Published by: Guitar Girl Magazine, Story by GGM Staff, Photo credit: Tyler Woods
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Following her musical dreams, the young Australian country songstress Lily Grace recently moved to Nashville. To share her journey, the 17-year-old is releasing her new single, “Follow My Road,” tomorrow, February 24, but you can listen to the Official Audio Video a day early in our exclusive premiere.
Written by Lily, Chaise Flanders, and Kirsti Manna (who co-wrote Blake Shelton’s No. 1 hit “Austin”) and produced by Australian Award-Winning Michael Flanders, the track tells an optimistic narrative of this rising singer-songwriter’s journey as she ventures from Australia to Nashville with an upbeat, catchy tempo to complement.
“This song is about doing everything and anything you can to make your dreams come true and not letting anybody tell you otherwise.”
Grace shares with us the inspiration for “Follow My Road.” her career, and what inspired her to pick up the guitar and play.
Where did the inspiration for “Follow My Road” come from?
“Follow My Road” was a song I wrote on my last trip to Nashville in June of 2022. Since I was 12, I’ve been telling all of my friends and family that I’m going to go to Nashville, I’m going to write songs there, and I’m going to meet as many of the people in that town as I possibly can! This song is about chasing your dreams and not letting anybody or anything step in the way of that. I had flown 15,000 KMS across the world from Australia to be here in Nashville, and I felt that I was fully embodying that at the time. I was writing songs every day, going out every night to network, and flying out for shows on the weekends across the U.S. This song is an appropriate release because as I’m releasing this song, I’m in Nashville again, this time for a lot longer. I’ve left behind all my friends and a lot of my family; I’m finishing high school online and am here building something new! This song is about doing everything and anything you can to make your dreams come true and not letting anybody tell you otherwise.
You have had quite the career at just 17 years of age, opening for artists like Vance Joy back in Australia; now that you are in the U.S., what are you most looking forward to?
I feel very privileged to have had such amazing opportunities in my career so far; to write with accomplished songwriters, open for major headliners, and perform at some massive festivals across Australia and the U.S. has been amazing! What I’m excited for right now is to fully dive into my music and work as hard as I can to make this happen. Being in Nashville means I don’t have to go to high school in the daytime, and instead, I get to write songs every day, get home to rehearse, and meet fellow musos and industry wherever I go. It’s an incredible opportunity for growth. There’s such a buzz that comes from this town and the people who reside here. I’m excited for the opportunities that are up ahead; the people I’ll hopefully get to write with, the venues I’ll hopefully play, the songs I’m going to write, the live set I’m going to develop, and to really take full advantage of all these amazing opportunities as they come.
This song has an inspirational message. Where do you find the most inspiration in your life?
The one thing that inspires me most is standing on a stage. Whether I’m playing or if I’m watching someone else play. I get inspired watching the crowd react to different songs, different guitar solos/parts, different interactions between the performer and the band, different ways of moving around the stage, and different ways of communicating with the audience. Whenever I play a festival or showcase, I always arrive early and stay late to see as many of the acts as possible. I love to observe how they perform, how their songs flow, notice which songs the crowd sings along to, how they work the crowd, and how the crowd reacts to different moments in their set — I take mental notes. I always leave driven to try new things and experiment with different ways of writing, using the stage, and seeing how I can improve.
Do you remember your first musical influences, who was the reason you picked up a guitar?
There are a lot of people who have played an important role in my musical journey, but the one person who influenced me most in my early years was my first singing teacher. I started singing when I was 11, taking group lessons with a group of girls my age which I really enjoyed, so my parents got me one-on-one lessons for my birthday so I could learn to sing properly. I met my first singing teacher, who I absolutely adored. She would play the songs I brought in to learn on guitar while I’d sing, and I wanted to be just like her. She would gig at local venues on the weekends and would post videos of her singing and playing on social media, and I, more than anything, wanted to do the same. For Christmas that year, my parents bought me my first guitar, and she began teaching me some basic chords to get me started. Every class encouraged me, and I would come home from school every day and practice for hours, trying to master what she taught me. She really guided me through and taught me a lot of what I needed to know. Alongside her, I looked up to artists and writers who could sing and play. I looked up to acts like Kelsea Ballerini, Maddie & Tae, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Ed Sheeran. I had pictures of them on my wall, and I knew that I wanted to do that one day myself.
In 2022, Lily was the supporting act for Vance Joy at Riverstage in Brisbane, playing to a crowd of over 10,000 and most recently performed at Tamworth, Australia’s largest country music festival. She released her single “The Two of Us Meet,” which has now garnered over 1 million streams on Spotify alone, debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Australia Country Chart and landed her on Spotify’s New Music Nashville, CMT’s Australia Playlist and many others. The song also rose to the Top 30 on the Music Row Indie Chart and climbed to CMT Australia Top 30 as well.
Lily was awarded the People’s Choice Award and Best Video Award for her single “Annie June” at the 2022 Gold Coast Music Awards and was nominated in several categories, including Best Female Vocalist and Most Promising Future Star. Earlier in 2022, she was nominated in nine categories of the 2022 Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards and won awards for both Country Song of the Year and Country Rock Song of the Year.
The demand for her music in the U.S. has drawn her to Nashville, where she spent over 6 weeks doing radio interviews, television appearances, podcasts, songwriting, recording and performing in 2022. She performed at Live on the Levee in Charleston, WV, toured with the Davisson Brothers Band and performed at the Barefoot Country Music Festival in Wildwoods, NJ; Freedom Fest in Monterey, TN; songwriter’s rounds at the iconic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and other well-known Nashville songwriter’s venues. The future of this young artist certainly looks bright.