It’s no secret to anyone who has talked to me, even just for a few minutes, that I want to move to Nashville someday to pursue a career in music journalism. A lot of people get a curious look on their face when I tell them I want to move to Music City and wonder what it is about Nashville or country music in particular that is so great. I guess if I had to sum it up in a word, I would say passion. I’ve never been in a city that where the people thrive on so much pure and innocent passion for the love of what they do, even if they never hit the big time or sell out large stadiums. I’ve been to Los Angeles countless times, living in California, and sure, it’s the City of Angels, so dreams come true every day there. But, most also lose themselves in the process. To me, Nashville keeps it about the music and writing or whatever it is that you want to do creatively, in its simplest form. I’m sure there have been other artists who have sold out there, too, don’t get me wrong, but as a whole, there’s a different vibe. People genuinely just love what they do, regardless of if they’re selling out stadiums with thousands of people or if they’re singing at a karaoke bar on Broadway. There has also never been a wall between the artists and fans in country music, so if you discovered a random artist on MySpace back when they were starting out, there’s a good chance they’re still going to remember you when they make it to the top. They’ll remember how you made posters, wrote them messages, told your friends about their songs and all of the hours and miles it took you to make it to the shows that weren’t in your area.
I love that any given time you can walk into a coffee shop or a McDonald’s there, and you could be inches away from the guy that wrote that hit song for Tim McGraw or Carrie Underwood. Heck, you might even see Reba or Jason Aldean walking down the street. Everyone is so down-to-earth and willing to help out or take the time to hear your story and give advice. Wynonna personally tweets you when you follow her on Twitter to welcome you and many others spend hours a day answering random questions about the tour or even their family and band members to fans who ask. Okay, so not every single person is going to give the same kind of attention, but it all goes back to connection. There has never been a wall or fence in between the artist and fan, which is what sets the country genre apart from the rest.
I was just 16-years-old when I first stepped off the plane in Nashville. I knew from the start that I was going to love it and it would be a city I’d probably want to visit again, but I don’t think I realized at the time, just how it would shape everything that I wanted to do from there on out. I was a shy, naive and quiet dreamer. I knew what I wanted, but was afraid to ask for it, if that makes sense. I guess I was afraid of failure, afraid I might not be good enough and so on. I could come up with a crazy scenario, but didn’t exactly know how to back it up with a definite plan.
Every year, we would visit for CMA Fest week in June and every year, it would get harder to leave. I’d get terribly sick on the way home and my eyes would flood with tears as I looked at the Nashville skyline for the last time before our plane took off. Every year, it was fun to not only see how Nashville itself had changed, but how I had grown as a person, as well.
When it comes down to it, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home somewhere. I’ve never been surrounded by a group of people who get it more than I am when I’m in Nashville. Everyone is driven and inspired by the same thing, which just adds more fuel to the creative fire. I’m all about a good story, being a writer and journalist, and I feel like everyone you come across in that city has a deep one. Music was probably my first love, and writing is all I know how to do when it comes down to it, so being able to combine those two loves is just the icing on the cake.
Nashville has a little bit of everything, and it continues to expand and grow every time you return. There are swanky up-and-coming restaurants, hotels, condos and shops, along with the small town feel and history that has been there from the beginning. There’s this sense of greatness; everything it has been and everything it is becoming, just like the evolution of country music. While I am a bit sad that Nashville isn’t just one of my little secrets anymore, I’m glad that it’s expanding to a lot of other eyes and ears.
Just be sure to save me a place so I can stay when I get there 😉 I’m sure I will be recalling many memories and moments in times to come. This is only the introduction…
That’s all for now,