By Lauren Millard cleveland.com
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Lauren Millard reports, their debut self-titled EP is "the sound of three young women with a passion for music and a brash sense of humor, creating fun feminist anthems and songs of empowerment like 'Delight', 'Be A Bro', 'Ruin That For Me' and 'Broke' "
There’s a fresh new look and sound to country music, created in large part by strong and empowered women like Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris.
Avenue Beat -- a trio born straight out of Quincy, Illinois, is part of that movement. Sami Bearden, Savana Santos and Sam Backoff got their start singing cover songs at sleepovers.
Now, the trio of 21-year-olds is one of the most promising new acts in Nashville, signed to the Big Machine, home to some of country’s biggest talents and the label that helped make Taylor Swift a star.
Their debut self-titled EP just came out on Big Machine’s Valory Music Co./Tape Room Records, co-produced by lead singer Santos. It’s the sound of three young women with a passion for music and a brash sense of humor, creating fun feminist anthems and songs of empowerment like “Delight,” “Be A Bro,” “Ruin That For Me” and “Broke.”
The trio is opening for Maren Morris tonight at the sold-out Guitars for Girls concert at the Hoke Theatre of the Stocker Center on the campus of Lorain County Community College in Elyria. The show, presented by country radio station WGAR-FM/99.5 in partnership with Metro Lexus and the United States Marines, is a benefit to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment.
Avenue Beat’s performance will be streamed live via WGAR’s Facebook page (@995wgar) starting at 7:30 p.m. We spoke with Savana Santos recently about band and its music.
Q: So, you’re opening for Maren Morris who has really established herself as one of the biggest country stars in America and a powerful female voice in country music. Can you talk a little about what it’s like traveling with her?
Santos: This is our first time ever doing anything with her so, we’re really excited to go meet her and listen to her and get inspired from all the stuff that she’s doing because she’s one of the greatest women in country right now I think.
Q: You and your best friends grew up in Quincy, Illinois. I saw that you were friends with one of them since you were babies and then you met the other one at a music festival. When did you guys all start making music together?
Santos: We became friends at like 14. We started making music together. It was just kinda the thing we all loved to do when we were bored. If we were at a sleepover together, we would make a cover for fun and it kinda turned into a job, which is cool.
Q: So I heard you were the co-producer for your band’s EP. What was that like?
Santos: It was actually crazy because I got to co-produce with Ashley Gorley and David Garcia, who have done stuff for Florida Georgia Line and Carrie Underwood and a bunch of big names in country. And I got to work with them and learn from them and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.
Q: Did you have any other experiences in producing your music or was that your first time?
Santos: I get to do all the demos for Avenue Beat, which is when we write a song. I’ll be the one who does the initial music for it. But I've really only ever done tracks for us and for our songs because I learned off of YouTube, just messing around and I didn’t think anything would actually come from it. But I think being actually able to produce our music has been amazing.
Q: What inspired the song “Delight”? Was it inspired by a real-life experience? And do you really love Taco Bell?
Santos: Haha. Definitely love Taco Bell. One of our favorites. We always go there. But, it was just inspired by getting rejected a whole lot. When we were writing it, we were like, “Dang! rejection sucks! But I’m better than that and if I think I’m the dopest then I’m the dopest and I’m a freakin delight no matter what.’ And we were like, “Yep that's the song.”
Q: You’re a young musician. Only 21. Do you have any advice for any aspiring young artists?
Santos: I think honestly the biggest and best piece of advice that I could give anyone is just be true. It sounds so cheesy, but like being your authentic self when you’re making music, like not trying to do anything just because you think other people will like it. It’s making music that you love, that comes from your heart. When we started doing that, when we started being true to ourselves, that’s when stuff actually started taking off. So that was really cool to see. That’s what I would say.
Q: Do you have a favorite song on your EP?
Santos:I really love “Delight” actually, because of the Taco Bell line.
Q: What’s the message behind your song, “Be a Bro”?
Santos: “Be A Bro” is just about being a bro to your bros, having your girlfriend’s back, no matter what. It’s kind of our take on the feminist empowerment anthem and actually not even just girls. Anyone! Guys included. Just having your homies’ back.
Q: Is there a venue you’ve always dreamed of playing at? Like in your hometown or somewhere famous?
Santos: Ooh! We always say we want to play at Red Rocks one day. That would be sick.
Q: Have you ever been there?
Santos: Nope. I will freak out when we do go though.
Q: Is there a certain reason for playing at this benefit to raise money for breast cancer research? Did it affect you or your family or people close to you in any way?
Santos: I know that Sami has a lot of family members who have been affected and she’s really passionate about spreading awareness and general support for the cause. So this is really close to Sami.
Q: So for social media, in a couple of your songs, you talk about how social media has impacted certain things, like rejection or something like that. Has it ever been a real-life experience for you?
Santos: Yeah. For sure. I’m on social media all the time and just being on Instagram or just scrolling through my feed and stuff, it can be hard to detach yourself. You see other people’s lives and you’re just like, Dang! I wish I had that.’ So sometimes it’s really difficult. But sometimes you see really skinny people and you;re like, ‘That unrealistic! People don’t look like that!’
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