FROM THE FARM TO Nashville; The City That Changed It All For Violet Lavelle
“I guess, the way it reflects my music goals is that when you’re in the music industry, you don’t have time to second guess yourself. The industry is always changing and if you don’t adapt and change with it, you’ll be left to fall into obscurity. “
Danielle/MT: You recently released your song “I Gotta Know”. Can you explain the title and how this title reflects your music goals? Can you describe your sound?
Violet: To be honest, I wrote the song about this guy that I thought was the ABSOLUTE coolest and sexiest guy in the room. One night, I chugged a whiskey, sucked it up, walked straight up to him, and just shamelessly flirted with him all night. I always wanted to know what he was about, what his vibe was, and if his personality matched his looks. I had to know and I don’t think that would’ve happened if I hadn’t been so bold and just took the situation into my own hands.
I guess, the way it reflects my music goals is that when you’re in the music industry, you don’t have time to second guess yourself. The industry is always changing and if you don’t adapt and change with it, you’ll be left to fall into obscurity.
It took me a long time to realize that Pop Music was the direction I needed to go. I spent college trying to discover my sound and I think what held me back for a while was the fear of sounding too generic. I honestly just had to get over myself, because my voice was trained and made for Pop and there’s so much phenomenal music made in that genre. So I spent a few years in a few different bands, and tip toed between genres for a while. And even though I thought the music we were writing was badass, none of it was truly me. I always found myself trying to throw pop-isms into the other genres, and my bandmates were like, “No, that’s too bubblegum, that’s too Top 40, it doesn’t work.” It was inevitable that I would fall into it eventually, I just needed a little convincing. I’m pretty stubborn.
So with all that being said, I would say that I’m more along the Pop/R&B side of the umbrella. Like, the female version of Bruno Mars or a mix of Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. There’s catchy melodies, and pop production, but I’ve still got a lot of soul in my voice from previous training, and all of my original inspirations when I first started singing.
Danielle: You record in Nashville, but are from a small town. Can you share where you are originally from and how your hometown influences your music. Has moving to Nashville changed your music? Do you think the move has opened more doors for you?
Violet: I’m from Kansas City originally. Well, a small town outside of Kansas City, but nobody ever really knows what the fuck I’m talking about so I always say KC. My hometown is on the Missouri side and consists of about 2,000 people. We have a “mom & pop” grocery store, a few buildings for the kids to go to school, a couple neighborhoods, one stoplight going into town, and another going out.
My hometown has that classic Blue Collar culture, and while that’s not a bad thing, I always felt a little out of place, because at heart I feel I’ve always been a city girl. There wasn’t a ton to do in town, so my friends and I took every chance we could to go to the city and I LOVED IT. The hustle and bustle, all the lights, and THE MUSIC. Kansas City has a flourishing jazz, blues, and rock circuit so whenever there was a show, my friends and I would try to go. It was that combined with influence from my parents being Blues musicians themselves that really lead me to falling in love with music in the first place.
Being from a farm town in Middle-America, my hometown is obviously more about Country music than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I love Country music, and obviously sin
ce I moved to Nashville, I’d be lying if I said I hated it. HAHA! But I really thought about it and writing about back roads and tractors, just isn’t who I am. Even though I lived in a farm town my whole life, I wasn’t a farm kid, and if I was singing about that kind of lifestyle, well, it wouldn’t feel authentic. I wouldn’t necessarily say that my hometown influences my music a ton. Conceptually and sonically, it’s completely different than what you would think.
However, I am a person that takes from real life experiences to write my music so I have written songs about the people I’ve met and some of the experiences I’ve had with them… so in THAT WAY, yes, my circle back home influences my lyrics.
Before Nashville? HA! Before I moved to Nashville, I wasn’t an artist. I wanted to be one, but I wasn’t. I didn’t write songs, I wasn’t recording anything, I just sang covers mostly. Whether it was in my high school rock band, or school choir, or at my job during the summer at the local amusement park, I was always singing other people’s songs. Moving to Nashville was the catalyst to starting my career as a real musician. I went to college for music, I was trained professionally to be a singer/entertainer, I met other aspiring musicians, and I began learning to write a well-written song. I was given all the tools I needed, so in way, Nashville literally changed everything for me. This city has given me so many more opportunities than I ever would’ve h
ad back home.
Danielle: Who are your musical influences? If you could pick any one artist to share a stage with, who would that be?
Violet: My influences have changed so many times over the years. The common ground I find though is that I’m drawn to strong, soulful women. From about the age 8-13, I was into all the soulful greats, and everything MoTown had to offer; Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Diana Ross, etc. When I started getting into my early teenage years, I was all about the pop divas; Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Beyonce, etc. Then in college I took a turn to 80s queens like Anne and Nancy Wilson, Madonna, Blondie, and Pat Benetar.
It’s honestly SO HARD to pick someone to share a stage with. There’s so many that would blow my mind. Top 3 as of this moment would have to be Jessie J, Bruno Mars, or Lizzo. They all put on such a great show, and you never know what could happen on and off stage. They are WILD.
Danielle: When did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?
Violet: I was about 12 when I figured out music was my calling. My mother convinced me to sign up for a singing competition in Nebraska… of all places. haha. We drove 3 hours to get there, and I was SO NERVOUS. At this point I had never sang in front of an audience, ever. I could feel my body just shaking… but when we arrived and they called my name to come up to the stage, I stood at the ready, struck a pose, and sang like my life depended on it. I ended up winning that day and ever since then I wanted that feeling of being on stage. I wanted the rush, the cheers from the audience, the emotion you can feel from everybody watching and knowing that you made those people feel all of those emotions…
I started doing everything that had music apart of it; choir, musicals, marching band, color guard, talent shows, and even got a job at the local amusement park during the summer doing variety shows. Sophomore year of high school is when I knew I wanted to be a performer as a career… and I haven’t stopped since.
Danielle: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?
Violet: I think the biggest challenge a musician can face is, rejection. And honestly, it never ends. It’s a habitual obstacle that we have to face every day of our lives. And the thing that sucks is that it’s all a matter of someone else’s opinion of you, no matter how educated it may or may not be. Whether it be; you didn’t make callbacks because you weren’t ‘skinny enough’, or you didn’t get that playlist add because you’re ‘too generic’, or the label dropped you because you didn’t ‘sell enough’, or you didn’t get the gig because, ‘you’re not pretty enough’, rejection is everywhere. What I’ve learned about overcoming it is all about your mindset. It’s about working your ass off, having confidence in your craft, and the perseverance to keep going in spite of what others might say. You will get a billion people saying ‘no’ to you in your life, but all it takes is one person to say, ‘yes’ to change everything and that’s what I work for; that one yes.
Danielle: Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments? How long have you been playing them?
Violet: I’ve been playing guitar since I was a teenager and I’ve been “proficient” in piano since college. haha! I even used to play flute in high school, but it’s been a while.
Danielle: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?
Violet: Being a working musician at the beginning is almost like having two jobs. I have my day job that I go to four to five days a week and then all the time in between that I’m working on my music career; traveling to gigs, recording, filming, co-writing, filling out blog interviews.. It’s all about the grind.
Then when I have actual time off my hobbies consist of cooking, traveling, and wine tasting…
Danielle: What’s next? Do you have any up-coming performances you would like fans to know about? Is there anything else you would like to announce for your fans or anything you would like them to know?
Violet: September is a BIG month for me and the team! September 6th the whole EP drops, and then I’m having an EP release show on September 25th at Mercy Lounge! It’s going to be a fun night of supporting all women in the music industry and I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on for almost a year.
LINKS to VIOLET LAVELLE