Two weeks ago, Laurel Wright packed up her guitar and moved to Nashville in pursuit of her dreams.
Wright grew up in Maryville with the support of her family and local community to inspire and drive her work. She has been writing and performing country music since age 3. Now, at 19 years old, Wright has begun the journey into full-on adulthood as an independent musician in the Country Music Capital.
With the maturation of girl into woman and singer into star, Wright has truly transformed in the past five or so months since we last spoke. She continues to write and perform with inspiration from artists such as Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift; however, her true conversion from hometown starlet into big-time performer comes with the entrepreneurial attitude she’s developed in the big city.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been to open mic nights every single night at different places,” Wright told ETEB last week. “It’s all about making connections and finding out where to go and what to do. A few days ago, I spent all day on Broadway [street]. I went by myself and went to every single bar and asked people who books each venue, and I got a bunch of emails and contacts. Then, I went and sent press kits to every single place that I visited.”
Wright’s do-it-yourself attitude did not develop overnight. The starry eyed youth turned driven businesswoman says she’s learned some hard lessons as she’s grown older and seasoned as a performer.
“I’ve been promised a lot of things by people in the past,” Wright said. “But the older I’ve gotten and the more experienced I’ve gotten, I’ve learned that I’m going to have to work for it, because there’s a million people in Nashville that are going to work at least as hard as I do. I definitely don’t give up easily.”
Wright certainly hasn’t given up on her dreams yet, and with good reason. With her fan base growing daily, the starlet is already making a name for herself in her new home.
“I’m so impatient, I always want things done now,” Wright said. “I’m going to go out there and bug the crap out of people until they let me play at their bar. Consistency is a big part of it. I’ll email people, I’ll offer to audition because I want to do anything I can.”
Efforts Paying Off
“[Last week] I went to a writer’s night at The Row and sang one song, and the booking guy came up to me afterwards,” Wright said. “He said, ‘I didn’t even hear you sing, but the way you carry yourself makes me want to book you. Want to play tomorrow night?’ For that to happen after only being here for a week—that was pretty crazy.”
“When you do all these writers’ nights, you see the same faces at each place. Tuesday nights you go to Douglas Corner, Mondays you go to Daisy Duke’s. It’s pretty neat, and that’s when you start making connections.”
Wright has performed at The Row for several nights now, all while still carrying out a booked schedule in the East Tennessee area on weekends.
“I’ve just been kind of picking and choosing my venues, now that I don’t live in Maryville. I can’t just do anything because it’s kind of hard to come back all the time for every single gig. Now I’m having to pick things that are near to my heart.”
Wright makes the trek back home on weekends to headline at events such as the Annual Deputy Jason Scott Memorial Bike Ride this past Saturday, Sept. 27. The ride and concert benefited two children diagnosed with life altering diseases.
Keeping a Busy Schedule
“When I’m not busy, I’m worried,” Wright said. If she’s not scouting out performance options in Nashville or playing locally in East Tennessee, Wright can be found using other forms of self-promotion to her advantage.
“Social media is a big part of what I do. My mom kind of started my Facebook page when I first started performing, and through the years I’ve watched how she posts pictures and posts. I’ve learned what people are going to respond to on social media. We haven’t gotten paid for advertising, and we haven’t paid for Facebook ‘likes’ or anything like that.”
Wright’s Facebook page currently has 12,350 ‘likes,’ but the number is sure to grow right along with her identity as an artist. Her most recent album, “Always Remember Me,” was released on iTunes on Aug. 30, and her future promises to bring more exciting prospects.
“I auditioned this year on ‘American Idol,’ and you should make sure you watch the show,” Wright said. “That’s really all I can say about it.”