Chasing Music and Author Dreams in the Heart of Summer – July 2023 Wrap

July was such a great month, full of music and author memories. From live shows and a radio interview to a writing conference and much more, I’m excited to share the highlights.

The Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival

On July 2, I played during the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival. This was my first festival performance, and I had the best time.

When I arrived, it was super rainy, but by the end of my set, the sun was shining. I played for an hour and a half, and for the first time, my setlist was all original music, plus my renditions of “Homecoming Queen” and “If I Die Young.” Since this was my first festival, I wanted to spotlight my original songs. This turned out to be a perfect choice, and I loved performing some songs I’ve never played live before.

Also, my friend, Savannah, and her family stopped by to hear me play.

Demi and Savannah at the West Moreland Arts & Heritage Festival

I can’t thank the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival enough for giving me my first festival spot. I’m truly grateful. I hope this is just the beginning of many festival shows.

Round Two at the Murrysville Farmers Market

The live music fun continued with my second time playing at the Murrysville Farmers Market this summer. Like I did at the festival, I played mostly original music and added some covers to fill the two hours.

As always, I put together a set highlights video. I hope you enjoy it.

In August, I’ll be playing at the farmers market twice. I’m filling in for another artist, so I’m excited for both dates next month.

It Is What It Is Medley

My EP, It Is What It Is, turned eight months old on July 11. To celebrate, I shared a very special medley. I blended all five songs together in the order of the tracklist and had so much fun filming this. I hope you enjoy it.

It Is What It Is will always be a piece of my heart. Putting together this medley gave me the chance to revisit these songs, since I’ve been working hard on my next album. I’m looking forward to many more months of It Is What It Is and can’t wait to keep performing these songs.

My Interview on the Tim Kelly Show

This month, I had the absolute honor of stopping by the Tim Kelly Show on KICR Indie Country Radio for a live interview. I truly love radio interviews, and this one is definitely a new favorite.

During the interview, Tim asked me all about my songwriting journey, how I got into country music, my podcast, my author dreams, and so much more. Also, he aired “Halfway Outta This Town” and “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky,” two songs that are very close to my heart. I had so much fun on the show. Huge thank you to Tim for having me.

The interview was live, but I’m delighted to share it’s available for replay on all the major podcast platforms, including Spotify. This is the full broadcast, so if you’d like to listen to my interview, it starts a half hour into the show.

Music Awards Dresses

I’m so excited music awards are right around the corner. The ISSA Awards are coming up fast in August, and the Josie Music Awards are in October.

A couple months ago, I picked the perfect dress for the ISSA Awards. I left it for alterations and finally got it back toward the end of July. While I was there, I found my gown for the Josie Music Awards. I’ll be getting that one altered soon. Before I left, I got to sign the staircase, which was such a fun moment.

Demi smiling beside her signature on the staircase.

Dress shopping has become one of my favorite parts of attending music awards. I’m really looking forward to both awards shows and for you to see my dresses.

Chart Love on Radio TFSC

My music has gotten so much love on Radio TFSC in July. This month, “If I Die Young” peaked at number three on the Top 24, and “Four Leaf Clover” hit number 6. I’m forever grateful for all the support I’ve received by Oli and the listeners of the station. Seeing both these songs chart so high this month made me smile.

Indie Songwriting Awards Finalist with “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky”

In July, I received incredible news from the Indie Songwriting Awards. “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” was named a finalist for Best Country Song.

Indie Songwriting Awards
Spring 2023
Best Country Song Finalist
I Hope You Know You’re Lucky

“I Hope You Know You’re Lucky” is still one of my favorite songs I’ve written, so I’m beyond grateful it’s a finalist for Best Country Song. Thank you so much to the Indie Songwriting Awards for recognizing me in such a special way.

“Winter Cold” Named a Highly Commended Entry in the UK Songwriting Contest

After “Winter Cold” received a five-star rating in the UK Songwriting Contest a couple months ago, I’ve been waiting to find out results. Though this song didn’t advance to the semi-finals, I’m delighted to have been awarded the highly commended entry certificate.

UK Songwriting Contest
Highly Commended Entry Certificate for Winter Cold in the Christmas Songs Category

“Winter Cold” is a very special Christmas song to me, so I’m forever grateful for this recognition by the UK Songwriting Contest. What a gift during Christmas in July!

The “Tinsel Heart” Reveal

Speaking of Christmas in July, I’m holly jolly excited to share I’ve finally written my Christmas song for this year. That’s right, elves, so you all can put me back on the nice list.

My new Christmas song is called “Tinsel Heart,” and it’s a piano ballad. I’ve had this title and a melody in my head for literally months, but I kept getting stuck on the lyrics and overall message. After tossing aside ideas that didn’t resonate, I settled on a concept I love and wrote the lyrics extremely fast. Now, this is totally backwards when it comes to my songwriting process. I typically start with a concept and lyrics, but this time, I had a whole melody and a title and crafted lyrics from those. I’ve never written a song like this before, so it ended up being a unique experience.

I’ve already composed the piano accompaniment and put together a demo. Soon, my drummer, Sophia, will record live drums at the studio. Sophia is so talented, and I know she’ll do amazing. Once I have the drums recorded, I’ll schedule a session to work on the song and bring festive magic back to the Vault.

Making My Story Shine with Sun & Spines Editorial

I’ve been working extremely hard on my YA Fantasy. After applying feedback from several beta readers and critique partners, I wanted one more pair of eyes on it before querying. I decided to share my story with Sun & Spines Editorial and got the most wonderful opportunity to work with Andie Smith.

 Revision is my favorite part of the writing process, and Andie’s notes lit a fire in me to do another round of edits and make this story shine as bright as possible. I’m so grateful for Andie’s feedback. From developmental suggestions to line edits, she left such thoughtful comments, making it clear she truly took the time with my story. July turned into a busy revision month, and I loved every second of it. I haven’t felt more proud of my book and hope it finds a home one day.

Also, Andie’s edits really opened my eyes to such tiny details in my writing. Even though her comments were for this story in particular, I’ll be able to apply what I learned to my manuscripts to come. I feel like I’m an even better writer now, and moving forward, I’ll have stronger self-editing skills.

I had the best experience working with Andie and can’t recommend Sun & Spines Editorial enough to authors preparing to query. You can check out the Sun & Spines website here. Thank you so much, Andie, for being the best sunshine fairy who helped make the book of my heart shine.

My First In Your Write Mind

In Your Write Mind is an annual writing conference hosted by Seton Hill’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction alumni. Since I graduated last June, this year was my first time participating in the conference.

IYWM was a fantastic weekend of attending workshops and panels, and I got the opportunity to pitch an agent. Also, I was part of two sessions as a speaker. I taught my own workshop on the reality of querying in today’s publishing industry, and I spoke during a panel on editing. Up to this point, I’ve only been an attendee at writing conferences, so it was a great experience presenting my own workshop and being on a panel during IYWM.

Also, I’m excited to share I’m going to be on the committee. Ever since graduating, I’ve been looking for ways to stay involved with Seton Hill. Being on the IYWM committee is a perfect opportunity for me. Soon, I’ll have a meeting with the other committee members to discuss our roles moving forward and plans for the 2024 conference. I’m really excited for this next adventure.

My First Author Podcast Appearance

Since I launched my music career, I’ve appeared on many podcasts. Even though I’ve started to get asked about my author journey during music interviews, I haven’t been on any author-focused shows, until this month.

One of my writing friends, Cassie, started her own podcast called Cassie’s Crafting Conundrum. When she told me about the show, I offered to create her intro music, which I truly loved doing. Then, I was ecstatic when she said I could be on the first season.

I had the best time chatting with Cassie about my author experiences so far, how there are similarities between the publishing and music industries, and so much more. The episode is available on all the podcast platforms, but you can listen to it on Spotify here.

I can’t thank Cassie enough for having me, and I’m delighted I finally got the chance to be a guest on my first author podcast.

July was truly a memorable month for both my music and author journeys. I’m thankful for every opportunity and can’t wait to keep chasing my dreams.

I’m already looking forward to making more memories in August. The ISSA Awards are only a few days away, and I’m buzzing with anticipation and excitement. Atlanta, here I come!