Artist Talk

Artist Talk with Liz Bohannon

It is a big pleasure to introduce Nashville based artist Liz Bohannon, a singer/songwriter whose beautiful new single, “Let me go” was released on March 26th!
The up and coming artist has a track record of amazing collaborations ranging from writing sessions with Jeff Trott to being in a band with Grammy winner Daniel Tashian. One might think of country music whenever an artist is associated with Nashville, but don´t judge a book by its cover. Liz serves us sophisticated pop songs with contemplative lyrics and compelling storytelling elements.
Sit back and read our interview with this lovely woman.

Liz, congrats on the release of your song “Let me go”, which came out on March 26th. Would you share a bit of the songs´s backstory with us? What triggered the idea to write a song about a relationship that´s run cold and how hard was it to write this song?

What a nice intro! Thank you!
Yes, this song was written with producer Louis Johnson (LONAS, The Saint Johns). Most of it came together in our first session and then we refined it over several drafts.
For me the narrative of this song was inspired by a break up and writing it was my way to aid the process of moving through that.
The “meat” of the song came together really quickly, we had all the parts there but structurally something felt “off”.
We ended up shelving it for a while until revisiting and finally finishing it end of last year.

Personally I feel what really stands out in your song is your way of acknowledging you are falling out of love with someone without it sounding cruel or careless. Your soft, angelic vocals sure are helpful in this. What age did you start to sing and perform songs?

Thank you! That is a huge compliment to me as I always aim to approach common song themes (like break-ups, etc) in a fresh way…  (i.e try to avoid falling in the cliches of having it come across as whining or what not!)
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My first time performing was when I was 3 1/2 years old. I sang a Woody Guthrie song for a talent show and after that exhilarating glimpse into entertaining a crowd, I sought that adrenaline rush whenever I could – singing at family weddings, musical theatre, church choir, even landing my first job with Gaylord Entertainment in a kids song/dance group (much like the Mickey Mouse club); performing several shows a week at The Opry Mills Mall and the Opryland Hotel.

Wow, that´s plenty of years of stage experience! Tell us a bit more about growing up in Nashville/Tennessee, home to country music and Americana music. How much do you think has the city influenced and shaped your musical tastes? Who are some of the artists you looked up to growing up and have you always immersed yourself primarily in pop music?

Growing up in Nashville has shaped who I am as an artist in so many ways.
I started demoing cover songs when I was 14 or 15 with this amazing guitar player who often toured with George Strait.
Some of the artists I was drawn to to cover during those early demo sessions included artists like Crystal Gayle, Dionne Warwick, Bonnie Raitt, and Etta James.
Another one who’s had a big impact on my musical background has been my Dad. He’s a big music buff and raised us on the greats like The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Elvis, Leon Russell, Conway Twitty; we were exposed to it all and I loved it all – Country, Blues, Rock and Roll, Jazz…
Looking back I realize how lucky I was – to have had the opportunities I did working with such talented people at a young age and have a perspective on the craft of making music… something you would not find anywhere else but a music town!

That´s definitely true! You have been lucky to work with amazing mentors from an early age, including Guitar Guru Rob Jackson and Hall of Fame songwriter Layng Martine, before studying Jazz at Indiana University. Are there any special moments from those days that you love looking back to, now that you are an accomplished artist yourself who has made a career out of her passion? 

Yes, I loved being in The Singing Hoosiers while at IU.
It was an audition-only 100 person choir, meeting every day for 4 years. We had the best repertoire, singing songs by Hoagy Carmichael, Gershwin, lots of classical and broadway tunes, with just the most gorgeous arrangements..
A favorite moment of mine from this era of my life was singing the Judy Garland solo as a Freshman on our international concert tour to Greece —it was a dream come true!

Let´s talk about how you go about writing a song. In pop music, writers often write to a backing track. This is also referred to as top-lining. Do you write to beats and backing tracks or do you prefer the old school way of picking up a guitar, playing some chords and singing to it?

I mostly pick up my guitar and let whatever wants to come out, flow; but I love mixing it up and starting with drums/a track, too. Oftentimes, those songs that you start with the track first – are the most fun to get creative with because you already have a box defined to put ideas in; it can speed up the writing process!

In your opinion, what are the main ingredients for a great song?

‘If it rings true.’ That’s what I believe makes a song great.
I have found that the more you can let what wants to come out, out, and get out of the way, the better.
I find that the songs I like best are the ones that happen quickly, and without much mental straining. Those are the days / moments you live for!

Love that! Has songwriting always come easy to you, or is it something you had to work hard for?

I’ve always loved expressing myself through music — and have a knack for doing that, but the craft part, assembling it all into a form— is ever a work in progress!
Most days it feels like work and I have to work hard for it.

What is one challenge you still face when writing songs, despite having written so many songs?

Searching for perfection in the details instead of moving along and being decisive / keeping my focus on the overall picture.

Any artists you would love to collaborate with if you could?

Natalie Hemby

2020 has been a tough year for all of us and in 2021 we are still struggling with the pandemic. Does this situation scare you with regard to the lack of touring and the challenges it brings to the music industry? How do you generally deal with fear and doubts, both as a writer and a performer?

 Yes, but I just keep the faith and do what I can – with what I have .. that’s all I can ask of myself.

Speaking of the year ahead, what are your plans? Are you releasing more music within the coming months and if so, what can listeners expect?

Yes! More to come 🙂 keep up with me..

We definitely will! Thank you so much for your time, Liz! Best of success to you!

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