Of course, her stunning looks and engaging personality would mean nothing if the talent wasn’t there, but she’s got that covered as well. Her recent single, “Somebody Like Me,” made a big splash on the Music Row COUNTRY BREAKOUT chart, and was also # 1 for an amazing fifteen weeks on the Clear Channel On Demand New Music list!
Roughstock had a chance to catch up with this star on the rise at the recent Country Radio Seminar. What can be a scary place for a new artist in the genre—-with so many of the decision makers in one place—was truly an exhilarating experience for the Georgia-bred beauty. “I absolutely loved it,” she says with a smile. “I walked in to Cadillac Ranch, and saw a bunch of people I knew—-a lot of radio folks. It was so great to team back up with them and see how everybody is doing. It can be a little bit overwhelming because there are over 2,000 people here, but it is such a great experience. It’s great that Country Radio is still strong, and stronger than ever.”
She should know. Having recently finished up the first leg of her initial radio tour, she has been out and about at stations, meeting PD’s and MD’s—who seem to have welcomed her in with open arms. She’s also amassed quite a live following as well. She’s played at such historic venues as South By Southwest and the Big D Opry. She has also opened for some of Country’s top artists. “Back in October, I was really blessed to open a pre-show for Miranda Lambert and Eric Church in Murray, KY. What great folks, and what an awesome time! It was a really incredible experience for me.”
Her afore-mentioned trip to South By Southwest in 2010 was also a highlight. “It was an awesome experience,” she said of the trip to Austin. “At CRS, you have a lot of Country Radio people, and some great artists. There, it’s kind of like the opposite. There are so many artists in town. Getting to hang out and meet up with all those artists in so many different styles and genres was a humbling experience.”
There was one act that particularly won her over. “I wasn’t too familiar with Muse before SXSW, and was really impressed with their stage presence, and how they captivated everyone. For me, Country Music is what I’ve known all my life, coming from Atlanta, but I was really impressed with them. I thought they did a great job.”
There’s a lot of Southern Tradition that is a part of Erica’s life. In talking about her upbringing in Atlanta, she cites Lewis Grizzard as one of her favorite authors, and the world-famous Varsity restaurant as one of her favorites. “I eat there not often enough, and by that—I mean once a day!” she says with a laugh. “It’s one of those meals that you’ll never be the same after, and you’ll never find another place close to it. Their fries and their apple pies and their peach pies, and their Frosties,…..” Well, I think you get the idea!
As she has stated her love of sports, we asked her about the Atlanta Falcons’ recent stellar season—-and collapse in the first round of the playoffs. “You just had to bring that up,” she said. “You had to rub salt in the wound. I am a huge Falcons fan. Growing up in Atlanta, how can you not be a sports fan? I love football. Going to Falcons games was always something I did growing up. This year was a little bit of a heartache because I was hoping we’d go all the way. I was hoping for a Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl, and it turns out they were both out after week one. There’s always next year, I guess.”
Her music is a blend of traditional sounds, as well as cutting-edge contemporary sounds. “Tell Me What You Think About Us” is a highlight, as well as the power ballad “What Could I Do Different.” She also has quite the knack for the up-tempo crowd pleasers, such as “Good Girl” and “Rebel In A Short Skirt.” So, which one is she?
“I am a ‘Good Girl,’ she answers. “It’s funny you should ask that because I was just asked why I recorded ‘Rebel.’ It’s definitely one of the edgier songs on the album. I said ‘You know, I’m that girl, when I’m in a place or in a bar or a social setting, I’m actually very, very shy. I don’t go up to the guys. I’m just shy. So, with “Rebel,” that was my excuse to let this other character inside of me have a chance to come out. So, when I’m onstage, I’m the girl who is not shy in a bar, but when I’m off the stage, “Rebel” is just that song I like to have fun with, and pretend that it’s really me.”
That’s not a new concept. Keep in mind that it worked wonders for Barbara Mandrell back in the 1970s. Though she has raised in a Christian household, and still lives her life in that manner today, she admitted to playing several different characters in her songs—which included the classic cheating songs “Woman To Woman” and “Married, But Not To Each Other.” Erica identifies with that logic.
“All the songs on my album—I was really blessed to be working with some great songwriters. With ‘Rebel,” I could say that I’m that good girl that likes to have a good time….That just allows that inner self to take the character—-just like Barbara Mandrell did . It’s fun. That doesn’t mean that’s who we are, but I did connect with the song because I am shy. But being on stage, I feel like ‘Woman, hear me roar!” when I do that song!”
The spring looks bright for Erica. She’s looking to visit more radio stations as she gets set to launch her second single, and play quite a few shows this summer. For more information about this newcomer to watch, log on to her website!