Blog Posts

10 Common Questions I Get Since Moving to Nashville-And Their Answers [List]

It’s no surprise that Nashville is a little more entertaining than Syracuse, NY (no offense fam), but since moving here I’ve been asked the same questions about over and over. Some relate to work but of them most have to do with the city, and if you’re moving here too prepare to get asked similar things. Here are 10 common questions I get and their answers:

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Photo by Courtney Eckdahl
  1. Why don’t you have an accent yet? This answer is simple. Nashville is a giant melting pot, and 90% of the people I know here are “transplants” like myself; they moved here from somewhere else and only start talking with a southern accent if they’re drunk or trying too hard to fit in.
  2. (From people who visit) Is Nashville this fun every weekend? Yes! Especially over the summer, Nashville is crazy on the weekends, on lower broadway anyway. A lot of people who live in Nashville hang out in areas like Midtown and the Gulch to avoid the tourists (lol), but broadway is always a fun time too. Jason Aldeans and FGL House are two places I hang out if I go down there on a normal weekend.
  3. Where should I go/what should I do when I visit? I get messages at least a couple times a month asking for suggestions. I made a list here of the best food places, bars and things to do during your first trip to Nashville. There are local things on there too if you want to get away from the craziness of Broadway.
  4. Do you always work from home/cute coffee shops? No. I work in our office mostly, but music tech allows me to work remote too since we use our laptops and phones so much. I don’t decide when that happens though. My boss has made our office very reflective of his leadership style; motivating, collaborative, and dynamic. So much so that I actually like working in the office more than a coffee shop or home.
  5. Do you write for work? Most of the writing you see me post about is done on my own time, although I have written a couple blog posts for Jammber. A lot of my writing is reflected on my experiences with work though, because that has been such a huge part of my move. My career in music is my anchor here. Without it I would already be back home.
  6. What is that giant building with the batman looking wings? That’s the AT&T building, and locals actually call it the batman building.
  7. Is it true that people are nicer down there? People are really kinda and helpful down here, but back in NY I didn’t realize surround myself with rude people anyway. It’s more about the lifestyle in my opinion. People in NY are always in a rush, and down here things move a lot slower. Most people who move here like me adapt to that pretty quickly.
  8. Are you planning on moving back to Syracuse? Not right now. If I moved back to Syracuse, I would be back with my family and friends, but I wouldn’t have much of a career. Maybe down the road…..?
  9. Have you done the pedal tavern yet? I laugh at how often I get this question. No, I haven’t. I think if I were visiting Nashville with a bunch of girlfriends I would have, but it’s just different when you live here.
  10. How’s Nashville (winner of the #1 most asked question)? Hot but awesome! There’s the suburbs, pretty farmland, and Target (cuz that’s a need) where my apartment is, and a busy/fun city with lots of trendy places to check out and where I work in music too. There’s so much happening here. It’s a great place to be if you’re in your 20’s.
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Photo by Courtney Eckdahl

Finally Home

Hey guys! It’s crazy to think I’ve been in Nashville for a year already, but the difference between last June and this June is like night and day. Last summer was boring, lonely, jobless and scary. As time went on though, I began building my career in music, making friends, raising a puppy, and going out more.

The hardest part is that I still haven’t found my “group” yet. I have plenty of friends, but not a consistent group of people I hang with. There are so many things here I wish I could experience with my friends and family, but I know meeting special people takes time. Besides, being alone for now is helping me get to know myself better and set up my future.

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Photo by Courtney Eckdahl

A lot of people are confused about what I do for work, or they think I do things that I actually don’t (lol). I hear a lot that I manage artists and work in publishing; neither of which are true. I work for a music tech company called Jammber, which is an online tool that helps creative teams organize their projects (albums, videos, etc). This helps artists to get paid fairly and for metadata to be tracked from the concept of a project up until distribution. We work a lot with record labels, artist managers, and people on the administrative side of music. We have a couple exciting apps coming out in the near future, and I’m excited to focus on working with songwriters.

We also attend a lot of events in town and at conferences. My favorite part about it is meeting other people in the industry. Yes, it’s fun dressing up and seeing live performances, but the behind the scenes aspects are the best. Next week is the Music Row Awards, and I’m super excited to celebrate the teams behind music.

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Photo by Sonia Ulrich

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A lot of people say to me, “Kelly, your life looks like so much fun in Nashville.” And the truth is, the minute it’s not fun here I’m moving back home. I gave up too much for this journey not to be fun and exciting. The cool part is that this is just the beginning. I’m getting busier and more challenged with work, going to more events, and visiting more local places that are making me feel comfortable here.

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Photo by Courtney Eckdahl

It’s hard to think about the idea of being away from home indefinitely, but if I were to move back I’d be giving up on myself and wouldn’t be in the music industry anymore. Right now, building my career is worth sacrificing time with my best friends and family, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow.

The scary part is over. I’m settled, I have a routine, and I’m glad I’m finally able to call Nashville home. Let’s see what’s next….

-Kel

The Stories Behind The Songs

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If you’re in the music industry or even a Nashville local, you’re familiar with what a writer’s round is. Basically, it’s when a group of singer/songwriters share a stage and take turns playing songs they’ve written. They usually share the stories behind the songs too.

I went to a special round last week to benefit City of Hope, which is a cancer treatment and research center in California. It was different than most rounds I go to, because these songwriters have written very popular country and pop songs. Usually when I go, I’m hearing songs for the first time by new artists. Among the singer/songwriters at this event were Rhett Akins, Devin Dawson, Lauren Alaina, Liz Rose, Jessi Alexander, and Lee Thomas Miller. You might not recognize some of those names, but they have written songs recorded by Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett and many more.

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Rhett Akins, Devin Dawson, Jessi Alexander

I’ll share my favorite story from that night by one great songwriter who was there; Jessi Alexander. She started talking about a woman named Connie Harrington who, years ago, was driving home on Memorial Day and listening to NPR. A father was being interviewed about his son whose life was lost in Afghanistan. The father was asked how he’d been coping with the loss of his son and he talked about how he drives his son’s truck to feel his presence again. Connie started sticking post it notes with these details all over her car along with some ideas, and when she got back to Nashville her and Jessi got together to develop the song further. The one thing they felt they were missing was a male voice, which was when Lee Brice recorded, “I Drive Your Truck.”

“And Momma asked me this morning if I’d been by your grave, but that flag and stone ain’t where I feel you anyway.”

 

I used to listen to this song and not feel anything, and then I heard the story behind it and now I can’t listen to it without crying. That’s why I love music. Every song has a story, and I challenge anyone who says that this is just another song about a truck to be a little less ignorant and to do a little more research. So much is said in such few words:

“I find a field, I tear it up, ’til all the pain’s a cloud of dust. Yea sometimes, I drive your truck.” 

 

My point in sharing this story is that I found a new appreciation for music when I started learning the stories behind songs I used to take for granted. I don’t just like songs for the beat or melody anymore, and just when I thought I couldn’t appreciate music anymore I was proven wrong. This was just one story too. I learned a lot that night about some of my favorite songs.

There’s something very powerful about communicating so much in such few words, but that’s what music is all about. Music heals, it’s relatable, and it brings people together. I can’t think of a more rewarding industry for myself to be part of, and I can’t wait to learn more about where songs originate from.

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Dear Self, I’m Proud of You

IMG_8813I think too much time is spent on what we could be doing to improve ourselves and not enough is spent on recognizing what we have done. I know it’s something I struggle with. I can’t be the only one in their 20’s who is hard on themselves, especially when starting a career and balancing young adulthood in general. I’m finding it helpful to write to myself once in a while, and I’m being vulnerable in sharing today’s letter. I also always read these out loud in front of the mirror, which feels uncomfortable at first but is very eye opening by the end. I hope it inspires you:

Dear Self,

You’ve done much more than you’ve given yourself credit for lately, and I think it’s time to recognize it. You’ve been adjusting well to this new city, and pretty soon it’ll be a year since you moved. It hasn’t been easy, I know, but this dream you’re after is much bigger than your fear of leaving home. You’ve been forcing yourself to go out and explore, even if it’s alone many times. You’ve been contributing to your team at work in ways you never thought you would be, but they’re proud of you and recognize you for it. You’re making more friends here and going out more, something you missed a lot last summer. You’ve been working out 6 days a week, and I know it’s hard sometimes but it also makes you feel good for the entire day.  Don’t forget the smaller things too. You were patient the other morning when a 20 minute commute to work turned into an hour from an accident on the highway. Just this morning you got up at 5am to clean up dog crap all over your bedroom carpet from KJ’s upset stomach. You do what you have to do, but you do it with grace and that’s what I love about you. You do a bunch of things right, and you’re too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. Try focusing on the lesson and moving on without regret when things like that happen. You’re doing the best you can, and I’m proud of you.

-Kel