It’s no secret that it’s difficult for female musicians to break into the male-dominated world of country music. In full force and with her eye on the prize, Texas native – Lindsay James entered the country music space with a strategic strategy to make her way to the top while also testing the boundaries of traditional country.
It is the way the rising star carefully blends her love for country, R&B, soul, and her Hispanic upbringing that makes music-goers stop in their tracks and recognize that the sound that she carefully crafted covers the gap that has been missing in the genre.
The “Island of Heaven” songstress was raised in a music-orientated family, as her parents would blast ‘90s country and Mexican tunes through her household. While the playful melodies graced their ears, her grandfather taught her how to maintain a rhythm in her feet by honing in on dance skills – leaving her to become a full-package performer. Little did the breakthrough star know that her diverse background would turn her into a genre-bending artist.
However, “Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait left an ever-lasting impact on James growing up and encouraged her to pursue music full-time. “That was the song I listened to with my dad every time we got in his truck. I remember the feeling it gave me to this day,” she expressed during an exclusive Country Now interview. “It became a soundtrack for our drives to the deer lease in Senora, Texas. I want to capture that same nostalgic feeling in the music I create.
After spending years on the road traveling with former MLB player and college sweetheart, Ricky Hague – James packed her bags and moved to music city to hone in on her craft. “I moved to Nashville in August of 2016, knowing only a few people. I quickly learned to keep my head down and blinders on because there are so many talented creatives here pursuing the same dream,” says James. “ Comparison will rob you of all joy in this process, and the more I keep that in mind, the more I free myself up to be inspired and create the art and brand I believe in,” she adds.
Without any distractions, the world got a taste of her infectious energy, soul-healing melodies, and what a song sounds like when passion is behind the lyrics. However, when 2020 rolled around, – James had an honest conversation with her father about her mental health and how to let go of the negative repercussions that came along with the challenging year.
After internalizing her father’s words, James put pen to paper alongside Sam Martinez, Jared Scott, and Luke Preston to write her latest track, “Behind.” The mid-tempo ballad serves as a reminder to her fans to walk away from all negativity and to leave it all “Behind.”
“Much like the rest of the world, I was looking to put 2020 in my rearview,” she opened up about the inspiration behind the lyrics. “During a conversation with my dad, he kept encouraging me to leave some tough things behind and continue looking forward. Sometimes getting in your car or on a plane or even a walk around the block will help your mind escape the worries and trouble of day-to-day life.”
According to James, the powerful message simply rolled off her tongue “This song seemed to write. Itself. We wanted the song to brighten people’s lives and tap into that feeling of getting away.”
With that being said, Country Now caught up with Lindsay James to chat about her uplifting music for “Behind,” her big plans to flee Nashville to connect with fans at live concerts, and what it was like to develop her sound by pulling from a diverse array of influential artists.
Read on to find out more about Lindsay James in this exclusive Q&A below…
Who is Lindsay James? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a Texas girl and a bit of a tomboy. My passion for music and fashion started at an early age and is what keeps me going and inspired. I come from a big family back in Texas with strong Hispanic roots. I love dancing, all things animals, and any chance to make people smile.
How would you describe yourself as a singer and songwriter?
Drawing from influences like Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, and George Strait, my sound has a mix of Country, R&B, and Soul. I hope listeners continue to hear the honesty and authenticity in my lyrics and melody.
Does the song “Amarillo by Morning” ring a bell? Was it this song that inspired you to pursue music?
That was the song I listened to with my Dad every time we got in his truck. I remember the feeling it gave me to this day. It became a soundtrack for our drives to the deer lease in Senora, Texas. I want to capture that same nostalgic feeling in the music I create.
What inspired your latest track, “Behind”?
Much like the rest of the world, I was looking to put 2020 in my rearview. During a conversation with my Dad, he kept encouraging me to leave some tough things behind and continue looking forward. Sometimes getting in your car or on a plane or even a walk around the block will help your mind escape the worries and trouble of day-to-day life.
Could you walk us through the songwriting process for “Behind”? Would you say this single was easy or challenging to pen?
I showed up to the studio with the title and chorus melody ready to go. Sam Martinez and I created the track, and my fellow co-writers, Jared Scott and Luke Preston, and we all began throwing out colorful ideas. This song seemed to write itself. We wanted the song to brighten people’s lives and tap into that feeling of getting away.
Are there any behind-the-scenes secrets for the “Behind” music video that might surprise fans?
The goal was to capture a classic weekend getaway with friends, sunshine, and good times. A group of close friends and I caravanned down to Savannah, GA, and just enjoyed everything the city had to offer while Steven Worster captured it all. The most anticipated part of the video was the scene with the fireworks strapped to my longboard. It was kind of an all-or-nothing shot, and luckily we were able to get it just right.
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How has traveling with your husband, Ricky Hague impacted your music career?
When you travel as much as we did during baseball, you start to get pretty good at it. I am used to moving around from town to town and living out of a suitcase, which I think sets up perfectly for the next step in my musical career. I am ready to get out on the road again and perform in new cities!
You moved to Nashville in 2015, what is one thing you have learned very quickly about music city?
I moved to Nashville in August of 2016, knowing only a few people. I quickly learned to keep my head down and blinders on because there are so many talented creatives here pursuing the same dream. Comparison will rob you of all joy in this process, and the more I keep that in mind, the more I free myself up to be inspired and create the art and brand I believe in.
It is no secret that you are a fashionista. So, how did you develop your unique sense of style, and do you have any style influences?
Fashion is another form of expression for me. I take pride in finding the perfect thrift store piece to complete a look or pushing the boundaries to make a new look all my own. I have always been a fan of Ralph Lauren and its approach to fashion. My fashion is a compliment to my personality and music.
According to social media, it seems like you have been working hard in the studio. How do you channel your creative side?
For the last couple of years, writing music has been the only outlet I have had to express myself. I tend to start with a melody and allow a title and lyric to fit that sound or vibe. When I am home and preparing for a session, I like to play around with chords on the guitar until I settle on a few to create the melody. The right lighting and a little bit of palo santo always get my creative side going.
You are known for your incredible country music renditions. Could you share with us your favorite artist to cover?
My favorite artist to cover is Sheryl Crow. I have been singing her music since I first picked up the guitar, and my shows even have a few of her classics mixed in! I also love going outside the box and covering artists like H.E.R. and Frank Ocean.
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Where do you hope to see yourself at this time next year?
A year from now, I see myself traveling all over the country, performing in front of new fans. I cannot wait to hit the road and tangibly feel support from listeners. Being grounded in Nashville this long has me a bit stir crazy, and I’m very ready to see what the rest of the country has in store!
If you could collaborate with any country artist, who would it be and why?
Watching and listening to Sheryl Crow-inspired me to pursue my dream of country music. If I were able to collaborate with her on a song, it would be the perfect full-circle moment for me. I think our styles and tone would sound pretty cool together.
What are some of your goals for the rest of 2021?
In 2021, I plan to continue building my fan base through social platforms and performing as often as I can. I have a few songs ready to be released, but I’m also open to taking outside cuts – Nashville is full of songs that need to be sung.
Do you have any projects or collaborations in the pipeline right now that fans should look out for?
I have some exciting things in the works. Be on the lookout for some more new music this year!
Fans can keep up with Lindsay James on Instagram.