One of my biggest dreams as a songwriter finally came true. I went to Nashville!
I truly have no words for this trip. From Andrea Stolpe’s songwriting retreat to attending the CMA Awards and more, my first trip to Music City was one I’ll never forget. I’m going to share my whole journey from start to finish.
My First Full Day in Nashville
I arrived in Nashville on Friday November 5. It was a really long drive from Pittsburgh, so Friday night was pretty lowkey. All the fun started on Saturday.
First, I woke up bright and early Saturday morning to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I absolutely loved getting to tour the museum. It was so inspiring to see proof that country music dreams come true.
Also, I attended Jamie Floyd’s songwriter session. I can’t put into words how incredible it was to watch her perform some of her songs and hear her story.
Then, I did the RCA Studio B Tour, and wow, the history of the studio was so fascinating and inspiring. Getting to tour a space where so many stars created their music gave me chills. Also, one of my highlights was getting a picture by the famous Steinway. Since piano is my main instrument, this was such a special moment.
After spending time at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Studio B, I spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out on Broadway. I’ve heard stories about Broadway, but getting to experience it myself blew my mind. Everywhere I went, incredible musicians were playing and this indescribable magic was in the air. I stopped in at a restaurant to get some pizza and relax, and it was fabulous just getting to enjoy the music and reflect on the fact I was finally in Music City.
Finally, that night, I caught up with my friend and favorite guitarist in the world, Luke Wood, for dinner at Stoney River Steakhouse. Let me just say that this restaurant was flippin’ amazing. I’m still not over it.
It was so much fun getting to meet up with Luke in Nashville. We’ve worked on so many of my songs together over the past year and a half, and I’m really looking forward to many more unforgettable days at the studio.
Stepping into the Circle and Sunday Fun
Sunday morning, I toured the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry is my dream venue to play at, so this was special beyond words. During the intro video before the tour started and I went backstage, I literally cried.
The Opry has such a beautiful and inspiring history, and that morning, I got to be part of its history. I stepped into the famous circle.
I had to try so hard not to burst into tears again when I was getting my picture taken. It was extremely overwhelming and inspiring standing on the spot where country artists’ dreams came true. So many stars and dreamers performed on that stage, and I seriously can’t believe I got to stand on the same spot. Maybe one day, I’ll step into the circle again, but this time, with a guitar in my hand.
After touring the Opry, I met my friend and co-writer, Brina Kay, for lunch. It was so awesome finally getting to meet her in person after knowing each other and writing together for over a year.
One of my favorite things about my trip to Nashville was getting to meet friends after so long. I’m so grateful for all of my songwriting friends and our fun memories together.
The rest of Sunday was pretty chill. I knew I had a really long week ahead, so my dad and I just went to a fantastic Italian restaurant. That’s a wrap on the weekend!
Monday Afternoon Adventures
On Monday, I toured the Ryman Auditorium. Again, I was completely awestruck by the history. I’ve always known country music has so much fascinating history and that the country community is truly a family, but I didn’t realize the full extent of that, until I got to experience it for myself.
After spending some time at the Ryman, I met up with another friend at Starbucks, Allison Leah. Allison and I got to know each other a few months ago, and it was fabulous meeting up in Nashville.
After spending some time with Allison, the moment came for me to head to Andrea Stolpe’s retreat.
Andrea Stolpe’s Nashville Songwriting Retreat
I seriously don’t even have the words. When I discovered Andrea in August of 2020, I never could’ve imagined how much I’d grow as a songwriter. I’ve done two virtual retreats with Andrea and stayed connected with her, and after over a year of learning from her, I finally got to attend her in-person retreat. Andrea has become the best songwriting mentor ever. Her kind heart, patience, and passion continues to inspire me to work hard and become the best songwriter I can be. Getting to finally meet her after all she’s done for me is something I will never forget.
The retreat was truly magical. Every day, the opening sessions gave me a rush of inspiration and motivation. I loved meeting so many other incredible writers and hearing their music during the critique sessions. Also, I can’t even put into words how unbelievably amazing it was to co-write at the retreat. After doing so many co-writes virtually, it was so fantastic to finally get into a room with two other writers and write a song together. I felt a magic during all three of my co-writes that just isn’t achievable virtually.
The entire retreat filled me with such joy and inspiration. Andrea has created such a beautiful songwriting community that I’m forever blessed to be a part of. By the last day, all of the other writers felt like family to me. After a whole week of spending time together, writing songs, hanging out by the bonfire after performing our co-writes for each other, and so much more, we’ve all grown so close. I’ve always been blown away by how songwriters are honestly some of the most special and kind-hearted people in the world.
Also, thanks to the retreat, I got to meet two very special friends for the first time. First, my “LA Will Wait for Me” co-writer, Madison Young, was at the retreat. I can’t even explain how special it was to finally meet her. She’s become one of my best songwriter friends, and I’m so grateful for our friendship.
Also, my other very special friend, Dani Galasso, attended the retreat as well. We didn’t even know we were going to the same retreat, until a few months before. We were on the phone one day, and Dani brought up going to Andrea’s retreat. There were two different Nashville retreats, and when we realized we were going to the same one, we both started freaking out.
Meeting Madison and Dani at the retreat made it extra special. I love these two girls so much. I can’t wait to write more songs and make more memories with them.
I’m forever grateful I got to attend Andrea’s retreat in Nashville. This was an experience I’ll never forget.
Attending the CMA Awards
I still can’t believe I attended the CMA Awards. When I selected the week I wanted to go to Nashville for the retreat, I didn’t even know I chose the week when the CMAs were taking place. I found out a few days before leaving for Nashville that the awards were the same week. When my dad heard about it, he was like, Demi, we’re going to the awards. As soon as we got to Nashville, he got on the phone with Bridgestone Arena and bought us tickets.
The CMAs are country music’s biggest night, and it’s always been a dream of mine to attend an awards show. The fact that my first awards show was the CMAs after I recently started writing country music is definitely a sign if you ask me. I didn’t even plan this. I just happened to be in Nashville at the same time.
The show was a night I’ll never forget. So many emotions and thoughts hit me while I was there. First, I got to watch some of my favorite artists and the biggest names in country music perform live. During my time in Nashville, I realized that it’s the place where dreams come true. I witnessed dreams come true at the awards, and I’m still not over it. Also, I felt so beyond inspired. Every performance was phenomenal, and in that arena, I got this rush of certainty that country music is where I want to be.
Going to the CMA Awards was an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m so grateful for this experience, and I’m more motivated than ever to get out there and chase my dreams.
These are the highlights from my first trip to Nashville. I created a video with all of my photos from the trip.
I’m so blessed I got to finally visit Music City. I got to meet friends for the first time and make new ones, go on incredible tours, attend Andrea’s retreat and the CMA Awards, and more. I’ll cherish my memories from my first trip to Nashville for the rest of my life.