By: Nicole Juliette Hetlyn
“Music is my morning coffee, therapist, and best friend.” - Louise Warren
You are no stranger to songwriting, you have been doing this for several years. When did you realize that this was something that you truly wanted to pursue? What’s your typical songwriting process like?
My favorite thing to do as a child was to swing on the playground and write music. I would sing other people's songs until I ran out of them and then would write one of my own. My inner world was very much my version of play.
I'm usually a melody first person. To me, it's the foundation of the song. The lyrics are what make a house a home, but it cannot exist without the melody first. I might sit down with my guitar and sing a few notes or sometimes even wake to an idea. Once I have the idea, I almost always write it in the order that you hear it. A goal of mine is to learn how to break that process, though, and start with lyrics first!
You just released a lyric video for “In The Dark.” We love this song! What was your inspiration behind writing this song?
Thank you so much! The song was inspired by the role 'the unknown' played in my life during my early twenties, particularly in love. I had reached a point, like most people do in dating, where I was fed up. What I wanted was to know what would happen, not even just with the person I was speaking to in the song but on a greater scale - that I would live the life I wanted to. This song was my way of coming to terms with not knowing and looking my fears dead in the eye.
In July, you released your debut album, Lavender Sound. What is the overall concept/theme of this album?
Scent is a huge trigger for memory, and so is music. When I wrote Lavender Sound, I was making peace with the broken pieces of my past and choosing to use those pieces to form a more beautiful present- like a mosaic. It was me processing what I didn't receive from a situation - that partner or opportunity- and choosing to look at my life for the lessons learned. I found intense joy in who I was becoming and what I was creating. Lavender essential oils have always been wonderfully calming to me. It was the best way, alongside songwriting, to self soothe during a period of tremendous transformation! Now, both these songs and that scent, hold so much more meaning.
As a young artist, you have already shared the stage with some very astonishing artists (Chuck Leavell or Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hall, Shawn Mullins). If you could tour with any artist, who would you tour with?
Arctic Monkeys! They have been one of my favorite bands since I was 16 years old for the sheer poetry of Alex Turner's lyrics and for not taking the easy way out, musically. They are all really creative! I would probably bug them with how many songwriting questions I asked.
What is something that you want your audience to know about you as an artist? When people leave your show, what message do you want them to go away with knowing?
I think more than anything I want to create a safe space to bear my soul and to allow them to bear theirs. Life can be lived walking around with the weight of what we feel, but there is lightness in expressing and releasing it. Sharing that experience reminds us that we are all human and in this together.
You will be part of the Women with Purpose Festival. Can you tell us more about this?
I was approached by a fellow female musician in Macon, SaVana Cameron. She wanted to create a show that put a spotlight on all the music-making women in our area, while also doing something good to benefit our local Crisis Line and Safe house that helps victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. I was ALL on board for this. I know so many people who have experienced abuse, and have not known where to turn to.
Now in its second year, Wesleyan College, where SaVana is a student, has decided to take it under its wing and hold the performance at the school. Tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased the day of the performance.
What will 2018 have in store for you?
I have a few shows planned in the Macon and Atlanta areas. A huge chunk of my energy is going to be put into working on my upcoming album and booking tour dates for 2018. It's an exciting and busy time!
I also love spending time, especially while not so busy, at the Children's Hospital singing with Songs For Kids. It's one of my favorite things to be a part of!