Music From the Women of New Nashville

 

By Jessica Brant

 

Demystifying the music industry inside Nashville’s throbbing heartbeat is a task left to niche music journalists excited to crack open its chasm and expose undercover talent. Nicknamed the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” and home to the Grand Ol’ Opry and North America’s largest vinyl pressing company, Nashville’s reputation for producing one-trick-ponies on Christian and country music charts is slowly disintegrating; “New Nashville” is brimming with indie alternative staying power, and some of the city’s best acts are in arguably women, not all signed to labels. 

 

Here is just a small sampling of singles from the women of New Nashville contributing to their respective indie scenes. 

 

OLDIE BUT GOODIE 

Hannah Goebel, “Highs and Lows”

Genre: Commercial Pop/R&B

Sounds like: Jessie Ware, Miranda Lambert, Alessia Cara

 

Last summer, Hannah Goebel wooed the world over with her blind audition of “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys on The Voice, whom Keys was a judge on. All four judges were moved by her performance, turning their chairs a few seconds into the song. Ultimately, Kelly Clarkson took the young pop singer under her wing, fighting off Keys, who also pined for her talent. It was later revealed on the show that Goebel wouldn’t be continuing on in the competition due to what she cited as “personal reasons.” Whatever the reason for walking away from an opportunity of a lifetime, we have a feeling Goebel is doing pretty well on her own; this March she released “Highs and Lows,” a song that belongs in a discotheque nearest you. She’s also making music with her brother in Nashville and is rumored to have a new EP coming out at the end of 2020. 

 

 

LOCALS ONLY GOODIE

The Rap Girl, “Get Ugly” 

Genre: Indie Hip Hop

Sounds like: Kelly Rowland, Sa-Roc, Kash Doll

 

Like her shirt reads in the video for her fresh-to-death “Galapagos Freestyle,” the indie hip hop scene in Nashville is a mood. The Rap Girl, real name Daisha McBride, is literally the source (or tour guide, depending on who’s asking) for your weekly hip hop digest. After releasing two successful albums, Wild and Need These Storms, McBride, who’s been grooming her online presence since attending college at Middle Tennessee State, is wildly popular with streamers and an underground university crowd. On “Get Ugly,” off her third EP titled, “Yafeelme,” the MC feels her own way deftly around the beat. Listeners like myself may not even be able to tell whether she freestyled this or wrote her lyrics out ahead of time. However McBride recorded, she needs to keep doing that because she’s living up to her namesake. 

 

 

GIRLS RULE GOODIE 

Black Bra, “Modern Feminist” 

Genre: Alt Rock/Psychedelic Rock 

Sounds like: Stevie Nicks, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fiona Apple

 

There is so much to like about Black Bra, but let’s start with their pro-feminist message. Feminism doesn’t stick unless it’s intersectional, and in the lyrics of the first verse of “Modern Feminist,” released last week on YK Records, frontman Elizabeth Grace Cameron nails it on the head. It’s a very thrilling time to be a feminist in music right now; major record labels are bending the rules for commercial elites like Taylor Swift and Doja Cat, giving them permission to, in essence, “stick it to the man” through either sexually exploitative escapades and crossdressing for diss tracks. Black Bra, whose new self-titled EP is set for release on July 17, takes a more reserved approach, but their efforts are not going unnoticed. And kudos for their jab at the beauty industrial complex. Like the meme says, society worships the dad bod, so can us ladies catch a break, please? 

 

 

 

STREAMING STEADY GOODIE

Jennafer Lynsey, “Click” 

Genre: Pop Country

Sounds like: Maren Morris, Dixie Chicks, Carly Rae Jepsen

Country star Jennafer Lynsey is used to getting “clicks.” At the age of 17, she left college life behind in her Buffalo, NY hometown for a shot at the Nashville music industry, connecting with an artist development team that showed her the ropes. The result? A grassroots following of over 23,000 followers on her social media and over 400,000 streams on digital platforms. Now she’s revving up for the same success with her anticipated single, “Click,” which has already reached over 59,000 streams. On the single, the bright-eyed blonde provides an intimate glimpse into a hopeless romantic’s dream-come-true. Just as music was her love at first sight, “Click” is about a romance blossoming from an instant connection before our eyes, inspired by her real-life romance with her boyfriend. Oh, to be young and free again! 

 

 

DAYDREAMING OF YOU GOODIE

Natalie Madigan, “Nostalgia’s Muse” 

Genre: Bedroom/Soul Pop

Sounds like: Vanessa Carlton, Lana Del Rey, Elle King, Lorde

 

Natalie Madigan enjoys a great Coachella fest performance and dreams of performing at Bonnaroo with Ariana Grande, so who’s to say this starlet-in-the-making won’t get there one day? Like The Rap Girl, Natalie Madigan also attended Middle Tennessee State as a music major, and she’s stated that her education has greatly shaped her artist career. While she followed a traditional college track, the sound on her first full-length album, What It’s Like To Be Known, is precocious enough to achieve a depth far beyond its years. The serene lead single, “Nostalgia’s Muse,” is a delightful earworm with impressive audio production behind it. 

 

Don’t leave talent hanging in Music City: I recommend following the No Country for New Nashville blog for playlist updates.

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