Premiere: “Low Times in High Heels,” off of Kalsey Kulyk’s upcoming debut EP.
About the artist: Born in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Kulyk developed a love for music at a young age. She had her first talent show at 3, her first guitar at 13, and her first competition win shortly thereafter. In high school Kulyk was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now that she has recovered, she’s back making music with more heart and soul than ever.
About the upcoming album: “I’m so excited to finally be able to share what I’ve been working on for so long!” says Kulyk. “This album has something for everyone. It’s pieces of me, written for anyone who has felt like they haven’t been heard yet.”
About the song: Written by Oran Thornton and Jason Saenz and produced by Thornton, “Low Time in High Heels,” brings female empowerment to the forefront.
“‘Low Times in High Heels’ is a straight-up women’s song,” says Kulyk. “Sometimes you need a little extra to feel a bit better about yourself. I always get asked why I wear heels since I’m so tall, and my answer is always the same: because heels make me feel a little more confident when I walk into a room! I always feel like they add to my presence, even when I don’t feel confident. Not that I need heels to be confident, but I always do feel a little more zippy when I step into them.”
Why we like it: This is the kind of rockin’ country feminist empowerment song we’ve been waiting for. And what female doesn’t love to slip on a sassy pair of heels every now and then?
After spending over eight years honing their artistry and earning high praise with the release of 2015’s “Hey Whiskey,” rising country duo Smithfield is back with a new EP, We Make Our Own.
The seven-song project, which dropped earlier this year via Deluge Records, is a standout collection of true duets with both the duo’s Jennifer Fielder and Trey Smith trading lead vocals on each track. Meanwhile, the EP’s title is particularly meaningful to the pair, as it symbolizes how they handle their career by paving their own way as independent artists.
Fielder and Smith aren’t related, nor are they romantically involved, but their on-stage chemistry and their harmonic blend are unmatched. Perhaps that’s a result of the many years they’ve known each other, having grown up together in Waxahachie, Texas. Fans hoping to see Smithfield live, can catch the pair on their We Make Our Own Tour in support of their EP. The trek is scheduled to run through the end of September.
Smithfield recently caught up with Country Now to talk all about their musical journey from past to present, their new EP, as well as what it’s like to be one of just a handful of male-female duos in the country genre. Check out our Q&A with Smithfield below.
Melinda Lorge: Why did you choose We Make Our Own as the title for the EP?
Trey Smith: I think our path has been very unconventional and we’ve had to talk about how to make things happen on our own. That’s not to say that we haven’t had people around us to help us along the way, but it has been very kind of DIY (Do It Yourself).
Jennifer Fielder: Yeah, We Make Our Own is more like our anthem, and about our career and our journey thus far, just being indie artists and having to do things our way and a little bit different from anybody else. It’s kind of more of a message to anyone with a dream, whether that’s in music or whatever your dream is, to just go for it, and do it your way and [don’t] worry about what anybody else thinks. Just make it your own.
Lorge: Before the EP, “Hey Whiskey” earned you several spots on ‘artist to watch’ lists. Did you feel any pressure to top that success?
Smith: I think you always feel the pressure a little bit when you do something that reacts with people, and then you’re coming up and doing something new. But, I think, being a musician and artist, you evolve, and music is supposed to tell stories and little insights into what you’re going through and what you’re doing, and that changes over time. So I don’t know if I necessarily feel the pressure of it as much as it is just getting a fresh look and a different glimpse into what you’re going through.
Fielder: Ooh, I feel the opposite! I still feel the pressure when we go into write to bring an idea that is as good as “Hey Whiskey,” because that is an idea we brought in that day that has definitely been our most reactive song. I think if you know who Smithfield is, you think of “Hey Whiskey.”
Lorge: “Our World” is an outside song on the [physical version of the] EP. Was it a challenge to sing someone else’s song?
Smith: I think the reason we cut it in the first place was that we liked it so much. I think that when you connect with something that much, it’s not that difficult to sing it when you believe it.
Fielder: We’ve always said, some artists want to write everything always. We’ve never been like that. But, we did feel like that when we had to do our very first write because nobody was writing Smithfield songs. Everybody was writing a Blake Shelton song every day because it’s Blake Shelton. So it’s not that we’ve been opposed to that; we’ve just never heard a song, like Trey was saying, that we connected with and felt like, ‘Oh, this is us.’ We did with that one, so it was easy to cut the song.
Lorge: What is the process like when you write your own songs?
Fielder: We always try to bring ideas to every write. Since we are a duo, we do it a lot by ourselves. At the end of the day, there are two opinions, two voices that have to work together to craft a song differently than most people. It is a very unique way to write, because there are things that you have to think about with the dynamic of not only being a duo, but also being a female-male duo. That is a very different dynamic as to, “Well I wouldn’t say that, but a guy would say that.” So, Trey’s getting great with melodies, and that’s really what I think he brings to the table – great lyrics and ideas too. I don’t play the guitar, but I can bring melodies, a lot of great ideas and lyrics. We’re a great team in that aspect and our inspiration sort of comes from real-life experiences.
Lorge: Tell me about your song “Still A Few”…
Smith: Adam Wood, he’s a writer on it. He used to play it at writer’s rounds all the time. We’d always listen to it, and Jen would even tear up sometimes when he’d play it. It’s so personal to us, and I think we always felt so connected to it. So when we got to do our second project, I think, we just knew that it was something we wanted to put on there. It’s such a glimpse into how we feel about those people that we look up to in our lives. That’s what comes to mind when we hear that song.
Fielder: Yeah, specifically we think about our families. I say this at our shows a lot too. I tell people that I think there’s just so much negative going on in the world and on social media – I don’t even watch the news anymore because it’s just super negative. But, I feel like music and that song has so much meaning [behind it] because it reminds people that there are still a lot of good people doing things, despite the stuff that’s going on. That’s why I get emotional when I hear it because I think about my parents and my grandparents. I think about our firefighters and policemen, and people who are out there laying their lives on the line for us. It’s just a great message. I think that’s why it personally spoke to us. I remember telling Adam when I first heard it I was like, ‘If we ever get to record it we have to do it.’
Lorge: You both sing lead on all of the tracks of the EP. Was that a decision heading into the project?
Fielder: You know what? That happened by accident. Organically. We didn’t mean to do that, but when we listened back to it we were like, ‘This is so unique.’ This entire project ended up being true duets, which we love. We’re good singers separately, and I don’t want to take away from that, but really, what makes us special is when we come together and hear the sound of our harmony, that’s the heart of Smithfield. So I think it’s cool that this project turned out to where you listen to it, you don’t question whether or not it’s a duo. I think that was the one thing about “Hey Whiskey,” especially with it being on the radio, if you don’t know us you would think it was probably just a solo female, but I love that about this EP because you listen to it and that’s Jen and Trey.
Lorge: As a duo, how do you juggle separate personal lives when it comes to your musical partnership?
Fielder: It’s very tough. We truly are like best friends, so we do hang out outside of music. I think for a while it was hard for our dating lives because it is a unique thing to understand. But, I think it just takes the right people. So we’ve come to a real healthy balance with that and we both have very understanding partners, who want us to be successful together, which is really cool.
Smith: It’s a challenge for sure but we both found the right person.
Lorge: What has been the toughest part of your journey so far?
Fielder: I think, in our genre where country is so based around radio, I would say the hardest part is being independent in our genre. When we got our first record deal, out of our control, the label sold it. Everybody sort of turned their back on us. We lost management, and people that were writing with us stopped writing with us. It was a really hard moment. You go from being able to make a living doing music back to working a part-time job. That was a pretty low, hard moment, but we made it out of that together and built something literally from nothing. We fight every single day to make something happen, and it’s funny, people think we have a major label behind us because we play these major festivals, or maybe our songs are on the radio or our Instagram looks great. Perception is everything, but it’s really dedication and a lot of hard work.
Lorge: Having been through the process of a label shut down, do you plan on finding another label home?
Smith: I think our ultimate goal at some point is to definitely partner with a label just because there are certain things that you really can’t do as an independent artist. That’s not to say you can’t have a really healthy successful career as an independent artist, but that’s in the cards at some point. I think for now we’re just kind of going our own way and defying the odds if you will, and figuring out how to do it and be successful without a label.
Lorge: What’s next for you?
Fielder: We’re actually working on new music. We had written that EP a couple of years ago. We just took so long to get it out. We want to work on new music and, like Trey was saying, partner with a label. We’re in the process of bringing on some new team members, and that’s exciting for us. We’ll be touring, but we won’t be touring quite as hard as we were. This new project, whatever that is, we want it to be “the one.” Not that we haven’t put out great music lately, we just always want to strive to be better and put out something even better than we did before.
“Dear Me” is the brand new single from Canadian country artist Madeline Merlo. Known for her powerful vocals and songwriting skills, “Dear Me” is the follow up to her most recent successful singles, “Neon Love” and “Unraveling.” The new song has been officially released to both Canadian radio and digital music platforms.
“Dear Me” started out as a journal entry from notes Merlo wrote to her younger self. Merlo found that the feelings and emotions in her words resonate in today’s cultural landscape, where many young women struggle with the pressures of social media and turned her words into the lyrics of “Dear Me.” The new song features Merlo’s unique style with the catchy pop-meets-country fusion that she has become known for. “Dear Me” serves as a powerful reminder to girls and young women to be kind to themselves through difficult times, and to always acknowledge and celebrate their many strengths.
““Dear me” is a song that I desperately needed to hear in that season of my life and when we sat down to write that day it poured out so effortlessly,” explains Merlo. “Every line in this song is me, from self-sabotage to anxiety to being a dang goddess. As cheesy as it sounds, this song is about remembering who you are, where you came from and what you’re capable of. I was putting so much pressure on myself as a person and Dear Me was born by letting that stuff go.”
Merlo co-wrote “Dear Me” alongside songwriters Maddie Larkin, David Fanning, and Abram Dean in Nashville. A busy summer festival season is in the works for Merlo, who is gearing up for appearances at many events including; Country Thunder, Havelock Jamboree, Music in the Fields, Denim on the Diamond, Winkler Harvest Festival, and more. You can check out “Dear Me” on your favorite music platform right here.
Country Music’s Rising Duo SMITHFIELD Partners With Radio Disney Country For “A Day In The Life” Video Feature To Promote the Upcoming CMA FEST Television Special
Sunday, August 4 at 8 | 7 Central on ABC Television
Nashville, TN – August 1, 2019–Country music’s hottest rising duo Smithfield partnered with Radio Disney Country during CMA Fest in June to give fans a behind the scenes inside look at what “A Day In The Life” is like for the duo during one of the busiest and most exciting weeks of the year for country music fans and artists at CMA Fest in Nashville, TN. Radio Disney Country followed Jennifer and Trey for a special “Day In The Life” as they hung with family and prepared for a full day of sun-up to past sun-set media interviews, performing for hundreds of fans at the Radio Disney Country stage at Fan Fair X and the CMA Breakout Stage, signing autographs and then finally at the end of the day the opportunity to be fans themselves as they took in the show at Nissan Stadium - where they dream to one day play.
Click HERE for Radio Disney Country’s feature on Smithfield’s “A Day In The Life” which is airing across all of Radio Disney Country’s social platforms to promote the upcoming CMA Fest television special on Sunday, August 4 at 8 | 7 Central on ABC Television.
Radio Disney Country has been a big support to the Texas-born duo as they make their rise to one day playing CMA Fest’s ultimate stage at Nissan Stadium. Radio Disney Country added “If You Were Mine” to their playlist where it debuted in the Top 50 on the Radio Disney Country chart the week it was released. Fans can hear Smithfield’s “We Make Our Own” from their We Make Our Own EP on Radio Disney Country now. The rising male/female duo has been named an artist to watch by Billboard, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post and People among others.
Smithfield has had a busy spring and summer playing high-profile shows including the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville House Concertat War Memorial Auditorium and New York City’s Joe’s Pub, Stagecoach and Hotel Café in Hollywood, CA.The Nashville-based duo has been on tour all summer on their We Make Our Own Tour in support of their We Make Our Own EP playing in South Carolina, Colorado, Montana, Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Connecticut, Washington, Illinois as well as a show in Canada.
Smithfield has been featured or will be featured in media outlets including Cowboys & Indians, Texas Lifestyle Magazine, Taste of Country, The Boot, One Country, Sounds Like Nashville, PopCulture, Whiskey Riff, Celebuzz, Nashville Insider, Nashville Gab, Nashville Access, NY Country Swag and more.
We Make Our Own, the title track of the EP, represents and is symbolic of Trey and Jennifer’s philosophy and personal anthem in how they live their life and how they handle their music careers- by paving and making their own way and doing it all a little differently. The EP is released by Deluge Records.
We Make Our Own EP includes all new songs and all true duets from the Texas-born singer/songwriters. We Make Our Own EP is available HERE.
Smithfield teamed to work with multi Grammy-award winning producer/songwriter Seth Mosley and Mike “X.” O’Connor produced and co-wrote the EP. Their credits including producing albums for Francesca Battistelli, for KING & COUNTRY, Newsboys, Mandisa, Tyminski, Jaci Velasquez and another country duo High Valley among many others.
Their critically-acclaimed single “Hey Whiskey” garnered rave reviews and was the song that caught the eye of not only Sirius XM and CMT but it put them on several “Artists To Watch” lists including People, Billboard, Huffington Post and Rolling Stone among others. Rolling Stone included “Hey Whiskey” as one of the “Best Country/Americana Songs” in their picks of the week and the Grand Ole Opryinvited them to make their Opry debut and CMTchampioned the duo including them in their Artist Discovery Program to name a few.
To hear “Hey Whiskey” click HERE.
Smithfield was founded in 2011 with a dream as big as their home state of Texas. Vocalists, Trey and Jennifer, Smithfield took the stage by storm with their memorable music and stunning harmonies. Having grown up together, their on-stage chemistry is undeniably genuine and natural.
Country duos are a unique in the music industry. Two voices have to blend perfectly together, and that combination is often hard to find, even in two great singers. Against all odds, the duo has continued to persevere with their music and develop their sound. Trey and Jennifer have found that with a lot hard work and passion that anything can be accomplished. After only one year in Nashville, Smithfield had already landed opening gigs for established artists including Kane Brown, Scotty McCreery, Granger Smith, Dustin Lynch, Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion.
Mixing the heavily rock influenced background of Trey and the classical country tendency of Jennifer, Smithfield creates a unique blend of country sound that's different and compelling.
Proving to be the hottest emerging duo in country music, Smithfield’s song “We Make Our Own” is currently included on Spotify’s Wild Country Playlist.
Nashville, TN (July 25, 2019) - Country traditionalist Emily Ann Roberts released Someday Dream on July 12 and the debut project from The Voice alum landed on two Billboard album charts. Entering the Country Album chart at #25 and the all-genre Independent Albums chart in the Top 50, Roberts’ first official body of work is proudly making its mark.
“I am so excited about this news,” exclaims Emily Ann Roberts. “I never dreamed my debut project would land on a Billboard chart much less two. I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone that has been a part of it and a special shout out to all my fans for the continued support.”
Roberts spent the last three years writing and thoughtfully cultivating the music for this project. The EP, produced by award-winning Jason Saenz, mixed by Chuck Ainlay and mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering, features a collection of six songs, five of which Roberts has writing credit.
Earlier this summer, Roberts performed the title track “Someday Dream” on The Voice. She also shared songs from the EP at CMA Fest last month where her performance caught the ears of Rolling Stone who placed her on their list of 20 Best Acts of the festival alongside artists like Lil Nas X and Kassi Ashton.
About Emily Ann Roberts
Influenced by artists such as the Dixie Chicks and Dolly Parton, Emily Ann Roberts aims to take her love for authentic, classic country and make it fresh and new. She was raised on mountain music and bluegrass, so her love for that sound shines in her new country releases and sets her apart. After learning how to play guitar in the 6th grade, she began singing all over her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2015, she placed as the Runner-Up on NBC’s The Voice. Roberts then began cowriting and recording her own music in Nashville while playing shows at venues across the country. After working for three years on her music, in September of 2018 she made her debut release of her first original song, “Stuck On Me + You” and then followed that with another passionate original, “I’ve Got Forever”.
Roberts is determined to continue creating music that makes an impact in the lives of those who listen. Her newest single, “Someday Dream,” has a message of taking hold of your biggest dreams and chasing them in every moment. Roberts wants her listeners to know they’re able to live out their dreams.
Roberts returned to The Voice stage to perform the single “Someday Dream” last month. Roberts debut EP Someday Dream is was released on July 12th and landed on two Billboard album charts.
Roberts was recently included in Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Acts of CMA Fest among hundreds of emerging and superstars artists.
Roberts also has a passion for makeup and fashion and loves the outlet it gives her to be creative. She is a collector of cowboy boots and is always on the hunt to find a new unique pair to add to her collection. She also loves baking and decorating treats for people to enjoy and dreams of having her own cookbook one day to share her favorite recipes with others.
For more information about Emily Ann Roberts, visit www.emilyannroberts.com