Jillian Edwards is a rising singer/songwriter who released her latest album, Daydream, earlier this year. The album features the song “Gotta Have You,” which Ryan Seacrest premiered on his radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest. This November and December, Jillian can be found on a special holiday tour with Steven Curtis Chapman, entitled, “Joy: The Christmas Tour featuring Brandon Heath and special guest Jillian Edwards.” We asked Jillian to share with us a bit about her motivation, her favorite things and how she stays balanced as her career takes flight.
You are a Southern girl now living in Nashville, Tenn. When and how did Nashville become home?
I am from Dallas, Texas. I fell in love with Nashville when I lived here for the summer of 2010 to pursue music. I went back to Texas to finish my last year of school, then moved right back to Nashville a couple of weeks after graduation to pursue music full time. That was about three years ago.
Do you remember a certain age when you knew you wanted to pursue music?
I don’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t love to sing. I remember in fourth grade, we had to decorate these little paper cutout bears as what we wanted to be when we grew up. I made a microphone out of a pen cap and glued it to the bear’s paw, and I cut out a piece of purple sequined fabric to glue on as the dress. I wanted to be a singer. I remember being in a “girl band” at recess, and making big plans for our career on the playground.
Did you have an early music mentor?
Charlie Peacock was an early mentor for me, and his involvement and encouragement had a lot to do with my decision to move to Nashville that first summer.
Do you have any surprising ways to find inspiration?
One of the surprising ways I find inspiration for songwriting is long-distance driving, especially when I am by myself or not talking to anyone. When I am on the same road for several miles and I don’t really have to think about anything, usually words and melody pop up, and I end up piecing it together in my head until my next exit when I have to pay attention. Usually, I’ll follow up with it later on when I’m not driving and am able to play guitar, but it’s become a pretty normal thing for songs to start behind the wheel.
If you had to choose a different career, what would it be?
If I had to choose a different career, I think I would design and own a coffee shop. I wouldn’t want to actually be the boss of the place; I would just want to be the idea person. I’d love to decorate and create a beautiful and comfortable place for people. Maybe host little intimate shows on a humble, indoor stage and be a champion for songwriters I believe in.
Do you have a favorite quote that has steered you?
There is a quote I wrote on the back of a manila folder that I taped to my wall in my college bedroom. It’s by Jon Foreman: “If you approach the world with the apron of a servant, then you are allowed to go places that you can’t go if you approach it with the crown of a king.” I love that because to me, it illustrates so perfectly that my purpose in pursuing music isn’t about being the great somebody, but it’s about giving to the world in the most natural way I know how.
How do you stay balanced amidst a booming music career?
Well, I’m not sure that “booming” is the first word I would use to describe my career, but I’ll take it! Staying grounded, I think, is largely tied to the people in my life. My entire family — from my parents and siblings to my husband and my in-laws — provides an extremely helpful perspective on pursuing music and life in general.
What are your travel essentials while on tour?
My two travel essentials while on tour are 1) dry shampoo. Cannot tour without it; 2) Lavender linen spray. This week, my tour crew consists of myself, my tour manager and my Mazda. It gets pretty stuffy in there, so a spritz of linen spray in the car every couple of days freshens things up.
What is your favorite way to relax and unwind?
My favorite way to relax and unwind is probably just to be a couch potato. Netflix, food and my husband.
What was the last great meal you had out?
The last great meal I had in Nashville was Barbara’s in Franklin. It’s simple home cookin’, and it’s amazing. Poppyseed chicken, fresh rolls, mashed potatoes … all the good stuff.
What books are on your bedside table?
Honestly, I am not a reader. I really wish that I were. I am trying though! I just started A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.
What are three things you can’t live without excluding faith, family and friends?
Three things I can’t live without … well, I don’t know how abstract we are being here, but:
- I definitely would be suffering without the ability to create. I don’t know what I would do without the luxury of writing/singing.
- Coconut oil. I use it for everything.
- I could live off of chips and guacamole.
Thank you Jillian!
For more about Jillian, the interview continues at Nashville Lifestyles! Be sure to pick up a copy today, or check it out online at nashvillelifestyles.com
Special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for the beautiful photos today. For more on Ashley’s work, see: ashleyhylbert.com
We’ve embedded her music video for “Gotta Have You” so you can hear for yourselves how beautiful her voice is! You can find out more about Jillian at Jillianedwards.com.