Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
One of my longest , most interesting interviews ever happened last week at Barista Parlor in East Nashville. I sat down with Canadian native Andrea Pearson, who was an absolute pleasure to talk with. She has a light, casual personality that’s instantly welcoming. She was so engaging and it made for some great material.
Pearson recently released a new single, “You’re It!” and has a music video coming out for that soon. We talked about that among so many other entertaining things. Grab a beverage, relax and get to know Andrea Pearson like I did. She’s done some unbelievable things within the music industry and outside of it as well. I hope you enjoy eavesdropping on our conversation. Rather than rewrite everything that she said, I’ve chosen to publish the actual transcript as it happened and not risk losing any of the original feeling of our interview.
Photo courtesy of Clif Doyal
Patti McClintic: I’ve listened to all of your music and your voice is absolutely amazing. Clif (her publicist) said he was so excited to work with you and now I know why.
Andrea Pearson: Aww…
PM: So, you’re from Kelowna, British Columbia. I can’t even imagine how beautiful it must be there.
Image courtesy of Map Trove
AP: It’s gorgeous. Four seasons. It’s a vacation town and nobody ever really wants to leave, but you know, I wanted to pursue music more and I kind of outgrew the small town.
PM: Is it somewhere near Vancouver?
AP: It’s four hours outside of Vancouver in the Okanagan Valley. It’s beautiful. There are a lot of wineries, so there’s fruit growing, like grapes and all that stuff, it’s beautiful. There’s a lake and there’s a ski hill in the winter. It’s nice. I’m kind of an outdoors girl, you can’t tell by this skirt and everything today, but I love hiking and being outside. My brothers all fish and hunt. I don’t hunt, but I just love being outside.
PM: So, you were in your element in that environment.
AP: I was! It was a great place to grow up.
Photo courtesy of Tourism Kelowna
PM: How long have you been in Nashville?
AP: I’ve been here for about 15 years.
PM: Okay, so a long time.
AP: Yeah, and you know, I was so pleasantly surprised when I moved here to find out, I mean of course in Nashville we’ve got so much music, it’s saturated and there’s so much to do here, but there’s also great hiking a little bit out of town. I do a lot of that. There’s horses. I got a horse not long after moving here, so when I get too crazy with how busy it is in Nashville, I go out there and ride.
PM: That’s awesome, so you do get your outdoors fix.
AP: I do.
PM: Describe your early years, your family life. You have a song called “Cadillac Man.” Did you really have a dad that was into Cadillacs?
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
AP: Absolutely. He never owned anything but Cadillacs. He was funny because he was quirky. He would wear slippers, like house shoes, to the movie theater. I remember when I was a kid and he was all about comfort and he didn’t care what people thought. So, the Cadillac thing was kind of bizarre because that’s like a status thing, but for him it was just like he wanted that real comfortable car and that ride. We’d do a lot of long road trips, so he always loved Cadillacs. Every few years he’d trade it in and get a newer one.
PM: So, he really was the “Cadillac Man?”
AP: Through and through “Cadillac Man.” All the way through, and I think he was also kind of afraid to fly, so growing up we did so many trips, but everything was driving. We would drive all over the States. He was like, you’ve gotta have something heavy that hugs the road, and he liked the Cadillacs. So when he passed away, for the longest time, I couldn’t write a song about him.
PM: How long has he been gone now?
AP: He died at the very end of 2012, so it’s been a while now. I can’t believe how time flies.
PM: Was it sudden?
AP: He had multiple strokes for a few years and started to get Alzheimer’s, so he was kind of declining. He’d forget meals or to eat, but he knew who I was and he knew the old songs, and that was one of the things we kept right until the end. We were the only ones in the family that sang, so we could connect through sharing our love of music and just singing the songs together. Actually, he had one major stroke and my mom called me, and I remember my sister and I, my sister lives here, we had to fly up right away. By the time I got there he was already kind of in a coma state. I didn’t ever get to talk to him before he died, but it was pretty incredible because of music, I played our songs that we would sing. I started touring when I was nine and we did shows together and sang together.
AP: So, I played some of those songs and made a playlist and sat and held his hand. I know he heard everything. He would emote. I’m a singer and I know how when you sing a high note you kind of lift your eyebrows, and the muscles move in your face. He was singing with me, and I got to have that beautiful goodbye. It was so awesome. So, music is powerful. We did our song “All the Way,” that Frank Sinatra tune, and hearing him just sing that with me in a way…”
PM: It took a while, but you did get to write that song for him.
AP: I did.. At first I didn’t want it to be like a… I don’t know if you’ve had anyone really close in your life pass away?
PM: Both my parents are still here, thank God.
AP: Okay. When it happened, at first all you can feel or access, I think, is that grief when they’re gone and not here. Then after a while, you start to remember them in things they loved and in memories, and that’s where they live and where he lived. For me, when I started writing, suddenly that idea came to me, and that’s where I see him. Everywhere. When I’m on trips I see us singing together in that car. That’s where he lives after he’s gone. So, it’s kind of a beautiful place to put him so he can keep living in a song.
PM: And that never goes away once you’ve put it in a song, it’s just always there.
AP: Absolutely. I had different pub (publishing) deals here for years and was doing the co-write thing. So, I did the thing with targeting. “Let’s try and get a cut with this one or that,” but when I started writing by myself, doing solo writes, which that one is, and all the new stuff is, I was just writing because it needed to be written for me. I was never like, “Oh, this is too personal or too much my story, and I don’t know if people are gonna relate.”
PM: It was probably easier to get it by writing solo.
AP: It was. What was amazing was when people heard that, or when I went out to play shows, actually the stuff that was the most personal, was the the stuff more people connected with. More people came up and said, “My dad, that’s my dad in that song,” and they’re crying.
PM: Isn’t that something?
AP: Yeah, it was kind of eye-opening.
PM: What you thought was really personal, more people connected with.
AP: Yeah, it was more people’s stories than I thought, you know? Even if they didn’t drive a Cadillac there was something about that song that people connected with and saw their dad in, or someone they lost.
PM: So, all those years of really trying to figure it out, and all you needed to do was sit down and write it by yourself.
Video courtesy of Andrea Pearson and YouTube
AP: I know it. It’s wild. One of my co-writing buddies, Jimmy Melton, who I love, he’s such a great lyricist, he said that to me one time. Something about when he started just writing what was real and not writing for cuts, not writing for targets, those were the songs that wound up getting picked up. It surprised him because he wasn’t intending for that to happen.
PM: Rather than sit down and write a song about this (something you’re directed to write about).
AP: Usually it’s like, “Well, we need to write a positive, uptempo for so-and-so, because they’re cuttin’ right now, but let’s make sure that it appeals either way so a female can cut it or a male, or then, even a group. So, then it’s like you water it down so much you’ve just got this “ehhh…” But it does work, but you know, not for me anyway.
PM: There are some people that say they can’t write like that. They can’t write that assembly line writing. They can’t do it.
AP: Right, yeah. I know!
PM: I believe on of the best quotes that I heard about that was from Travis Meadows. I’m paraphrasing, but he said something like, “They would tell me to come in at 10:00 on a Thursday, and we’re gonna write a song about a truck for this guy who’s ready to record an album, and I can’t write like that.”
AP: No, he totally couldn’t, and he’s actually one of the ones, I did some shows with him on the road in California and that’s the first time I got to experience him live. I was just floored, and I got that record from him, Killin’ Uncle Buzzy, and I wore that thing out. My favorite song on that one was “Grown up Clothes.” It’s so real. Then I looked and that was a solo write. Then I started to look at some of my favorite songs and there are so many that are solo writes, and I went, “Oh, I think I’m connecting with something here that’s maybe a little more personal. I think you might only be able to get to it if you were in your own experience in your mind.” For someone to jump on board and get into that movie in your head if it’s really that personal, it might not work as well. So, yeah, it’s really cool. I love Travis though, he’s like, amazing.
Video (audio) courtesy of Travis Meadows and YouTube
PM: He’s the realest of the real deals, I think. So, tell me about your school age life. What were you doing, say, elementary through high school? Were you getting into music at that point in time?
AP: I hated doing music in school (laughs). Yeah. I was in band because we had to be in sixth, seventh and eighth. So, I wanted to play the cool instruments, so I was a drummer.
PM: And it wasn’t your thing?
AP: No, I loved it. I loved playing the drums, and I played the tuba which was kinda weird. I played the trombone, but I wanted, like, this is so funny, but I’ve always been, I’m the baby of the family, the baby of five. When I was younger, I was kind of a tomboy and I just wanted to do something that wasn’t a typical “girl” thing. I wanted to do the “guy” thing.
PM: Like, you didn’t want to go play the violin?
AP: No, or the flute. I was like, “No, give me the trombone.” There were only guys playing that, and then I was like, “I wanna play the drums,” because there were only guys playing drums. I just wanted to do that because I was pretty scrappy when I was a kid and I would get into it with the neighbor boys. I was always fightin’ over stuff like that because they’d try that “You girls get off the street and go home and play with your dolls. We’re playin’ road hockey.” Boy, you’d say that to me and there’s gonna be some fire comin’ out. Like, I was just (mimicked punching someone).
PM: That’s good because when you move to Nashville you almost have to bring that with you. If you don’t have that, you’re not gonna make it here.
AP: I hate that. I don’t like being treated like a girl. I think that’s made me do things and learn things over the years that, well, it’s been very interesting. Growing up and singing music, I did my first record when I was 10.
PM: How does that happen?
AP: Well, I was playing all over Western Canada and a little bit of the States, like Washington and through there, playing fairs and festivals. I won BCCMA, like in BC, their junior vocalist, their big thing. I got a free recording thing with that. It just kind of started growing, so I did that all throughout my childhood and teen years. One thing I always hated was like, there were always men in the studio, which I didn’t hate, but I hated being treated like I didn’t have any say on things because I was the girl and I was a kid. It was “Go sit over here.” I always had ideas about what I wanted to do in a song, I always had an opinion.
PM: But they didn’t want to hear it.
AP: No, and that made me so frustrated. So, when I moved here, I remember buying a rig and setting up my own home recording studio, not knowing what I was doing, but I just set it all up and started learning how to do what I needed to do. Then I learned how to use Pro Tools and know all the lingo. So the next time I went in the studio, I wasn’t gonna have some engineer going, “Blah, blah, blah girl, go sit over there.” I’d be like, “So, we’re gonna do da-da-da-da-da and use all this.”
PM: Because you would have all the lingo and know what you were doing.
AP: Yes, because knowledge is power. It wasn’t for a control thing, it was just I have a vision on things and I don’t like when anyone gets squashed down because of their age, or their sex or race or whatever.
PM: Right. Anyone can do whatever they want to do as long as they’re willing to learn.
AP: Yeah and because it’s still so male-dominated in the studio, I think for women, they just have to work that much harder to get that respect and be heard.
PM: Are you finding now that since you do understand what’s going on and you do speak up that you get that respect?
AP: Yes, yes! Now I find that I don’t have an issue with it. The last few things I’ve done, I’ve produced and gone in there, and it helps too that I play everything. So, I’ll bring the guitar in and play the lick that I’m hearing for the lead, like the intro and stuff like that. That helps, coming in prepared. Because if they sense that you’re timid or not speaking up, they’ll just run right over you.
PM: I’m sure they do it all the time and that’s what they’re more accustomed to doing.
AP: I’ve talked to a lot of writers and some really have a producer-mindset, that they hear everything and know what they want in a song, and some people, they don’t. They’d rather hand that over to somebody like that. That’s not actually their passion, and that’s okay, and they benefit from someone doing that. It’s been years of trial and error because I have worked with producers before, really amazing ones that I really respect. One of them was Garth Fundis. We did a project several years ago. I mean, I just loved his stuff with Keith Whitley and Trisha (Yearwood). Brilliant! But at that time I was so much younger and not as vocal about direction, and I didn’t feel “me” as much as I do now, so you grow.
PM: Take it as a learning experience.
AP: Yeah, it’s a learning thing, yeah.
PM: When did you know you were serious about music? When did you formulate the idea of doing it as a career?
AP: You know, I think it was one of the first times I ever got on stage. I was nine and it was bizarre because I was singing since I was two around the house. My extension of my arm was my little radio player, and I would sing, and my mom said it was basically glued to my hand. I wouldn’t let go of that thing! (Laughing)
PM: What were you singing? What was your “go to” song then?
AP: Oh, when I was a kid, this is funny, but I liked the real heavy sad stuff like Reba. I liked those heavy albums like For My Broken Heart and Rumor Has It. Little kids don’t know about that stuff, but I knew that I just loved it. So, you know, I didn’t really like the ditties as much, but yeah. There’s a few artists I remember the first time I heard them and Reba was one of them. I was this little tiny kid in the car, and I was like, “Dad, who’s that?” He said, “That’s Reba.” I was like, “Oh! I love this!” Then I was like, “Nobody can be better than her. No one can sing better than her.” (Laughs)
PM: It could possibly be true, because she really is in the upper echelons of who is really good.
AP: I know!
PM: You had good taste even then.
Image courtesy of Amazon
AP: I did, and you know what’s cool is I grew up on her and Bryan White, who I listened to a ton.
PM: I saw that you were on the Opry with Bryan White. How cool is that?
AP: Yes, and I got to sing backup now for both Reba and Bryan, and on their recordings and everything. I don’t know what you call that that’s manifesting, but it’s really cool.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
PM: I call that kismet. The Universe works in weird ways. Not a bad thing in your case. That’s amazing.
AP: Yeah. So, it’s kinda cool and I even had Reba come to the house, and I was thinking, “I wonder if any of my neighbors saw that?” Because she came over to see some of my paintings, I think two years ago or whatever.
PM: It’s the one time that you’re hoping all your neighbors are looking out the window.
AP: I know!
PM: And it’s the one time nobody is.
AP: No one was! (Laughs) That’s crazy.
PM: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. Then again that’s all you need is to have all your neighbors coming out and bothering Reba for autographs.
AP: Yeah. It was just a cool moment. I’m like, “Wow, this is weird.”
Painting by Andrea Pearson/Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
PM: “Wow. I have Reba McEntire at my house.” That would be really weird, but what an honor. So, tell me about when you moved to Nashville. How was that when you first got here? Were you instantly at home or were you weirded out or what?
AP: No, I loved it! I mean, it was the first time ever moving away from home and living on my own, so that was a big jump. A whole other country, 2,400 miles away from home. I think I was just so excited I didn’t have any room to be scared. It was just all excitement.
PM: Did you plan it out for a long time or just one day go, “Okay, today’s the day,” and did it?
AP: I thought about it for a good six months or a year, and my dad tried and tried and tried to convince me to move somewhere within Canada first, because he felt more comfortable with me doing that than seeing his baby move off to a whole other country by herself. I understand that, but I loved it. I was excited. Then I went to some writers nights and that’s when I really got bit by the songwriting bug. I was like, “Oooh, this is pretty amazing. These songs that I grew up on and thought could get no better than hearing the big artists sing them, here’s this little guy sitting there with a guitar and a scraggly voice, and that was so much better.”
PM: You’re right, and this is the guy who actually thought it up in his head.
AP: And he’s got the story that goes with it, and that’s his story, and I just got goosebumps right now just talking about it. That just threw everything totally upside down on its axis and I was like, “I gotta dive into this.”
PM: Exactly, and I feel that. I’m not even a songwriter, but I know that feeling, which is why I always try to convince people, and I think pulling teeth is easier than trying to convince friends that when they come here, definitely do the Broadway thing, go do it. It’s the touristy thing, but go to a songwriter show. Please, please, please go to one. If you do nothing else, go do that.
AP: I always say that same thing, because it’s just something special that you’re going to get nowhere else.
PM: They have to do that, but it’s like, until you can get them and drag them to one, talking about it is often useless. Then they finally go and say, “Wow, that really was great.”
AP: It’s amazing.
PM: It’s hard to talk people into that that have never done it before.
AP: But every person that I’ve ever told to do it, they love it.
PM: It’s just getting ’em hooked into it that’s hard. It’s like you can drag a horse to water, but… that whole thing.
AP: That’s true.
PM: So, I had to stalk your stuff of course. Tell me, who’s Elli?
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
AP: Elli’s my baby girl.
PM: She’s beautiful.
AP: Thank you so much. She’s a little sparkler. She’s got one strong dimple on one side, and boy, when she flashes that dimple, she’s just gonna get whatever she wants.
PM: She will. She’s definitely got the cute factor goin’ on all over the place. How do you do it all and have this little munchkin too? You’re juggling it all.
AP: I know! For the longest time I didn’t think I could do it, so I held off having a child. I think this is so hard, especially for women, because there’s this feeling, it used to be this way, like, you have a kid, say goodbye to your career. You’re gonna be in “mom mode,” it’s very demanding, but I didn’t like the idea of waiting around for this. My ultimate goal when I moved down here was to get a big record deal and just do that, and be touring all the time and stuff, but I didn’t like the idea of forever saying goodbye to music and having a kid, because I wanted to do music. At the same time, when I had her, I was like, “I don’t have to say goodbye to music,” do you know what I mean?
PM: Yeah, right. You can do both.
AP: Yeah and I think I’m seeing that more lately too. More women are juggling and they’re doing both.
PM: Sure, even the big artists, and granted they have a lot of help I’m sure, but you can do both. We’re seeing it more and more. I think that stigma is going away.
AP: It’s going away, yes, and it’s actually important for us to show our children, and it’s important for me to show my daughter that you can go out there and pursue your dreams and do all of it.
PM: And you can still be a good mom too.
AP: Yes, you can do all of it. This happened to me the other day. My friend wrote me and said, “You know when you look in the mirror and…” I was like, “Apart from doing my makeup, I don’t look in the mirror anymore during the day because I don’t have time.” I don’t have time to sit and agonize over what’s happening over here (points to the corners of her eyes) or whatever. I just don’t have time.
PM: Right. If you get a spare moment, it’s like, “Let me breathe for three seconds. Okay, now I’ve gotta get up again.”
AP: That’s exactly right.
PM: But she’s beautiful and I just had to tell you that.
AP: Thank you so much.
PM: Good for you for doing both., in addition to all these amazing things you do, drawing and painting, and I don’t know where you find time to do all these things, but I’m glad you do.
AP: When she’s napping.
PM: And thank goodness kids do that sometimes, so you can breathe. So, you’ve sang backup for B.J. Thomas, God rest his soul, because how sad that he’s passed on, but how was that? Singing with him?
AP: Oh! It was amazing. The first time that I met him he was just so engaging and so warm and humble and nice. His voice, there’s really never gonna be another voice like that. That’s one of the things that I think makes a great artist great. Like Reba, you hear them and instantaneously you know who that is.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
PM: I hear that a lot, and not just from interviewing people. I hear it on our socials where fans come in and they say, “This artist sounds just like this other artist.” Then when they hear them on the radio, they have to look and see the name of the artist because they have a hard time determining who it is. So, when you hear a voice and they really pop, you go, “Yep!” If they have a good voice and a distinctive voice, it’s timeless and wonderful.
AP: Yes. That’s everything, and you know, that’s one of my least favorite questions that I would get asked here, and I think it’s just because people want to put you in a box or category. It’s easier for them in the marketing or whatever, but they say, “Who do you sound like?” “I sound like me.”
PM: I don’t like to ask that question because of that.
AP: I don’t like that question because I kinda always had a hard time answering it. “Well, I sound like me.” It brings me back to childhood when I was singing and I remember very distinctly, I was 11 and I was at a vocal lesson. The vocal teacher was having me emulate Whitney Houston, who, by far, is one of the best female vocalists ever. He wanted me to do the exact same phrasing, the exact same vocal licks, the exact same everything. I came home and I was kinda working on that and my dad heard me. He came down and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing what my vocal teacher wants.” He said, “No, you stop that right now. You are you, and that’s what’s gonna make you special.” I get learning from the greats, but what he didn’t want is me trying to be somebody else, and he said that in every possible way when I was a kid, and I’m so thankful for it.
PM: Right. As soon as somebody tries to be a copy of somebody else, they’ve erased all of what they’ve worked for.
AP: They rob the world of showing their authentic self.
PM: Oh, for sure, and we had a Whitney Houston. We can have someone who aspires to be great like Whitney, but you can’t have another Whitney.
AP: No, you can’t. There’s the influence that just kind of shows up naturally in a person’s style from what they listen to, but if you’re deliberately going and trying to emulate someone, and I would run into that with co-writes sometimes with young artists, teenagers basically, that my publishing company would put me with. They’d come in and they’d go, “Like, I wanna do Taylor Swift stuff,” and I’d be like, “Well, who are you?”
PM: Right, they’re not her. She’s made a lot of money on being Taylor Swift. They need to do the same and be themselves.
AP: That’s why I think she was successful, because she sang what she knew about and what was authentic to her.
PM: She wasn’t trying to be Reba, and she’s continued to reinvent herself over and over again, which is why I think she continues to be successful.
PM: Speaking of being yourself, the one thing I noticed in your photos and even now sitting here, is your style. It is so authentically you and I so love it. That is so cool. Your style is you.
AP: Thank you.
PM: Was it something you one day said, “This is me,” or has this always been you?
AP: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been in this look for quite a while. You know what, comfort is such a big part of who I am.
PM: It looks comfortable.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
AP: I like to be comfortable. I don’t know what you call the look, but it’s comfy and if I can wear flip flops, or like, I wear sandals, and usually in the summer if I can kick ’em off and I can be barefoot on the stage, I’m happy. I don’t wanna wear big high heels.
PM: You look very comfortable. Maybe you get that from your dad with the slippers.
AP: Totally, and I’m gonna be him when I’m older. Who knows what I’m gonna be wearing then. I didn’t wear my fanny pack today that I’ve been rockin’ for a little bit the last six months.
PM: Hey, you can bring that back. People may have beat on it, but I’m not gonna say I don’t have some pictures of me at Disney World with the kid in the 90s with the fanny pack on. Where else were you gonna carry your money and stuff when you’re dragging around a kid? It was pretty convenient.
AP: It’s awesome. It’s so convenient.
PM: Your list. Bryan White, Reba, Lee Ann Womack, Martina McBride, Corey Hart.
AP: Oh, my God, that was so wild! Music has taken me on some amazing, unexpected adventures. It was weird. So, Corey Hart was actually working with Celine Dion‘s camp for a while, and she’s also one of my huge heroes, so I was going to Vegas often and working with her band. Then they sent stuff off to Corey Hart because Corey produced and wrote, I think, at least two or three of those songs on the album that had that Titanic song, “My Heart Will Go On,” which back when sold 30 million records or whatever crazy amount. So, he’s pretty set. He’s made some good money. So, they had me fly to see him in his home in Nassau and then we just got to know each other. A while after that I got signed to a pop deal with Warner Brothers Canada, and was kind of working in that world.
Photo courtesy of CTV News
AP: But really as a songwriter I was still really, really green and I knew it. I think they were willing to do a few songs that I had written, but even the ones they said, “Let’s do this,” I didn’t think they were good enough. Like, I hadn’t tapped into something that was unique enough where I could say, “This is me.” So, I actually, long story short, after a while with the deal, the stuff they were giving me was not me. So I figure, here’s how I look at it. I can go out and do something that’s not me and if it’s a success I’m gonna have to go out and play being somebody else every night, and I know I’m not cut out for that. Then if it doesn’t succeed, I know I’ll be kicking myself because I should have been me. So, it was almost like the songwriter had to catch up with the singer, and she did, but it took time and it took life experience.
PM: It was still a great experience I’m sure.
AP: It was amazing. Corey and I stayed friends afterward and I produced some stuff for some other artists that he signed that were more on the side of country. So, he had me write and produce some stuff for him for that. He took a few trips to Nashville and had me play backup on guitar for him.
PM: See? It all comes around, doesn’t it? Everybody can help each other which is a very cool thing.
PM: You won a Grammy for the Reba album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. That’s fantastic. What does that feel like?
AP: Yeah, like life goals.
Image courtesy of Amazon
PM: The Opry, a Grammy, your goals are getting ticked off at a pretty young age.
AP: Oh, it’s amazing. Yes, life goals.
PM: You’re going to have to start making up more life goals.
AP: To have that Grammy be affiliated with the artist that really got me wanting to sing country music in the first place, the one I idolized, this is just so perfect. I couldn’t have written it more perfect.
PM: It’s like a fairytale in so many ways. Do you have the Grammy in your house somewhere?
AP: I do. I have it in my music room. So, I have a little music studio and I keep it there, but because I have so many hobbies, well, not hobbies, I have so many things that I do, I’m running out of room. That’s also my art studio. It’s becoming a clutter room really.
PM: Well, if I had a clutter room and I had a Grammy in it, I would find room to make sure my Grammy was at least in the front of the clutter.
AP: (Laughing) It is in the front of the clutter.
PM: You have a new video coming out. I’ve listened to the song “You’re It!” The song is cool. It was self-written. First tell me about the song.
AP: Absolutely. So, I had like, a wave of inspiration a few months ago. I had a whole batch of songs, six songs, that I wrote in two days. I’ve had that happen a couple times. I had that happen the time I wrote “Cadillac Man” as well. I wrote my whole album, 12 songs in four days. They don’t come that often, but when these kinda creative things happen, it’s almost like a tsunami, you know? I just basically recognized that it’s there and then I surrender to it and let the songs all pour out. The funny thing is after some people heard that song, they were convinced that I was in a new relationship. They were like, “Who’s the new love?” or “Who’s the new guy?” I’m like, “There’s no guy. I’m not in a relationship,” but it was almost like, I’m just in such an extremely happy place right now with my daughter and everything. I think it was almost like, because usually I write about what I’m going through at the moment, but it was almost like an imagining, knowing I’ve felt these feelings before, but, like imagining what’s to come. Do you know what I mean in a way?
Video (audio) courtesy of Andrea Pearson – Topic and YouTube
PM: Sure, yes.
AP: Just kind of like I felt I wanted to sing about love. I wanted to sing about something happy, put out something upbeat, because we’ve all been in this heavy energy for the last year with COVID and everything. Most people I’ve talked to, a lot of people suffered with depression.
PM: Oh yeah, it’s been rough on a lot of people. A lot of people were very isolated.
AP: They’re isolated and it’s like there’s hope in that song, there’s something to believe in, there’s love. It makes you feel uplifted and happy.
PM: It does, so I can see why people would have been questioning if you had a new relationship.
AP: Yeah, and I’ve been in love before and I was in a long relationship, and it’s not like it wasn’t authentic, it’s just something where I was like I wanted to do something that’s happy and celebrating that feeling of falling in love, and make people feel good. Then when it came time to do the video part, the thing was, I wanted to shoot a video in Sedona (Arizona), which is, hands down, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
PM: I’ve never been there and I’ve only heard that it’s absolutely stunningly beautiful.
AP: Oh, it’s stunning. I can’t probably think of a place more beautiful. Also the kind of feeling is spiritual, you know. So, I thought I wanted to shoot a video there in the wide open, beautiful space with the backdrop of the Cathedral Mountains. For most people that haven’t been able to travel, they’ve been cooped up, I’ve been cooped up, I want them to watch the video and be excited to go places. Even if they can’t go right now, it’s like getting out of their home and feeling how beautiful our country is, and what beautiful places there are.
PM: And now there’s the potential to go somewhere.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
AP: Yeah, there’s potential to go some place. To have that hopeful feeling and I know that for me personally, when I was there, I just felt so restored spiritually because of what that place offers, but also just being outside. That’s one of my favorite things about touring, is getting a day or two off and going exploring outside, and just appreciating the beauty that’s around us.
PM: Who produced the video?
AP: I did.
PM: You did. You’re just doing everything! You’re all over it. You are a boss.
AP: Thanks. (Laughs)
PM: Are you in the video?
AP: I am, and I directed the video and edited it as well.
PM: You’re acting in the video, but you didn’t shoot it, that would be hard.
AP: No, I can’t do both.
PM: No, that would be a selfie video which would be awkward I suppose. Is there anyone else in the video with you?
AP: There is not actually. I’ve done videos before where there’s been, like “Cadillac Man” there’s actors and there’s a lot more storyline going on, but with this song it was, I felt like, the wide open, beautiful backdrop of that place. Just capturing this feeling, it was more about that, more about that energy and less about a big storyline.
PM: So, it’s more about being in this beautiful, amazing open world.
AP: Yeah, yeah! I remember lookin’ at that Sheryl Crow video for “The First Cut is the Deepest,” and that video is pretty much just her. I thought about some of the videos I love, like Shania Twain‘s “The Woman In Me.” They shot that in Egypt, and I thought there’s a lot of beautiful videos made where sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s what the song calls for.
Video courtesy of Sheryl Crow and YouTube
AP: When I did “Cadillac Man” I hired a video guy. We shot that here, but that was four days of filming.
PM: How long did it take to do this one? Just one?
AP: Yes, one morning really of shooting. It was just nice. (Laughs)
PM: When is that release date? Do you have one yet?
AP: Soon, but no firm date just yet.
PM: Tell me places you like to play in town and out.
AP: In town I would love to do the Opry with some of my own stuff. Also, I’ve never played The Ryman and I would love to play there.
PM: You played once with Bryan White at the Opry, but you’ve not yet played it just you alone, right?
AP: No, not with my own stuff, being like the main feature.
PM: That still has to happen.
AP: That still has to happen and The Ryman, I would love to play. I was gonna play there years ago, that thing Emmylou Harris was involved in. She does that Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue thing, and then there was some kind of thing that happened where it didn’t pan out with that. So, that’s still on the list. I haven’t had the ability to do that as much in the last few years, but for a very long time I was a dog rescue person, and was working with a lot of independent shelters and taking in, over the years, like 50 or 60 dogs.
PM: Oh my goodness!
AP: Fostering and finding them homes and stuff.
PM: Wow. Do you have any dogs now?
AP: I do, yeah. I had three and now I’m down to two. I love my boy Leo, he’s like my dude. He was my baby before I had a human baby. He’s my son. I have a son and a daughter.
PM: They do become your family members. We just had our dog put down the day after Christmas actually.
AP: Oh gosh.
PM: We didn’t get another dog after that. I don’t know if I can do another one. We’ve had to put down too many pets over the years. I think I’m done.
AP: That’s the biggest flaw with dogs is they don’t live long enough, and it destroys my heart, so I won’t even talk about losing Leo because I can’t go there. He’s like, I felt guilt after I had Elli. This is gonna sound funny, but I had guilt for the first couple of months because I was devoting all my time to the newborn. Then he is so human-like and he would sit there and give me these sad faces. I would literally say out loud, “I’m sorry buddy.” I felt so torn.
PM: But I’m sure he loves her too.
AP: He does, and they’re cool. She’s obsessed with him. He still wants attention though. My sister and I will take Elli for walks, but Leo, since he’s getting older, he can’t do long walks anymore. So I have two strollers, and in the last month or so, Laurie, my sister, will push Elli and I’ll push the empty stroller, but walk Leo. Then halfway through I’ll put Leo in the stroller. The neighbors love it.
PM: That’s awesome.
AP: At first I remember seeing some people looking at us as we were going by, and they’d expect to see a baby, and they’re like, “Oh, it’s Leo!”
PM: Hey, Leo has earned his stroller rights.
AP: He has. He’s like, “Finally, the royal treatment I’ve been waiting for.”
PM: I’d take it if someone would push me around in a stroller. I’d be good with it too. So, I have this thing where I ask Siri on my phone to give me five random cities. I did that prior to our interview and I’m going to tell you the five cities Siri gave me. You tell me if you’ve ever played those cities. If you haven’t, maybe you should take that as a cue to try booking a couple of them.
AP: Okay, cool.
PM: Have you ever played San Francisco?
AP: I have not.
PM: You may need to do that.
AP: I love it.
PM: Akron, Ohio?
AP: I have not.
PM: Tampa, Florida?
AP: Tampa I have.
PM: Okay there’s one! Laredo, Texas?
AP: No, I have not.
PM: Aurora, Colorado?
PM: Well, we got one.
AP: But you know what, I played most of the states that you named, but not those cities.
PM: So those are the ones Siri chose for you, so the Universe is telling you that you need to play those.
AP: I need that list. Then the Universe will give me a call and say, “You’ve gotta play here.” Sign me up for the Colorado one for sure!
PM: Goals you have for the next five years? What’s one of your biggest goals?
AP: I’d kind of really like to have my music hit on a bigger platform and get some more exposure, whether it be through, I don’t know, radio or… It’s so hard because I don’t want to do it for the “fame” thing. It’s not like I wanna be famous, but I feel that I wanna reach more people with my music.
PM: Like, would you be happy if your songs got cut by major artists?
AP: Yes, absolutely! Yeah. It’s not like necessarily I have to be the face. It’s just feeling like the work you’re creating is reaching and affecting people. Especially, I’ve written a few that haven’t been released that are lyrically very powerful. I feel like there’s healing in there and I would love for people to be able to get that out. Music can move you and I remember there were songs like that for me growing up. There’s still good songs that come out, but because the industry changed and it’s all about singles now, there’s not as many of those types of songs getting out on the mainstream.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson
PM: And if they are, they’re buried in albums because it just seems like in the last little while, there seems to be some albums coming out that matter. Very slowly it seems like the album concept is coming back, which I love. Whether or not people in the younger demographic are grasping that or not, I’m not sure, but these concept albums are definitely coming back.
AP: Records have kind of become trendy again so people are buying record players. They’re playing records. That’s giving an opportunity for people to enjoy music like that.
PM: To just throw the needle down and let it go from beginning to end.
AP: In its entirety, that used to be a way. It’s like a time capsule almost. You’re capturing an artist at this place and time, and what they’re going through and what they have to say, and that’s what’s so beautiful about records.
PM: Which is why I think it’s so important when people put out singles that they don’t just spin a wheel and go, “Let’s throw that one out there.” Put out the one that really means something to you.
AP: This song, it’s been such a long time since it came out, but Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” it’s just a great, great song. When those types of songs come out, that’s the sort of stuff you remember, however many years later.
PM: There’s so many singles now. We were saying during quarantine that when things started to open back up there was going to be this explosion of new music. There’s going to be so much of it because everybody’s just sitting around, holed up and writing music by themselves, and now it’s happening.
AP: It’s gonna be great, like I’ve already heard some of it. Also there’s gonna be a lot of writers that write movies and books that are probably just loaded with things to write about. Because when we experience something like that, something that really challenges us and tests us, there was so much that went on.
PM: I can’t even keep up. My email in the morning, I’m like, “What do I do? Which press releases do I read?” There’s so many new songs I don’t know what to do first. I have to kind of just throw a dart to decide which one to pick. There’s so much new stuff I can’t listen to all of it. It’s a good problem to have.
AP: That’s exciting.
PM: If you had to write a song about your day today so far, what would you title it?
AP: “Workin’ On A Fence.” (Laughs) You guys are repairing your HVAC system (we actually were) and I’ve got the drill and I’m putting up the fence. When I get home, I’m kinda like a power tool girl. I gotta get the chainsaw out and saw down part of a dead tree. I’m gonna be puttin’ on my power tool girl look, which is not this, and that’s what I’m doing.
PM: There is absolutely a country song in that somewhere. Not far from the surface either.
AP: “Power Tool Girl.” (Laughing)
PM: What bygone era do you wish you could live in for a year and why?
AP: I would love to live in the 1960s. Interestingly, we’ve actually based a lot of similar attention to diversity that was going on back then. Struggles, you know? So it isn’t like it was the easiest decade, but I love that mid-century look. I love the feel. I think I would love to live in a world before social media, before cell phones, and not be so tethered to all that.
PM: There are days I wish that too, and it wasn’t really all that long ago that we did that. We survived it really well.
AP: I would love that for my daughter to be honest with you. Like, she’s never gonna know that, and I wish she did. I wish she could live in a world where you can go outside and play and drink water from the hose.
PM: Yeah, and never have to think about what’s happening on my phone that I’m missing right now.
AP: I think it was a simpler time, so I would love that.
PM: Have you ever been star struck?
AP: Yes! The first time I was really star struck I actually heard Reba in concert and I had taken a trip down here to Nashville with my folks when I was like, 14. She was doing a TV taping thing and I was there for that. They would just have us come back and be there for certain parts of the taping, and they would stop and start. At a certain point I was sitting in the front row and she came over and she’s like, “Do I have any lipstick on my teeth?” I just sat there like… (look of complete awe with her mouth hanging open). I couldn’t answer like an idiot. I just sat there like… (same look of awe). Then she just kinda (shrugs shoulders) and went over to do her thing.
PM: (Laughing) Oh my goodness. Have you ever told her about that?
AP: No, I never did. I should have. I was so star struck and I get it. I get how people are when they’re like, “They’re real.”
PM: Right, it’s almost like they’re an animatronic figure and then they actually speak to you or ask you a question. (Laughs)
AP: Yes. Then another time I was super, super star struck, which I think anyone would be. It was in Vegas when Celine Dion was playing The Colosseum there. One of my buddies, Yves Frulla, was playing keys for her forever. He said, “Why don’t you come to the show beforehand and just hang out for soundcheck?” So I was like, “Okay.” I don’t know if you’ve ever been there?
PM: I have. It’s amazing. I got lost just walking that whole complex. It’s huge.
AP: It is. So imagine that grand theater and I was the only person in the entire place. I’m sitting there in one of the seats and I’m looking around and she’s just in her sweatpants, and she puts her hat on. She’s doin’ this little rap and she’s talking in French a lot of the time because everybody there is French-Canadian. She speaks French. I’m sitting there like, “Oh, my God, is this real? Is this really happening?” Then afterward, she was like, “Come on, say hi.” I came up on stage and she gave me a hug, and again I was kind of an idiot. I couldn’t say much. I was just like (same awestruck face).
Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Magazine
PM: That was wonderful. She is just such a mega talent.
AP: She’s so good and her personality is so quirky and funny. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and I love that.
PM: That’s good to hear because I’ve seen her in concert and she’s kinda funny. She had a great sense of humor on stage.
AP: It’s kinda strange. She’s got a quirky sense of humor, kinda nerdy, and it’s endearing. I love it. She’s an amazing singer. She’s phenomenal and I was just like, “Oh, my God. There she is.” (Laughing)
PM: We all get a little star struck sometimes. What’s something you’ve experienced recently, could be anything, I don’t care what, some place you’ve been, something you’ve read, a movie you’ve seen, that you would recommend?
AP: I’ve seen this a couple times, but I watched this show called the Biggest little Farm. I think it’s on hulu. (I checked and it’s now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and digitally) It’s like a little documentary-type film. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I watched it again just recently because it’s this beautiful story about kind of making this farm to how farms used to be before all these massive farms. It’s bigger than that. It’s kind of like finding a purpose for everything that’s in nature, how it’s all meant to work together. But we spend so much time trying to control and get rid of things, and push this over here and manipulate things, that it all started falling apart, the whole system. This movie kinda covers how it took seven years to finally get it back. It was like a Garden of Eden when they were done. It’s just this amazing, beautiful thing of finding that everything was designed to work together. It’s just an attempt to try and get back to what that looked like.
Image courtesy of the Biggest little Farm on Facebook
PM: Like, we’re overcomplicating things.
AP: We overcomplicate and we really try to muscle through, I think, to what we want out of the world. We tend to destroy a lot of things with that. Like, my yard is full of moles. (Laughing)
PM: Let the moles be. (Laughing)
AP: I’m mowing the yard yesterday and I’m like, “Geez! Here’s another hole!” I don’t know, my mom is staying with me and she grew up in the country, but she’s not quite as sensitive to critters. She’s like, “We just need to get rid of these moles.” I’m like, “But we can’t poison ’em because what happens is the ripple-effect. The owls take the moles and then they die because they eat the poison from the poisoned moles.” It’s a ripple-effect, so you’re fixing one problem but creating another.
PM: Let the moles be moles.
AP: I don’t care. My yard can be lumpy. I’m not so worried about it.
PM: Finish the sentence. The last thing I ate was ___________.
PM: The most frivolous purchase I’ve made recently was ___________.
AP: My recording, but that wasn’t frivolous.
PM: No, that’s not frivolous at all. It’s highly important.
AP: I don’t do frivolous anymore because I’m a mom, so I buy stuff for her though.
PM: Have you bought a frivolous thing for your child?
AP: Not really. I’m pretty budget-conscious.
PM: You’re very, very responsible.
AP: I’ll buy her cute clothes, but…
PM: Well, that’s frivolous, but “mom frivolous.” My mother would say that because she’s like that about my grandkids. She always says, “They have too many clothes already, don’t buy them anything else.” But the clothes are so cute. I would love to write a song with ____________.
AP: Patty Griffin.
PM: I hear that one a lot. I never saw this movie, _______________, even though everyone else has.
AP: Star Wars, I’ve never seen Star Wars.
PM: Okay, everyone’s seen that.
AP: Surprisingly, I really actually love sci-fi, but I haven’t seen Star Wars.
PM: The best thing about Nashville is _____________.
AP: Music for sure, 100%.
PM: Finally, when you “Think Country,” what do you think?
AP: When I think country, I think real, like down to Earth real. The reason why I looked away when I said that is because I was thinking country music has changed so much over the years, so I’m referencing a time which I remember to be more real.
PM: There’s always room for “real” to make its way back in.
AP: That’s the thing I tell people that aren’t living here in Nashville about writer rounds. When you hear stuff that’s more real, and that stuff isn’t necessarily making it on the radio.
PM: Also when you go to those writer rounds, even the stuff that is on the radio and sounds very pop, when you hear the guys that wrote it playing it, it doesn’t necessarily sound so “poppy,” or so “unreal” when they play it.
AP: Yes. Yes, that’s what’s cool, it’s more the production. They pop it out.
PM: Right, so when you hear one of the songwriters play it, sometimes it’s a whole different song.
AP: Yeah, I love it.
PM: Thanks Andrea, we’re done.
AP: Thank you so much, it’s been fun.
She was right. It was fun. Be on the lookout for Andrea Pearson’s new video for “You’re It!” coming soon, and in the meantime, go check out the song and all of her music wherever you go for digital music. You can find everything by visiting her website at andreapearsonmusic.com. You’ll find links to her social media sites there too.
Pearson is one of those rare individuals that has talent in so many facets of life, but clearly music is where her heart is and I think after listening to it, you’ll agree. Be sure to drop her a line on her socials and tell her Think Country sent you. I’m sure she’d be happy to hear from you. We’re new fans here and we’ll be watching to see what she does next. Maybe we’ll even drive by her house and see how that fence turned out. Nah. We don’t need to. We know it’s good because Andrea Pearson excels at whatever she puts her mind (or power tools) to.
Photo credit: Laurie Pearson Photography
For more news, interviews, reviews and features that always bring country closer, please visit thinkcountrymusic.com.
*Featured photo courtesy of Andrea Pearson