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You Sing I Write’s Top 13 Interviews of 2013

kenny rogers

It’s hard to believe 2013 is coming to a close. I’ve been so lucky to interview some incredible artists this year, some that I never would have dreamed of getting the chance and others I’ve been dreaming up meeting since the seventh grade. Here’s my Top 13 interviews of 2013.

1. Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys

Do I need to say more? He filled me in on how difficult life as a boy band can be when your fiance is receiving death threats on a daily basis. That made me throw away my lifelong dream of marrying fellow bandmate Brian Littrell. Yes, I truly grew up in 2013.

2. Willie Nelson

I interviewed Willie on his tour bus and yes, it did smell like pot. I’m not quite sure if I got a contact high, just because I was so high on life after interviewing him. And that’s the truth. A true legend, he opened up about why he can’t live without songwriting and how the first time he heard his voice played back to him he hated it.

3. Kenny Rogers

The Gambler. He had the absolute best stories and a true passion and gratefulness for his long career.



4. Robin Thicke

I interviewed him the week “Blurred Lines” went to No. 1. Also, this was the first time I ever interviewed an artist who kept his sunglasses on throughout the entire interview which was a little awkward at first. And he gave me some great relationship advice.



5. Gavin DeGraw

The first concert I ever covered back in college, this interview was a long time coming. And I finally learned the story behind his hit “I Don’t Want To Be.”



6. Jack Johnson

My roommates throughout college had his music on repeat. I’m  happy to say he’s exactly the man you think he is as perceived in his music.



7. Plain White T’s

The first song I ever learned on guitar was “Hey There Delilah” and Tim and Tom made me blush while I recounted the story of my friend teaching me. In all fairness, they did have some pretty interesting views on relationships.

8. Brett Eldredge

I must confess after interviewing him three times this year, I may have developed a slight crush on this country singer. His album Bring You Back is by far my most listened to release from this year.



9. Deana Carter

After seeing Deana Carter perform at the CMA Songwriters Series, I was excited to talk with her on the phone and learn about her latest album. The conversation geared it’s way into talking about how much we both love the TV show Nashville where she filled me in that she in fact auditioned for the star role.

10. Toby Keith

I came to learn the full story behind the song we all love to hate “Red Solo Cup” and he gave me some exclusives to his album which came out this fall.

11. Jason Derulo

The most thoughtful interview, I was at first startled at how he would stop and really think about answering my every question. After a while, I just let the dead air stay until he told me what he wanted to say and truthfully, I think that’s the best way to conduct an interview. Leave space to let the artist really open up and tell you something they may not have otherwise if you just jump to ask them the next question.



12. Will Hoge

I sat on his tour bus before a performance at The Bell House in Brooklyn as he told me the story behind my favorite country song, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and opened up about country music.

13. A Great Big World

I was so excited to see this band succeed this year as I’d been catching them perform over the years throughout New York. There’s something so refreshing about a band you saw perform at a tiny club in New York to sharing a stage with Christina Aguilera.

Concert Reviews Features

You Sing I Write September Wrap Up

(credit: Maria Ives)
(credit: Maria Ives)

This month marks six years since I started You Sing I Write. Some days it seems like an eternity ago and other times just like it was yesterday. When I had the idea to start a blog, at the time it really was just a dream of mine to cover concerts and interview bands because it was what I loved to do. Of course I wished it would one day become my day job but I never fathomed all the places it would take me and the people I’d meet.

I fell in love with country music traveling to Nashville, went on the road with a band, and spent countless hours interviewing some of my favorite musicians. Last year, I became a mentor for Girls Write Now and read a piece I wrote about my life as a music journalist to a room full of high school girls, their family and fellow mentors. It’s still a shock to me that girls will come up to me and tell me how much they loved my reading from months ago. When I started this blog it was really just for myself, to keep up my writing skills. Today, I couldn’t be happier to share my experiences with the world and hopefully encourage some girl out there that it is possible to make a career out of your dream. It just takes some time and a whole lot of patience and persistence.

I’ll be honest, as many interviews as I’ve done over the years, I still get nervous. It’s pretty much the equivalent to having butterflies in your stomach. So, imagine how I felt to learn I’d be interviewing Willie Nelson! A day before I headed to Saratoga Springs to cover Farm Aid for, I was told I’d get some time with Willie Nelson. On his tour bus! I freaked out a little bit. A chronic over-preparer I wracked my brain for questions, tried my best to listen to his catalog of music and his upcoming duets album.

(credit: Maria Ives)
(credit: Maria Ives)

Around 1 p.m. the next day, my colleague Brian and I learned we’ll be chatting with Willie in 20 minutes. A publicist led us to his bus and asserted there won’t be any photo opps. We obliged, although a bit bummed, and waited to be let in.

Yes, there was a distinct aroma of pot the moment we walked on the bus. It is Willie Nelson after all. As Brian and I sat down at the table I tried to take it all in. The smell, done. There were two leather couches as soon as you walk on the bus and dark wood paneling throughout. We joined Willie at his table and behind him graduation and class photos of his kids were on display. A proud father, he was so thoughtful with his words and praises for his kids I almost forgot I was talking with an icon. Almost, but not quite. Those 10 minutes felt like an eternity but also flew by way too quickly. He answered all our questions but as soon as I got off the bus I found myself wishing I asked more.



Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever envisioned myself interviewing Willie Nelson, let alone doing it on his tour bus. It took a long time to get here, but all the struggles, rejections, and uncertainty was worth it in that moment. If you wait long enough, sometimes your dream is even better than you could have imagined.

Interviews News Q&A

Amos Lee

Singer/songwriter Amos Lee has toured with everyone from Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan to Paul Simon and Elvis Costello. So it comes as no surprise that many country artists respect the Americana/folk artist.

Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott is one of Amos’ many country admirers, along with Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, who lend their voices on his upcoming album, ‘Mission Bell.’

“Great songwriters don’t come around that often. Amos is an exceptional artist, a true story teller, unique to his generation,” says Willie.

While ‘Mission Bell’ isn’t due for release until January 25 of next year, Amos filled me in on the recording process, his Farm Aid performance and just how he recruited Willie to join him in the studio. For the complete Q&A visit The Boot and be sure to watch his performance tonight on CMT’s “Artists of the Year.”

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Q&A with Lady Antebellum