Why do I write music reviews? That’s a great question. Honestly, because there are so many talented humans out there who release amazing music and need to be heard. I love introducing others to music they may not have otherwise heard.
So, this week, I’m bringing attention to some amazing vulnerable, crazily talented, strong women that I know deserve all the listening ears possible.
1. “My Last Name” by Emily Daniels
Nashville underground country artist, Emily Daniels, has released her 3rd single. And what a powerful track it is. A song that is incredibly emotional and personal to her story.
Growing up, Emily believed her toxic family environment was normal. It wasn’t until the cracks started to show, that she realized her father wasn’t who he was pretending to be. This year marks 10 years since Emily’s biological father left. To help deal with the trauma he caused in her life, Emily turned to songwriting and a legal name change.
“I was left deeply hurt and confused because I realized I never knew who this man truly was. People ask me if I think he changed, but truthfully, I think he’d been that way all along and had just been masking it. When the mask was finally taken off, I was terrified with the person I then saw because I didn’t know him at all. It’s been 10 years since my biological father left and I haven’t seen or spoken to him since 2012. I can’t change the past, but I can decide how I will let it shape my life. I was able to take a stand and reclaim my name because my former last name had so many painful memories attached to it. I wanted to properly honor my stepdad Daniel and the role he’s played in my life, so I went to the courthouse in April 2019 and legally changed my last name to Daniels.
“My Last Name” details the heartbreaking, but inspiring, reason behind her legal name change.
I’m done thinking that he could ever change
I’m done wishing that it hadn’t been this way
I’m done wondering what he’s doing these days
It’s-not-like he did much for me anyway
All he ever gave to me was my last name
And I can’t wait to give it away
Since the release last week, Daniels has received numerous messages from listeners all over the world thanking her for writing something they can relate to. After all, Daniels says she not only released this track for her own healing, but to hopefully bring about healing for those struggling with the same trauma.
After coming up with the concept while driving, she wrote the song with songwriters, Kelly Seidel and Hailey Verhaalen. The same songwriters she wrote her first release, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”, with. This is also the 3rd single she has had produced by Zachary Manno (“Ex on the Beach”, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”).
The ballad showcases her vocal range beautifully and will pull at your heartstrings, I promise.
Daniels’ debut single was released in March of this year and was featured on Medium, The Nashville Daily Podcast, Southern Fellow, and numerous country blogs. Her Summer single, “Ex on the Beach”, quickly followed and has garnered over 28k streams on Spotify as well as a lot of attention overseas on UK radio.
Make sure Emily Daniels is on your radar. More releases are scheduled for this Fall.
2. “Hometown” by Bailey Morgan
This song is Bailey Morgan’s debut single. How exciting is that?! Releasing music is always an exciting moment for an artist, but their first release always holds a special place.
Morgan is originally from Oklahoma but moved to Nashville at 15. She consequently immersed herself in all the musical opportunities that Music City has to offer. She competed in several singing competitions and eventually got a degree in songwriting at Belmont University.
Now in her early 20s, she has honed in on her sound and branding and with the help of hitmaker, Justin Weaver, wrote “Hometown. Weaver is best known for his songs with Country giants Jason Aldean (“Even If I Wanted To”), Kip Moore (“I’m to Blame”), Brantley Gilbert (“Bottoms Up”) as well as the iconic Meghan Trainor duet with John Legend “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”.
The two came up with this pop country track that is beyond catchy. Morgan’s voice is sweet, robust, and edgy all at the same time. Her sound is very similar to Kacey Musgraves, but with a twist. I’m a huge fan of the contrasting sounds of the clean crisp piano against the bold guitar reverb.
Whatever effect pedal was used on the electric guitar brings about a vibey, almost bass feel. Maybe the compilation of distorted guitar is created by delay/echo and reverb pedals? Whatever it is- it’s dope. Make sure to listen for the subtle overlapping of background vocals in the bridge, makes for an interesting texture. All this mixed together with a slow percussion beat is very hypnotizing. This track would make for a great song for a car ride on a two-lane road. Roll down those windows and let that hand surf in the wind.
The songwriting is also very fun and creative with the play on words. Morgan sings about how her hometown no longer feels like home when her ex lives down the street. Now everything is tainted, everything reminds her of him and it’s driving her insane.
“You took the home out of my hometown”
“b/c main street’s mainly all about you”
“It used to be a sanctuary/ now it’s just where we lost what we found”
Morgan says, “I write songs you can see your own story in, because everyone should have a voice.”
Congrats on your first release, Bailey. Your future in country music seems very promising, can’t wait to hear what’s next.
She is slated for a debut EP release this Fall.
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