Musician Sarah Clanton moved from South Carolina to Nashville two years ago. Inspired by the capital of country music, she is now making a name for herself as a promising singer-songwriter
Are you a songwriter?” This is the question you will, without doubt, be asked when living or mingling in Nashville.
The city is a hub of young, aspiring, enthusiastic, talent-soaked artists coming together with seasoned veterans. This combustible mix sets the stage and the bar for all who venture here. Innovators and creators of all kinds flock to Nashville to be someone, to turn their hopes into reality.
Like most Nashville residents (very few folks are “natives”), I relocated here to be among those who gave up security to follow their dream; it’s what makes this city so magical.
Nashville is a montage of tour buses parked on corners, recording studios in houses in every neighbourhood, music floating out of more buildings than not, and folks walking down the street with guitars – or, in my case, a cello. It’s hard not to be inspired and remain driven. Those who stick it out, even when success isn’t instant, are the ones who have made this place so alluring. They let the city fuel their passion. In Nashville it’s not about being the big fish in the small pond – it’s about swimming in the big pond with the big fish.
It took me 10 years to call the city home. Since I was a little girl I knew that a life making music was my calling. However, as a cellist in an orchestra, making my desire a reality eluded me. Then, during college, I came to Nashville for one sweltering Tennessee summer semester as an intern at a jingle house, Hummingbird Productions.
You never know who you’re going to meet in this town: the guy or gal standing in front of you at the grocery store could have written Taylor Swift’s latest hit
There I met and made coffee for incredible session players who could improvise to a song they had heard once, with only a chart of numbers in front of them. I wrapped up cables and learned the ropes of day-to-day studio life. Sometimes I got to write music for commercials and sing on demos for credit card companies and sandwich shops. After that, I was hooked– there was a whole world of possibility in music for me, and it was in Nashville.
The second phase of my Nashville experience came a few years before I took the plunge and made the move. I spent a few years touring with a small independent Americana band based out of Nashville, playing cello and singing harmonies. I also toured on my own, playing solo material around the country. Between tours, I would spend a week or two in Nashville, simply to connect with people, co-write with new friends and just be part of the community.
I found most of the younger artists living in the hipster neighbourhood of East Nashville. Here you can find record stores, thrift stores, and trendy coffee shops like Barista Parlor. You can also see fashionable women walking alongside bearded men with “man-buns”, sipping expensive cocktails in small music clubs like The 5 Spot, where even Grammy-winner Miranda Lambert may show up.
When I first moved to the city, I picked up any part-time work I could find to make ends meet. I was an extra on the TV show Nashville and drove an Uber taxi. I almost had Jon Bon Jovi in my car on my first day on the job, but at the last minute he got called into a meeting and I ended up driving his producer to the Blackbird Studio. You never know who you’re going to meet in this town. The guy or gal in front of you at the grocery store could have written TaylorSwift’s latest hit. You never know what’s going to happen.
All you have to do is be here and be a part of it.