#CMchat Exclusive Interview: Wildee

“Light it up until it turns to dust

Every memory and every picture frame will be flying around in flames

Burn Burn Burn”

Last fall singers/songwriters Krista Angelucci and Melanie Meriney started a weekly online show, Women Crush It Wednesdays, to give up-and-coming female artists and writers in Nashville a platform to share their music and get their stories heard. Recently the featured artist was Wildee. Her current single, “Burn,” immediately drew the audience in, with the eerie opening notes and her captivating vocals.

Burn

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, including the story behind your stage name? How did your grandfather influence your love of country music? Was there one song or one artist that most influenced you to start a career in music?

“I was born and raised in Temecula, CA. My love for country music stemmed from hearing my grandfather play and sing classic country songs growing up. He never made a career out of music because he was the sole provider for a family of six and didn’t have the means, but he sure loved the music. My grandfather passed away when I was 11 years old, but I carry his legacy with me always and I hope to one day make my grandfather proud that his sacrifice paved the way for me to live out my dream in country music. He absolutely adored his mother but she passed away when he was only six years old, so he only had a few but very fond memories of her. My middle name Wildee was my great grandmother’s name and it meant the world to my grandfather when he found out my mom would name me after her. I use my middle name Wildee as my stage name because of the sentiment from my family, but also because it is different than the average name. I want to encourage others through my music to be different and embrace the individuality that makes you unique. We need a lot more of that in the world. I would say the song ‘I Hope You Dance‘ by Leann Womack was a huge starting point for me. It was my very first song I ever performed on stage at 11 years old, and then I sang it at my high school graduation in front of 5,000 people. That song continues to pop up on the radio at the perfect moments in my life when I need to hear it most. It’s songs like that that keep you humbled and help you remember where you came from.”

Can you share your fondest memories of performing as a youngster at local town shows and fairs in Temecula, California?

“In middle school and high school is when 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 Oneal, Sara Evans, to name a few. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

How do you get inspiration to write songs? Can you describe your sound in 5 words?

“My songwriting inspirations come from my own life experiences as well as hearing about others’ journeys as well. Everyone goes through moments of sadness, weakness, happiness, strength, loss, heartbreak, and when we can come together and share those experiences with each other, we find healing and unity. That is what I want for my music. I want others who have gone through similar experiences as I have or may have had similar feelings at different points in their life, to relate and find comfort knowing they are not alone and there are many others fighting the same fight. My music evokes empowerment, hope, confidence, real with a bit of sass.”

You and your husband left Southern California to work on submarines with General Dynamics on the east coast, leaving music behind. What prompted your return to music?

“Moving away from Temecula at 26 and leaving all that I had built in my music career was a bit difficult. I didn’t know what to expect. After about a year and a half on the east coast, I hadn’t done anything music related at all. I remember one morning in February 2017, I turned to my husband as he was shaving and told him that I wasn’t done with music. Within 6 months, I was on The Voice, opening for Eric Church, Billy Currington, Billy Gilman, recording a three-song EP, releasing 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.”

What was it like to audition for this season of NBC’s The Voice?

“Auditioning for The Voice was another avenue of opportunity. I was so ready and excited to see what the show could do for my music career.”

When will you be featured on this year’s Keith Urban’s GraffitiU world tour? Where is your dream venue or festival to perform?

“I will be opening for Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini in New Hampshire on 7/6/18. This is the biggest show I’ve ever done so I’m ecstatic! My dream festival would be Stagecoach in California, and my dream venue would be Staples Center in Los Angeles. At 18 I sang the National Anthem for the LA Lakers in Staples Center in front of 20,000 people, and I told myself one day I would sell out those seats with my own show.”

What is the backstory to your first single “Burn,” set to release next month?

“‘Burn‘ is actually my 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.”

If you could record with any country music star, who would it be?

“I would record with Eric Church hands down. He’s a country rebel and I love that kind of music.”

When you’re not performing what do you like to do?

“When I’m not performing, I like to song write, play guitar, go running, and travel.”

If you were driving cross-country and could only bring one CD, what would it be?

“Tough one! I would say Miranda Lambert’s album Kerosene.”

What five artists/songs would I see on your recently played lists?

“‘California Missouri‘ by Kassi Ashton, ‘Space Cowboy‘ by Kacey Musgraves, ‘Long Black Veil’ by Johnny Cash, ‘Today I Started Loving You Again‘ by Merle Haggard, and ‘My Church‘ by Maren Morris.”

What are your favorite country songs?

“My favorites of all time would be ‘Whiskey Lullaby‘ by Allison Krauss and Brad Paisley, ‘Unanswered Prayers‘ by Garth Brooks, ‘Concrete Angel‘ by Martina McBride, ‘Today I Started Loving You Again‘ by Merle Haggard.”

If you were granted one wish, what would you ask for?

“I would ask for my music to be heard around the world.”

What’s the best life advice you have ever been given? What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

“Recently I was given the advice to be the moving train that people want to jump on. What that means is, be confident and fierce in what you’re doing and who you are (especially in the music industry), and soon enough everyone will want to join you. Don’t go chasing anything or anybody. I would give that same advice to other musicians.”

How can fans follow you on social media?

“Instagram: @wildeemusic

Twitter: @wildeeofficial

Facebook: Wildee”

Author: Donna Block

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