10 Questions with ... Courtney Rau
October 7, 2013
Can you offer a brief journey of your musical career thus far from your perspective?
I started writing and recording music in Nashville when I was 13. I can remember the first time I played at a local writers night in Nashville at the Commodore Grill when I was in 8th grade. Looking around the room and being in such awe of the amazing writers that were performing, it was such an inspiration for me to see how talented and dedicated these musicians were and here I've been ever since!
1) What Got You Interested in music? What inspired you to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Ever since I can remember, music has been a huge part of my life. I've been playing piano, singing, and performing from a very young age and I was always involved in school plays and musicals.
Music was always a part of me, from the time I was very young. I always loved anything that involved music. Some kids are given a soccer ball and go out and teach themselves, I was given a keyboard at the age of five and couldn't stay away from it. I loved it more than any of my other toys as a kid.
2) Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Carrie Underwood is a huge musical inspiration for me. Her song, "Blown Away" actually inspired my song, "After the Storm." Her voice is so powerful and her rage is amazing. She is just an overall insanely talented musician.
Growing up, my dad always listened to Garth Brooks, Lonestar, and other country artists, while my mom listened to Michael Jackson, Madonna, and the Beatles, so I was introduced to a variety of music genres as a kid, which definitely influenced who I am today.
3) Please tell us about your new single "Shake" and what influenced you to write and/or record this song?
Actually, "Shake" was the first song that I recorded that I didn't write. My producer, Joe Vulpis, played it for me last spring and I instantly fell in love. It is so upbeat and nothing like anything else I had ever done before. The rap was actually an afterthought while we were in studio. We all agreed that it would be so cool to add, so it was really kind of an organic thing that happened, and I am SO happy with the way it turned out.
4) How have social networks and sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter affected the way you promote your music and interact with your fans?
The Internet plays such a huge role in an artist's life today. It is so wonderful to be able to connect personally with your fans through social media sites, and gives fans a real inside look on what your life is like on a daily basis. It is also great that when you finish a song or an EP, you can get it out there so quickly today to share with everybody.
5) What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes, and how do you tailor your music to fit in with contemporary artists that are now getting played at radio?
I write my songs based on personal experiences and different things that have happened in my life. I try to convey them in a way that is relatable to everyone. I don't really think about fitting in with other artists as much as I try to connect with my fans on a personal level.
6) What are your thoughts on satellite radio and streaming radio services like Pandora and Slacker.
I think all those services are fantastic and so powerful for people to have at their fingertips. The music industry has changed so much in recent years, and you have to stay with the evolution of it and change along with it.
7) If you had the opportunity to work with any act/artist from the past, present or future, who would it be?
A musical genius that inspires me and would love to work with would be Miley Cyrus. I have loved her from the time she was Hannah Montana. Even though she has been the center of controversy recently, and I don't agree with some of her performance decisions, I think she is so talented. Every time she comes out with a new song, whether its sassy, edgy, or makes you want to dance, all of her songs show her true talent and her amazing voice. As for an artist from the future, we will have to wait and see on that. :)
8) What is your favorite song to perform live?
My ultimately favorite song to perform live is "Better Dig Two" by the Band Perry. The song is so edgy and my band and I performed it for the first time a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh, and I had such a blast!
9) Can you pick a favorite song from the new album?
"In That Moment" is my personal favorite from the EP. I can't wait for you all to hear it!
10) Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians?
Oh, wow. Well, I would just tell any passionate musician to keep at it. No matter how difficult it becomes (and it is very difficult) keep going until you reach your goals and don't let anyone bring you down.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to read, play tennis, and hang out with my friends and family!
How do you balance your family life?
Well, I am currently a sophomore in high school. It can be really hard at times to manage all of my homework/school commitments while pursuing my career at this level. My family has been so supportive of me, and I am really grateful for that.
Who has had the biggest impact on your life?
I would definitely have to say my mom!
What are some of the artists we might find on your MP3 player?
I have a wide range of music tastes. You could find anyone from Bruno Mars, to Miley Cyrus, to Drake, to Carrie Underwood, to The Band Perry, and even Michael Jackson.
Favorite city to visit:
Los Angeles or London. I was born in London so it's always fun to go back and visit home :)
What was the biggest gaffe you've ever made during an interview?
On my first radio interview, I completely blanked out when they asked me how old I was and I paused for probably five seconds, which seemed like an hour! I had only just turned 15 the week before! So embarrassing!