Country Showcase is finally here, with a slew of ambitious artists preparing to take the stage Saturday night.
By Isaac Wetzel
To country artist Gracee Shriver, music is everything.
Back home in Owasso, Oklahoma, country music was a huge part of her family, and many of her favorite memories were spent with her family in jam sessions.
Surrounded by music for all of her life, it is no surprise that Shriver finds her home in country music.
When she was nine years old, Shriver started taking singing lessons. Shortly after that, she picked up a guitar and began writing her own songs. The next year, Shriver traveled to Nashville to perform shows; she later began leading worship at her church services.
In 2019, Shriver had the opportunity to join Season 17 of The Voice on Team Kelly/Blake, where she made top 14. Since then, Shriver has come out with four singles, with a fifth one on the way.
“I have been so thankful for the doors that have opened over the years with my music,” Shriver said.
With a mix of classic and modern influences like Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert, Shriver finds inspiration from all over country music. She described her songs as contemporary with tradition: new country and pop country with a shade of old-school twang.
Looking forward to the Country Showcase, Shriver feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude, she said.
“I am just excited to hear the other artists perform and be able to be on a stage again performing my own music!”
By Jessica Mattsson
From a small town in Connecticut to Music City, sophomore Joshua Quimby will take the Country Showcase stage Saturday – and make it his own.
“I made it my best effort to make it feel like it’s something that people can connect with,” says Joshua. “I really strive to, you know, make sure I’m humble in my performances.”
Thankful for the opportunity to share his music with the Belmont community and beyond, three of his friends will be accompanying him in sharing that message in the spotlight.
Joshua started writing songs in the summer of 2020, resulting in the release of his first EP “Relentless.” Joshua uses songwriting as a source of catharsis — he allows himself to be vulnerable and to process his emotions.
His music journey started with the guitar, though; eventually, the 10-year-old Joshua who idolized rock stars grew up to draw inspiration from artists like Bob Dylan, Field Medic and Nickel Creek.
Now, his favorite instrument to play is the banjo, and his favorite song to play is his newest single, “Miles Apart.”
“Imagine taking like a trip out to do a day hike in the mountains … and you can just look out at the vastness and openness of nature and you know you’re about to take the best damn hike of your life. That’s what I want my music to feel like,” says Joshua.
A little “roughness around the edges” is what to expect and what to embrace from Joshua’s upcoming performance.
By Elijah Driver
Grace Blosser, a senior songwriting major from Naperville, Illinois, said family is at the heart of her music.
“My family is the reason I make music,” said Blosser
Blosser grew up close to her family and said she sees her cousins and grandparents daily — the same people who introduced her to country music from an early age.
Family members taught Blosser to play guitar at 9 years old. As soon as she started playing, Blosser was making her own music.
“I didn’t know how to play other people’s songs, so I started playing my own,” Blosser said.
Blosser likes to write songs about her family and her own personal experiences; and this desire to tell stories is why Blosser chose to make country music, she said.
“The country style always felt like a fit for me because of the natural storytelling,” Blosser said.
Blosser also said that even though she is from a Chicago suburb she has always related to country music because of her family.
“Country isn’t all about trucks and growing up in a small town. Country is about family and enjoying the simple things,” said Blosser.
After releasing three songs in 2020, Blosser said she plans to stay in Nashville after graduation and try to secure a record deal.
By ErinRene Luft
Country artist Chelsea Gilliland, also known as CHLSY, is a senior songwriting major originally from Oakland, California.
Once COVID-19 is less of a concern, she plans to continue writing and releasing music, and she is eager to begin touring again. Since live entertainment has abated, Gilliland has been writing and co-writing more than ever.
Her plans are to release some of this new music around summertime — and the original songs she will perform in the showcase include some of the same music to provide a sneak peek before pre-saves are available.
Gilliland likes to describe her music as ‘80s rock mixed with ‘90s country.
“Like The Strokes meets Nirvana,” she said about CHLSY’s approach to rock music.
Belmont has been encouraging when it comes to her boundary-pushing inclinations — and it has helped her stay true to her creative style.
“If it hadn’t been for the songwriting program, then I probably wouldn’t be writing this kind of music,” Gilliland said.
She is very passionate about her music, loves performing, and is ready to take the stage in the Belmont 2021 Country Showcase.
Students can catch the live performances on Saturday at 7 p.m. CDT on the Belmont Showcase Series’ YouTube channel.