Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
Since I was a child, I've always been around music; taught to appreciate the art form but only at a reasonable distance. My parents never let me listen to the radio or any kind of secular music until I was well into High-school. Before that, in Junior high, I recall making mix tapes from local radio stations during the day, and then lying in bed at night listening to all the pop hits of that time through a small, plastic walkman that I had received a few Christmases earlier. Third Eye Blind, the Counting Crows, the Verve Pipe...these were the artists that first welcomed me into the world of meaningful pop-music. The first album that I ever bought for myself was the Counting Crow's 'August and Everything After' when I was a Sophomore in High-school. It had already been out for several years at that point, but I can still remember sneaking it up to my room and listening to it very softly out of the dusty sony boombox in my bedroom; pouring over every melody and marveling over the lyrical genious in Adam Duritz; thinking, 'maybe I can do this someday?'. Not that I think of myself now as important to music as Adam Duritz or the Counting Crows have been, nor do I even dare to compare myself to such talent, but thinking back on my earliest experiences with music, there is no doubt that those quiet moments spent alone in my bedroom shaped my desires and passions and gave me the hope to make my small mark on this world, one song at a time.
Washington DC | Singer-Songwriter
DC-based singer/songwriter Bobbie Allen (Young Summer) can’t tell you her childhood address. That is to say, she’s moved so many times she can’t possibly pin it down to one neat set of numbers. Even in the midst of the pushes and pulls of such a transient lifestyle, however, Allen never failed to find solace in one thing that has remained constant: music.
Coming of age to the sounds of Karen Carpenter’s smooth alto washing over her, Allen was at once awestruck and captivated by her favorite artists. When she discovered Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall on cassette as a child, she played it until the tape finally snapped in her Fisher Price tape recorder.
“Music has become a safe harbor or the ’home’ I’ve never had, because it doesn’t change,” she explains. “You can hit track 5 on ’Under The Table And Dreaming’ and it will always be ’Typical Situation’ and it will always be comforting.”
Wrapping herself in that comfort, Allen found her own voice at a remarkably young age. Following in the footsteps of her mom, who Allen says was always singing, the young songstress went throughout her days singing, and thankfully one of her preschool teachers encouraged her parents to let her do just that.
It’s that voice, mastered by years of spontaneous practice, which defines Young Summer and brought the project to fruition. Though Allen herself had to come face-to-face with her own debilitating stage fright (she signed herself up for a festival and just got over it), she has grown into the talent American Songwriter says “sounds like Heaven.”
After landing a spot opening for Nashville singer/songwriter Trent Dabbs in her hometown of Washington, D.C., Allen found herself with considerable time backstage with Dabbs while waiting on fellow performer Andrew Belle to arrive from a delayed flight. For the budding songwriter, it was a dream realized. Conversation gave way to a quick friendship, and Allen not only opened but also provided backing vocals that night after volunteering for the job.
The musicians exchanged email addresses with hopes of working together again, and Dabbs followed through on his word by inviting Allen to come to Nashville in August of 2011. Jeremy Bose was added to the mix and together they helped mold Bobbie Allen’s sound: a fresh, savvy pop incarnation known as Young Summer…
“I'd never had a writing session with anyone before, I had always written alone, and suddenly I’m having one with this amazing songwriter,” says Allen.
With only a single EP, Ready or Not, to her name, Allen had good reason for her initial shock. Yet it wasn’t long before her impeccable vocal talent naturally became the linchpin of each track.
Inhabiting a sacred ground between Florence Welch and Sarah McLachlan, Allen’s alluring alto is nuanced enough to stand out and flexible enough to accommodate each inventive track.
“As soon as I heard Bobbie's voice, it struck a chord in me that I couldn't ignore,” says Dabbs. “I immediately knew that with the proper production and songwriting collaboration, she would catch a fire with listeners.”
Both Bose and Dabbs certainly own the impressive credentials needed to bolster Allen’s talents. From his musical outlets like Sugar & The Hi Lows to his solo work, Dabbs’ songs have been featured in numerous places, like his recent smash single “Undermine” from the hit show Nashville. Bose has written and produced for numerous artists like Joy Williams (The Civil Wars), David Archuleta and Uncle Kracker, to name a few.
Young Summer presents a new side of artistry for Allen. “It's extremely honest music,” she explains. “It really is no-holds-barred in its honesty. It feels that way when you hear it because that concept is very deliberate. That's the thread that brings all of the songs together and makes them related. It all comes from a very sincere and honest place.”
Nashville TN | Pop
Marie Hines is a creator. She cooks dinner, she bakes cupcakes, she’s an avid DIY-er, and true to her Southern charm, she’s not afraid to get down in the dirt if it means cultivating something colorful and fragrant. Drawing inspiration from nature, The Tide and the Sea boasts music that mimics the fine lightness of a summer wind and the rolling current of a cool autumn stream. By broadening her scope and expanding her thematic obsessions, Marie has fallen right into place between Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, an artist as vibrant and smart as she is talented.
Marie nurtured her musical abilities early while growing up in small-town South Carolina: “I started taking classical piano when I was about six. Music was kind of something I developed on my own. I started writing at the age of twelve.” And something struck with a chord with Marie, who moved to Nashville in 2005. “I came to ’Music City’ to surround myself with people that were better than me. I knew I needed that constant challenge in order to become a greater musician.” Marie found inspiration among fellow songwriters as well as larger acts like Norah Jones and Coldplay, all the while developing her own class of bright, satiny melodies.
Those familiar with Marie’s debut, Worth the Fight, or her follow-up EPs, The Living Room Sessions and HeartCrash, will recognize her characteristic feminine grace, billowing piano refrains, and incandescent strings, but there’s something new and exciting in this collection of love songs. On The Tide and the Sea, Marie’s brush strokes are broader, more confident. Like a bright-eyed bride lifting her gauzy veil for the first time, letting the sun dazzle her and the wind brush her skin, the young Nashville singer/songwriter is stepping out and making strides.
“The title comes from the idea of love as a push-and-pull; it’s a tug-of-war type thing; it’s a dance. The tide rises and falls back into the sea, but it always falls back into the sea. Love is not easy, but when you’ve found that one right person, it is constant,” says Marie. “I guess that is maybe how I experience love. It’s comforting and protective, and these songs have that theme in common.”
The Tide and the Sea begins briskly, a crisp breeze fluttering through spring grass, playful and steady. “My Love Will Never Fail You,” the expansive, glittering single, makes confident declarations on the origins of love with lyrics like, “I don’t believe in chance. I think it’s the choice we make, and I choose you for the rest of my days,” its melody expanding into broad, undulating layers of a soaring orchestral spectrum. “In My Arms,” co-written with fellow Nashville songwriter Justin Halpin, is a richly textured, sanguine tune with a spirited rhythm that reminds Marie, “Yes, I’ve had my heart broken, but it’s all washed away when you have this one person.”
The golden, ebullient “Always Been You,” another Justin Halpin co-write, boasts the title lyric – “You be the tide; I’ll be the sea. The rise or fall brings you home to me, brings you home to me. It’s always been you, love.” – and acts as the magnetic, whimsical cornerstone of Marie’s rosy ballads. “Forever Falling for You,” co-written with Justin Tam of Nashville folk band Humming House, is a glowing, ethereal track with lyrics warm and hopeful: “We’ll build a house someday; we’ll build a home in the meantime.” And the lilting, dramatic “Forever Mine,” co-written with Justin Halpin and featuring background vocals by Marie’s new fiancé Ben Ringel of Nashville blues band The Delta Saints, swells and diminishes in arresting, elegant strokes, closing the album with an exultant, richly resonant ballad of halcyon love, repeating the chorus: “Oh my love, my life, always you and I, steady as we rise; be forever mine.”
Marie’s music has seen commercial and critical success with a feature in WalMart’s Valentine’s Day in-store promotional campaign in 2010 and 2011 and the top prizes in the Intel Superstars Competition, the Intel Video Superstars Competition, and the Avon Songwriting Competition. Following the release of Worth the Fight, Marie embarked on a national tour, playing venues like LA’s famous Hotel Café, Nashville’s Bluebird Café, New York’s The Living Room, and cafés, house concerts, and coffeeshops all along the way. In 2012, she was invited to play Toronto’s NXNE Festival.
Marie’s songs have provided background music for hundreds of wedding videos; MTV, iTunes, Hallmark, Delta Airlines, Spotify, and Forever 21 have showcased tracks in various capacities; and the music video for “Perfect Kiss” was featured on CMT Pure.
Lascassas TN | Singer-Songwriter
Nashville TN |
While most artists try to land a record deal as soon as they set foot in Nashville, Sarah Williams spent seven years focusing on developing her jazz vocal chops and songwriting skills before releasing her debut album, Ruby, co-produced by Chris Cottros (bandleader for platinum-selling country artist Terri Clark).
The Virginia native first showed signs of a musical gift when her mother noticed her tinkering on the piano at age 6. At 8, Williams began taking formal lessons and performed at family gatherings, school and church throughout her school years. She moved to Nashville in 2002 to study classical piano at Vanderbilt University's prestigious Blair School of Music - and pursue her dream of becoming a country star. At Blair, her unique voice caught the attention of Marion James, known as "Nashville's Queen of the Blues," as well as critically-acclaimed vocal coach Ron Browning. The two worked with Williams to shape a uniquely flawless sound that takes it cues from jazz, pop and R&B.
Soon, Williams began performing with several Big Bands and was honored as the featured performer for the Nashville Jazz Workshop. An accomplished pianist, Williams opened her own piano studio after several years of teaching at both the Blair School of Music and Belmont University. She also serves as the keyboard player and backup singer for the Bridge Band at Woodmont Christian Church, whose services are broadcast nationwide.