We sent this interview to Elaine after meeting her at Country on The Clyde. This is her replies...
Keren: How long have you been writing and performing country music?
Elaine: As a young kid I would 'make up' songs all the time, but back then I lacked the confidence to share them with others. It's only in the past few years I started writing more and really honing in on crafting my songs - my own little stories, hooks, melodies and messages that I could share through my music. I realised quickly that writing was only the half of it though. If I wanted people to hear these 'little chunks of my soul' I would have to get out there and perform them myself...I had no idea how amazing it would feel to connect with an audience in that way and now I'm hooked! I love performing, especially for a Country Music Audience who are so amazingly kind, supportive and generous!
Keren: If you could invite the people who have influenced you in your music career to a dinner party, who would you invite?
Elaine: Geez I could fill a dinner hall with folks who have influenced me!! ;) I guess really my parents were the first - my early memories are filled with the voices of artists like Nina Simone, Eva Cassidy and Karen Carpenter so they would be there for starters...then John Shneider (who's album 'You Ain't Seen the Last of Me' taught me at the age of 12 that I loved this thing called Country Music), Dolly (who taught me story-telling), Reba (who taught me the power of a good message), Ben Glover (who taught me it only takes one person to believe in you to encourage you to take that leap into the unknown), Kenny Rogers (of course), Willie Nelson (I could listen for days to his stories) and Lori McKenna (who reminds me always to be humble and kind!). Linda Rondstat (who taught me it's cool for a singer song-writer to cross genres - if the songs are good its all good!), and Michael Jackson (who taught me God is in the detail). I'd also love to have a chat with Amy Wadge - her music is so cool!
Keren: If you were to take one well known song and put your own country twist on it, which song would you choose?
Elaine: Fantastic question...I may have a go at 'Be Mine' by Robyn one of these days...I could hear that country version...
Keren: If you had the chance of performing anywhere in the world, Where would your dream venue be?
Elaine: I'd love to play at the iconic Bluebird in Nashville as so many amazing artists have before. The Ryman and The Grand Ole Opry are on the list too for sure.
Keren: What excites you about the British country scene?
Elaine: I've loved Country Music for so long now and it excites me to see how people who never thought of themselves as Country Music Fans are being introduced to (an won over by) the sheer talent that exists within the UK in this genre right now. The positivity of the artist community in showcasing each other's talents, through collaborations, 'Song-writers Rounds' and so many quality Country/Americana/Folk Music festivals with fans eager to immerse themselves in this music. Its a great time to be a Country Artist and fan alike!
Keren: The British country music scene is growing fast. Each artist having their own take on what country music is to them.
How do feel that our music stands up against the music coming out of America at the moment?
Elaine: Personally I think it's all about the song - there are some amazing artists coming out of both US and UK markets and I don't think we should ever try to be or sound like anyone other than who we are and show through our music what Country means to us as individuals. As long as the song is good and it comes from the heart and most importantly makes you 'feel' something then the songs themselves will stand up on their own irrespective of whether its a US or UK Artist performing them. As a singer-songwriter influenced by multiple genres, I love that in so many ways the lines are becoming more and more blurred between Folk / Americana / Country as they all come from a similar source and wider audiences can relate to them all.
Keren: Where do you see British country music in 5 years time?
Elaine: I see it continuing to grow and win over the hearts of music lovers within and out-with the UK. I see more and more international Country Artists collaborating in, for example, performing and co-writing and the genre itself becoming a powerful and positive influence to future generations as it has been for so many generations before.
Keren: Do you think you will be more accepted in 5 years, when you say you are a British country music artist?
Elaine: Honestly I already feel accepted. It's a great time to be part of the UK and Global Country Music Family :)
Keren: Where can we find you on social media?
Elaine: Facebook - Elaine Lennon Music. Instagram @Lennonsworld. YouTube: Elaine Lennon Music. Soundcloud: Elaine Lennon Music. Website: www.elainelennon.com
All photos credited to Doddie Munro