Florida native Aubrey Wollett recently released her new single Saltwater Gypsy. Described as having a "soulful sound" alongside "Florida beach vibes that will have you craving a margarita by the end of the song", Saltwater Gypsy feels like a perfect addition to any summer playlist. The drum line leads the chilled vibe and grounds the other interweaving melodic lines whilst still leaving an overall production that feels relaxed and natural. Aubrey's distinctive tone undoubtedly lends itself to tracks like these and she sounds completely comfortable - a great track, it'll definitely be interesting to hear what comes of future releases!
I was recently able to catch up with Aubrey and ask her some questions....
What first drew you to country music?
When I was...probably in elementary school...I started listening to it because my parents did and that was the only thing my dad and I would agree on in the car ride there and back from school! So Shania Twain was like my jam when we'd go to school! [laughs] He wouldn't let me listen to rap music, he didn't like the pop music and I was like I love country so that's where I listened to it because that's what my dad would let me listen to! [laughs]
Do you feel growing up in Florida has influenced your particular sound?
Yes! Oh my gosh like Jimmy Buffett style, Sheryl Crow's got that Florida vibe and obviously growing up in Florida the things I write about are like the beach and boats and sand. I wanted to take the beach stuff like Jimmy Buffett and Jake Owen does it now but there's not really a female that does that. I kind of just write about what I know, the country genre allows you to tell stories so that's where I fit in.
Your new single Saltwater Gypsy has a perfect summertime feel, how did the parts of the song come together?
Oh my gosh, it's kind of my life! I'm all over the place and I definitely strategically plan my tours on different coasts, like California and both sides of Florida. People ask me why I don't go up north and I'm like no, there's no beach and it's freezing! [laughs] It's my life on the beach travelling gypsy. When I first wrote it I was single so I was like I didn't have time for anybody, I want to do my own thing...now my life's changed and I'm like dang it! I found someone, I want to be the gypsy with him. I wrote it before I met him and I was like I ain't got time for anybody! [laughs]
How was the response to the song been?
It's great! Oh my goodness it really has been. I've definitely found the truer that you stay to yourself the more people want to be a part of that. I've had a lot of Internet radio stations that have reached out to me like Island Music, Tiki Pods and I'm like I love that! I want to be played around listeners that like that summertime feeling, the beach and the boat life. It's been good so far, I'm hoping it's going to continue to grow.
Which song do you wish you'd written and why?
Ohhh that's a good one...oh my goodness I wish I'd wrote "Soak Up The Sun" by Sheryl Crow. If that could be my motto every day that would be it! [laughs] I love that song...gosh there's so many great country songs. Honestly there's so many songs that a lot of people haven't even heard just because of the song-writing community in Nashville. Everyone's writing, everyone's an incredible writer. I used to be a personal assistant for a song-writer in Nashville so my job was to listen to all of his older songs and try to find artists that he wanted to pitch it to and stuff. I heard a lot of songs that haven't been cut that it's crazy that no-one might hear them. Sheryl Crow "Soak Up The Sun" is definitely one I wish I'd written. That's my jam! [laughs]
Do you feel like the personal assistant job gave you a bit of a grounding in Nashville?
Yes, oh my goodness, through contacts and it definitely showed me the exposure behind the scenes of things and he was...his name's Dallas Davidson...he's super successful and has written for Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton...I got to see the community of his friends and once he found his core song-writer group that's all he wrote with just because he knew he was good at it and he'd connected with those people. I definitely saw the glamorous life and was like holy cow it's a whole different world! But at the same time everyone's real people so that made me realise there's a lot of stuff behind the curtain that's not so glamorous which I liked. I'm so clumsy and I'm so not perfect at all [laughs] but I'm like okay there's room for people to survive that are like real. It made me realise that I want to find my own community to grow in, it's better to take a longer route that is true to yourself to get there for sure. That's what he did, he writes about trucks and fish and people ask him why do you write about that and he's like I really do that like weekend, he's super redneck! [laughs]
How did you get from there to where you are now?
Honestly it was a big step of faith for me to quit it because he was going to keep me as his assistant and grow my business basically with his but as his assistant in the business side of things and in my heart I just wanted to create something of my own, I wanted to write music, I wanted to play. So with his blessing...I wasn't going to use him to further my progression, I really want to create my own thing and so I was like I gotta peace out, you taught me things and now I gotta go and do this on my own. He was nice about it, he thought that was the biggest move that I could do, to leave and go figure it out on my own. So honestly I just jumped off a cliff and gave him the keys and peaced out. I opened up for Michael Ray in the next month and then I actually went to France and played in a little winery in Paris by one of my friends that I met at Belmont, she's an international student there and we became really close friends. I just wanted to see more and play anywhere I could and that's when I realised it's up to me to create my lifestyle. Not everyone is in the Billboard lights but at the same time if I can make money off my music and travel and play and meet people then that's my dream for sure. That's kind of how I...I just started to figure it out and I'm still figuring it out, I have no idea what I'm doing! [laughs] I think we're all kind of winging it! [laughs]
Your debut EP was released almost four years ago, how do you feel you've developed as an artist since then?
Yes, that it's crazy it's almost four years ago! I have definitely grown since then. I honestly feel like that's definitely the baby step where I started because I was still working for my boss when I recorded that. It was a learning experience, I was still a new writer and I just wanted to put something out there. It sounds cliche but that's where I learnt my artist self, the beach stuff. Like "Summer Never Ends" off that EP, that was my motto then. The other songs...they're good but they're definitely silly boy stories that I turned into a song that was either based on my life or my best friends! [laughs] It was kind of my diary that I wanted to show everyone through music. I think I've definitely grown, even vocally...I'd never really been in a recording studio for that long to record it so I'm used to playing live, that's my thing, to play guitar, play my show. In the studio it's just like you, your headsets and your producer and I...we're all our own worst critic and when I'm in the studio I'm like I don't like that, that doesn't sound good, I should just redo it over and over and it got when I definitely learnt you just kind of have to act like it's a live performance - for me personally - and so I definitely have done that with the music that I'm going to continue to put out. That was the biggest thing I learnt.
How do you find song-writing from a personal point of view? Is it easier to work with your own experience?
It's definitely easier to write off my personal stories I think. Co-writing is very popular in Nashville though I would say I'm kind of a selfish writer because I'm either getting ideas from my life or a movie I watched...I like bringing the idea to the co-write, especially based off of personal things. It's easier to write about something that you know. It's like the beach thing, literally anyone who's writing summer songs they always text me and they're like Aubrey you need to be in this write, you're the Florida girl, you gotta tell us what it's like! It's a lot easier based off of real life stories, personal stories for sure.
Can we expect to see a full-length release from you soon?
I'm actually going to be doing the first Friday of every month...I think I have it planned out to September for sure...I'm going to be releasing a bunch of singles just because I kind of want to just keep putting music out there and I don't want to just be like here you go! It's been a long time since I did the "It's A Secret" EP so I like the connection that I'm going to get from putting out these singles because then I get the response and feedback and you purchase one song each time so I like that connection because every song is going to connect with someone differently and I like hearing the individual responses for each song. So yeah, first Friday of every month I'll be putting out a new song...I'm excited!
Does that start next month?
That started with "Saltwater Gypsy" so June...I don't even know, I need to figure out which song I'm going to release! I'm going to start doing a preview on my Facebook, my music page and stuff, I want you guys the fans to help me pick which song you want to hear next. So I'm kind of still out on a limb on which song it's going to be too! We're all in this together! [laughs]
You've toured with some of country music's rising stars, what would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I'm going to say Keith Urban, I think he'd be really fun to learn from. I love him, I think he is very genuine too - I haven't met him personally but from what I've heard - he's so big and it hasn't really gotten to him at all. I wish I was as great a guitar player as he was! I'd probably be like can I have some lessons while we're on tour, you've got nothing to do! [laughs] At the same time Kenny Chesney would be right up my alley for the beach thing. I should tell him that! I'd be like Kenny listen, we would blow this out of the water because I'm a female, beach, country version of you basically! That would be awesome, I think we should tell him [laughs] I love Colbie Caillat too, I want to meet her for sure. I want to write with her actually, that would be a dream of mine, let's make this happen! [laughs] I wish it was that easy!
Are there any plans to come and tour the UK?
Not yet but I love travelling the world. I feel like I would get a better response going out of the country. I don't know, what do you think? If I had the money I would go there. Isn't there a country festival over there now? Every March...Country To Country...Nashville Meets London...I'm serious, if I find a way that's something right up my alley, Nashville Meets London. I definitely need to look into that. I think working on the business side I've realised you just kind of find your way or ask people things. People say how do you do this, I'm like I just ask! If you're good and you show up they're going to invite you back! Just like hello I'm here! It's hard work sometimes but it's worth a shot. Actually my boyfriend works for an Italian company and his dad does too and we're going to Italy...he has like a show...and we're going to Florence and Sorrento so we're staying in Italy and I'm very excited. I hope we're going to be near some water when we go closer to the South. I'm going to be like where's the water! [laughs]
Thank you to Aubrey for her time! Saltwater Gypsy is available digitally and you can find more information on Aubrey and her music on her website.