May unfolded into my best month of 2023 yet. I’m so blessed for every moment, from awards nominations to radio appearances and more. This wrap blog is a packed one, so get ready for the highlights.
ISSA Awards Finalist in Five Categories
I’m beyond lucky to be a finalist in five categories for the 2023 ISSA Awards. I’m up for USA Female Vocalist of the Year, Rising Star, Album of the Year for It Is What It Is, Single of the Year for “Afterthought,” and Songwriter of the Year. After receiving nominations in April, my Butterflies voted all month and got me into the finals. My heart is so full.
Since this is my first time as a finalist in the ISSA Awards, I wrote a special blog post where I break down my five categories and share what each means to me. I can’t wait to attend the awards show in Atlanta. I’ve already picked my dress, and I couldn’t have found a more perfect one for me. August can’t come fast enough.
Three Josie Music Awards Nominations
My music awards nominations continue with the Josie Music Awards. I’m over the moon to be nominated in three categories this year, which is one more than last year. I’m up for Multi-Genre Artist of the Year, Musician of the Year for piano, and Media Company of the Year for Write on Track. I had the most magical time at the awards last year, so I’m counting down the days until round two this October.
Of course, I wrote a blog post all about my three nominations and how blessed I feel to be up for categories that are close to my heart. Words can’t express how excited I am to go back to Nashville for the third time this fall. Music City has become one of my favorite places, and I’m already feeling the butterflies for what’s going to be another memorable night.
Five Stars for “Winter Cold” in the UK Songwriting Contest
A few months ago, I submitted “Winter Cold” in the Christmas category for the UK Songwriting Contest. Each song submitted receives a rating up to five stars, and those that earn a five-star rating are eligible for the semi-finals. I’m delighted to share that “Winter Cold” got five stars!
“Winter Cold” is very close to my heart. I’m honored to be taking part in the UK Songwriting Contest and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this song. Even though it’s May, I’m feeling all the festive magic.
My Rendition of “If I Die Young”
On May 12, I released my rendition of “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry. This is my second cover song, and I couldn’t be happier it’s out in the world.
You can download and stream “If I Die Young” on your favorite major platform here.
One of my favorite things to do as an artist is film videos sharing the inspiration behind my songs. Since “If I Die Young” is a special one, I wanted to talk about the story of why I chose to cover it, the recording process, why I picked May 12 as the release date, and so much more. Watch the behind the cover video for all the “If I Die Young” secrets, and you’ll even get to see a clip from my first ever performance of the song.
“If I Die Young” is one of my all-time favorite country songs, so I’m glad I got the chance to record my own rendition.
The “If I Die Young” Press
As always, I’m grateful for everyone who gives my music and me a platform. Seeing “If I Die Young” getting shared across social media and on radio stations warms my heart. I’m excited to share two features that made me smile this month.
First, Music City Memo shared the announcement of “If I Die Young” on their website. This post went up at the start of release week, which was super special. Check it out here.
Second, I always love being featured on Fierce & Fabulous Revolution because Jess has become a great friend and I’m a huge fan of her blog. The interview I did for “If I Die Young” is one of my favorites. You can read it here to learn what inspired my cover, what the song means to me, new music plans, and more. I can’t thank Jess enough for this opportunity and for always sharing my music on Fierce & Fabulous Revolution.
Thank you to everyone who supports my music. From interviews and airplay to knowing my music is being listened to and shared, just know none of it goes unnoticed and I’m so grateful for the love.
A Fun Night on Indie Country Saturday Night
Some of my favorite memories come from unexpected opportunities. My first time on Indie Country Saturday Night on Cherokee Nation Radio was one of those special moments.
Long story short, the host, James, and I are both finalists for the ISSA Awards and connected through the Facebook group. When James posted for country artists to send their music, I shared mine, having no way of knowing what’d come from taking that first step.
James got back to me with news that he’d be airing my music, and I was so excited to listen. I always love discovering new radio shows and enjoy supporting them because they’re supporting me. During the show, there’s always a live chat on the website and I joined in the fun. I loved chatting with James and other listeners while tuning in for amazing country music.
While I was having a blast and vibing to great songs, James asked me to call into the studio before he aired “Halfway Outta This Town.” Let’s just say I was surprised in the best way. This turned into my first impromptu mini interview, which was broadcasted live on the show. I’ve done so many interviews that I wasn’t even nervous. I had so much fun and truly appreciate James giving me this opportunity.
As if all of this wasn’t perfect enough, James closed the show by playing “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky.” I’m so grateful for the love I received during the show that night. From talking to James on air and hearing two of my songs played to participating in the live chat, this unfolded into one of the best experiences I’ve had as an artist.
I’m delighted to share that I recorded my appearance on Indie Country Saturday Night. You can listen to it here. Huge thank you to James for giving me permission to share this.
Even though I was new on the show, James and all the listeners made me feel like I’ve been there all along. I felt welcomed with open arms and showered with so much love. This industry truly has the most wonderful people if you’re lucky enough to find them, and that night, I found a special group I can’t wait to be part of for months and years to come.
My Special on OorCountry
The radio fun continues with my OorCountry Special on Indy Live Radio. This was totally unexpected and unfolded into two hours of fun.
A few weeks ago, I casually chatted with the station about making a guest appearance without knowing the conversation would end with an invitation for me to do a whole two-hour live special. When James—yes, another James—and I hopped on a zoom call to plan the show, I knew right away it’d be a great time. We decided to spotlight my music during the first hour and play songs by country artists who’ve inspired me and those I’m enjoying at the moment during the second hour. To get ready for the show, I sent James a list of both my songs and ones by other artists in ranked order, in case we didn’t get to them all. Naturally, this took me a while since I’m indecisive, but in the end, I sent the list off to James the week before the show.
I had nervous and excited butterflies the day of the show. Since OorCountry is live, there’s no way to edit what hits the air. So, I was a tiny bit anxious. Once I got going, my nerves went away and I had a lot of fun. I loved sharing the inspiration behind my songs and why I chose the tracks by other artists. James and I had lots of entertaining conversations throughout, and the show turned into the perfect blend of music and chatting between songs.
I can’t thank James enough for giving me this special opportunity. My music has been aired on OorCountry for a while now, so it was an honor to hop on the show and allow the listeners to get to know me. My OorCountry Special may have been live, but it’s available for replay on MixCloud.
My special on OorCountry was truly a memorable experience. I’m looking forward to sharing my future music with James and the OorCountry listeners, and maybe, I’ll stop by the show for another special sometime.
Couchella on Radio TFSC
Last month, I filmed something special for Radio TFSC, and in May, that special something was shared. Couchella is an event hosted by Radio TFSC where artists send in unplugged performance videos from their couches. When Oli invited me to participate, I was delighted. I can’t get over how clever this whole thing is, right down to the title.
For my Couchella performance, I played acoustic versions of “Halfway Outta This Town,” “You Get What You Give,” and “I Hope You Know You’re Lucky.” It aired on the station during Memorial Day weekend. Afterward, I shared the video on my YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy watching it.
Huge thank you to Oli for giving me such a fun opportunity. I had a blast being part of Couchella alongside so many talented artists.
All the Love on Radio
May unfolded into such a fantastic month for my music on radio shows and stations. Every time I hear my music played, it’s just as magical as the first time.
Thank you to everyone who aired my music this month, old and new. The ones I’m aware of are Indie Country Saturday Night on Cherokee Nation Radio, OorCountry on Indy Live Radio, Simply Country on Ridge Radio, Country Belles on Belter Radio, New Music Monday on the Georgia Songbirds Radio, The Tripwire on Blue Torch Radio, Voice of A Woman, Radio TFSC, and Heart of Indie Radio. I’m so blessed for all the support, and to the stations who may have aired my music without me knowing, thank you so, so much as well.
It was amazing to see my music reach so many audiences this month. I can’t thank my radio friends enough for all the love.
Updates from Author Land
Author land has been busy lately. While music dreams are coming true, I’m still chasing my author ones.
First, I’m so beyond excited to share that I’ve finally written the last chapter of my YA Fantasy. This means the story is finished. After reading through the manuscript again, I’m feeling confident with where it’s at right now. I’ve worked so long and hard on this book, and I think it’s ready to be shared with agents. Still, I have a few friends waiting to read what I’m hoping is my final revision. I’m excited to send the story off to them and get last comments to apply before officially querying this manuscript.
Also, I couldn’t be more delighted to share my first mood board. I’ve seen authors create these for their manuscripts, especially during pitch events, and never had one of my own. Since my manuscript is close to being query ready, I thought this was the perfect time to have my graphic designer make a mood board. I hope you enjoy this first look at the story, which is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling with Greek mythology.
While I was finishing up revisions and getting my mood board designed, I sent out more queries for my Young Adult Speculative Thriller. I’m still holding on to hope that an agent will fall in love with this story.
On top of all this, I’ve connected with more author friends and did more beta reading this month. There are some truly special people in the writing community, and I’m lucky I’ve made so many friends over the past year. Querying is a roller coaster ride and publishing can feel discouraging at times, but the authors I’ve connected with have made this journey a positive one. It’s comforting knowing others are in the same boat, and the mutual support means the world. I’ve read some outstanding manuscripts I’m rooting for just as hard as mine because they all deserve literary representation.
Finally, I’d like to wrap up my author updates by sharing that I’ve settled on my next story idea. I’ve had a few bouncing around in my head for a while, but at last, I chose which one I want to write next. My idea is still in the very early stages of plotting and planning, but my goal is to dig deeper with the story and characters over the next few months. NaNoWriMo will be here before I know it, since November is only five months away. I had such a great time participating last year, so my goal is to draft this new manuscript during November again. For now, I’m looking forward to exploring a new story and can’t wait to see how this one unfolds.
Another Butterfly for My Collection
By now, my love for butterflies is basically a personality trait. I went back to Brushes & Beans Cafe to paint a butterfly that I’ll soon hang on my wall.
I’m so excited to pick this one up in a couple weeks. For this butterfly, I decided to paint it purple, black, and silvery-gray. It’s going to match my room perfectly.
26 Trips Around the Sun
My birthday is on May 30, and I turned 26 this year. Looking back on the past year, I’ve had so many memorable moments I’ll hold close to my heart.
Here’s a photo of my sister and me from my birthday dinner.
Also, can we talk about this s’more ice cream pie for a cake?
On my birthday, the International Singer Songwriters Association created this special graphic to help me celebrate. This was the sweetest thing ever. I’m lucky to be part of the family and a finalist in the awards.
I’m blessed for another trip around the sun and can’t wait to see what 26 has in store for my music and author journeys.
So, there you have it. May was pure magic. I’m so grateful for the memories this month brought me. I already have some plans for the rest of the year, including two awards shows, and I’m looking forward to what’s next in June.