10 Questions with ... RaeLynn
June 22, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
RaeLynn grew up in Baytown, TX,the youngest of seven kids. The music experience was always around her, as ReaLynn remembers, "If you couldn't sing or play an instrument in my family, it was a phenomenon." She grew up listening to everything from Gospel, to Dolly Parton and Destiny's Child. At 15, she went to Los Angeles to pursue acting and discovered a love for songwriting. Signed to the Big Machine Label Group two years ago, RaeLynn has spent the time since then perfecting her songwriting skills. Now she's ready for launch and has been out visiting radio to promote her debut single, "God Made Girls," which impacts June 30.
1. Raelynn, thanks for taking the time for All Access 10 Questions. We've seen you perform and can't help be blown away by your boundless energy. Where does it come from? A lot of caffeine, maybe?
Well I've always been a little crazy - the one in the family that has all the energy. First of all, I'm young and I probably have ADD. And I love coffee, which probably doesn't help either. I do sleep well, but it's hard for me to get to sleep; I always think about what I have to do the next day, especially when I have to go do something, like if I'm leaving on a trip. My mind is always working, it's crazy.
2. You were signed to BMLG/Valory a couple of years ago but have been spending most of the time since then writing a lot of songs. What have you learned most about that process during this time?
One thing I was told when I first started to write was that a movie tells the entire story and a song tells a glimpse of the story; a moment in life. When I heard that, it totally changed my songwriting. Songs do tell stories, but they don't have to give away the whole story. Every song is a moment, a thought. Working with Shane McAnally, Natalie Hemby, Nicole Galyon and other amazing people Monday through Friday for two years also made me realize when you work with people better than you, you get better. Writing is like a muscle; if you work it every day you'll make it stronger. It used to take me six hours to write a song, but now I can do it in half the time.
3. And, you are hanging out with some amazing writers. "God Made Girls" Features Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Nicolle Galyon, with the four of you spanning age 20 to about 50. How did that song come about for you ladies?
A lot of people don't know that I'm 20, Nicole is 30, Lori is 40 and Liz is 50. That's what makes that song so special because you have all these different perspectives from women. It didn't take that long to write it. When you're writing, the first 20 minutes of the session is catching up. They were talking about their husbands and I was sharing my boy drama at the moment. Then we started talking about all the things boys couldn't do without girls and what makes girls so amazing. Like the fact that we get dressed up for boys and they want to clean their truck for us - all the things boys couldn't do if they didn't have a girl. After that conversation, we wrote the song.
4. You're the youngest of seven kids, but the only child your mom and dad had together. Then your parents divorced. That in itself seems like at least two albums of material. How much of that experience will you draw from?
I definitely touch on that with my record. I wrote a song called "Love Triangle." I feel like everything happens for a reason; it was hard for me growing up, being that kid in the middle. When I moved to Nashville and was living on my own I woke up one day and had 10 text messages from my mom and dad arguing about something stupid. I almost didn't go to my writing session but I turned off my phone, went inside and started venting about being a kid from a divorced family, the ups and downs. We were going to write a happy song to get me out of that mood, but I had the title "Love Triangle" for a while. I thought it would be a sappy song but when we started talking about everything I was going through, it clicked that it wasn't supposed to be like that. Instead, it was meant to speak to kids of my generation. There are so many kids who have been what I've been through or at least know someone like me. There hasn't been a song out there to help people heal after being part of a broken family. I think "Love Triangle" is a great song for that; after my mom and dad heard it they told me they were sorry.
5. At 15 you moved from Baytown, TX to Los Angeles. How much culture shock did you experience, and could you ever live in LA?
No. I like LA and I enjoy visiting there when I stay for a couple weeks to write a little. If I was on the water it would be cool, I like the beach and Malibu. But I am such a country girl; I just love the South; there is nothing like Southern hospitality. Also, I'm close to my family. After being there for a couple weeks, I'm ready to get back to Nashville or Texas.
6. Now you live in Nashville, away from your family and you're just 20. Ever get homesick?
My mom comes up here at least once a month from Texas. I talk to my family on a daily basis so I feel very connected to them. When I'm on the radio tour I'm out Monday through Friday and I land late Friday night, then leave again Sunday afternoon, so it is a little hard only being home for about 48 hours.
7. You've just embarked on a busy radio tour to promote "God Made Girls." What's the one city you discovered that you previously knew nothing about, that you could live in someday?
I'm obsessed with Seattle. It's so cool, I just love it. But I'm torn because I love Portland too; I love the people there and we found some really great Greek food.
8. And how about radio? What have you learned about how it works and what will be needed to win over PDs and MDs?
I've been nothing but myself during this tour; I love to talk to people and getting to know them. It wasn't hard for me, I just love to talk and you can't really shut me up. I've met lifelong friends on this journey. My favorite ones are the ones who didn't know anything about me before or what to think of me. When I have been able to change their opinion when they met me and heard my songwriting, those are the stories I love. You can't go in there and try to win them over, you have to just be yourself.
9. You've been given career mentoring from Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, two of the biggest stars on planet earth. What's the biggest piece of advice they have shared with you?
There have been times when I've been really sad, because I've been signed for two years and I really wanted to get out there when the iron was hot. Miranda told me it took her two years to write and record her first record; Blake took 10 years to get to this point. He told me, 'Timing is everything; be patient and write music.' Miranda told me the same thing, because when it happens it happens and you'll never have this kind of time to develop. They also said, 'Don't let anybody change you, always be unique and be you."
10. You may also know how challenging it is right now for females to break through on Country radio. How does RaeLynn stand out and become a difference-maker?
I just think by being my crazy, Texas, spunky self. My music is really different than anything else out there by the girls. It's Country because I'm a Country girl. I'm working with [producer] Joey Moi, who did Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen but I'm the first girl he's worked with. All that energy he brings to the table helps to make me stand out on the radio. I have a unique voice and I'm praying that I can get that shot. It's about having the right song with a great team around me.
1. You're a master of the selfie. What's the best technique?... Overhead angle, or straight into the camera?
The overhead angle is stupid! It doesn't work for selfies. It does depend on how tall the person is in your selfie. The lighting needs to be in front of you, not behind, or it makes your eyes pop. Your arm kind of has to be at a 90 degree angle.
2. How many people in a selfie are too many?
I think there's no limit, are you kidding me? I guess probably you're overcrowding it at about eight people.
3. You've mentioned writing a song a day at one stretch. What's the strangest inspiration for a song idea during that time?
I have the perfect example. My publisher at Big Machine Music said, "You can write a song about anything." We were laughing and I said, "'Light Bulb.' I'm gonna write a song about light bulb today.' So I went and wrote one and it's the funniest song. It basically talks about how I'm not going to be your light bulb, you can't turn me off and on. It's a really cool hook. He didn't think I could do it and now he wants me to write once called "Desk." That's a hard one; I don't even know what I'm going to do with that!