January has come and gone. The first month of 2023 is in the books, and wow, it unfolded into a great one. Both my music and author journeys are off to a great start this year, so I’m delighted to share my January memories and highlights.
“I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” Live at the MOP Top Prize Party
I started 2023 by getting invited to perform “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” at the MOP Top Prize Party. On New Year’s Eve, I officially became the number 2 artist on the Music of Pittsburgh (MOP) Society Top 40 for 2022, and as if that recognition wasn’t magical enough, I got to celebrate with the MOP Society and other Pittsburgh musicians. This was such a fun night that I’ll never forget.
I filmed my performance of “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky.” You can watch it on my YouTube channel below.
Also, since this night was so special, I wrote a blog post all about it. You can check that out here for all the highlights, photos, and more.
I’m so lucky I started my 2023 performances by taking the stage with “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” at the MOP Top Prize Party. I’m looking forward to more live music and making memories with the MOP Society this year.
January Chart Magic to Kick Off 2023
Three of my songs got recognized on charts in January. This was such a fantastic way to start my chart placements for 2023.
First, I received so much love on the Heart of Indie Top 10. “Winter Cold” held a spot on the chart for six weeks in a row, which is a massive achievement. On top of that, it peaked at number 3. All the love “Winter Cold” was shown during the holiday season means the world to me. I’m so blessed for all the support and votes by my Butterflies for giving this song such a fabulous time in the Heart of Indie Top 10.
Naturally, “Winter Cold” dropped off the chart a couple weeks into the new year, but I didn’t stay off the top 10 for long. During the last week of January, “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” entered the chart at number 10. I’m so glad this song landed on the chart, and I can’t wait to see if it climbs in February.
Along with the Heart of Indie Top 10, I charted on the Radio TFSC Top 24 twice in January. Both “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” and “Halfway Outta This Town” took the number 12 spot during different weeks. It’s truly magical seeing two of my favorite songs on It Is What It Is land on the chart this month.
Thank you so much to all the stations that play my music and listeners who vote for me. Seeing “Winter Cold,” “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky,” and “Halfway Outta This Town” chart this month has made me super excited to see what the rest of the year holds for my music on radio stations worldwide.
Guest Co-Hosting Hearts of Nashville
I’m so honored I got to guest co-host Hearts of Nashville on January 28. I’ve co-hosted quite a few shows on Heart of Indie Radio now, and every time is special and fun. I’m so lucky Eddie and the team give me such memorable opportunities. Co-hosting shows is definitely on my list of favorite things to do.
You can listen to the fabulous show on MixCloud. Eddie and I chat about Kelsea’s Heartfirst Tour, “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky,” Heart of Indie Magazine, and more. Of course, the show is packed with fantastic music.
Ever since I started my podcast, Write on Track, I’ve grown to love being in front of a mic, not only as an artist but as a show host as well. I’m grateful Heart of Indie is giving me the chance to step into the shoes of a radio personality every once in a while. I’m looking forward to co-hosting more shows this year because I learn so much and it’s always a blast.
It Is What It Is Lyrical Secrets
My EP, It Is What It Is, turned two months old on January 11. I feel like this project has been out way longer, but that proves how busy my last few months have been. It’s truly still the beginning for It Is What It Is.
To celebrate It Is What It Is being out for two months, I wrote a very special blog post where I spill lyrical secrets. I enjoyed pulling back the curtain and revealing crafty choices I made while writing the lyrics and recording in the studio. I hope you’ll read it here.
I’m so glad I shared my lyrical secrets because writing lyrics is one of my favorite parts of the songwriting process. After you read the blog post, give It Is What It Is a listen on your favorite download or streaming platform here and keep your ears open for the lyrical secrets I revealed.
My “If I Die Young” Cover Officially Has Drums
I started recording my “If I Die Young” cover at my December session, and I couldn’t wait to get drums recorded on the song. This month, I zoomed Bob and Sophia at the studio and listened in while the drums got recorded. Sophia is so talented, and she did a perfect job as always. The drums sound fabulous, and now that they’re recorded, I’m one step closer to finishing the song. All that’s left is pedal steel and my vocals. I’m going back to the studio in February, so I’m excited to keep working on “If I Die Young.”
One Year of “Homecoming Queen” and the Heartfirst Tour News
Speaking of covers, my rendition of “Homecoming Queen” by Kelsea Ballerini turned a year old on January 21. How has it already been a year? That’s wild to me.
You can listen to “Homecoming Queen” on your favorite platform here. Also, since this song is so special to me, I shared a behind the cover video and blog post and filmed a studio vlog. Check those out to learn more about my “Homecoming Queen” rendition, from writing the bridge to recording in the studio and more. I’m blessed for all the love this song is still receiving a year later.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my “Homecoming Queen” rendition turned a year old the same month Kelsea announced the second leg of her Heartfirst Tour. When I looked at the tour dates and saw she’s coming to Pittsburgh in March, I may or may not have gotten teary eyed. I’ve wanted to see Kelsea live ever since she’s become my favorite country artist. Now, I’m finally getting that chance. I already have my tickets for the show, and I promise I’ll share all about my experience at the Heartfirst Tour in March. Saying I’m excited is a huge understatement. I literally can’t wait to see Kelsea live, sing every lyric, and probably cry my eyes out.
The Time for Awards Nominations Has Come
Last year, I dove into the world of awards shows for the first time. When I submitted myself for the Josie Music Awards, I never expected to receive nominations for Pop Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year. Attending the JMAs in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry House was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
It’s a new year, which means nomination submission forms have opened. Along with the Josie Music Awards, I’ve filled out the nomination form for the International Singer Songwriters Association (ISSA) Awards. Nominations for the JMAs and ISSA Awards will be announced in the spring. Wish me luck!
“Perfectly Imperfect” on the Chit & Chat Jukebox Edition
In December, my interview on Chit & Chat: Encouraging One Another was released. The Chit & Chat fun continued when Jody included “Perfectly Imperfect” in the jukebox edition of the show to kick off 2023. I’m so honored that “Perfectly Imperfect” got selected for the show. It’s one of my favorites on Dear Diary.
I had so much fun being a guest on Chit & Chat, and you can listen to my interview, episode 65, on Spotify and all other podcast platforms. I’m so grateful Jody gave me the opportunity to be on his show and included “Perfectly Imperfect” in the jukebox edition.
A New Year for My Author Journey
I’m ready to keep chasing my author dreams in 2023. After a short break during the holidays, I’m ready to hit the ground running again.
In January, I picked back up with querying. A lot of queries for my first manuscript are still awaiting responses, but as planned, I began querying my second manuscript this month. It’s a new year, so I felt it was time to query a new project. I know it takes time to find the right literary agent. Being a published author is a dream of mine, so I’m going to keep persevering.
While I’m in the querying trenches, which is what the writing community likes to call it, I’ll be revising the book I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I wrote all about my NaNoWriMo journey in this blog post, so if you’re interested in learning about the challenge of writing a book in a month, I highly recommend giving it a read. Anyway, even though I feel my story is strong for a first draft, I have to do revisions. Revising is my favorite part of the writing process because I get to take what I already have and make it better.
I’m super excited to share that I connected with another writer, and we’re beta reading each other’s manuscripts. Critiquing was one of my favorite parts of my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. I loved reading other writers’ work and receiving feedback on my manuscript. So, I’m glad I’m getting this opportunity again with the author I swapped stories with to beta read. It’s going to be extremely useful to compare my own revision notes to hers while I revise my story in the coming months.
Along with querying and revising, I feel it’s important to keep writing new stories. Toward the end of January, I discovered an online magazine that publishes short fiction by new writers. The magazine runs a monthly contest. A prompt is given on the first of each month, and the goal is to write and submit a story for publication consideration. I’ve decided to participate in the contest and submitted my first story in January. Whether my story gets chosen or not, I’ve found this opportunity to be fun and creative. Taking part in the contest each month will give me the chance to grow my library of short stories while continuing to develop my writing skills. I’m already eager to find out the prompt for February, so I can write my next story.
One of my favorite songs at the moment is “‘Til You Can’t” by Cody Johnson. A lyric in the chorus has really stuck with me and is just as meaningful for my author journey as my music one. The lyric is, “If you got a dream, chase it, ‘cause a dream won’t chase you back.” In both the music and publishing industries, it only takes one yes to make dreams come true. I’ve had some magical opportunities as a songwriter because people in the industry took a chance on me. I’m waiting for my yes in the publishing world, and I’m going to keep writing, revising, and querying until I get it.
My Word of 2023
Since the clock struck midnight and 2023 arrived, I’ve done a lot of reflecting. I haven’t chosen a word of the year before, but I wanted to this year. My word of 2023 is patience.
I chose patience as my word of 2023 because this is a core quality that I want to build this year. I tend to be someone who gets anxious easily when I’m left hanging on the line. I work hard every day, but when I don’t see instant results, I find myself feeling frustrated and have to fight away doubts that creep into my mind. When I have plans and unexpected situations throw them off course, I become overwhelmed and fear that everything will fall apart. Since I have dreams in the music and publishing industries, I’ve been forced to recognize I won’t get instant gratification and things take time. I’ve realized obstacles aren’t the end of the world. Diverting from my initial plans is to be expected every once in a while. Having more patience would keep me centered and focused while I chase my dreams, so that’s why I’m focusing on patience this year.
Also, being patient with myself is essential. I’m very ambitious. I always shoot for the stars. My creativity and imagination constantly push me to be innovative. I aim to always be better and take steps forward, never back. Because of all this, it’s easy to forget that my mental health must come first. I have to remind myself that I’m not perfect. When I don’t feel I did my best, I have to remember all the things I’ve already achieved.
Having patience requires self-love, something I’m still working on. I’m only human. I have flaws. I make mistakes. Not every day will be golden, and that’s okay. This year, I’m going to try my hardest to embrace the sparkling moments and grow from the difficult ones. I’m going to take breaks when I need them and make an effort to do what’s best for me at the time. I love everything I do, and in order to maintain that passion, I have to be patient with myself as I chase my various artistic dreams.
Patience is the perfect word to embrace during 2023. I’m ready to take on all this year’s adventures with a clear purpose. People always say that good things come to those who wait, so I hope many good things will come my way in 2023.
January gave me memorable moments and presented open doors. The only way to get somewhere is to put myself out there. It’s only the start of 2023, and a year of opportunities is stretched out before me. Like Kelsea says in “Heartfirst, “Only the moon knows what’s in the stars.” I’m ready to see what’s written in my stars this year.