Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Heather Byrd moved to Nashville in the seventh grade. Our city has forever been changed by this blonde ball of energy. We are thrilled to gab with Heather today as our FACE of Nashville!
All photos today are credited to Dustin Lewis.
Tell us about Byrd’s Eye View. How did it evolve and what is it today?
When I graduated from MTSU, I started an event-planning company for nonprofit organizations in Middle Tennessee. I sent out a weekly email newsletter to every media person in town full of colorful stories, graphics and links to highlight the events my company was working on. A short time later, I got a call from the editor of All The Rage — an alternative weekly publication owned by The Tennessean. They recruited me to write a social nightlife column, Byrd’s Eye View. Thankfully, it ended up being very popular. The name stuck, and even though I’m no longer with The Tennessean, I still keep a blog that features entertainment coverage under the same moniker. I work with Do615, an events listing website that is your road map for a night out in Nashville, and I still hit the front lines and red carpets of all the entertainment events in town, most recently covering the CMA Festival and the CMT Awards for Us Weekly.
You appeared in the cast of Crazy Hearts: Nashville on A&E. What was the most unexpected thing that happened while filming?
That was easily the strangest experience I have ever encountered, and that is saying a lot — considering that my clinical FOMO (fear of missing out) gets me into all sorts of shenanigans. I was surprised by how guarded I became, internally, while filming and even more surprised by how I was unable to contain my inner dork and keep myself from saying every single thing that was on my mind … regardless of that fear. I was so worried about how I would come across on camera: what I would sound like, what I would look like, how I would be perceived. But now, after watching all the episodes and looking back on the entire process, I’m so proud of it. Sure, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments, and I definitely wish I had sucked in my muffin top a little harder, but it’s all me. I was honest and I lived my truth; I wasn’t misrepresented. And I can still show my face in this town and work in the industry that I love. It’s rare to have an opportunity to see that aspect of yourself and to evolve as a result. For that, I am truly thankful.
We all know about what’s hot in Nashville. But what isn’t getting attention that you think we all need to know about?
Nashville has so many amazing new restaurants and venues opening, I feel like I can hardly keep up. But the place I’m most excited to visit is StudiO2 — a new fitness studio set to open this fall by two dear friends of mine, Stewart and Tiffany Breeding. After studying with Olympic athletes in Colorado for the past two years, they have developed a fitness regimen that uses cutting-edge metabolic testing technology that strategically targets your metabolism. It sounds complicated, but what it really does is get results. I’ve been working out with them in their private gym for the past two weeks while the studio is being built, and I’ve already lost four pounds of fat and gained three pounds of muscle. It’s really encouraging to be able to see such precise results that quickly. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. I need to get my butt in gear this summer!
With your close relationship with the music scene, who are a few people you have pegged that we’ll all know about soon?
Lee Holyfield is one of my best friends, and we were both on Crazy Hearts: Nashville. She is so talented and such an amazing spirit. You just can’t help but cheer her on.
What quote or piece of advice have you relied on?
I live by many mantras, but I must say that I always tend to go back to this quote from Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Tell us one thing that people might be surprised to learn about you.
I perform in a sketch comedy show on weekends in Midtown called Bye Bye Liver: The Nashville Drinking Play. It’s all about the shenanigans that you can run into when you’re out having a cocktail at a bar. In between each sketch, we play drinking games with the audience. It’s completely silly and so much fun. It’s been running for two years now and is still going strong.
Is there someone you consider to be your mentor?
My mother. She is independent and ambitious, and she’s never let anyone tell her she can’t do something — trust me, I know. She also happens to be the most thoughtful, supportive, selfless person I have ever met. If I can accomplish even one-third of what she’s been able to do with her life, I will die happy.
Do you have a favorite indulgence?
Cocktails! They are my kryptonite, and because I’m such a social person they are abundant in Nashville — a drinking town with a music problem. And really, what doesn’t a good glass of wine go with?
What books are on your nightstand or e-reader?
Rodney Crowell’s Chinaberry Sidewalks, Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, Naked by David Sedaris, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins (one of my favorites) and my latest subscriptions to Vanity Fair, Garden & Gun, The New Yorker, The Red Bulletin and Us Weekly, as I like to see what resulted from all the interviews I conducted during CMA Fest. I better get to reading!
Where was your last best meal?
Urban Grub. It’s consistently delicious. The ambiance is stellar, and they always take excellent care of me. In fact, I’m craving it right now!
What is one piece that is a must-have for your summer wardrobe?
Sunglasses. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to sunglasses. I probably have more than my fair share thanks to the fact that my sister owns a jewelry/accessories store in downtown Franklin called Johnnie Q.
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
Fine red wine, sweet kisses and a sense of humor so I remember not to take everything too seriously.
Catch up with Heather on her website: hbyrd.com.