Thoughts from Aspiring Artist Presley Roan
Nashville. The name evokes such a happy, dreamy feeling in my heart that doesn’t make any sense, just like the words “Opry” and “Ryman” do. Growing up in a small southern town, with roots in bluegrass and parents who listened to good music – I am blessed. Telling people I wanted to be a country singer and songwriter wasn’t surprising to anyone. I long for Nashville. With that and the fact that females in country music have become such a hot issue as of late, I wanted to share this observation. I have it back here at home and not (yet) in Nashville.
After picking up the guitar at six, taking lessons, and hating my teachers, I decided to teach myself. Finding some old souls who play guitar (and every instrument in between) at bluegrass jams in barns every week, I was able to ask them what chord is this? What does that mean? What song should I play? That was worth more to me than any pay-per-hour lesson. The more I joined these jams of both country and bluegrass styles, I realized something: not only was I the youngest, but I was also the only girl. Being the “little darlin’” of a bluegrass jam made it even easier to be mentored by these seasoned musicians. When I found the nerve to step up front and sing and play or share something I wrote, it was like playing for 20 of your grandfathers who were all beaming with pride. I was probably terrible and the previous act was for sure a tough one to follow, but after I did it once they never let me stop. Encouragement and critique alike were given and it meant so much to me. I became better and better and every time I improved or slipped they let me know. To my point, small town music scenes (at least in the country genre) love a young girl doing her thing her way and listening to her elders telling her to be a better and stronger version of herself. So why when we move to Nashville and try to get on the radio, does all this change?
Ashley McBryde. Brandy Clark. Hannah Dasher. Faren Rachels. I’ve never heard these female powerhouses on my radio. Nothing against the men, but hello! These badass ladies are who I look up to and who inspire me DAILY, but if they can’t even get on the radio, do I really think I could? It’s very discouraging and not fair to these women who’ve busted tail getting to where they are today. If the small town scene loves their country ladies, then I don’t believe that they wouldn’t want to hear them on the radio after they leave home and make something of themselves. So what’s next? Will I or my fellow aspiring female country singers and songwriters be able to get record deals? Headline tours?
With that being said, songwriting is hot these days for the country music ladies (have y’all ever heard of Nicolette Hayford, like c’mon)! Man, it’s so good I’ve had many a time when I just backed away and went if I can write a song like that… (And maybe someday I will!) Whoa. It’s left me speechless. Stop hiding this gold!!
Check social media. Check ticket sales. We’re all into fact checking these days! Women are doing just as well as men, if not better! We’ve gone so far in this country – let’s make radio equal and fair!
Our “life is a record” and “if I’m being honest,” I know that we’re all “girls goin’ somewhere.”
My name is Presley Roan. I’m not famous. I’m not even close to a big deal. Just a 19 year old girl with a guitar named Lady, and dozens of dog-eared notebooks full of songs I wrote and dozens more full of ones I didn’t. Maybe someday you’ll know who I am. Maybe from some liner notes, maybe from an album for sale at Walmart or maybe, just maybe you’ll hear me on the radio.
Front row or don’t go!
See you at the next Ashley McBryde show!