10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2017
Sounds Like: Texas attitude, charmingly delivered by an artist who remains true to her roots – even if she's glad she left her small-town life behind
With a talent as big as Texas and personality to light up the whole U.S.A., singer-songwriter Alyssa Micaela is ready to take on the world.
Her debut single, “Getaway Car,” generated more than 3 million streams during its first few weeks of release. A feisty toe-tapper that celebrates female independence, its no surprise which artists this newcomer relates to. “I gravitate toward the strong females. Growing up, I always sang songs by Loretta Lynn, Selena, Patsy Cline, the Dixie Chicks, Shania and Miranda Lambert,” the talented 24-year-old says. “I’m a big fan of Martina McBride, Linda Ronstadt, and Reba. I’d love to meet Dolly.”
Alyssa grew up in Texas and her roots run deep in Odessa where her family works in the oil fields. As a girl, she loved spending time with her Spanish-speaking grandparents and a great uncle who was a mariachi musician, and those are the relationships that helped to shape her future. “I was very close to them,” she says. “My grandpa loved music and loved to dance. He’s the reason I like the classic music so much. Whenever I was at my grandparent’s house, my uncle would always bring his guitar and accordion and sing to me. I was mesmerized.”
As a teen, Alyssa and her family began making pilgrimages to Nashville’s CMA Music Festivals where the aspiring singer/songwriter fed her young passion for country music, standing in autograph lines to meet the stars and taking in as many concerts as she time would allow. The bright and enthusiastic young artist picked up tricks of the trade by observation, but a friend also connected her with successful songwriter Liz Rose and the education began in earnest.
The prolific and popular Rose has co-written such hits as “Crazy Girl” (The Eli Young Band), “Songs About Rain” (Gary Allan), “The Wrong Girl” (Lee Ann Womack), “Like My Mother Does” (Lauren Alaina) and the Grammy-winning “Girl Crush” (Little Big Town). She also collaborated with another teenage songwriter, Taylor Swift, to co-write country hits “Picture to Burn,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” “Fearless,” “Tim McGraw,” the Grammy winning “White Horse” and the Grammy winning “You Belong With Me.”
“With me, its always personality, first,” says Liz. “Then its ‘I hope you can sing.’ When I finally did hear her sing, I was blown away. Thats when she hooked me, when I saw her on stage with a band. Stage presence, the last thing that usually comes to an artist, is the first thing she had. Live, her vocals are so strong. I just think shes got it. I really believe in her. I want her to have the best of everything.”
“Liz pretty much taught me how to write songs,” Alyssa recalls. “I would talk to her about what was going on in my life. Shed help me put those words into a song. She has been a part of this, every step of the way. She gives the best advice, because she gives advice like a mom would, but also like a friend. She’s my fairy godmother.”
Rose helped Alyssa build a strong team of supporters. She signed her to her publishing company (Liz Rose Music, A co-venture with Warner Chappell Music) as a songwriter and suggested Pete Olson (Master Craft Management) as a manager. Pete placed Alyssa with booking agency, CAA who introduced her to one of her idols, Willie Nelson. She ended up opening several shows for the legend last fall and now, with “Getaway Car” taking off, she is performing more and more. She has added opening for popular touring acts including Eli Young Band, CAM, Jon Pardi, Aaron Watson and Sam Hunt to her tour resume, and she recently opened for Willie again at the iconic Billy Bob’s nightclub in Fort Worth.
Alyssa is now immersed in music for her first (full-length or EP) album and she finds herself in the studio with the best of Music City, including producer Corey Crowder (Chris Young). And as awestruck as Alyssa is by Corey, he is equally dazzled by the young ingénue. “I love Alyssa just because she’s so unique, her voice is amazing, she has such a cool style about her and she can pull off saying stuff some girls can’t pull off and she’s willing to say it, that’s what I think is cool,” he gushes. “I love the songs that we recorded. They are written with amazing writers, they’re killer songs, but they really stretch both ends of the spectrum that Alyssa is as an artist, all the way to the left, all the way to the right, you kind of get a sense of who she is as an artist and a person.”
The young beauty is testing those songs on live audiences and the response to new tunes like “I’m In a Bar” and “Cowboys Like That,” along with her goose bump-inducing, bilingual cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” are being met with overwhelming enthusiasm.
And Alyssa? Well, the easy-going beauty is taking it all in stride and keeps the same humble attitude she was brought up with – “Ever since ‘Getaway Car’ came out, things have really progressed. Ive made so many friends. When you get right down to it, life is really easy if you’re nice to people. That’s the way I look at it, and that’s the way I was raised.”