1. As a condiment Mustard is unable to use technology such as a smartphone. Could you explain what an “Emergency Contact” is and the inspiration behind your latest single?
An emergency contact is a person whose number you write down at the go-karting place in case you accidentally drive off of a ramp into a river. The person you want to show up in your most embarrassing or hard moments.
The story behind Emergency Contact begins with my quite literally driving to my boyfriend’s apartment after hearing his childhood dog had died. As I was rushing over there, I was realizing how seriously I felt about him and thought to myself “wouldn’t that be a ridiculous start to a song – speeding for someone you love and realizing at that moment how deep your feelings were”. Then that got mashed together with lyrics about how non-committal and afraid my generation /Millennials and gen z can be in relationships!
2. Do you have a favorite memory of playing Guitar Hero 3? Favorite song from the game?
My memories of Guitar Hero 3 are just hours of playing through the campaign. I think in one week I breezed through the campaign on medium through hard but still haven’t made it through expert. I remember discovering Tenacious D through my guitar teacher growing up – I was obsessed with the Pick of Destiny. It wasn’t until high school though that I realized when I went to play Guitar Hero 3 again that The Metal was by Tenacious D. I had a guitar hero rebirth and now that is my favorite song from the game – after Cliffs of Dover which is my all-time favorite.
3. You’ve had a couple videos go viral on TikTok. What is that experience like? Has it changed how you use the platform?
That I have! It’s a unique experience every time, especially as someone who gets average views on the regular – when one takes off it always takes me on a unique journey. The first video I had go somewhat viral was of my song The Match. That was the most beautiful and reaffirming experience. I was just posting a song a day for the She Shreds media challenge. The Match was a song I’d been told by a teacher and peer or two that it was “just okay” so I wrote it off as a song that would stay on my shelf forever. But then, a ton of people resonated with it. I made some amazing friends and fans through that song and it made me feel so happy that people I don’t know resonate with my music. However, I then had the moment of “OH GOD I NEED TO RELEASE THIS SONG”. So I tried to get it recorded as fast as possible but it took until November of the same year (it went viral in January). The hype had died by then, to say the least so it definitely changed my perspective on posting songs that aren’t already recorded… but then again it still had it’s moment and I met great people from it so who cares!
The other video that went VIRAL VIRAL was a video I took at my cousin’s basketball game. The mascot on the opposing team was a super cute Star that I was watching when unsuspectingly it turned around and had the name “Twinks” written on the back. My sense of humor said “YUP. That’s going on the internet.” With LGBT by Cupcake playing in the background, that video went everywhere. While it is a little frustrating that the videos I put so much time into involving my music or me as a person never get that much success, this video going viral was so fun for me. Having 2.7 million people get my sense of humor is a fun experience. Felt like I hacked the viral code with that one! Little Kate who wanted so badly to go viral on Vine back in the day would be proud.
4. In an interview with Edward Sylvan you mentioned being handed a Regina Spektor CD. Do you remember what song stuck out to you that inspired you?
Samson. The song was gorgeous piano mixed with the most heartbreaking lyrics but they were also the most unique lyrics I’d ever heard. Regina Spektor tells a classic story through a modern-day lens that humanizes Samson & Delilah to a modern listener. I was sobbing to a song that says “ate a slice of wonder bread” in it! THAT is talent.
5. There is underlining humor in your lyrics. How has comedy helped influence your storytelling?
Glad you think I’m funny! I’ve always wanted to be the funny one in the room. Humor is a great way to establish rapport with people so I’ve always tried to use it as a way to break the ice. In my storytelling, humor is a great way to invite the listener in. They feel comfortable because they’re laughing with you like you’re old friends and then they’re more open to whatever the message of the song is. Plus, all good stories mix some humor into the seriousness. You gotta love the comic relief! It always makes the main plot line shine even more – shout out Mater from Cars.
6. Shredding is incredibly important in your music. Are there other items you like to shred?
Mostly cheese. Shredded cheese makes nearly anything better.
7. What advice would you give musicians looking to join TikTok?
Just have fun. And when you find your people – pour into them. There is such beauty in the relationships you can build through the app. Focus on those and don’t let the other numbers and stuff get you down. (And if it is – lock your phone in a drawer for the weekend)
8. Would you consider that life is like a game of Golf? Additionally, could you explain what golf is?
My favorite quote from my friend Kara’s dad, Scott Horning, who may or may not have been quoting someone else, is – “Life is like a game of golf – you only spend a few seconds swinging so you have to learn to enjoy the walk”
As for explaining what golf is, I think it can best be described as a day-long go-kart race in which the go-karts stop periodically to take in the view.
9. Humans often wear many hats. Would you say that you wear many guitar straps? Could you tell Mustard more about your company, Big Chick Energy?
I DO wear many guitar straps. Big Chick Energy was a passion project that started when I was in middle school. As a young girl playing guitar, I was constantly pointed in the direction of pink guitar straps – which is cool if you’re into that – but I always felt there was a lack of fashionable guitar straps that fit artists’ personalities! So I started sketching guitar strap designs for myself. The amazing Peggy Noland helped me bring them to life back then and now they’ve evolved into guitar straps with Velcro patches on them so you can have one or two straps and just change the design!
Here is the website if you want to see the ICONIC hot dog guitar strap with -of course – Mustard on it! https://bigchick-energy.com/
10. You wrote an original song for American Girl. Describe how that happened.
In high school, I met the amazing Roger Alan Nichols. I signed up for a random NSAI mentoring session and lucked out that he was my mentor. After we met and he gave me advice I went back to Kansas then months (maybe years) later I received a call from his amazing wife Erika, the GM of the iconic Bluebird Cafe, who said there was a project coming up that they needed young, female songwriters for. I said yes without even knowing what it was. Then, another woman called me, Denise Stiff, who is now a dear friend, and dropped the news that I would be writing a song for the newest American Girl Doll – Tenney Grant. She was a Nashville songwriter and the ten of us got to read her book and then write songs that would fit her story. Fortunately, mine was one of the songs chosen to be featured in the books, products, AND their guitar hero-style computer game. You can play it on the American Girl website. I’m the boss song. Dream come true.
11. If you could write a song or jingle for any grocery store, what grocery store would it be?
Selfishly – I’d have to say Cosentino’s Market. My cousins back in KC own grocery stores so I’d have to write them a song. Maybe I will someday!
12. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
My newest single I Don’t Know Where it Went Wrong comes out this Friday, April 8th! It’s the second song off of my EP Note to Self which comes out May 20th!