Sykamore: Well I grew up listening to country music — I come from a long line of farmers, ranchers and rodeo athletes, so needless to say there was a culture of country music surrounding me as a kid. It’s the first music I remember listening to. Some artists that really made me fall in love with the genre were The Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Zac Brown Band, George Strait, and Alan Jackson.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe it as genuine, fresh, honest story-telling. It’s the way I view the world as a twenty-something, as an artist, as a romantic, as a student of country and pop and rock and folk. And because of that I hope other people can see themselves in my songs and relate to them as well.
Which artists are your biggest influences? •
In the world of country, currently, I am very inspired by Eric Church, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, and Thomas Rhett. All these artists have achieved success in their own way, by choosing not to compromise who they are. And that is true artistry to me. On a broader scale, artists who have influenced me greatly are Bob Dylan, Elton John, Taylor Swift, The Dixie Chicks and Zac Brown. •
I started exploring this idea of well-functioning relationships, as they are kind of an anomaly to me. And I noticed that in order for all of them to work, there has to be this level of intimacy wherein you know each other so well that you can talk each other off the ledge or put out fires when they pop up. You can be each others’ support system, in the midst of all your crazy, and find something solid underneath. So I brought this to some amazing songwriters in Nashville, one of whom produced Kelsea Ballerini’s first record. And we came up with this song that hits all those points — it’s sweet, it’s introspective, it’s fun, it’s exciting. It captures so well this idea that the one you love is the one who can make it all better, no matter the issue.
Why did you decide to release “Better Half” as the single?
Honestly, it was purely instinct. I heard the demo and got goosebumps and just thought, THAT has to be the next one. It felt like such a logical next step for me as a young artist, both sonically and contextually. It was a really easy call to make. It’s a love song but it’s not bubble-gum, which was so appealing to me.
I do! Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks!
What is your favorite thing about playing live shows?
There is something really full-circle about writing a song by yourself, and being so vulnerable and honest, and then getting to sing it to a crowd of people and see them relate to it as well. That is my favourite part — the interaction, the connection, the way a song can be yours but then it takes on a life of its own and you get to watch it blossom in other peoples’ lives.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
At the moment, "Better Half" is pretty fun because it’s new and high energy and fresh. But I also love the ballads. I normally have two ballads in my set called Hayloft and He’s Mine, they are really cool to play because they’re emotional and raw.
Finally, what impact do you hope to have on country music?
I’d like to have the impact of MY gaze. I’d like to look back on a career and know that I created art from my perspective, I told stories from my brain, and I said what I felt. Because all the greatest artists in history have one thing in common - they did it THEIR way. I would hope I could say the same for myself when it’s all said and done.
Purchase "Better Half" here.