Lindsay Broughton isn’t about to admit that her latest single, “We Don’t Mix,” was inspired by personal experience, but she does say its intent is a show of solidarity with anyone who’s seen their hopes of finding the perfect match quickly shattered.
However, the song’s optimistic tone is a reflection of the Canadian country artist’s undeniably charming personality, and is a clear indication of how well she’s poised to reach wider audiences. “We Don’t Mix” is the first taste of Broughton’s second full-length album due out this fall on Curve Music, the follow-up to her 2014 debut, Take Me There, which helped land Broughton a nomination in the Rising Star category at the 2015 Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
But like most first efforts, the album was the end result of finding her sound over a period of several years. Now, after learning the ropes with the help of some of Nashville’s leading songwriters such as Josh Osborne (Kenny Chesney, The Band Perry) and Trevor Rosen (Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban), Broughton is brimming with confidence that new material will leave a lasting impression.
Hailing from Brooklin, Ontario, northeast of Toronto, the self-confessed small-town girl has never abandoned the close-knit community values she grew up with. Broughton did briefly sing in a rock band while in high school, but ultimately chose to embrace singing country music, as her mother had. She got her first chance to prove herself in this area after joining the School Alliance of Student Songwriters (SASS), which put her in touch with a few established artists like Dan Hill.
Broughton was later discovered through MySpace by Curve Music’s Brian Hetherman, and over the next few years Broughton released two EPs, one containing the Top 40 Country single, “Restless As The Rain.” With all of that experience under her belt, Broughton is naturally excited to talk about what lays in store with her forthcoming album, which she will also be previewing at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta on July 28, and the Boots and Hearts Festival in Oro-Medonte, Ontario on August 5.
Tell me about writing “We Don’t Mix,” and what makes it different from your previous work?
When I was writing it, I had a million and a half things running through my mind. I wanted to write a fun, upbeat single, that was not only appealing to both men and women but a song that also translated well to both radio and live performance while still having substance. I feel like in the past my writing has always felt natural and been real and raw but, up until I began playing my songs live, I never understood that I should also be thinking about how the song would be played live and how to incorporate a crowd and create songs that will transcend the type of entertaining show I envision for my fans. In saying that, I think “We Don't Mix” incorporates everything that I initially envisioned for a single and I really believe that’s something I haven't been able to achieve within my writing process so far—until now!
You’ve worked with several well-known Nashville songwriters. What have you learned most from these collaborations?
Ha ha, that’s a loaded question! I don't think I have enough time to list off all of the extremely valuable lessons and things I’ve learned from Nashville songwriters. I do however always remind myself of something I learned from the early days as a “green” songwriter, new to the business—you’re going to write bad songs. It doesn’t mean you're a terrible songwriter or should feel discouraged when everything you write doesn't turn to gold. In my musical journey I've learned that sometimes criticism is easy to come by and it's easy to become caught up in negativity. Fact of the matter is, I learned from seasoned songwriters that you simply can't please everyone and you never will—even if and when you do write that #1 hit, someone will despise it! Co-writers in Nashville taught me to forget the pressure of trying too hard to write hits and that it's okay to walk out of a session with something that may not be deemed as a good song by others but is satisfying to yourself. Nashville writers have instilled in me that music is art and songwriting and creating is an expression of yourself, so do it and forget the rest.
What has been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
Well, that’s a question that opens a can of emotions! I'll be completely honest with you, my life these days is a rollercoaster ride of changes and I think personally and musically, one of the biggest changes in my life in the past year has been my ability to finally, comfortably cope with the unknown. Now, I realize this sounds ridiculous and may not seem like a big change by any means, but trust me when I say it's massive. We're talking monumental! I'm the type of person who loves to plan and possibly micromanage things from time to time, which means pursuing and having a career in music doesn't allow for many solid long term plans. I have no idea where I'll be next week or next month and I have no idea how long I'll be lucky enough to enjoy a career in music. In saying that, this year I've learned to say goodbye to stressing over the unknown and since I've made the change, it sounds cheesy, but I feel like my mind is at peace. I'm able to fully soak in and enjoy every musical moment and opportunity that presents itself.
What have been your most memorable experiences touring in Canada?
I have a ton, but one of my most memorable experiences happened while I was performing at a previous Big Valley Jamboree. I was playing a slot on Sunday night and my single at the time, “Take Me There,” had only been on the radio for a few weeks so I didn't expect a massively positive reception. I figured not many people would know my song, or me for that matter. I was just over the moon excited to play a festival and be included on a bill with artists I'm a fan of. So anyway, the day rolls around, and I show up to see thousands of people standing in the audience. It looked like a sea of faces and not only could I hear them singing the words of my songs back to me but mid-set they started chanting my name.
I don't think I've ever had so many goose bumps in my life! I came off stage after my set was over with happy tears in my eyes. Then when I got to my trailer backstage, the BVJ team had decorated it with streamers, cupcakes and champagne for my birthday that had come and gone while I was on the road traveling to the festival a few days before. I’m not ashamed to say I bawled my eyes out. I am beyond grateful to have that memory and experience in my vault and I can't thank the people of Alberta and the BVJ team enough for giving me one of the most amazing and memorable touring experiences of my entire career so far.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned as you've built your career, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the industry?
The keyword in that question is “building.” I've learned over the last decade of having a record deal, plugging away at radio and trying to make a name for myself, that one of the things that's most important to understand in the music business is that nobody is an overnight success and creating a solid foundation for a music career is like building a house. It takes time and it can't be rushed if you want longevity and quality. As an artist, I've learned one of the most important things about building a career and securing a good foundation is surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you, who believe in you and who will go to the ends of the earth to support your craft and help you grow as an artist or band.
The music business is a tough world and without great people to help you persevere and keep you grounded when you're successful and help to pick you up when you're struggling it will be a tough road for even the strongest of artists. I'd tell any musician entering the business that the musical road is sometimes a long one but the experiences, people and places where you'll travel, no matter the level of success you achieve, is all worth it in the end. Be sure of who you are, set goals and don't take no for an answer!