What does winning the 2013 Nashville Contest mean to you?

It means absolutely everything! It’s such a reassurance that all the hard work really does pay off. I’m so excited for all the upcoming events and opportunities that will come with winning this competition, and all the doors that this could open for me.

What inspired you to become a musician?

Singing has always been the biggest part of my life since, well, ever. I always begged my mom to get me on as many stages as she could when I was younger, and the supportive mom that she is, she did just that. It wasn’t long after  7 years old when I realized I could definitely spend the rest of my life doing this, and only this, and feel completely fulfilled. However, after my thirteenth birthday was when I realized how badly I really wanted it, and that feeling grows stronger with every small gig I play, every song I write, and every artist I see live out their dream.

What surprises have you encountered in pursuing your music career?

The first thing that comes to mind with the word “surprise” is usually something fun and exciting like a surprise birthday party, or a new car in the driveway with a huge red bow resting on the top of it. While I really have had so many phenomenal experiences during my career, and met so many positive, supportive people, I’ve had many unexpected surprises emerge that I would’ve never saw coming. But that’s the business for you, it’s a little unfair sometimes, but it’s by far the most exciting business to be involved in, and I hope to never be involved in any other business for as long as I live.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO I AM. I’m always changing genres and styles, trying to figure out which I’m best at. I love it all. I love RnB. I love Country. I love Indie/Alternative. I wish I could do it all, but I’m a Country girl and I feel like no matter how many phases I go through, I’ll always fall back on my midwest roots.

What’s your process for writing lyrics and where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Haha, I have absolutely no set process for writing songs, and even if I did, I would never stick to it. Writing songs is something you can’t force. If you want a genuinely good song, I feel like you need to just let it flow, let the ideas come naturally and let the words write themselves. As far as inspiration goes, I find that everywhere I look.

Tell us about your most memorable performances.

One of my most memorable performances to date is definitely the live auditions at X-Factor last year in front of Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, LA Reid & Simon Cowell’s replacement Louis. It was the biggest crowd I had ever sang in front of, but that wasn’t the reason why it was so memorable. It was a very eye-opening experience. It woke me up to how much preparation you need for those type of things. You need to know exactly who you are as an artist, be confident in what you want to bring to the industry, and have your act down so well that you could perform it backwards. Although I got through to the next round, I wish I would have given a more powerful audition. It was a learning experience, and had me ready weeks and weeks in advance for when I would get to sing Gavin DeGraw’s famous single “Not Over You” in front of Gavin himself.

Have you shared the stage with anyone we would know?

When I was 13, I opened up for Britain’s Got Talent’s JLS and AMA’s 2011 New Artist of the Year winner, Hot Chelle Rae down in St. Louis. I also played a show with the up-and-coming band IM5 in HollyWood last summer.

Anything else you want to share?

To any aspiring musicians reading this; I just want to let you know, you can do it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dreams.