Not working in the music industry, I have no idea what it takes to become a musician or a singer or a hot new band. Obviously there are a variety of ways for achieving success. With the flood of music-based television shows right now, you could hop in line and attempt to sing your way into the hearts of America. With the average American Idol season lasting a few months, that is probably the shortest route . Of course, with that option you are up against some pretty stiff competition. I would imagine that the odds of winning Idol are a lot like winning the lottery!
Some artists have used the internet to get their music to the masses. Many rap artists such as Eminem, B.O.B. & a slew of others have “mix tapes” they put online and have been “discovered” that way. MySpace was originally a music camp for artists hoping to get their tunes to a mainstream audience. Or…as most artists do…you slog it out, night by night, in dark bars and small towns, singing to groups ranging from 10 to 350. That’s what I saw the past 2 weekends as I found myself in Nashville, TN. The home of country music shines brightly on Broadway Avenue in downtown Nashville as men and women search for a dream that may or may never come true. There are the stories of success, often passed down from generation to generation, as many country greats adorn the walls of bars such as “The Stage,” “Legends Corner” or “The Whiskey Bent Saloon.” But I have to imagine for every success story, there have been bright lights that have flickered out while searching for their moment on Broadway.
I had a chance to spend a few minutes chatting with 3 singers while in Nashville. Each of them have music that has been released and is available on ITunes. Mitchell Ogelsby is one of them. I had a quick chat with Mitch while drinking a cold brew and he told me that he has been working for more than 12 years, getting his reps in at “The Stage” while performing in front of hundreds of people who walk through its doors. Mitch has an easy style, a deep southern drawl and his set-list is littered with country hits that are often requested by patrons. During his set, he also manages to squeeze in his original material from time to time and I have to admit that even though I’m not a huge country fan…I really like his stuff! I checked out his album “Something New Under The Sun” on Itunes and his songs are jukebox-ready country singles such as “She Drives Me To Drink” and “I Ain’t Dead Yet.” If I were a betting man, I would bet that at some point Mitch will have his moment in the sun. He seems like a great guy and it was nice of him to chat with me before hitting the stage for a 3 hour set.
I also met 2 young women who are vying for attention on Broadway. The first is a tall, young blonde named Hali Hicks. I watched Hali at a smaller venue in Nashville (the name escapes me) and she has a special gift. She has a remarkable voice that is specifically geared for singing country music. If there is one thing I don’t like about Broadway, it’s that the artists are forced to sing more popular songs instead of their own music. When I saw Hali, she had 2 band members who she had never performed with before backing her on guitar and drums. Apparently this is normal in Nashville as musicians find themselves on gigs with acts who need their services. So the night I saw Hali, she was chatting with her band, working with them to get everything just right for each song. I learned later that Hali has been performing in Nashville since the age of 15 and has been a full-time singer since she was 17. She has a lot of potential and is now on tour around the country promoting her album, “Can’t Hide Country,” which is available now on ITunes. Visit her site to see where she will be appearing next!
I also met Hali’s roommate and writing partner, Anna LaPrad. I was able to listen to Anna perform on 2 different stages on Broadway on a Friday night last week. She told me that it wasn’t unusual for that to happen and that she has even managed to do 3 gigs in a day, singing for over 12 hours! With those kind of reps, I’m amazed her voice doesn’t crack! But doing a double set didn’t seem to bother her the night I saw her and if anything, it got stronger as the night went on. A fan of Patsy Cline & Shania Twain (her version of “Walking After Midnight” was a treat the night I saw her), Anna has a deeper voice than Hali and reminds me of a young Sara Evans. She’s from South Carolina and has been performing since she was 10, singing in her church choir. She moved to Nashville in 2009 where she met Hali and now the 2 of them are working to become the new voices of a promising group of Nashville hopefuls. Her self-titled debut album can also be found on ITunes and I would recommend the single “Another Ride” if you were to ask my opinion.
Having grown up listening to country, I can appreciate good country vocals when I hear them and between the 3 of these artists, there appears to be a lot of talent in Nashville right now. Here’s hoping that success finds them and that their dreams are fulfilled soon. If you get a chance, go check out their websites and listen to their music. I’m sure they would appreciate it and give you a big “Thank You” for giving them a moment of your time!