder to enjoy where you’re at, and that youth is just a state of mind.
Tell us about the making of your music video for “Prime.” What inspired the production? We’re loving the retro look! Thank you! Oh my gosh, that video was just a bunch of vivid colorful dreams I had. I’m a very visual person; I love music videos and how they tell the artist’s story through a mini-movie. When I first got together with the director, P. Tracy, we both brainstormed on ideas and looks and vibes and got on the same page with the perspective I was going for. I had this idea that I wanted it to look trippy and psychedelic, but also super grungy and fun and true to my life. It’s kinda like looking through a kaleidoscope and all of the weird stuff, like the Pepto Bismol lollipop and the paint being thrown on the stereo were all things that just came to my mind. I think being artistic is a huge part of being an artist. It’s a whole other aspect of creativity we can share with an audience. I love that.
You feature your two French bulldogs in your video as well—and I hear they’re pretty Instagram famous. Are they a big part of your life? Do you think they’ll be popping up in your videos more often? [Laughs] Huck and Gus are my tiny adorable gremlins, and yes, they are slightly Instagram famous. Check them out
@huckandgus. Somehow their page has taken off and now has 50,000 followers. Not quite sure how that happened, but I guess puppies make people happy! And yes, I have a feeling they’ll be making many more cameos because, let’s be honest, I like my dogs more than I like most people.
Tell us about the EP as a whole. How did you select the songs? I’m seeing a bit of a “growing up” theme throughout, but did you have a particular theme or process in mind when writing it, or did it just happen that way? Good question, and something I hope other people notice as well. My narrative for the EP definitely has a “growing up” aspect and also a direct, self-aware confidence because most of these songs came as a result of me becoming more comfortable in my own skin, moving through my 20’s and feeling more in tune with myself, more powerful than ever in being myself and being honest and feeling okay to say what I wanted to say. Also, I think there’s a storyline there about stereotypes that became evident as I was putting the EP together. With “Slacker,” “Birds and the Bees,” and “Kids These Days,” I wanted you to hear those themes and ideas in a different way, to shed light on the subject in an unusually bold way.
Which song means the most to you, if you had to choose one? Which song came to you the easiest? Hmm… “Kids These Days” means so much to me because it encompasses a lot of different thoughts that I’d been wanting to get off my chest for a long time. It’s simple but feels sacred, and maybe that’s because everybody can relate to it, young or old, and it’s the song that resonates with so many and the experience of growing up and feeling generational changes.
I wrote “Birds and the Bees” with my producer Tofer Brown and a great L.A.-based writer named Fann and we wrote it in about two hours, pretty quickly, and didn’t overthink anything. It all just sort of fell out effortlessly and felt so fun the entire time.
If you could collab or tour with any artist, who would it be and why? I would die and go to heaven if I ever got to sing with Bryan Adams, because he’s Bryan Adams. As far as touring, I think Sheryl Crow would be amazing, just to get to hear her sing those iconic songs every night. She’s one of the best and a huge inspiration to me as a female artist.
Since you are based in Nashville, what is your favorite thing about the city? The people. There are some of the kindest, most interesting, creative, and driven people in this city that I have ever met. I’m blown away by the energy the people bring to this place and it’s such an exciting time to be living here making music.
Any plans or goals for the rest of this year? Playing shows. So many more shows. And finishing my full-length record. I can’t wait for you to hear it! Stay tuned for that.
With a new year soon underway, now is the best time to make a fresh start in all aspects of your life. With all the cliché resolutions that pop up every year for most people, such as losing weight or taking up a hobby, making a different promise to yourself could prove to be worthwhile. So this year, choose instead to make some musical resolutions.
Photo courtesy of iTunes Store
1) Listen to a different genre
Maybe you’re a hardcore metal head or bubblegum pop devotee. Try mixing things up this year by listening to a genre you swore off or haven’t even tried. Check out some country-pop crossovers such as Carrie Underwood or Lady Antebellum to ease the transition to country music, or put on some Broadway show tunes.
2) Learn to play an instrument
Being an audiophile is one thing, but learning to play a musical instrument adds a whole new level to music devotion. Piano and guitar are popular and fairly easy to pick up (for those of you who can’t sing)—plus, learning an instrument can help improve memory and hand-eye coordination.
3) Discover new groups/musicians
One of the great things about music is that new artists are being discovered every day. Ask friends for music recommendations, go to concerts or events in your city, or simply browse through a record store or online and pick a random band to listen to. Music is all about finding and trying new things; so don’t be afraid to try something different.
In early June, equal rights supporters and activists rejoiced when the Supreme Court decided to allow same-sex couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. Although only several states in the US currently allow same-sex marriage, this is a huge step forward for gay and lesbian couples throughout the country. It just goes to show that love is love and every couple should be allowed the same rights.
This summer musicians are spreading the word and voicing their support for gay rights with songs like “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert. One up-and-coming artist who has a lot to say about the subject is aspiring musician, Steve Grand. Though he is only 23 years-old, Grand was determined to get his message out to the world. As a young boy, he struggled to communicate his feelings about his sexual orientation to those he loved. For the past few years, Grand has worked odd jobs from playing guitar to modeling so he can save and pursue his musical career. On July 2nd, he released his $7000 music video for his song “All-American Boy” on YouTube and it went viral, landing a spot on Good Morning America within a week.
As the music video shows, Grand’s song “All-American Boy” is about the rejection and unrequited feelings that come along with falling in love. Although Steve Grand does not identify himself as a country singer, the song and the video have a country-like vibe with friends hanging around a campfire and skinny dipping in a nearby lake. It is a nontraditional story of boy-likes-boy with a little twist. Ultimately, it is a song about love and desire that just about anyone can relate to.