Amy Stroup is the perfect example of Nashville being represented from not country music but the eclectic nature of a festival that is 60 or so miles south in I-24 – Bonnaroo. With shades of Lucindia Williams, Phantogram and Regina Spektor, Stroup’s solo debut Tunnel dabbles in tasteful tracks of perceptive lyrics, lush arrangements and haunting grooves.
In 2012, Stroup and Trent Dabbs, another young Nashville singer-songwriter, put together Sugar and The Hi-Lows, a band that performed the duo’s original material with an upbeat combination of pop, folk, soul, rock, gospel, rockabilly and R&B. Their eponymous first album was released in 2012 and they’re currently working on their second collection. Stroup carved out the time to put together Tunnel between touring with The Hi-Lows, the songwriting collective Ten from Tenn and her work with her marketing and management company, Milkglass Creative. Songs from the album have already been placed on Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth and The Vineyard. Stroup is also featured in the ABC-TV documentary The Love of Music: The Story of Nashville. With all these various forms of media catching on to Stroup, we caught her for a few swift questions via email…
Firstly, tell us about Tunnel?
I wrote this record over the last three years, in between time on the road with Sugar and the Hi-Lows and days spent at Brown Owl studio in Nashville. It’s a collection of songs from that time inspired by conversations with friends, independent films, break-ups, and books I was reading. Sonically, it nods at the feel of my last record The Other Side of Love Sessions with heavy, cinematic string arrangements and piano & guitar-based writing. I’d say the style is pushed a bit with the addition of some modern tones influenced by more recent inspiration.
Describe your music and/or sound in one sentence?
I play in the key of love.
Who are your musical influences?
Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and Beyonce.
What do you think is the best album ever written? Big question. I think this is almost impossible to answer as my favorites are always evolving. Here are some of my favorites that have stuck…
Modern Times – Bob Dylan
West– Lucinda Williams
Women – Rhye
Massachusetts – Lori Mckenna,
Viva La Vida– Coldplay
Little Spark – Jessie Baylin
Body Talk – Robyn
What’s been your best gig so far?
Sold out Sugar + Hi- Lows shows with Ingrid Michaelson are at the top.
If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?
I’d love to do a duet with Beyonce
What TV show would you like to hear your music featured on?
I’m thankful for the many shows that have used my music in the scenes of their shows,but if I had to pick one… I wish I could go back in time and have a placement on ‘Friday Night Lights.’ I think the music on that show was awesome and being from Abilene, Texas it would have been an honor.
Where in the world do you most want to perform?
I’d love to do a European tour. Trent and I were just over in London playing shows in the UK. We loved it… I can’t wait to go back. Also, In the states I’ve always wanted to do a theater tour with my Ten out of Tenn friends KS Rhodes, Trent Dabbs, Erin McCarley, Gabe Dixon, Andrew Belle, Katie Herzig, Butterfly, Courtney Jaye, Kate York, and MPJ. Touring is always more fun with friends.
What’s your fondest musical memory?
The first time ‘Hold Onto Hope Love’ was on TV, my friends and family threw a party. We watched the scene live from Brothers and Sisters, it was an emotional scene on a rooftop with fireworks. Seeing a song I had written be used in such a big way while celebrating with friends and family was icing on the cake for me.
What are you listening to right now?
New & shameless: 1975, Girls & The Walter Mitty sound track. Still can’t get enough “Song for Zula”byPhosphorescent, Bahamas record, and Beyonce ” XO”, Caroline Smith: Bloodstyle, and a revolving door of others…