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NYCS Swag Spotlight Featuring Joe Lasher

Joe Lasher

Joe Lasher, born and raised in Weaverville, North Carolina, is the definition of a small town boy who grew up around music and decided early on that it would be his career choice. His grandfather was in a southern gospel quartet for 55 years and his dad was in a 90’s rock band that toured around the North and South Carolina area. In a recent chat with New York Country Swag, Lasher explains how his father’s music influenced his sound as well as grunge bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana.

Throughout high school, Lasher had wanted to make football a career, being that he is 6’3 and always very into sports but he tells us “I think God decided I was supposed to play music when I broke my leg the first play of the second game in high school, so I had to set aside everything I loved to do and I think that is when I realized I can’t do anything I love right now with a broken leg. That’s when I picked up my guitar.”

Playing open mic nights when he was 15-16 years old, he fell in love with being on stage, despite his nerves.  “People would put money in the tip jar, and what was really cool, I came back the next week and all of the same people that were there came again but this time they brought their friends so it was at that point that I realized I enjoyed being up on the stage and playing music and seeing the people in front of me enjoying what I was doing,” he explains. “I was very quick to get addicted to that feeling.”

Mixing his rock and roll background with his traditional country upbringing he started playing the rodeo circuits throughout the region and practicing the craft of live shows.  He became friends with songwriter and producer Jeremy Stover who has worked with a ton of country artists including Justin Moore.  Stover encouraged Lasher to make the move to Nashville right out of high school and they worked together on a 5 song EP to get his feet wet in the industry.

Now at twenty-one years old, Lasher has released a new single “Nothing Better To Do Friday Nights” which was written by Stover and rising country artist Michael Ray. Although he isn’t a co-writer on the song, Lasher tells us that the first time he heard it, he knew that it was the perfect way to introduce himself to a new fanbase in Nashville.  “From where I am from, we lived that life “Nothing Better to Do Friday Nights”  that was our way. We had nothing to do, so we gathered up, there was a parking lot, like a shopping complex, we used to gather around with our trucks on Friday nights, it was where all of the small-town gossip came together, and sometimes, some of us, we got in trouble,” he laughs.

“I want to play feel-good songs and I want people to relate to everything I am doing and I want them to know when they come to my show that I grew up doing the same things that they did so it will feel really homey and cozy,” Lasher explains of his live show.  He wants fans to know that although he is pursuing a country music career, he will never lose the rock and roll influence that his father instilled in him from an early age.

He looks forward to hitting the road to promote his new single, seeing new places and meeting new people. Be sure to follow Joe Lasher on social media, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Carolyn Miller is our next Swag Spotlight.  Just like Tommy Cole and Lauren Davidson, Miller is pursuing a career in country music by growing her fanbase up north and taking frequent trips down to Nashville for meetings and songwriting sessions.  She tells us in a recent phone interview that like most performers, she was performing before she even knew it.  “When I was 2 in church if my parents blinked I would run up onto the altar, as I  got older they just realized it was I just loved to perform and be in front of people,” she laughs.

Besides not having the typical ‘growing up on a farm’ experience, Miller also went a different route during her early years, acting for television and Broadway. Starting with local community theater when she was merely six years old, and being signed to a top children’s talent manager when she was eight, Miller has worked professionally since then, working on a national commercial with Rosie O’Donnell, voiceover work for Jenifer Lopez’s perfume, landed a role in Daredevil with Ben Affleck and guest starred in Law and Order SVU.  All of this before she exited her teen years, Miller was accepted to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College on scholarship.  After graduating college she was inspired by some friends who were posting cover videos on YouTube. She gathered some friends, Mikel James and David Wong and they recorded their own version of A Great Big World’s “Say Something”. Within 48 hours the video garnered over thirty thousand views, reaching now almost a hundred thousand views.

The exposure from the YouTube cover lit a fire under her to start exploring the recording artist side of her passion, something she had never really thought about before.  Although she grew up on Long Island, which did not have a country radio station for almost 20 years, she recalls seeing Carrie Underwood win American Idol and being hooked.  “the reason why I connect with it so much is country music is so real, honest, authentic, it tells a story, it’s vulnerable and it has something to say and there is always a purpose,” she explains.  “Coming from my acting background I love authentic stories and I love really getting up and singing I don’t want beats and autotune, country is just that real beautiful pure genre of music.”

After a chance meeting with Russ DeSalvo who has produced Celine Dion and Lionel Richie, Miller started working with him on her debut EP which will be out this summer. The EP features five songs that songwriters in Nashville, LA, and NY wrote, songs that she felt spoke to her.  She looks forward to honing her songwriting craft and performing songs in her live shows and for future albums that she has written herself.

Her background in performing and acting has given her the foundation in this industry to move at a much faster pace than someone just starting out. “I learned discipline, dedication and work ethic from the time I was 8 years old. I understand how it works, I’ve been exposed to it all from a young age,” she tells us. “Everything I’ve been through just proves to me that I know I am ready for this and I know this is what I am meant to be doing and the ups and downs of the industry are expected.”
Miller considers herself pop-country crossover, very New York City meets Nashville and is excited to release her debut EP, Unbreakable later this year.  While in NY she has performed at shows all around town, including the Country Christmas Showdown, was a Nash Next Finalist and is booking opening slots with bigger acts for the remainder of this year. “You have to live and eat and breathe and sleep your craft and feel it in your blood and DNA that there is no other option,” she thoughtfully exclaims.  “If that this is your happiness then you just know that this is what you are meant to do.”
Follow Carolyn Miller on her social media platforms, Facebook,  and Instagram, for announcements on upcoming shows and releases.

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Swag Spotlight: Jillian Jacqueline

Jillian Jacqueline

 

New York Country Swag 2018 Artist to Watch and our next Swag Spotlight, Jillian Jacqueline, grew up in Pennslyvania where she found herself the odd one out, listening to country music.  Her mother who was from South Carolina only listened to country music and CMT was the only television station they would watch, she recalled during our recent interview.

From a young age, music was important to Jacqueline and her entire family.  Her sisters were in a family band that sang at weddings and festivals. They covered everything from The Beatles and Carol King to James Taylor and The Eagles, rounding out her childhood influences. Moving to New York City with her family when she was thirteen, her musical palette expanded. Throughout her teenage years she was a fan of punk rock bands such as Third Eye Blind and All American Rejects.  “That heavily shaped my melodic sense on top of the country music that I grew up on. Now what I do is sort of a melting pot of all of those different influences. As it is with a lot of artists, I feel like it is the roots of what you grew up on and then the music you got into in your teen college years, that all meshes together.” she tells us.

Jillian Jacqueline was signed to Big Loud Records in March of 2017, she released her first project for the record label, Side A back in September. The project as a whole is in one word, vulnerable.  Showcasing her songwriting skills and unique take on the country genre, Side A has a little something for all fans and is completely relatable. The lead single from the EP is “Reasons” and has racked up over 12 million spins on Spotify since it was released.  The song was written after Jacqueline decided to tap into her emotions and use her songwriting sessions as therapy after a tough breakup.  “It turned out to be some of the most honest stuff I have ever written,” she explained.  Just a week ago, she made her late night TV debut on Seth Meyers to sing “Reasons.” Check out the video below.

Each song highlights a personal detail of her life, which has prompted fans to reach out and explain how the songs have helped them.  “I like to say it was sort of like jumping off a cliff naked, releasing these songs, it was so true to life,” she laughed.  Proud of the human connection she has created, she says, “That’s why we are here”.  When she recorded the songs for Side A, she explained she had seven more songs that she recorded as well, so hopefully, in 2018 she will release her first full-length album.

Jacqueline hits the road this summer with opening slots on two of the hottest tours this year, Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes Tour and Brett Eldredge’s The Long Way Tour.  She will also be joined by another one of our NYCS 2018 Artists to Watch, Jordan Davis on The White Wine and Whiskey Tour.

For more about Jillian Jacqueline be sure to be following her on FacebookTwitter, and InstagramClick here for her full list of tour dates for the new year.

 

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