Top Ten With Chantele DiBrava

Top Ten With...

Chantele DiBrava

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is Chantele DiBrava, a rising country star who just released her latest single, “Rollin With The Homies”. Get to know Chantele through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With Chantele DiBrava

I’m inspired by: I get inspiration from a lot of different things. Right now I’m very inspired by photography. I am in a taking photos mood at the moment! Musically I can always get inspired by the greats like Elvis and Dolly, Aretha etc. And I am still a huge Pistol Annie’s fan! I love Miranda, Little Big Town, and artists like Launa Del Rey.

I realized I wanted to play music when: I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to play music. The arts have been a part of my life since childhood. Everything from dance classes from 3 years old on to community theater etc. Plus my mom’s love of music was always around me.

Four songs you might find on my iPod:

1. I can’t feel my face
2. This is what you came for
3. pontoon
4. hell on heels

One word I would use to describe myself: “Crazy”

The best part of being a musician is: Being able to perform live.

Right now, I’m most excited about: Rolling with the Homies!! My latest song.

Something most people don’t know about me is: That I am classically trained and grew up doing theater. And I love the Ballet!

One of my happiest moments was: Playing at the super bowl tailgate party!!!

My music is: Pop with a little bit of county and little bit of soul.

In ten years, I see myself: Still on TOUR!!

Check out the video for “Rollin With The Homies” above and learn more by following Chantele on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud and Instagram, and visit her official website at ChanteleDiBrava.com.

Interview With Angry Birds Producer John Cohen + Ticket Giveaway!

The Angry Birds Movie

Everyone’s favorite smartphone game has now become America’s #1 family film as The Angry Birds Movie continues to delight moviegoers. Last week, I had a chance to chat with the film’s producer, John Cohen, about the process of bringing this story to life as a film.

Beeb Ashcroft: You’ve got a unique challenge with something that is video game-based, and especially something that is a smartphone game, it’s such a new concept – how do you translate something like that into a movie?

John Cohen: That is what excited me the most about this as a possible movie. The Angry Birds games have been downloaded now, I think, 3 and a half billion times. It’s so crazy. And that’s a lot of people that know the games, have played the games, love the game. And when you have a property of that size, with that kind of connection with families and with people in the world, it’s normally something like a book property, like Harry Potter, for example. Every single detail in Harry Potter is beautifully spelled out for you. The names of every character, every prop, every location, and if you’re lucky enough to be a part of translating something like Harry Potter into a movie, you are just carefully translating someone else’s vision, and trying to bring that to life and not mess it up. With something like Angry Birds, we have all of the great value of the connection and the awareness of the property, but not a lot had been defined. There are of course some characters that are popular from the game, they have unique abilities: They use the slingshot because they’re going up against these dumb green piggies who have stolen their eggs. Beyond a few core things, it was really a blank slate. And so, the process of translating that into a movie, we approached more from the perspective of other movies that I’ve been a part of – as an example, like Despicable Me, or the Ice Age movies, where we’re telling an original story of how that strange conflict came to exist between these flightless birds and these green piggies. And so it was such a cool opportunity to be able to tell an original story, but have it be something that everyone in the world knows.

Beeb Ashcroft: That’s a cool way to look at, because you’re right – we all know it, but it’s still a blank slate to be projected on. This movie also has such a hilarious voice cast, and I’ve got to imagine that must have been crucial bringing the story to life. How did you decide who to get on board?

John Cohen: Oh my gosh, we were so lucky to get all of our first choices. All the people that are just the funniest, funniest people in the world. And, when you’re doing something in animation, [for] an actor performing is a very unusual experience for them. Because you’re really stripped of all of the tools that you have in your bag of tricks as an actor to really perform. If you think about it, an actor comes in, and she or he is in a recording booth, alone, without any other actors, with only their voice, and without any costumes, without any sets, and it’s a pretty abnormal environment. So, the best way to get spontaneous feeling, really organic, natural performances from actors is if they are great improvisational comedians. And, all of the actors that we have in the movies have that fantastic ability. When you see someone like Kate McKinnon come in and read her script and her lines, or Jason Sudeikis or Josh Gad, and they already have good lines because we had a good script, and they take those lines and they come up with new ideas and they make them even funnier, and really get to know their characters and are able to bring those characters to life through just their voices.

Beeb Ashcroft: So you encouraged improvisation for this film?

John Cohen: Yes. I think it’s an important thing to do, it’s an important part of animation, especially when you have people who are this talented, not only as vocal performers, but as improvisational comedians and writers. Each actor is contributing a lot in their role.

Beeb Ashcroft: Right, and I noticed there’s a lot of SNL alumni on there – that makes total sense to me, because they have that gift to come up with just such amazing stuff on the spot.

John Cohen: Oh, my gosh. The recording sessions are like you’re watching a comedy show. We come out of the recording sessions and for an actor, because they’re alone at a microphone, it can be exhausting. It can be a very tiring session because again, they’re not sharing the spotlight with anyone else. They are just on, for hours at a time. And for us, we leave a recording session, and we’re wheezing because we’re laughing so hard. And so, it is a great joy to come back into editorial and be able to pick the best line among, sometimes, dozens of great options for a line, and so it’s a lot of fun.

Beeb Ashcroft: Oh, I can only imagine! Going back to what you were saying earlier about how this game obviously has an all-ages appeal, another thing I think about having a cast like this is the movie itself can appeal to anybody. Did you think that was important, that parents could enjoy this with their kids and it wouldn’t just be a kiddie movie?

John Cohen: It is so important. You know, as we’ve made the movie, we were always looking at it through the lens of the entire family. And wanted to find comedy that we knew kids would love, but also wanted to find comedy that we laughed at and we found genuinely funny. You spend a long time – months and months and months – in a small group of our core team: Our directors, my producing partners, Catherine Winder, Mikael Hed and David Maisel, our editors, Kent Beyda and Ally Garrett, and we all sat around and we would laugh at the movie and these scenes every day, and we thought it was hilarious. But when we started to show it to audiences, and we had families in a packed theater and we heard the same reaction now from hundreds of people, that is always the most satisfying part of the process. All of a sudden, the movie takes on a life of its own and you hear laughter from beginning to end. What I’m so proud of with this movie is that [it is] not only funny. I think audiences and so many parents have said this to me – friends of mine, and even just anecdotal conversations, that they’re so pleasantly surprised that the movie is emotional too. And that they make an emotional connection to these characters and feel that heartwarming quality, especially at the end.

The Angry Birds Movie is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Giveaway Time!

Fandango

To help you beat the summer heat, Rovio and Fandango are giving away a family four-pack of tickets to see The Angry Birds Movie! The winner will receive two Fandango codes, good for two tickets each, for a total maximum value of $35. Giveaway ends June 15th, 2016 at 11:00 PM PST – use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff: Giveaway is open residents of the United States, 18+, and ends on June 15th, 2016 at 11:00 PM PST. Winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter on June 16th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to respond to our notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Void where prohibited. Contest Corner is not responsible for late entries or entries lost due to technical malfunctions. Please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure for further details on our site’s policies.

Interview With Kristen Merlin

Kristen Merlin
Photo credit: Matt Gleason

After placing in the Top 5 on season 6 of The Voice, Team Shakira’s Kristen Merlin has been constantly on the move, touring the country and releasing her debut EP Boomerang. As an avid fan of the show who voted for Kristen during the competition, I was excited to chat with her about filming The Voice and learn more about what she’s been up to since then.

Beeb Ashcroft: How did you connect with producer Corey Britz [of the band Bush]?

Kristen Merlin: Corey and I actually met at the wrap party at the end of season 6 of The Voice. He was involved in some of the iTunes behind-the-scenes kind of things. We exchanged numbers and he said he had a studio, and later on down the road I shot him a message to see if he wanted to work on this project with me, and he jumped on board right away so it was awesome.

Beeb Ashcroft: On your EP, all the songs are written by you except for “Boomerang”, which Corey co-wrote. What was it about that song that stood out to you so much that you wanted to record it?

Kristen Merlin: We were going through songs to figure out what we wanted to put on this EP, and he went through a folder of things that he had worked on. He wasn’t even gonna show me – [he] had kinda scrolled through and gone, “Oh, that was a really beautiful one,” and I said, “Well, which one? Are you gonna show me?” So he showed me it and I think it was just – Kara Britz [Backup vocalist in The Voice band] is his sister and he co-wrote it with Kara, and she was the one on the demo of it, vocally, and it was just amazing – it was just the piano and her voice and it was so pure. And lyrically, it moved me. I kept playing it over in my head and the next morning when I went back to the studio, it was still stuck in my brain and I was like, “Corey, I have to have that song. I wanna cut that.” He said, as long as Kara’s on board, you can have it! And all was well.

Beeb Ashcroft: Do you find that real emotional connection is important to you with a song?

Kristen Merlin: Absolutely. It’s hard to – you want to pick songs that you can actually connect to, or make sure that you can convey a message through yourself singing that to an audience member. There are songs that are just fun to sing, but then there are songs that carry a lot of meaning. So, for me I like the meaningful songs.

Beeb Ashcroft: Was it challenging on The Voice, since you have to sing such a plethora of songs and you don’t get to choose all of them. How do you find a connection with a song that, say, you’eve been given to perform but maybe wouldn’t have chosen yourself?

Kristen Merlin: You have to really live with the song for a while. And I actually ran into that a couple of times on The Voice, but certainly with “Foolish Games”, I struggled with that one a lot. And I actually fought Shakira on it. I didn’t wanna do it even though I suggested it originally! (laughs) But I gathered myself and I wasn’t feeling it, I wasn’t connecting with it; it was just a song I was signing and I was like, “That hasn’t been me this whole time on the show and I don’t wanna just do a song just to do a song.” So I went through it with the vocal coach Trelawny [Rose] and we hacked it out for like an hour or so trying to find something. And eventually somewhere along the line things clicked with me and I found meaning for it, and all of a sudden it just became alive.

Beeb Ashcroft: Tell me about the other songs on this EP that you’ve written. What was the inspiration behind them and what made you pick those out of things you’ve written?

Kristen Merlin: There were several songs that I had to kinda go through that were my own songs. Corey and I sat down and were trying to figure out which of them would go well together on one disc, and which ones kinda brought the best of different parts of me. So there’s one that was just a fun party song, “Pocket Love Song”, it’s kinda upbeat, bubbly. Same with “A Little While” – it’s the most country one, I feel, classic country. And then there were some that were just vocally strong, “Confusion” being that one for sure. And “For Now” ended up just being a beautiful song that we finished – I wrote it years ago, only the beginning part of it – couldn’t finish it, had writer’s block. I sat down with Corey and was like, “Hey, if we have time, can we see if we can get this done?” So I played it for him and he picked up his guitar and started playing, and him and Justin [Derrico] wrote the instrumental pieces to it and made it sound beautiful. And then I finished the lyrics for it and it was awesome. Unexpected song that came out of that whole trip out to LA and it ended up being one I definitely wanted to put on the EP.

Beeb Ashcroft: There was a really cute story behind “Pocket Love Song” – do you want to tell our readers how the title came about?

Kristen Merlin: I wrote this song and I always get excited when I write songs, so I immediately want to play it out at my shows. I kept bringing it around to my shows and because it was newly written, I had the lyrics in my pocket. So then I would pull it out of my pocket every time I’d go to play, until someone asked me at a show, “Well, what’s the name of that song?” “I don’t have a name for it yet.” My best friend was in the audience, and she yelled out, “Pocket Love Song!” purely for the fact that I kept pulling the lyrics out of my pocket. So it stuck, and every time someone requested it, it became the Pocket Love Song.

Beeb Ashcroft:I love it! Speaking of touring, what was it like for you performing on The Voice tour?

Kristen Merlin: Oh my goodness, that was amazing. That is something that I was so excited about, to learn that I was voted back on the tour as a fan favorite to join the tour. And then to do so many cities in such a small period of time, was crazy, but it was so fun. Constantly on the move, constantly doing stuff, and it’s a different city every day. It was an amazing experience to get to know other Voice members, people that weren’t on my season – me and Tessanne [Chin] actually became really close on that tour, and had it not been for the tour, I never would have gotten that friendship out of it.

Beeb Ashcroft: The Voice schedule is so intense – you talked about the touring schedule, but I’m sure filming the show is even more so. How do you deal with being on the go that much?

Kristen Merlin: Well thankfully, before that my life had kinda been just as crazy! (laughs) Constantly on the go, and I’m the type of person that, when I have downtime, I really don’t know what to do with it. I’m OK with being busy all the time. But along with just being busy came a lot of stress when I was on the show, because of constant work and needing to continue to grow and excel and learn and become better as an artist, and you know, it’s a competition so you want to come out on top. But, certainly worth the whole whirlwind of a year of no sleep. (laughs)

Beeb Ashcroft: What has been the most significant thing that’s changed in your life since you’ve been on The Voice?

Kristen Merlin: For me, I think the growth of my fan base was the biggest change, which was really exciting for me. I still have my crew that supported me before the show and before they had any idea that I was doing any of this stuff, and they would always be out at the shows and supporting me and rooting me on, and wanting me to do some original stuff. Then to learn of all the new fans that I acquired throughout the show was really cool. Coming home and actually getting to meet someone when I’m just out randomly, at the supermarket or anywhere I go, people are stopping me to say “Hi” and congratulations and take pictures, so that’s really cool for me. And then the next thing would be putting out my EP and having original music out there, so now the fans that I’ve built through the show doing a bunch of covers, can now grasp on to who I am as an artist, and really get involved in my career for myself.

Beeb Ashcroft: What was it like working with Shakira? Are you still in touch with her now that the show is over?

Kristen Merlin: We try to kinda keep in contact every now and then. She’s been kinda crazy busy doing a ton of other things in her career and being a mom, so I keep in touch with her manager every now and then, and they help me, they tweeted out about my EP and everything which I’m super grateful for – it’s just nice to see that she still supports me, post-show, and she supported me throughout the whole show.

Beeb Ashcroft: Do you have any plans to come back to The Voice this season to perform some of your new music?

Kristen Merlin: If I could make something like that happen, absolutely, I would love to get back with The Voice family and again, share everything that I’m currently working on with The Voice audience again.

Beeb Ashcroft: Carson calls it “The Voice Family”, and it seems like you guys really do have that camaraderie. Competing on this show is such a unique experience, and I think it would be hard to relate to unless you’d been there.

Kristen Merlin: Yeah, and it’s funny because people ask, “Is that real? Are you guys really that close?” You would just spend day in and day out, every waking moment with all these people that are going through the same thing you’re going through. And it’s such a crazy experience, and to have everyone like that going through the same thing, and lean on each other even though you’re competing against each other, it’s a really neat relationship that you end up building with people. I mean, people can listen to it, but unless you’re going through it and feeling all the crazy emotions that you go through, it’s really hard to put yourself in that position.

You can get Boomerang now on iTunes and KristenMerlin.com. For news and tour dates, be sure to follow Kristen on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Top Ten With Diana Espir

Top Ten With...

Diana Espir

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is Diana Espir, a former contestant on The Voice France who just released her first single, “Tomboy”, featuring Nelly. Get to know Diana through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With Diana Espir

I’m inspired by: creating happiness and sharing a positive energy with my audience and people around me.

I realized I wanted to play music when: I was 2 years old and used to go watch my sister’s piano lessons. My teacher noticed my enthusiasm to play and she developed a method to teach me even though I was so young.

Four songs you might find on my iPod:

O’ (Hidden Track) – Coldplay

Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde

Sing – Ed Sheeran

Chandelier – Sia

One word I would use to describe myself: loyal.

The best part of being a musician is: You get to do music whenever / wherever you like (almost). Whether it is to share a positive energy with friends / an audience, or to get over a tough situation, music complements any life experience and helps you get you through it. I also love sharing my passion my others, collaborating with Nelly was incredible!

Right now, I’m most excited about: Being able to perform ‘Tomboy’ live on stage and share my music with an audience!

Something most people don’t know about me is: I’m scared of horror movies and have a phobia of flying! And yet here I am, far away from Europe :)

One of my happiest moments was: The births of my nephew and niece. Plus my niece was born on the same day as me!

My music is: pop – driven. But you have to wait for the new music to see for yourself, my producer and I have been carving away to make some great new records!

In ten years, I see myself: an accomplished artist who has inspired others to chase their dreams.

Check out the lyric video for “Tomboy” above and get the single now on iTunes! For more news, be sure to visit DianaEspir.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Top Ten With J. Michael Harter

Top Ten With...

J. Michael Harter - photo by Chuck Arlund

J. Michael Harter – photo by Chuck Arlund

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is J. Michael Harter, a country musician who got his start performing with his siblings as part of The Harters. Now J. Michael is stepping out on his own and just released a solo album, Ride On. Get to know more about J. Michael Harter through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With J. Michael Harter

I’m inspired by:
Nature and my family are my inspirations.

I realized I wanted to play music when:
When I was cut from the basketball team, my dad offered to get me guitar lessons, and I took him up on it. I quickly learned that the girls like a guitar-playing cowboy way more than a basketball player. ;)

Songs you might find on my iPod:
“The Highwayman” – Johnny Cash
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” – Johnny Cash
“Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” – Garth Brooks

One word I would use to describe myself:
Blessed

The best part of being a musician is:
That it’s like having a built in therapist within myself. Music heals!

Right now, I’m most excited about:
I’m really excited about getting to watch my daughter grow up! I just welcomed my first child, Aspen Lee, in late October.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
Most people probably don’t know that I’m a huge Star Wars fan.

One of my happiest moments was:
One of my happiest moments was when my daughter was born.

My music is:
My music is honest.

In ten years, I see myself:
In ten years I see myself recording my tenth studio album, touring whenever I want to and living out in the country.

Listen to J. Michael Harter’s current single, “Holy Cowgirl”, and get the song now on iTunes. For more news and updates, be sure to visit JMichaelHarter.com and follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Top Ten With Amber Hayes

Top Ten With...

Amber Hayes - photo by  Amy Phillips

Amber Hayes – photo by Amy Phillips

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is country singer, songwriter and actress Amber Hayes. 2014 saw the release of the film Cowgirls N’ Angels 2: Dakota’s Summer, which featured both Amber and her music. Get to know more about her through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With Amber Hayes

I’m inspired by:
My 98-year-old great grandma, Nannie, inspires me.

I realized I wanted to play music when:
I realized I wanted to play music the first time I was on stage and it felt like home

Four songs you might find on my iPod:
“Waiting On June” – Holly Williams
“I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley
“Hard Candy Christmas” – Dolly Parton
“Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran

One word I would use to describe myself:
Passionate

The best part of being a musician is:
The best part of being a musician is having the ability to touch people with my music.

Right now, I’m most excited about:
I’m really excited about my new EP, Running Out Of Memories, that came out in November.

Something most people don’t know about me is:
Something most people don’t know about me was that I was hula dancer growing up. I actually toured with a hula-dancing group in Oklahoma.

One of my happiest moments was:
One of my happiest moments was singing with George Jones at the Ryman.

My music is:
My music is positive and Country!

In ten years, I see myself:
In ten years I see myself on tour, on a bus, seeing with world with my family.

Check out the video for “Cotton Eyed Joe” from the Cowgirls N’ Angels 2 soundtrack, and get her new EP, Running Out Of Memories on iTunes now. For more on Amber, visit AmberHayesMusic.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Top Ten With The Cains Trio

Top Ten With...

The Cains Trio - Photo by Amanda Chapman

The Cains Trio – Photo by Amanda Chapman

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artists are The Cains Trio, a three-piece outfit consisting of siblings Madison, Taylor, and Logan Cain. The group just released their debut album, Stay on Board, in October – get to know more about this triple threat through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With The Cains Trio

I’m inspired by:

Logan: I’m inspired by other independent artists that have found a way to make it. There are lots of ways to succeed in music if you don’t allow yourself to give up, and I’m so inspired by those who have blazed the trail!

Madison: Truth! I like to start my day watching a YouTube video that reminds me of what’s true. We’re bombarded with so many different people, ideas and influences. I love Jesus Christ and my faith is a huge part of my life. I also believe that eating a plant-based diet is wonderful, and stick to a vegan meal plan. I like to listen to Andy Stanley sermons, and I follow fitness bloggers and vegans like Freelee and Happy Herbivore. They inspire me to stay the course!

Taylor: YouTube videos! I watched one yesterday that focused on well-known individuals who didn’t start their career until way later in life. A quote from the video was, “I’m 29 years old, and I haven’t done anything monumental in my life…yet.” We’re never too old to change the world!

I realized I wanted to play music when:

Logan: I realized I wanted to play music when I was 13 – that was the age I discovered that girls liked boys who could sing, haha!

Madison: Music has been the goal for me for as long as I can remember. I started singing in church at a very early age, and I’ve always performed in school choirs, show groups, jazz ensembles, etc. In 2012, we entered and won a music video competition to open for Andrew Ripp and Dave Barnes. After that competition, I realized that performing music professionally wasn’t such a lofty goal, and it was actually attainable! It took other people believing in us for us to ultimately gain that confidence and take the plunge into the music industry.

Taylor:
I originally decided to go college to be a sonographer. One night after I sang at church, my dad told me he knew that I needed to pursue music. He told me not to pick a job because of the money, but to choose something I would enjoy doing for free! I quickly changed my major and moved away from home to pursue a music industry degree. My dad really helped me realize my passion for music and constantly pushes me towards my goal!

Four songs you might find on your iPod:

Logan: “New Flame” – Chris Brown ft. Usher
“Anything” – John Mayer
“The Dance” – Garth Brooks
“You Go Down Smooth” – Lake Street Drive

Madison: “It Is What It Is” – Kacey Musgraves
“Same Old Same Old” – The Civil Wars
“Sweet Pea” – Amos Lee
“You Go Down Smooth” – Lake Street Drive

Taylor: “You Make Me Brave” – Amanda Cook
“Stuck On Stupid” – Chris Brown
“Hurt” – Johnny Cash
“I Am A Difference Maker” – Needtobreathe

One world I would use to describe myself:

Logan: Heavy

Madison: Affirming

Taylor: Thankful

The best part of being a musician is:

Logan: The best part of being a musician is getting to meet and be a part of many people’s lives.

Madison: The flexible lifestyle! Before I was a musician full-time I would get ready for work at 7:00 a.m. and get home from work at 6:30 p.m. After work, I’d work out, watch a couple TV shows and then go to bed. I felt like I was just living for the weekend. Now, my schedule changes all the time. One week I’m visiting radio stations, and the next I’m in the studio. It feels like I still work just as hard, and possibly even longer hours, but I love what I do and the ever-changing schedule that comes with it!

Taylor:
I get to meet new people EVERY DAY! How great is that? I get to play awesome music with my awesome siblings and travel the United States meeting new faces and hearing their stories. Pursuing a music career has changed my life in the best way!

Right now, I’m most excited about:

Logan: I’m most excited about getting to play more shows in 2015!

Madison: I’m so excited for “Christmas break!” Since we’re our own bosses now, we decided to take a couple weeks off before the New Year to spend more time with our family before gearing up for a big 2015!

Taylor: I’m most excited that our debut single, “Be Yourself With Me,” is now on the Music Row charts! I never thought we would be pursuing a career in music, music less having a song placing #73 on the charts!

Something most people don’t know about me is:

Logan: I’m a cheerleader! I cheered in college at Troy University and I coach cheer.

Madison: I can be really shy in large groups even though I’m very outgoing! I love being on stage. I love meeting new people, but right before I enter a room filled with strangers, I often have to psych myself up for it. If anyone out there has to overcome shyness, my best tip is to focus the conversation with others. Ask good questions! For me, shyness can come from feeling like I want people to like me. Don’t worry about that. Just try to bring out the best in others!

Taylor: I’ve been told by my doctor that I overproduce earwax. So, there’s that.

One of the happiest moments was:

Logan: One of the happiest moments was graduating college!

Madison: In my career, it was definitely hearing “Be Yourself With Me” on the radio for the first time. We spent all of the last year writing and recording while working other full-time jobs. So, that moment was a huge spark of excitement and really signaled the beginning of something new.

Taylor: The day I performed my senior recital was a day to remember! I didn’t think I would be able to graduate college due to a cyst on my vocal chords. In order to graduate, I had to sing 7 classical songs in various languages. The cyst made it almost impossible to do live performances. I did several months of vocal therapy at Vanderbilt and saw much improvement. Through prayer, faith in God and vocal therapy, I was able to sing for 45 minutes and pass my senior recital!

My music is:

Logan: You have to listen to it and find what it is to you. Our music “wears a lot of hats,” but we like to keep it fun.

Madison: Meaningful, light, uplifting and refreshing.

Taylor: A doorway – it’s a call to action! Every song has a purpose and leads the listener to a decision.

In ten years, I see myself:

Logan: In ten years, hopefully I’m still making music and telling people about Jesus. No matter what my job is, I want to always do those things!

Madison: In ten years I’ll be 33. That’s pretty wild! At that point, I hope I’ve had the opportunity to adopt some children. Hopefully, my music career is still thriving. I’m still passionate about video and would love to delve more into that. I hope to film a documentary some day!

Taylor: In ten years, I see myself married, living next door to my brother and sister – I hope we all have houses near the beach! Also, I hope the three of us will still be leading worship at my dad’s church.

Check out the video for the first single from The Cains Trio, “Be Yourself With Me”, and get the album now on iTunes! Keep up with the band by visiting TheCainsTrio.com and becoming a fan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Top Ten With Nate Green

Top Ten With...

Nate Green - Photo by Greg Swales

Nate Green – Photo by Greg Swales

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is Nate Green, a rising country star gearing up to release his first EP in January. He has already been featured on ZUUS Country’s “On The Rise” as well as chosen as one of Teen.com’s “10 Hottest Guys You’ve Ever Seen in Country Music”, so you’re bound to hear more about him in 2015! Get to know Nate through our exclusive interview:

Top Ten With Nate Green

I’m inspired by: I’m inspired by the goals I have for my life; but, when it comes to songwriting, I’m inspired by my life.

I realized I wanted to play music when: I was 17

Four songs you might find on my iPod:

“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” – John Mayer
“Kiss Me in the Dark” – Randy Rogers Band
“Jealous” – Nick Jonas
“West Coast” – Lana Del Rey

One word I would use to describe myself: Ambitious

The best part of being a musician is: That music is a creative outlet for me. Having that is a great stress reliever!

Right now, I’m most excited about: My EP! Road Map is coming out January 13th. Pre order it on iTunes now!

Something most people don’t know about me is: I actually talk really slow.

One of my happiest moments was: Playing basketball as a kid.

My music is: Inventive

In ten years, I see myself: Settling down with a family.

Check out the official video for “Wild and Free” above, and grab his debut EP Road Map on iTunes when it drops on January 13th. For more news and updates, visit NateGreenMusic.com and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Top Ten With Sariah

Top Ten With...

Sariah

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is Sariah, a pop and dance artist from New York. She just dropped her latest single, “Aware Alive Awake”, and is ready to get the dancefloor moving – get to know Sariah through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With Sariah

I’m inspired by:
Absolutely everything around me. Sometimes I even begin songwriting by writing down everything I see and creating key words of inspiration from there!

I realized I wanted to play music when:
When I was younger I used to lay down a blanket in the living room and sing and dance for any company we had! It made me the happiest little girl ever. I knew that was my calling.

Four songs you might find on my iPod:
Anything by Sam Smith
“Nobody’s Perfect” -Jessie J
“Runaway Train” -Shoshana Bean
“Try” -Colbie Caillat

One word I would use to describe myself:
Positive :)

The best part of being a musician is:
Connecting with people throughout the world with my music.

Right now, I’m most excited about:
The Holiday Season! My EP is being re-released this year titled, “Holiday Heart” with a new remix too!

Something most people don’t know about me is:
I wear my heart on my sleeve.

One of my happiest moments was:
Creating the “Aware, Alive, Awake” music video. I got to combine my passion for the theater and pop all in one video!

My music is:

Able to translate to all ears on all different occasions. Whether you’re enjoying some tunes on your headphones, at the gym, working, relaxing, or partying, you can listen to it all and I hope it inspires you :)

In ten years, I see myself:
Having my own makeup line, charity, champagne, many more albums, more artists under my label, all while on a world tour!

Check out the video for “Aware Alive Awake” above and click here to get the single on iTunes now! Keep up with the latest news and releases – including that holiday EP! – by visiting SariahMusic.com and following her on Twitter and Facebook.

Top Ten With Sarah Kelly

Top Ten With...

Sarah Kelly

Welcome to Top Ten With…, a fun Q&A session where you’ll get to learn all about the music scene’s hottest artists! Today’s featured artist is Sarah Kelly, a two-time Grammy nominated Christian pop/rock artist and founder of the Sarah Kelly Music School. She’s having a pretty exciting year: She just dropped her latest album, My Corner of Heaven, and the president of Capitol CMG, Bill Hearn, paid a visit to her school earlier this month. Get to know Sarah through our exclusive interview!

Top Ten With Sarah Kelly

I’m inspired by:

Jonas, my lovely Swedish husband, my students and Jesus!:)

I realized I wanted to play music when:

I started with music as an escape out of an abusive marriage, and sort of stumbled on a music career. It was never my dream to be an artist, my dream was always be a teacher… which I am now!!:)

Four songs you might find on my iPod:

“What I have done” with Anna Ternheim, “My favorite game” with The Cardigans, and a lot classical music:)

One word I would use to describe myself:

Eclectic.. :)

The best part of being a musician is:

To be able to touch people’s hearts.

Right now, I’m most excited about:

My music school and the fact that Bill Hearn (the president of Capital christian music group) is coming to visit on November 3rd….!!

Something most people don’t know about me is:

I love to cook food for my puppies..:)

One of my happiest moments was:

When I met Jonas…!!:)

My music is:

Fringe Christian / Pop/Rock

In ten years, I see myself:

Living on a beach in San Diego with my puppies and Jonas:)

Watch the video for “Unescapable” above, and pick up the album on iTunes today. Keep up with the latest news and updates by visiting SarahKelly.com and following her on Facebook and Twitter.