What is your current single and/or album? My current single is “Get Over It,” and I just released the Spanish version titled “Superarlo.” It’s a mid-tempo country song about heartbreak with lots of steel guitar and a retro, throwback vibe. It’s perfect for lamenting at a dive bar. I wrote it with Trafton Harvey and Don Bedell, and my friend Kim Tate translated the lyrics for the Spanish version.
What was a typical Thanksgiving meal look like for your family? We have all the fixins’- turkey, stuffing, salad, potatoes, lots of desserts, and many other yummy side dishes! We go to see my fiance’s family first and then go to my parents’ house for a double dose of food and fun!
What were your Thanksgiving traditions when you were younger? It’s always been about food, family, fun, singing, board games, and lounging on the sofa as we digest everything. I remember hosting Thanksgiving at my own house one year, and I made everyone around the table say something that they were grateful for before we ate, but usually, we just dig in and have some laughs. It’s always nice, though, to remember how blessed we are and let our loved ones know how much we love them!
How has your Thanksgiving celebration changed since you have become an adult? Well, now I got a little munchkin that’s almost two years old, so everything revolves around him. He eats first, he plays first, he rules the roost. I can eat later, haha.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day memory? We have an old family video from when we were kids, and my grandparents came to visit. My grandpa’s name was Jim, but we called him Gim because we couldn’t pronounce the “J.” Anyway, the pumpkin pie burned, and he said, “oh my god!” and it was so hilarious! Then my dad and my brother raced after dinner. My dad rode the bike, and my brother James ran on foot. My dad barely won as he pulled up on the bike, exclaiming, “I’m stuffed! Are you stuffed?!”
What are you most thankful for this year? I’m always thankful for my family, especially my son. I love being a mom! I’m grateful to make music for a living and keep creating every day!
Do you prefer artificial Christmas trees or real trees? I like both. My mom always had artificial trees, but she decked the house out with lights and ornaments everywhere. I love lots of decorations. This year, we will get a real Christmas tree because my finance Jonny prefers that.
When do you decorate your Christmas tree? I’m always behind the curve, it seems. We still need to pick out our tree. We’ve been so busy, but I do have Christmas lights up. But honestly, I keep Christmas lights up all the time. My den, hallway, and windows always have strings of lights around them throughout the whole year. I think they are fun and create great mood lighting. I always have some on the back deck. I still need to put some out front. I put up a wreath on the front door, so we still spread the holiday cheer! We want to wait for a moment when we are all together to pick out a tree, and I’ve been out of town so much lately, and Jonny works a lot too. I think this weekend we will get one. I do have a miniature one in the bathroom!
What is your favorite Christmas song? What makes it your favorite? I love them all. I love the Mariah Carey Christmas album, and I love the classics like Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” I also love Alvin and the Chipmunks’ “Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here!” I love all the Christmas songs! I also think “O Holy Night” is gorgeous and especially moving with its beautiful melody. I can remember being ten years old, and my first piano book was Christmas songs. I learned “We Three Kings,” “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” “Noel,” and others. The chord changes are always interesting to me. Some Christmas songs are a lot more complex than you think. You have to sit down and figure out the changes on some of the bridges in songs like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Let It Snow.” I also love “The Christmas Song!” It’s full of those major 7th chords that I love!
What is your go-to holiday drink? My good friend and producer extraordinaire, Dan Serafini, would throw amazing Christmas parties with delicious food and drinks. He always had hot buttered rum, and it was divine!
What is your favorite Christmas present that you have ever received? When my dad got us all bicycles, it was the best thing ever! I remember him surprising us and opening the door, and there were three bikes in the driveway!
What were your Christmas traditions when you were younger? My parents threw big Christmas parties with lots of drinks, music, and food. My mom spent days stringing up lights in every room. She would wrap Christmas lights around everything, and each room would have a theme – one had blue and green lights, and then another room had multi-color lights. My sister Jamie would come to visit, and we would all take turns singing for everyone around the piano. It was a very big deal to me to get the chance to perform for people in the living room growing up, and it was always amazing to hear my family sing. My parents would sleep in because they were on that late-night schedule of gigging in the clubs, but we kids would get up early on Christmas, tackle our stockings without them, and then wait for them to wake up so we could all open presents together. That was usually around 11 am or so, haha! By that time, we had all shaken the presents, trying to guess what we got, and then divided them into our own separate piles, counting them to make sure we all got the same amount of gifts, haha. We would also go sledding down the hill on our street, but we preferred to use inner tubes, like the ones people use on the lake, because they went faster and were cushier. After a day of playing in the snow, we would rush home with frozen toes and warm them by the fire.
How have your Christmas celebrations changed since becoming an adult? I hope to have more kids and animals and just have a big ‘ole family Christmas. I miss having more family members around. My brother moved to Arizona, my sister Sam just passed away, my sister Melissa lives out in the country, Jamie just moved, and my sister Salina lives in Arizona. Plus, all my grandparents have passed away. My parents are close by, and I treasure the holidays and time spent with them, but I love having everyone together in one place. I want to make things as fun and festive as possible because I have my son. It’s a good kind of chaos and stress, and I just think the more, the merrier! Last year the snow was epic in Nashville, and we all got snowed in. It was my son’s first Christmas, and we got to go sledding down the hill on our couch cushion and play pinball and poker by the fire. I look forward to watching him grow up and giving him great Christmas memories.
What is your favorite Christmas memory? It’s hard to pick just one from over the years, but thinking about what gifts to buy for people has always put me in the holiday spirit. When I had my deal with Sony, it was the first time I made good money and was able to buy all of my family members nice Christmas presents. It really felt great to do that. I guess my favorite memories from childhood are just the ones from when I was a kid opening presents with my sister Melissa and my brother James and playing with all our toys all day. I also always love wrapping the presents, curling the string, and putting on the bows and everything. It’s sometimes fun to do a gag gift too!
How do you spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day? I spend the week relaxing and having fun with family, just eating a lot and taking it easy. I can’t wait for some vacation time! How do you spend New Year’s Eve? I usually have a gig on New Year’s Eve. It’s a good money-making night for musicians. My parents always had a gig on New Year’s Eve, and we would stay home and watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve – I always thought it was kind of boring. New Year’s Eve kind of makes me anxious about going back to work again, haha!
What do you typically eat on New Year’s Day? I will maybe have leftover turkey and make a sandwich with sourdough toast, tomato, mayo, cilantro, and avocado. There’s always lots of pie, ice cream, and cookies leftover, too. I’ll eat anything. I also love the mandarin oranges that come out at Christmas time!
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution for 2022? There are so many things I’m working on right now. I want to be more organized, have my days and weeks planned out better, fix up the house, and get a better system going for how I do things so I can be more present with my family and more focused at work. It’s so hard being a mom and having a career because it’s never the same thing all the time. It’s easy to get burned out and shut down from stress and irritation. I feel like if I’m organized and know where things are, however, it makes things easier!