The stage is set and four student artists will soon be tuning their guitars, putting on their best of Broadway, and celebrating the art of country music.
Belmont Curb College will host its annual Lawn Country Showcase on Saturday, featuring Trent Wayne, Gloria Anderson, Gracee Shriver and Faith Alexa.
Preview music on Vision’s 2021 Country Showcase Reading List and read on to learn more about the artists’ travels around the country.
Food trucks open on Saturdays at 6 p.m., followed by a pre-show at 7 p.m. before the set kicks off at 8 p.m.
Hailing from Mississippi, country music is in Travis Wayne’s blood, and he’s been playing it since fourth grade.
“My brother had put together a small band and at the age of nine we played our first show,” he said.
The senior has been considering playing Country Showcase since his freshman year – now his time has come.
“I remember when I was in first year and second year looking at the storefront scene and thinking, ‘Yeah, I want to do that someday,'” he said. “Just being chosen is an honor, so I hope I can do the same justice I did when I was in grade one.”
Wayne’s music reflects the way he grew up.
Through the perception and dialect embedded in his music, Wayne shares his own unique experience of what it means to grow up in the Southern United States.
Wayne takes a lot of inspiration from classic country stars like George Jones, Randy Travis and Keith Whitley.
One song he is delighted to perform at the showcase is his overture, “Hankerin ‘for a Honky Tonk”.
“I’m super pumped for this one. I think it shows a lot of my roots. There’s a lot of my southern dialect in it and so on, and I’m really excited. It’s a good little starter song.
Gloria Anderson, a junior singer-songwriter, was also interested in music from a young age.
“I probably started singing because I could talk, and then I took piano lessons when I was in second grade,” she said.
But Anderson ended up stopping the piano, which is perhaps her biggest regret, she said. Fortunately, she didn’t give up music so easily.
“My dad ended up teaching me guitar when I was in first grade in high school and somewhere in between I started writing songs about things I could see out of the car window.”
The part of the showcase that Anderson’s most excited about is seeing her family, some of whom will come from Lone Star State to see her on set.
“I’m from Texas and being at 1pm from home is pretty tough, but I’m so excited to have my family and friends there.”
She is particularly eager to present her song “Households”, which alludes to her experience growing up as a military kid constantly moving to new homes.
“It’s mostly about what’s in a house and what you can’t sell when you walk past,” she said.
“I have moved everywhere and have learned that the memories you keep, you keep with you, no matter where you are, even if you are no longer in the same place. So this song is dear to my heart and I wrote it with two of my lovely friends.
Gracee Shriver is no stranger to the scene.
A seasoned Country Showcase performer whose name last appeared on the show just eight months ago, she performed to a Belmont audience live at the Curb Event Center.
The sophomore singer also made the Top 14 on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2019.
She is very excited to finally be able to perform at Belmont with the energy of an outdoor stage and a live audience, she said.
Shriver grew up in Owasso, Oklahoma, where she started singing and playing guitar at the age of 9.
She discovered soon after that music was her passion and that she wanted to pursue it – and she knew from an early age that Belmont would help get her on the right track.
“When I graduated from high school, I got my seventh grade letter that I wrote to myself at the time that said I was going to go to Belmont University and major in the music business, and that was kinda weird. I think I always decided it.
Shriver is excited to play her 2020 release, “Rain,” a ballad she has collaborated on with fellow Oklahoman The Swon Brothers, as well as a few new tracks she is working on.
“Some of my favorite songs haven’t even come out yet, but I’m playing them at the Country Showcase so it’s going to be exciting,” she said.
Faith Alexa, the other Texan to have imposed herself on the window display scene this year, was destined to country music from the start.
“My dad is a soccer coach, so we moved to Texas all the time, but my parents raised me with country music,” she said. “Part of my name is Faith Hill, so it runs deep into my roots. ”
The junior was introduced to Taylor Swift at the age of 5 and takes a lot of inspiration from the pop country superstar.
While visiting Nashville at age 15 with her family, Alexa stumbled across Sandy Borchetta, wife of Scott Borchetta, who discovered and signed Swift to Big Machine Records in 2005.
Borchetta advised Alexa to go to Belmont for college and intern wherever she could in Music City, Alexa said.
From that point on, Alexa knew Belmont was school for her, and stepping into the spotlight at the storefront is a bonus.
“I’m just excited to be on stage. This is where I feel most like me and where I am most at home, so I’m so happy to be able to do what I love.
Some of the songs Alexa will be performing at the showcase are her recent singles, “Green” and “Pretty Eyes”, as well as her latest release, “North Carolina”, that made its way to Spotify’s “Fresh Finds: Country” playlist and showcases the talents of fellow star artist Anderson.
“I’m really excited to have the camaraderie,” Alexa said.
“Music always brings people together. “
PHOTO: The cover of the Vision 2021 Country Showcase playlist on Spotify. Graphic by Anna Jackson.
This article was written by AJ Wuest.
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