I grew up as an Okie from Muskogee to an older single mom who devoted her life to training me up in the ways and paths that God had chosen for me (Proverbs 22:6). By the way, I now claim a tiny little lakeside town called Eufaula as my current hometown -- if you ever have a chance to visit, please do, you will love it and the people! (Make sure you visit the Eufaula Area Arts council studio as well as Chaney's Pizza for lunch)
My childhood was overflowing with tent camping, fishing, piano lessons, playing in the creek, hanging out with my besties, Vacation Bible School, travel adventures, homeschooling, twirling in the rain, biology dissections, my mom's voice singing me to sleep every night, exploring with microscopes, library activities, church camps, art classes, playing in the mud, painting, birthday pool parties every year (that's what happens when you're born in August in Oklahoma!), guitar lessons, voracious reading, nights of praise, drinking from the hose (yes, I survived), gardening, musical events of every genre, theatrical plays, cuddles, modifying my clothing to match my current fashion choices, rescuing animals, drawing, playing on my slip n slide and my trampoline, obsessing over horses, and of course, I was singing my way through all of it!
Through it all I was taught two very important truths -- first, that God has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and secondly, that if I was worrying, I wasn't trusting God (Phillippians 4:6-7) -- two lessons that I am quite confident I will one day teach my own children.
Performing publicly did not come naturally to me, unfortunately, as I was very self conscious. As my mom had taught me, I soon learned that God had a plan for me, and in my 14th year, my "step" dad entered my life -- he was also a musician, a guitar player, and led worship for the youth at his church. The moment he heard me sing, he felt very strongly I should be on stage. Of course, my mother agreed with him, but I did not! So, for months we struggled -- I got on stage, I held the mic, I sang, but I didn't get that mic NEAR my mouth. I remained steadfast for several months until finally I stopped fighting the inevitable. Of course, my numerous theatrical endeavors also helped in building my level of confidence on the stage as well.
Now, several years later, I am in a completely different place when it comes to my music. Over time and through much trial and error I finally gained more confidence and when I was 16 years old I went through an extremely traumatic experience which rather than send me into a tailspin, instead inspired my songwriting muse. My first song, "Come to Me" was written during this period and today this song still comforts many who aren't sure God could ever love them because of their mistakes. Knowing my song speaks God's words to hurting hearts brings me incredible peace. I know this is what He has purposed me to do.
Three days after my 18th birthday, my mom and I went on what we affectionately refer to as our "East Coast Grand Adventure" in which we covered 7,000 miles and over a dozen states with just us, our dogs, and our gun in our camper. (Our West Coast Grand Adventure was several years earlier and included 6,670 miles, 13 states, over a dozen national parks and took us just shy of three months to complete!) On this trip we ended up being gone two months and got to tour the White House (my dad flew in to tour it with us) and we also had the opportunity to spend several days camping at Croton Point in Westchester County (NY) -- we took the train down every day into Grand Central Station and spent all day wandering Manhattan for a week! My dad flew in for this part of the trip too and we also made it up to Niagara Falls. I love exploring our amazing nation, but I will say New York has way too much good food -- I gained weight for pretty much the first time in my life!!
While we were on this trip, we decided to make it a music tour of sorts and so I started doing open mics at every available opportunity, which is when I performed at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village as well as the Bean Runner Cafe, where Grace Vanderwaal (former winner of America's Got Talent 2016) once played, as well as many other fun places such as the Westchester County Mohansic Country Club. This is also how it came to be that I played the open mic at the Commodore Grille and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville on our way home and literally, the rest is history!! I was hooked and there began my two year commute to Nasville to learn the ropes and get involved with the rich and illustrious songwriter/musician community in Music City which is second to none. I didn't realize it at the time, but in hindsight, I see now that I finally found a place where I felt I belonged. I finally found other people who were like ME.
I'm thankful for each of you who have read this far and for those of you who will choose to go forth with me on my exciting journey. I am eager for the future and what it may hold for my music. Most importantly, I look forward to meeting many of you in person on my journey!
1. I love God with all my heart and want to glorify Him in all I do.
2. I've been an animal rescuer as long as I can remember. While we mostly rescue cats/dogs, we've also rescued a pinky mouse, many opossums, horses, baby rats, a goat, a deer, and even a boa constricter!
3. I cried when David Bowie, Robin Williams and Mary Tyler Moore died. I recall my mom telling me that John Lennon died on her 15th birthday, so the night before mine, she said, "Hmm, I wonder who will die on your 15th birthday?" I was horrified to find out it was my beloved Mrs. Doubtfire.
4. I had shark teeth (double rows) twice and had to have most of my baby teeth pulled because they wouldn't fall out on their own.
5. I once swallowed a live fish on a dare.
6. Though I'm from Oklahoma, I prefer English riding over Western and I also love to ride bareback.