CMChatLive caught up with singer/songwriter Wildee before her recent show in her Southern California hometown.
What was it like to be home in Temecula, California, playing at the Bel Vino Winery?
“It’s definitely one of the best feelings coming back home and seeing all the people that have been there from the beginning. The energy was amazing and to hear he crowd singing my songs back to me was something I’ll never forget.”
Can you share your fondest memories of performing as a youngster at local town shows and fairs?
“In middle school and high school is when I really started to perform on stage. I performed at local talent shows and fairs. Some performances that I remember most would be my first time on stage singing ‘I Hope You Dance‘ at 11 years old and then performing it at my high school graduation. One of my first ‘big’ stages was when I was 18 and I performed at a local fair on the same stage as Jason Aldean, Jamie O’Neal, Sara Evans, to name a few. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
What other tour dates do you have this summer back in Southern California?
“So far my California shows are June 3rd, opening for Josh Turner in Temecula, June 27th in LA for the Route 91 benefit concert, 6/29 in Temecula, and 6/30 in LA opening for Wynonna Judd.”
What is touring like for you? Something you enjoy – best and worst parts?
“Touring is awesome! I’m out seeing my fans in person. I also love to travel and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to take my music on the road. I don’t take it for granted one bit.”
You will be opening this summer on the GraffitiU Tour for Kelsea Ballerini and Keith Urban on July 7 in New Hampshire – how does one prepare for those bigger shows versus the more intimate venues?
“The big shows call for a lot more energy and playing with a full band requires a lot of rehearsal time to make sure our set is solid from start to finish. I would say however that I am myself whether it’s 30,000 people or 10–I give my 110% and put my heart and soul into any size show.”
Wildee has been center stage before a large audience many times before singing the National Anthem – Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, San Diego Padres, NE Revolution, NASCAR. Recently Carly Pearce said she doesn’t get nervous before shows but does before singing the Anthem.
What is different about performing the Anthem?
“Honestly, I’ve been professionally singing the Anthem since I was 16 so I’d say I don’t really get nervous singing the Anthem at all. I think most artists get nervous about messing up the words haha.”
What’s it like to be growing in popularity and more recognized? Do you enjoy that aspect of the business?
“After years of hard work and many major disappointments in this industry, it is such an incredible feeling to make positive strides in my career path. It takes relentless perseverance to never give up in this industry, and once you start catching some breaks along the way, they help you reassure yourself that this is the right path.”
Working on your record – who are you writing/producing with? What story will the album tell?
“I am working with a lot of different writers right now and searching for the right songs to capture my story. My album will be self-titled and so I want to make sure every song is a piece of me.”
Where do your writing ideas come from?
“My and others’ life experiences.”
What’s it like singing other people’s songs and how does it compare to singing your own?
“I think singing other people’s songs is just as impactful as singing my own. Sometimes others can just put the words together perfectly with a melody, but I still relate 100% to the song. When I’m on stage, I’m delivering emotion to the audience and I want to do that with many songs, not just mine.”
What’s it like having people listen to you singing vs. listening to your songs when you’re a songwriter? Does it feel more vulnerable to be the one singing the words?
“I think being honest is key to being a great artist and so I try my best to capture the realness of my life in my songs. That can be vulnerable, but that is the whole reason for why I do music—-I want to reach others and let them know they aren’t alone.”
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
“I’d be building submarines in Connecticut.”
On a side note, Wildee left her hometown at age 26, along with her husband, to work on submarines with General Dynamics on the east coast. By February of last year, she realized she wasn’t done with music. Within six months she was on The Voice, opened for Eric Church and Billy Gilman, recorded a three-song EP, and released a song to country radio across New England.
“It was as if God stepped in and showed me that music was not done for me and that I needed to keep going. It doesn’t matter where you are on the map. I went from Southern California the entertainment capital of the world, to the small town of Westerly, RI across the country and made bigger moves in country music within six months in Westerly than I ever did in California. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
And we were meant to be listening to her single “Burn.”
“Burn is actually the very first song I wrote in Nashville. It’s a song about being done wrong by someone and staying strong enough to walk away. The song literally is about me burning a house down (lol) but that’s not the message. The message is for anyone to take the wrongs that someone has done and burn the memories so that they don’t affect you anymore.”
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