Feed the Band
Our interview with
Most people like to watch other people, that’s just a fact. We like to see how other people tick and try to figure out if that tick jives with our personal belief structure. I do this all of the time myself. With that being said, there is a certain type of person that I just can’t figure out, no matter how much I want to.This person seems to have an unending fountain of optimism and energy they can drink from. I am no way talking about the people who use fake happiness to make others feel less than. I am talking about people who seem to carry the energy and light of the sun everywhere they go. They then spread their light to anyone that comes anywhere near them. It is this type of person that we have today on Feed the Band.
Lizzie Cates is new to the country music scene, that is true. For most reading this, Lizzie has not even shown up on your radar. That was my situation a couple months ago as well. I was just strolling through social media one day and came across a post from what seemed to be another blonde haired country artist. What are the odds? Right? There are only a million of them. I don’t know what made me, but I pushed the button that turns the sound on. Ok, so she sounds good well that makes her now 1 in 500,000. The odds of her maintaining my attention improved, but I wasn’t sold. That night I went to sleep and knew that any trace of Lizzie Cates would be gone from my mind the next morning. The next day came and Lizzie was still there and occupying more space in my brain than the day before. So I went to Spotify to find a few tracks hoping to scratch my itch and be done with it. What I thought was an itch, was the early beams of light radiating from Lizzie Cates like a bright star.
I appreciate Taylor Swift, but never have been a huge fan myself. I know I might get some bad looks and death threats from that statement, but it is what I think. I know even Lizzie is trying to keep from gritting her teeth herself, at this point. There is light at the end of the tunnel I am taking you down. That light comes from Lizzie Cates herself. I think she does Taylor, better than Taylor does Taylor. That statement may be hard to wrap your head around, but hang in there.
Heroes are great. They serve as a guiding light so that we can be better than we were the day before. However, what I have learned about Lizzie Cates is that the light that truly drives her does not come from some external source. It has been with her all along. The same honesty, drive and heart that Taylor fans appreciate, are and have always been at the core of Lizzie Cates. Her debut EP “Such a Mess” represents changes in Lizzie’s life both big and small. Songs like “Strangers”, “Twenty-One” and “Such a Mess” prove that Lizzie Cates is a star of her own making.
All of this leads up to this interview. Lizzie Cates has shined her light on me and my life is better for it. Her energy makes anyone want to smile. It is for this reason I am happy to have Lizzie as part of the Southern Fellow family. Make sure to try the recipe that Lizzie inspired and the giveaway at the end. Here is our interview with one of the brightest stars I know, Ms. Lizzie Cates.
Tell us about your road to Nashville.
I was born and raised in the biggest little city: Reno, Nevada. My parents always knew that I was going to fall in love with music at a very young age. My mom had bought me a pink sparkly Barbie guitar when I was five and instead of hanging with my friends and twin sister, I went in my room and wrote my very first song. I told all my friends, sister’s friends, sisters and family to sit in the living room so I could play them the song. My life really began at that moment. Even before I wrote that song, I would change the words to nursery rhymes. My parents knew that songwriting was going to be the center of my life. My grandma was the one to tell me about Nashville. She told me that if I wanted to be a country music star, that is where I needed to be. I became obsessed with the idea of moving to Nashville. I would nag my parents every day
(I truly was annoying about it) asking if we could go. I taught myself how to play guitar when I was 13, where the doors opened for me. I used to come home from school and write songs until my parents forced me to go to sleep. I didn’t go to Nashville until I was 21. I was in college for about a year and a half when I decided I wanted to focus on music. I felt stuck after doing music for almost a year in Reno. I had planned on going back to school in the fall but I just needed to know what Nashville was like. I decided to go over the summer by myself. I had never even been on a plane. I was so amazed when I arrived to see that there were so many opportunities to play and learn there. I came back to Reno and started my semester but in the middle of it, I sat my parents down and told them that I had made my decision that I needed to be in Nashville. So, the following April, I made the move only knowing two people. My parents were scared for me, which I am glad they were, because I wasn’t scared at all. I just never felt like I belonged in Reno the way that I do with Nashville.
What do you feel are some important things you have learned in the
If I had any advice on what I have learned since moving to Nashville is to go out and meet as many people as possible. Having a strong group of people you know and who support you is crucial. I also think it is important to be aware of what other people are writing but to also keep your head down. Don’t get to involved with comparing yourself to others. What is popular now might not be popular in a year or so. So, I am a strong believer to write what you want while being influenced by different sounds. I feel like a room full of people can honestly tell when someone is being themselves and connected with a song rather than someone trying to be something that they aren’t. Another thing that I have learned is to not be afraid to experiment, especially in the early stages of your career. Don’t be afraid to write a song. It’s awesome to be able to find who you are and push yourself to try new lyrics, styles, sounds, etc. I know that I experimented a lot with my writing and still do today. I would also say that everyone has their own timeline. Don’t compare your journey to other people’s. This town definitely takes a lot of hard work and patience. One last thing that I have learned is to just be yourself. Life is more fun that way.
Who are your top music influences and how did they shape you as an
My top influences are Taylor Swift and Natalie Maines. Taylor Swift has been one of my biggest influences. I first saw her when I was 11 at a Brad Paisley concert. I have never connected with a singer as much as her. This 16 year old girl came out with her guitar singing songs about her life, something that I was made fun of for at my school. She made me feel less alone. Even though there were 4,000 people in the crowd, I felt like she was singing right to me. I feel like she still does that today in front of 70,000 people. Ever since that first night, I told myself I wanted to be able to connect with people in any way that I could like she does. Natalie Maines has always been my favorite singer. Growing up, I always wanted to be part of the Dixie Chicks. When I was in kindergarten, we had this play where we all got to dress up like what we wanted to be when we grew up. My twin sister dressed up like an archaeologist with her toy dinosaurs while I dressed up like a Dixie Chick and said “I wanna be part of the Dixie Chicks when I grow up”.
What is the best way to start the day?
Coffee, coffee, coffee. I literally cannot do anything without coffee.
What fad or trend you hope comes back?
I wish that early 20’s pop would come back. I loved the Justin Timberlake/Brittany Spears age. Those background vocals and instrumental sounds were so iconic.
We are always developing recipes here at Southern Fellow. When
writing music what recipe do you use?
I always am asked how I write songs. I don’t know if I really have a recipe. Songs never really come to me in the same way. I usually like to come up with the tagline at the end of the chorus first, though. I am a big fan of heartfelt unpredictable taglines.
What is special about the place you grew up?
I grew up 30 minutes away from Lake Tahoe, one of the most enchanting places I have ever been. I also was lucky enough to live around all the national parks on the west coast like Yosemite, the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, the Redwoods, ect. Growing up, my parents never took us on luxurious trips in hotels. We always went camping in those gorgeous national parks. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very artsy city. Every summer they would have “art town” where every weekend there would be movies in the park and concerts that showcased local talent which allowed me to play for my city.
Connect with Lizzie Cates
What is your first fond memory of food?
My mom hand made me a My Little Pony cake with a tower and everything for my 5th birthday. I remember being so excited!
In your own words define success.
I think for me, success is such a broad term. There are different levels of success. I think the overall definition is happiness. I think that if you get excited over little things, you will find success in your daily life. Being able to set small goals rather than just large, out of reach ones, will make you feel more fulfilled because it will feel like you are accomplishing more to reach those larger goals.
If you wrote a song about food, what would it be about?
I love sweets. Desserts are my weakness. I would definitely write about cake. Or sour patch kids. The song would be colorful and fun.
What do you have a strong opinion on?
I have strong feelings about being yourself and just owning your own magic. Everyone has something quirky about ourselves and I think that is so special.
What does the year look like for you?
This year has already been pretty amazing. I am so excited about these songs that I have been writing. I already have a few of them picked out for my next album, which I will be starting this summer. I have no idea when that will be out since I just released “Such a Mess”, but I do plan on releasing a single in the late fall/early winter. I think for me, this year is really important on just challenging myself with songwriting.
Try these inspired recipes!
Shrimp Egg Rolls with Sweet Heat Duck Sauce
Grandma's Pound Cake
What are some small things that make your day better?
Cats, coffee, a good song on shuffle, The Tonight Dough Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, The Office.
Tell us about your EP “Such a Mess”.
I cannot believe that I was able to create this EP. When I first moved here, I went through a lot of emotional waves. Moving away from my family thousands of miles away was extremely new for me. I had to find myself and my place in this music city alone. I think this EP really portrays that journey. When I wrote the song “Such a Mess”, I knew immediately that this was going to be the title of this chapter of my life. I wanted to make a raw album that shared my story with everyone and I think the songs I chose for this were the best way to do that. I moved from my family, lost love, found new love, found myself and accepted who I was. I hoped that with this EP, people would feel less alone and be able to relate. Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself that it is okay to not be okay. Sometimes you just have to see the beauty in all these rainstorms we go through because you come out on the other side and find a happiness you never thought you’d find.
Is there anything else you want your family at Southern Fellow to
I love my Southern Fellow family!
I would like to thank Lizzie for her time. She will always have a home here at Southern Fellow. I know bragged quite a bit about Lizzie, but it is well deserved. She will have a remarkable story if she stays true to herself and uses that light that God gave her. She definitely deserves a spot on your playlist. You can find all of Lizzie Cates’ music on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube Music. Thank you for reading this interview. Please check out all of our featured artists and the recipes they inspired.
We have another great artist up next on Feed the Band. Stay tuned for our interview with Dave Fenley. e have more music, recipes and insight coming to you, right here at Southern Fellow!