Earlier this week I featured Shari Rowe and her brilliant latest single, “Take That Shot” and I was so impressed that I aimed to set up an interview with the Arizona based singer songwriter. I had a great chat with her earlier tonight (although it was late morning in Arizona) on Skype and this is what she had to say!
Just a couple of days ago we featured your latest single ‘Take That Shot’ on Belles and Gals. Give us an insight into how the song came to life.
I was so excited to finally be able to record that song. I co-wrote it Tom Maxwell and Willie Morrison out in Nashville over the summer. We were finishing up a bunch of shows during CMA fanfare and CMA Fest in June, and that had ended and we had scheduled a co-write the day before we were heading out of Nashville. I had met them for the first time and I think Willie actually came to the table with the idea first and we developed the idea, over about I would say, 5 hours. It was kinda cool, because when you are co-writing in Nashville you’re meeting people for the first time and you go right into writing.
I jumped right on the idea that the song is all about taking a chance. It’s great to have plans in life but when something comes along that might be a good opportunity, the song is really about breaking out of that plan and really going for it. And in this case, it’s a love story.
Are there plans for a follow up to the song? An EP perhaps? Or an album?
Yes actually, we’ve recorded a few songs already for a full album. I’m heading back to Nashville in January specifically just to write – it will be almost a week of writing with other talented writers out in Nashville. I’m excited about finishing up a full project, with “Take That Shot” and the other couple of songs we’ve done already – man, those players out there and the production team, it’s been just an amazing experience for me as a writer and an artist to hear these songs come to life.
You’ve toured extensively in the last few years and even played in various parts of Europe? Tell us about that.
Oh my goodness. I have some of the best memories I’ve ever made during those tours in Poland and Germany. I love Europe and I love culture – my grandparents were born and raised in Poland, so I was raised with a lot of European tradition, so I really strive to carry that on, it’s really important to me. My family got together just over the weekend and we made almost 500 Pierogi for Christmas! To go back there and experience the culture first hand after hearing so much from my mother about what it was like, it was just such an amazing experience for me, just a person in general. But to be able to take country music over there, that just took it to a whole another level. Really, in some of the towns we were in, we were introducing American country music for the first time. The old standards – artists like Johnny Cash were very popular there, but new country was new to them and they were very responsive. What an amazing trip that was!
Any plans to come to the UK at any time?
I would love to. Years ago we toured Scotland, that was, gosh, back in 2008. My husband and I tour together and it’s so cool as we get to see these places together and make music together – he’s my bass player in my band and we’ve kinda run everything together behind the scenes together. There are no definitive plans to come to the UK, but I’m telling ya, I would not be surprised if we make some announcement about that, because we just love to travel. That would be an absolutely amazing experience.
You’re from Arizona but you’ve made the move to Nashville – quite a journey, both geographically and career wise!
Yeah, you know we go back and forth so much and I have a big family and Arizona is so much a part of our lives. Arizona is so unique – the big skies, the desert and the red rock and we have some of the most beautiful forest country up here in the mountains and it truly is the West. I feel that it inspires me so much in my writing – the outdoors are very much part of our lives and I feel that is reflected in my writing. I would never want to lose touch with my roots here in Arizona, so it is a big change, Nashville is music city, it’s got amazing music and talent everywhere, amazing food, completely different geographically with the landscape and all – I love both places. in a perfect world we would have a home in both spots but for now we are managing the travelling schedule, though it’s hectic, we’re still managing it.
What made you start singing in the first place?
Oh my! Well I come from a musical family in the first place so that’s kind of a given there. I can remember being very little and putting on living room concerts for the family during the holidays, so I was raised with the idea that music was just woven into our lives. My sisters are also musical so we had group harmonizing and I can remember at any early age writing songs about anything, be it the toys in my room or what have you, I always wanted to write a song!
As I grew up I started attending church and started singing and I think that made such an impact in my life as I realised the powerful impact that music can have and I love connecting with people. That connection became so strong when I was able to get on a platform and sing and you know, communicate that way. I became so addicted, if I can say that, to that experience of being able to communicate on that level. Being raised on country music, it was natural for me land there – I think it’s always been a part of my life, I feel really blessed for me to have it as my career now.
When you say you were raised on country music, which artists would you listen to?
My father loved the traditional country legends, Johnny Cash, Waylon, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams and I can remember taking drives when I was little with the windows down and my dad was always playing those old standards. Then there’s Garth Brooks and Shania Twain, you know, George Strait and that’s a whole new generation of legends there. I love the pop phrasing of modern country music, of being able to write in that style, but I feel like it’s very important to me to always have traditional country and maybe a little bit of bluegrass kind of reflected when the songs are complete.
If you could gaze 10 years into the future, where would you like to be in your singing career.
People hear this a lot, but, you know, you hear a song on the radio, you go to a show or you buy someone’s music – the work that is going on behind the scenes, a lot of people don’t know what it takes day in and day out to have music as your career. It’s not an easy field to be in and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd when there are so many talented people. So, my husband and I work very, very hard and we love doing what we do, but I think 10 years into the future, if we could have larger stages and larger audiences and be able to really get music out on the radio, to be able to create without some of the boundaries that you have when you are building something – I think that would be amazing, to just not have to really fight tooth and nail for every little step. Just to be able to take a breath and show up and just do a show without having to worry about so many of the logistics behind the scenes. I think that would be great.
If you could host a fantasy dinner party – which 3 guests would you invite?
My goodness! I would love to have Miranda Lambert over. I just feel like we’re going to meet someday, somehow we’re connected in some way. Also my father, because he is no longer with us. My goodness, he and I used to love to enjoy a meal together. Yeah, so Miranda Lambert and my father. I think it would be really interesting to have Johnny Cash and my father in the same room, I sense that there may be some commonalities in their personalities and their stories – that would be quite a party! Johnny Cash, my father and Miranda Lambert.
What are your plans for the coming weeks and months?
Well this week of course here we will be celebrating thanksgiving, so I will be shopping at several different grocery stores and doing a lot of cooking and baking – because when we get together with my family, there’ll be around 25 to 30 of us for thanksgiving dinner. So I’m excited about that! I have a couple of really great shows coming up here in Arizona, “Taste of Arizona” a culinary event benefiting the boy scouts, so I’ll be doing that on December 3rd. On December 5th I’ve an opportunity to join with an orchestra for a Christmas show benefiting ‘The Red Note Foundation’ an organisation which I have been named the celebrity ambassador for – they promote music education, helping kids get instruments, lessons and concert experiences who otherwise may not have that opportunity. I’m excited about all of that and then of course there’s Christmas and after that I’ll start digging in and writing for the rest of that project.