PT. 2: LYNDSEY HIGHLANDER KICKS OFF “THE STOMP”

PT. 2: LYNDSEY HIGHLANDER KICKS OFF “THE STOMP”

In this second installment of our story on “The Stomp,” the new concert series dedicated to raising the profile of female Country artists, founder/performer Lyndsey Highlander reflects on who she hopes these monthly shows will reach. (Hint: It’s not just for women only.)

“The Stomp” is at 8:30 PM CST on the second Tuesday of every month at Nashville’s Soulshine Pizza Factory (Nashville.Soulshinepizza.Com).

Who is the target audience for The Stomp? Do you want men in the industry to come down and see that they may have been stereotyping female artists?

I really hope this reaches the people of the Country Music industry and helps them realize it’s not scary to give women a chance again. This is what we need! It’s a celebration, so I want men and women to be excited about it. Like I said, Country Music is very family-oriented. It’s always been about stories and people growing up together. You need females and males to make that happen.

What about reaching out to young female singers?

I want The Stomp to be an atmosphere where female Country singers feel like they have support. I’ve noticed – and I’ve admired this about the males of Country Music – that they’re very supportive of each other. They’ll tweet and Instagram and Facebook about, “Hey, my bro has got a new CD out! Go check it out! He’s gonna join me onstage today!” They all love each other, or they do a great job of making it seem that way [laughs].

But I feel like women spend too much time being intimidated by other women, or think they have to be as skinny or as cool as them. Really, we should just accept each other the way we are and support each other. I want The Stomp to be that for the girls. I want us to learn each other’s stories and what we’re best at in our music and to believe in the other person, and to have girls to connect to like, “Hey, Sarah Darling’s CD is out next weekend! Everybody go buy it!” And then all the girls of The Stomp agree and support her. Women deserve to have a group they can depend on, but a lot of women feel they’re kind of alone.

Is there a message here for young singers being pressured into singing a type of song that pushes them more away from who they really are?

It’s difficult for any artist in Country Music to take the criticism and the suggestions you’ll get from everyone, because it’s easy to lose focus on who you want to be. But again, I look back and I realize that the criticism and the advice I received from people that really cared about who I am have made me stronger and made me realize that, “Hey, I shouldn’t do that. I should do this. Maybe I shouldn’t be so twangy when I sing; I could ease up a little bit.”

I don’t think you’re going to have the longevity that at least I dream of having if you don’t stay true to who you really are in your heart. That’ll come across onstage. If I don’t believe in it 100 percent, then I just can’t sing it because every time I sing it, I’m back into that story and I want to act that out for people. But it’s still important to take advice from people who are trying to help you, because a lot of times you just don’t know. You have to remember who you are and keep your feet firm but be willing to take advice from others.

Men may feel these days that they have fewer creative options these days because the expectations are so strong that they have to conform to the bro stereotype.

I do agree with you and there definitely is a common thing among the men’s songs. But I think FGL’s “Dirt” song, even though it is about dirt, goes deeper. It makes me think of my hometown after a football game with everyone gathering on the field. It makes me a little emotional, and I appreciate that. But maybe it’s about how bad you want a record deal. Maybe they feel like, “I have a family.” It’s working now on Country radio, so if they can keep songs that work on Country radio, then why not? But when it comes to women, we don’t necessarily have something that’s working right now. So we have more freedom to try this and try that. Honestly, I think the women who are really good songwriters just write what they’re feeling that day. We hope someone else can connect to it, whether it’s a man or a woman. You can’t necessarily connect to all those other songs with the same theme, definitely not in a deep way. But that is a positive way of looking at women’s careers right now: We can write about whatever we want – but we don’t know what works yet [laughs]!

One last question: You mentioned that you’ll be introducing a drink at the Soulshine shows called The Stomp. What’s in it?

Vanilla Stoli and Coke with a cherry!

Get ready for “The Stomp” right here”

For more information, including the artist lineups for upcoming concerts, visit TheStompNashville.com.

By CMA