Q&A: Ellen Thweatt ReverbNation Competition Winner – Halfway to the Clouds


For those readers that haven’t heard of you before could you tell us a bit about yourself, your story?

I started singing when I was a little girl, and sang “Amazing Grace” at memorials and special events, and would sing the U.S. National Anthem occasionally for horse shows and city football games. I played brass in band since I was a kid, and then got into guitar because that way I could write lyrics as well as play music at the same time. I grew up in San Diego County (southern California) and lived there most of my life. I left home at 18 to go to school in Tennessee. I’ve been in Chattanooga and Nashville since then going to college and doing music. I started off studying classical voice, but it felt so boxed in for my personality. I decided to put writing Americana/folk songs and my own style of my voice first in my music pursuing, because it was what made me the most happy.

You moved to Tennessee to further your music career, how has your life changed since moving there?

It has changed a lot in that I’ve become more bold of a person. I’ve always been more quiet, have a softer voice, and give people (a little more than) the benefit of the doubt. I still struggle with putting my foot down in some situations, but it has become much easier after pursuing music in a place like Nashville. There are many male instrumentalists in town, and those are the kind of people that I need to help me the most with performing, producing, and recording. The music world can often be perceived as a “man’s world,” and I have worked with some great guys, and run into some manipulative ones. If a man gives a backhanded compliment, tries to make me feel like I need his help in order to get anywhere, asks for LOTS money in order to get more contacts (as if I’m too naiive and to make connections myself), I just don’t have tolerance for it. I have phone calls from men with music promotion or producing business that put down the phone quickly when I don’t put up with their business schemes. Going through that has made me a lot firmer in my beliefs and forced me to find my own self confidence in my music.

Who inspired you to get on stage and perform?

My parents did a good job of instilling confidence in my music and putting me in positions where I could sing in front of people. Who really inspires me though are all those women who have been through hard childhoods, heartbreak, and dealt with a difficult world, and still perform and write. Women like Shania Twain, Joni Mitchell, and Allison Krauss are inspiring women to me.

Are there any particular albums that have stuck with you that have influenced your writing style?

I think that the album “Lonely Still Runs Both Ways” by Allison Krauss and Union Station had influenced my writing style. I also grew up listening to a lot of Shania Twain as a kid, and I think her sassier and upbeat music has instilled another kind of style of writing in me that comes out in songs like “Somebody That I’m Not.”

Could you tell us a bit about the writing/recording of the track that won our ReverbNation competition “somebody that I’m not”?

This song was written with one of my closest friends, Taylor Cardiff. She is an amazing singer and writer, and this was the first song that we had written together. It was actually the first day that we started becoming good friends! We both had fuel from bad boy experiences, but also a similar sense of humor that just had the song come out in a really natural way.

I enjoyed watching the music video to your track “Cinderella” do you have plans to record any more music videos in the future?

Yes! I definitely want to film more videos. For my next tracks, I’m hoping to have videos (even if they are more simplistic).

The little promo video for “Halfway in the clouds” was really cool, could you tell us a bit about the recording of this album?

Recording the album was a blast. Nick Schwarz did all the producing, mixing, and mastering. He is such a cool dude and really fun to work with. I think that he allowed me to still laugh and have a good time recording some more serious kind of songs in “Halfway in the Clouds.”

What is the most interesting place you have performed at?

“Kettle Coffee and Tea” in my hometown Escondido, CA. Even with all the cool music venues in Nashville, I still miss performing at that little coffee shop. The audience there is so supportive and was so attentive towards my performances. One of my best friends is a regular at their writer nights, and I’m so glad that he encouraged me to play there. I think that I am able to be the most genuine and emotional in my singing at that venue.

At Artistic Echoes we are always on the look out for new artists, is there anyone you can recommend perhaps someone you have played with?

Please check out the band “Gravitation”! Their lead singer Meghan is an AMAZING and sounds to me a lot like the lead singer of Evanescence. We met through reverbnation, and through that we help promote and encourage in each other’s music. Our styles are complete opposite. It’s almost humorous to listen to my songs and then Gravitation’s and know that we are so supportive of each other!

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Recording! I will be making new music as well as trying to finish up school. Hopefully this year you will see lots more news of new music from me.

Find out more:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellenthweattmusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en


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