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Hi Gloria! Thanks so much for talking to me today! You recently released 'The Moment', what was the inspiration behind this song?
It must have been in 2018 back in Texas, I was going over to my neighbour Amanda Rollert’s house, I was in high school at the time, and I was delivering her some popcorn! I remember when I pulled up she was standing in the driveway, I thought she must be so excited for this popcorn! It turns out when I started talking to her that she had this piece of paper with her, and she told me her son was getting married in March the next year. She said she was trying to find a song to dance to for their mother and son dance and she couldn’t find one. She couldn’t find something that did what she wanted to, so she just jotted down what was almost like a poem at the time. She came to me because she knew I was writing songs and asked if I wanted to do this with her. I said yes, I thought it was the coolest idea ever. By the time I got back to my driveway (we lived very close together) I’d already sung through the verse and the chorus. It’s a really special song to me, especially because of how organic it happened and I’m really close with their family. I ended up playing it at their wedding too!
The story of the song is interesting in that it focuses simultaneously on a very small moment in time, and also over many years, the chorus focusing in-depth on the first moments with their child, hearing the heartbeat and holding them close, whilst in the verses talking about how fast they grow up, saying before you know it they're 12, then 23. Why did you decide to structure the song in this way, always returning to 'The Moment' in the chorus?
I remember when I read through the lyrics, she had the verses, so that would be the first verse and the second verse, and she had basically what ended up being the chorus - those were the three paragraphs she had structured out. She had never written a song before and I was 17 at the time and I didn’t really know what I was doing either. When I read through it and read the ‘growing up looks good on you’ I thought that sounded like the end of the chorus, that sounds like something you would say to whoever you’re singing to over and over again. As a country singer-songwriter I always tend to default to storytelling, so of course I wanted to start with when he was born then build to when he was growing up. The last verse, I gave her a call and said how would you feel if we added this at the end talking about the moment you will be dancing and bring it full circle and close it out. I guess that’s how the structure came about.
You released ‘Like She Does (The Car Song)’ at the end of last year. The ‘sad ending’ of the song, although it comes right at the start, is that this car that is attached to so many memories, emotions and good times is now sat in a junkyard. The song works on two levels in talking about an actual car and could also be a metaphor for losing someone close to us. Does the song have a deeper meaning behind it, or is it the memories of a car you’ve actually owned?
When that song was inspired, I was dating someone at the time and he had an ’01 Nissan Pathfinder named Kathy! I had written the song back then and it was inspired by his car because he had to sell it to a junkyard. He ended up selling it for 200 bucks I think. I brought that idea to my friend Meg McRee and when we sat down on her back porch I really told her I want to focus on all these memories you make in a car, especially as I was a military kid so I moved around all the time, six times before the seventh grade, so I really connected to that feeling he had when he had to sell that car because my sister and I had been in the back seat of our family’s car multiple times travelling miles across the country. I guess it’s tied to that, and we are no longer dating but it’s still a special song to me because we connected in that, in the car way!
The song takes comfort from the fact that the car knows you and everything you’ve been through, with the line ‘no one knows me like she does’. How important do you think it is that we surround ourselves with these types of companions, whether a car, dog or human, that we feel really know and understand us to our core?
I would definitely say it’s important. It’s something I realised after the fact, I didn’t sit in my car and think when I was seven, “Wow, this car knows how I behave when my sister steals my snack from me in the backseat!” It was more looking back on all those memories and I wanted to think if I was a car or a dog or something like that, what would they see? How was I a part of their life? It’s an interesting thing while writing because it’s a self-reflection thing. When Meg and I were sitting together I remember us just talking about what we actually do in a car. Well, we cuss! When someone cuts us off we are going to say cuss words, so it’s probably heard every cuss word you’ve said. Just blasting music and being with friends, it kind of turned into a song more about the journey of life than just the car. I think it’s important though because it really helped me reflect on how I behave while driving, and what other people can see from the outside!
It’s a bit of a running joke in music that all the greatest songs have brackets in their title! I think a lot of us can relate to seeing cars as more than just machines as it feels like you go through so much together – it may seem like a silly question given the topic of the song, but why did it feel important for you to include ‘The Car Song’ as the suffix of the title? Honestly, I think it’s because when I played it out loud for the first time, I don’t remember the first place I played it, but people started referencing it as ‘The Car Song’. Even my friends would say “Hey, play the car song!’ I had to look back and think, it is called ‘Like She Does’, but people from that perspective that are just hearing ‘Like She Does’ might think it’s a girl or someone else, although people do reference their cars a lot as a she or her. I just wanted to put that in the side because that’s what people who know me call it so I thought it was a sweet token for them, you know, this is your song, this is ‘The Car Song’ - you guys know it!
You also released ‘Yours’ in 2021. Although on the surface a sad story of unrequited love, I also see it as a bit of an anthem of resilience. The line ‘I’m in love with you and I don’t care if you say it back’ is delivered with so much confidence and power! In society it often feels tough to let go of our emotions or be honest about how we feel. How important do you think it is that we can harness some of the spirit from this song and be braver when expressing ourselves?
I learned a lot from that song and when I was writing it. I didn’t want to write a sad song, I wanted it to be empowering. I have gotten mixed comments like people asking why it’s so sad, and it’s not meant to be! It’s a ‘this is how it is’ thing, and I don’t need to hear a response from you because this is how I’m feeling and I’m being honest, you can take it or leave it. Sometimes that’s what you need to do to feel better. Looking back on it, I feel like it was a time when I was really discovering who I am and speaking my mind! I think it’s important, and I encourage anyone to do it because it is empowering. Once you finally get something off your chest or speak your mind, a lot of the time the other person may not even know. It’s important and can be a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders.
I love the sound you have in all of these songs – they have a beautiful atmospheric feel, especially ‘Like She Does (The Car Song)’ which includes the beach sound effects which are a great touch, especially as it ties in with the story in the lyrics. I can see that you’ve got an awesome Dolly Parton poster behind you and I’ve read on Spotify that a lot of your musical influences come from your parents and their music on long car rides. Which artists would you say have had the biggest effect on your music as a writer and performer?
That might be hard because I grew up on Dolly Parton with my mum! I used to horseback ride when I was little and every time we went out to the bard she would play ‘9 to 5’ and that’s what we jammed to. In high school when I started really getting into writing I listened to Lori McKenna a lot. I love how she described her world and I’ve always strived to do the same through my own lens. I love her stuff. Dolly is the queen, but they’re so close together for me!
Which of those two would you want to collaborate with the most?
I think for that I’d choose Dolly. I would love to just get coffee with that lady! She’s incredible and I feel like she just has a lot of wisdom and a good heart. I’ve listened to podcasts about her, and people always say don’t meet your heroes but everyone says about Dolly that you want to meet her because she’s exactly how you would imagine her to be! So yeah, Dolly!
Can you tell us any big plans you’ve got for 2022, and anything we should look out for as fans?
My biggest plan, and at the top of my list right now, is to play a lot of live, full band shows. I’m really excited to get back into that, or really start doing that, my first full band show of all my music was last June. I finally got a band together and I’ve been playing here in Nashville, but I really hope to get down to Texas and start playing some full band shows down there, that’s my biggest thing. In terms of releasing new music, I do have a plan for something but I’m not trying to rush it, I really want to get it right. I’m not sure when that will be!
Finally, one thing we ask all of our interviewees is to name their top three songs that relate to mental health. What would be your top three?
1. Humble and Kind - Lori McKenna
2. Found A Love - 7 Hills Worship
3. Crowded Table - The Highwomen
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