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541 Wiley Parker Road
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Five Questions with Erin Rae


Five Questions with Erin Rae

Bo Kitzman


Nashville is an interesting place for a plethora of reasons, but one of the most interesting things about the city is what it does to musicians. The best of the best from all over the world flock to the city in hopes of fulfilling some guilded dream of becoming some sort of star, but in actuality they are sharpening the fangs of the cities growing problem with musical egocentrism.

Why am I saying all of this? Because Erin Rae is part of the solution to the very problem I just described to you. Erin, a former Jacksonian, is part of a group of musicians that champions camaraderie and growth while not trying to cut anyone down. Her music is honest and heartfelt, and you can tell she does what she does because she loves doing it. Erin's honest, well-crafted lyrics and her rare voice are attempting to help get rid of Nashville’s ever-expanding lacuna of disingenuous music. Fans of Folk, Americana, and good music in general should seek out her performances, because there aren’t many artists like Erin that sincerely give me hope for the future of music. Erin has an album that will be released in September, but if you can’t wait till then, check out this video of one of her new tunes from the record along with the interview below:

What is your ideal environment for writing a song? I really just like to be completely by myself, where I feel like no one can hear me. I know the people that live below me can hear everything right now, and I’ve had to work to make myself do it anyway. It helps if it is somewhere that I feel totally comfortable and open to be myself, usually home, or my dad’s old house. Wood floors are great, too.

What inspires the best out of you? It ends up being a combination of nostalgia, a life experience I’m having, or one that someone close to me is having. The songs that come the easiest are from places of big emotion. Like “Clean Slate,” I was really just holding a lot of feelings of regret and uncertainty, but I was also feeling this release of those feelings. So I had the house to myself, and I just started walking around and singing about it. Songwriting is a big way that I encourage myself to move through phases and stages of life. Also caffeine.

Songwriting is a big way that I encourage myself to move through phases and stages of life.
— Erin Rae

When you’re writing a song, do you like to write them over periods of time or in one sitting? I’d much rather just write it quick. I feel like I can trust that it's good more than the other way. My favorite songs are the ones that kind of came like I just described with “Clean Slate.” I can trust that method of writing a little better than I can trust the “go back and work over time” method. I think as people we get new information and perspectives introduced to us all the time, so sometimes I’m feeling really strongly about one idea, and I want to hurry and get it out before time passes, and I’ve already learned something new. Change is good but it also messes up my songs. Ha.

When you need a pick-me-up what album do you go to? Vetiver’s “Tight Knit” and Feist’s . . . well, all of 'em. Also, there’s a song by Helen Stellar that was on the Elizabethtown soundtrack called “This Time Around” and it is the best.

What is the most inspiring record you’ve ever heard? That’s always a tough question, but some that come to mind are the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” Patty Griffin's “10,000 Kisses”, and most recently T. Hardy Morris’ “Audition Tapes.” O Brother got me at an early age. It introduced me to so many of my favorite genres and artists. Gosh, there are so many, though!

To learn more about Erin Rae and to listen in on her music, visit her website.

Bo Kitzman is a senior at the University of Memphis' Lambuth Campus. Bo likes music and sports, but playing music is his favorite. You should buy Bo burritos. Bo loves burritos.

Header image provided by Erin Rae.