Up Close and Personal with Christie Huff
Christie Huff is a budding artist that has been breaking through musical barriers with her unique brand of Country meets Pop. Garnering accoladses such as playing at the House of Blues and Hard Rock Cafe, Huff is a musical force that is wise beyond her years. Her mature sounds brings classic elements into her songs, with a unique, updated twist. Her vocals are pure heaven, as it shows the energy and charisma of Huff as both a songwriter and an artist.
Currently residing in California, this is a new venture for Huff and her Nashville-oriented sound. Her current release Roll the Dice shows an edgier, bolder side of Huff as she explores her songwriting on the 11-tracks that are laced throughout the record. Love, heartbreak and more fill the record, with a personal touch on each piece, such as the charming tracks, “Road Trip,” and “Lost in Translation.” We had the chance to catch up with Christie Huff recently to discuss her upcoming musical endeavors for 2016, below.
When writing what comes first for you, the music or the lyrics? Why so?
When writing, it changes every time what comes first. But usually I have a tune with the lyrics, or at least the main lyric of the chorus come to me first. But it changes every time. I think the chorus comes to me with both the tune and lyric first because that is the whole idea for the song.
Your music combines elements of both Country and Pop. Often times artists are criticized for being too far to on side. How do you manage to combine the two with such unison?
First off, thank you for that compliment. I think a lot of what makes my songs a mixture of country and pop is that when I go to write a song I don’t try to write it in a specific genre. Naturally, my voice is very country and lots of times the lyrics are more country because my lyrics often tell stories. But I listen to all types of music, so I think when writing I bring a little bit of what I listen to, to my songs. But I think the key to writing songs and not making every one of your songs sound the same is to not try to write for a specific genre. When writing I try not to think too much about what people will like, if you do that, you don’t listen to yourself in the creative process. Most times the songs I write and don’t think too much about it, are the ones people like the best.
What is it like being a Country-oriented artist in Los Angeles? Is it difficult at times? Do you find there is a Country scene in LA?
I love being a country artist in LA! What I love about LA, is that it is an artistic melting pot. There are so many different genres people sing. Being a country artist in LA is great because It gives me the opportunity to stand out more. But there is also definitely a group of country artists in LA, and since there aren’t as many country artists out here compared to Nashville or Texas, the country artists in LA stick together and become a family.
What is the theme and concept behind your newest album Roll the Dice? Was the album inspired by specific events?
I’d say the over all theme of Roll The Dice is to follow your dreams and take chances. There are songs like “Give It Up” and “Start A Fire” that I wrote about moving on from your past mistakes and overcoming adversity. I named my album “Roll The Dice” because it’s a metaphor for taking chances and risks. When writing this album I was going through a state of transition in my life. I was caught right in between adolescence and adulthood. I wrote it right before I moved to LA, and moving to LA was on a leap of faith; I was rolling the dice and letting what was going to happen, happen. But I also have fun songs inspired by memories growing up and my day dreams. I think theres something for everyone on this album!
What lyricists do you look up to?
There are many lyricists I look up to including Carole King, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Ben Folds. But since I grew up listening to Taylor Swift, she is the one who had the biggest impact on me and is the one who inspired me to start writing songs. Ed Sheeran is another one I really look up to, after reading about everything he did to make it big in the music industry; singing at open mics, playing shows every night, and making life sacrifices moving away from home to pursue his career is what made me realize I had to move to LA and be a live performer first.
You struggled with Dyslexia as a child. How did this affect the way that you write songs?
Because I struggle with dyslexia and school didn’t always come so easy to me, I turned to music and writing songs as an escape. Writing, just like singing, was a passion first and then after a lot of hard work and practice became a talent. Writing songs never seemed to frustrate me and it was never so difficult to organize my thoughts and what I wanted to portray in the song like it was difficult to organize my thoughts and portray what I wanted to say in an essay form. I think the reason writing songs isn’t difficult for me is because when I write, the lyrics and tune come to me at the same time. The music, for some reason, makes it easier for me to portray what I want to say. It’s just how my brain works I guess!
What would you say is the most personal song for you on Roll the Dice and why?
The most personal song on Roll The Dice for me is definitely “Start A Fire”. I wrote “Start A Fire” about my struggle with dyslexia and what I am going to do to overcome it. I had a lot of family and teachers who really supported me when I was in school, but unfortunately in life there are always going to be people who bring you down and who don’t believe in you. I wrote that song about the people who didn’t believe in me because of my learning disability. Even though it’s a personal song, I think it can relate to a lot of people about overcoming their own trials and adversities.
How did you team up with producer Jeff Dayton and what was that experience like?
I met Jeff Dayton at the Kauai Music Festival, a festival on the island of Kauai for songwriters. He was one of the guest teachers there and I signed up to have a 1 on 1 meeting with him. I showed him my song “I Just Wanna Love You” and he invited me to come out to Nashville and finish my CD with him. We clicked instantly and working with him was a dream come true! We have a really good relationship and he cares about my opinion in producing the song. It’s hard to find a producer who respects and values your opinion, I am very lucky to have found that. He is a very talented musician and has worked with lots of great artists, including being Glen Cambell’s music director.
You have shared the stage at several prominent events and venues. Do you have any plans to play shows or tour this year?
I just got back from my first tour with my band throughout the southwest last week! It was a blast! We plan to go back out on the road again in September.