With a guitar mounted between her two arms, Erin McLendon lets all the cares of the world dissipate as she breaks into song. She is getting ready to release new music this year. We caught up with Erin last week to talk about her music career and who she draws inspiration from.
I read that your love for writing and playing music came in 10th grade in an unusual way. Tell us about that moment.Â
When I was in high school, My history class at the time was studying counterculture in the 1960â€™s, basically when people like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other artists wrote songs protesting the Vietnam War. Our assignment was to write lyrics in the style of counter culture. For extra credit, we could perform it. I played the song for my class and my teacher absolutely loved it! The following year, a different class was putting together a Veteranâ€™s Day assembly for the whole school and one of my classmates remembered my song. I sent it to the class and they asked me to perform it for their assembly. After I played it (let me tell you, I was NERVOUS. I had NEVER played piano and sang in front of a crowd-EVER), everyone loved it! I was hooked!
So when did you first realize yourÂ passion for music?
Â My passion for music started when I was a kid. I had grown up singing in church choir but never had an opportunity to sing solo until 4th grade when my teacher gave me a solo in â€œCandle on the Water.â€ I loved the positive reactions I was getting and, as a shy kid, finding something I was good at that made people smile was huge!
Did you grow up with a musical family?Â
My Dad will joke that I got all of my musical talent from him â€œâ€¦because she left me with none!â€ My family has always loved music but Iâ€™m the only one who has ever pursued it. Growing up, we all sang in choir and at school but I think where my passion really grew was honestly just being introduced to new radio stations. My Dad would always drive us to school and listen to people like The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Phil Collins, and Aerosmith while my Mom, who passionately dislikes commercials, would switch between the soft rock station and the country station. She would have us listen to people like Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Brad Paisley, Whitney Houston, etc. Thatâ€™s really where my love of all music came from.Â When I first started writing songs, they were based off of events that had happened to me. As Iâ€™ve grown as a writer, Iâ€™ve found more inspiration not just in whatâ€™s happening to me but also around me. For instance, a lot of the new music I have coming out in 2017 is inspired by stories told by family members, watching my friends grow in their 20â€™s, and watching whatâ€™s happening in the world. Honestly, any sort of writerâ€™s block Iâ€™ve ever had has been lifted by turning on the TV or scrolling through Facebook!
Tell us about one of your most requested songs.Â
One of my most requested songs is actually Honolulu Love from my album, Fire & Wine. I wrote it because my family and I went on a vacation to Hawaii and I absolutely fell in love. The people, the scenery, the overall atmosphere was incredible! I didnâ€™t want to leave so, I wrote a song that would take me there every time I played it. I think the reason people like it so much is not only because of the simplicity but also because they find their â€œAlohaâ€ too!
Has collaborating with artists such as Britton Cameron and Bryan White motivated you and your career in anyway?Â
Britton Cameron and Bryan White are incredible songwriters. When I got the opportunity to write with both of them it definitely made me look at my own writing style and say â€œhow do I get on their level?â€ â€œHow do I approach this differently?â€ One of the most common phrases I would hear Britton say was â€œYea, thatâ€™s what we want to say but, how do we say it cooler?â€ Iâ€™ve found myself thinking that whenever I write down a lyric Iâ€™m not crazy about but I know what the general idea is.
Do you have any big plans for 2017?Â
In 2017, I am excited to say that I am releasing a new project!! Iâ€™ve been working with some amazing people who have really been helping to guide me to the next level both musically and in the eyes of the industry. I will be playing more shows, making more appearances, and I absolutely cannot wait to show everyone what weâ€™ve been working on!
Finally, where can readers keep up with you, your music and tour dates?Â
The three places I keep updated the most are my website:Â www.erinmclendon.com, Facebook:Â www.facebook.com/erinmclendonmusic, and my Instagram page: @erinmclendon!