What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio aboutyou.

Well – I had an incredible piano teacher as a kid. Before I ever learned how to read music, she had me sit down at the piano and find one note that described how I felt. Then, she asked me to write a story using more notes, and to narrate as I went. Eventually, I stopped narrating and the music became my story. Now, when I go to write a song, I imagine it like that – simple, one note at a time, as an expression of what’s inside of me. It’s freeing, expressive, and fulfilling.

There are many chapters of my musical expression. I started as described above, then eventually became a worship leader at my church at 13. Then, when that “community” self-destructed and my dad passed away, I didn’t play music for a short time. I began writing my own music and performing under “BYLAND” once I married Jake, my now partner and co-write. We finally released a home-recorded record in 2018. During that time, my sound grew and evolved along with my band – performing as a solo act, a trio with violin and cello, and ultimately landing on the large, cinematic full-band sound I’ve been after. I love my band. We all live in Albuquerque and rehearse our newest record weekly.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

Unlike the first record, which is very folky, sentimental and story-telling, “GRAY”, our new album, turned me inside out. It was written very in-the-moment and raw. I tried giving a voice to my internal, sub-conscious thoughts – unfiltered and real. My challenge to myself was to keep writing, even if the songs were “crap”. And some were. But some were really good. And I wouldn’t have written the good ones if I hadn’t written a few poopers.

When I connected with our producer, Nate Yaccino, who had worked with some incredibly prestigious musicians, I was nervous and confident at the same time.

He gained vision as I sent him iPhone recording demos and validated that we should make a full-length record. Early on, we knew we wanted to keep the songs vocally driven and simple enough to perform them acoustically, but we also knew that they lended themselves to the cinematic, and that these recordings would sonically flourish if we brought in “just enough” support.

It was important to me to keep a strong female presence on this record, and we had the honor of inviting Abby Gundersen, Meagan Grandall and Jessica Dobson to work with us. The energy they brought is something extremely special to me.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

This record is amazing. Each song has been my favorite as one point. We (my co-writer and I) took the time and effort to write and re-write these songs to be the best they could be, and we invested heavily into the production side, working with some grounded, talented and seasoned musicians. The feedback we’re gotten already is humbling, as well as empowering. I’m not one to boast about myself, but in this case, I’m not. This record was truly a community effort, and I’m glad it’s that way. Music brought us together and we’re better together.

ALSO: The music industry is extremely saturated right now. There are so many people putting out incredible music, and it would be impossible to have enough time to listen to it all. I could never make an album that everybody will love. And with this record, I didn’t try. I feel like I was true to the songs, and true to myself. And that is what I hope people resonate with, and what I hope we find for themselves after they listen.

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

Album: Trouble Will Find Me – The National (it’s just too good)

Movie: National Treasure for sure…even though Jake (my husband) said no one will take me seriously as a musician if I’m really honest. But man – Nick Cage gets me every time.

Book: The Glass Castle (when Jeannette made her own braces, because of how poor her family was…I just felt really heard, because I too did that…)

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

LIVE – Something happens to me when I’m performing. I feel like I’m able to pull from the audience, even if it’s just one person listening. But I prefer writing alone usually, even though I’d love to collaborate more soon!

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

Hmmm. One of my first shows ever – I was opening for I think Lydia Luce and Handsome and Grety. I drove all the way to Seattle from Woodinville in traffic, which was like almost two hours, then we got caught behind the Fremont draw bridge. I was stressed out of my mind, and I barely got there JUST in time for my soundcheck. Then…I realized that in all my hustle, I forgot the one thing I actually needed – my GUITAR.

I had total breakdown outside the venue, because I was so upset. I reluctantly asked to borrow someone else’s brand new guitar, and they reluctantly said yes.

I have to say – it turned out to be an incredible show, and I learned a lot…about kindness, and about how if someone I know ever forgets their instrument to a show, that I should be kind and generous and non-shaming, cuz damn. I’m sure they’re super embarrassed already and I’m sure that’s the last time they’ll ever make “that” mistake.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

“Lying On The Couch” from our first record. It’s a cinematic, instrumental piece I composed, and there’s a voicemail from my father on it…one of the last voicemails he ever left me before he died.

I love this song so much. My dad used to lie on the couch and listen to me play piano for hours…and that’s why I named it that. Go listen! <3

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

I’m so excited for our record, “GRAY” to come out on October 2nd!!!!!!!!!

I also have a surprise for September that I’m really excited to share.

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…


Photo credits: Katie Lively

Curated by: Christos Doukakis

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