Lindsay Ell caught our attention last year when we were introduced to her prodigy level guitar-playing skills and adorably magnetic presence. Now, the Stoney Creek Records (Broken Bow Records) singer-songwriter-musician is in the minds of country music fans around the world, after performing a unique twenty-four hour concert outdoors in Nashville, Tennessee.
And, by the way, that move was absolutely genius.
However, Lindsay’s genius moves do not begin and end over a twenty-four hour period. Instead, they begin back when she was a little girl, growing up in Canada, surrounded by musical influences. With her brother by her side, Lindsay sat down at the piano at the age of six and picked up a guitar at the age of eight; both children being inspired by the paternal side of her family tree.
Growing up, [music] was just a part of me. And growing up, in my young, young teens, was when I was like “you know, this is what I need to do for a living.” The guitar became another limb off my body and there was nothing that quite gave me that relief and satisfaction. I had no social life growing up because I would just sit in my bedroom and play guitar every day, I loved it so much, and the fact that I can wake up and get to call this a job is crazy. I still pinch myself about it.
Even though this is Lindsay’s job and she is living her childhood dream, she still takes the extra time to improve her skills every day, never feeling like her work to get to where she wants to be as a musician is done.
I still have that curiosity . . . different things I can learn. Or when I watch other players, I’m like “that’s really cool!” It’s just an unending guitar lesson for me for the rest of my life. I read Celine Dion and Buddy Guy are still taking lessons every single day, and I’m like “if Celine Dion is taking voice lessons every day, I can SURE take voice and guitar lessons for awhile!” I’ve just always looked at it as a never-ending challenge. I keep wanting to get better. I keep wanting to explore different parts of the instrument. And I think that’s what started my love for it when I was little.
Lindsay’s insatiable hunger for learning the instrument and her drive to fulfill that could not have been more clear during the twenty-four hour concert she performed on lower Broadway in downtown Nashville only a couple of weeks ago. Welcoming many guests, including, but not limited to: Adley Stump, April Kry, Charlie Worsham, Brooke Eden, and Chuck Wicks, Lindsay immediately picked up the various artists’ music by ear and lent guitar assistance during every song.
I was so thankful to have all of the guests out we did for the twenty-four show because I don’t know if I would have made it through without all of them! But, they were like “do you want me to send you music?” And I was like “guys, I have a twenty-four hour show to plan for, so don’t worry about sending me songs. Just play whatever you want and I’ll play with you.” So, yeah, I play by ear a lot. I play piano completely by ear now, just because I started reading music when I was little, and now, man, I can still read it, but it takes me forever. Nashville has especially really honed those chops a lot. Like, when I first moved here, I was like “dang! That’s how you play guitar!” It’s just crazy the musicians you see playing down Broadway for like twenty-five dollars, for tips. . . . Just playing with people like that really make you tweak your ear a little bit, so I’ve worked on it the past few years. Now it’s just fun because I was able to bring down the guests and I was just like “play whatever you want and I’ll make some sort of noise with the guitar!”
While Lindsay has honed her skills in Nashville, the adorably kind and talented musician is actually from north of the American border. Lindsay grew up in Canada idolizing Shania Twain, so while she was residing in the country that displays a maple leaf on its flag, she was dreaming of stars, stripes, and the country music capital of the world. And while Canada has a booming country music industry as well, it was Lindsay’s plan to wait to cut music until she could make the move to Tennessee.
To prepare for the Nashville lifestyle, Lindsay played in a band for years, performing three hour sets and traveling back and forth across Canada; but she refrained from releasing anything until she could do so from the place her visions always led her.
When I finally got down to Nashville, I was like “okay, now’s the time. It’s time to get this thing going.” And, so yeah, I love Canada, it’s a really beautiful country, but now I sort of look at it as one big land mass. I want to tour everywhere! I want to meet fans everywhere! We’ve even been able to go to Europe the past couple of years, which has just been crazy; with The Band Perry and Luke Bryan. And that again, you hop on a plane and six hours later, you’re on the other side of the world and the country music fans are just as passionate, if not more passionate, and they can barely speak English, and it’s just so crazy how small the world gets when you really break it down.
Lindsay didn’t realize it when it was happening, but all of the back and forth traveling and long shows were serving as practice runs for what would eventually become the most grueling show of her career — a twenty-four hour stint on the cold, rainy corner of Nashville’s Broadway and 3rd Avenue, beginning at 11:00pm on a Thursday night and ending at the same time Friday. When hearing of this event two words crossed my mind immediately: crazy and brilliant. So, how does a team sit down for a meeting and leave with something so monumental and unprecedented scrawled in its planners?
Originally, at the label, we were like “well, what if we do ten hours or something like that?” Then someone was like “well, twenty-four hours is pretty impressive.” And then, I’m just sitting there and everybody else in the room was like “yeahhh, if we’re going to do this, it has to be twenty-four hours or nothing.” And then I’m like “okaaay…” And they were like “how bad do you want this Lindsay?!” And I was like “I want it bad!” And they were like “alright then! This is what we’re doing!” In hindsight, I will never forget that moment when the clock, because I brought out my little iPad and I just had a little, you know, you saw it, I just had a countdown. That moment, we were counting down the last ten seconds even, and so many friends of mine were there and I just felt so loved and so many fans came down to Broadway and the police were getting mad at us because they were walking in the street and they were having to pull cop cars places, and I will never forget that moment. It was crazy. I felt very, very loved. . . . And just people’s generosity, like, there were a couple of girls who stayed with me the whole twenty-four hours. . . . That level of belief and faith in me.
The twenty-four hour show was in an effort to promote Lindsay’s new single “By the Way”, a catchy, sassy breakup song about finding yourself, moving on, and not being afraid of speaking out, but the event also helped others simultaneously. As Lindsay played and tips were left in her guitar case, every dollar received over the entire time period was donated to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
Knowing that I was able to give back throughout this whole thing and raise money for the children’s hospital was definitely something that kept me going.
Lindsay also reaped the benefits of a single that soared to the top of the iTunes charts on the date of its release through the promotional efforts of her team. “By the Way” broke into the top ten on the digital streaming service on the Friday of its release, proving that hard work, dedication, and tenacity can pay off (top) tenfold.
I had no idea that that was even going to happen! I had no idea it was going to get past one hundred, let alone top ten! That was so, so crazy.
The now top ten seller has her sights set in the distance, and part of that incredibly bright future includes the release of an EP early in 2016.
What’s totally going to be on that, I don’t know yet, but I do know that all of this new music that I’m working on I’m super super excited about, and I finally feel that I’ve fallen into the groove of what I want to say as an artist and who I want to be. Which is weird, I mean, they say it takes ten thousand hours to finally figure some stuff out and I think I’m finally figuring it out, which is exciting. And I think that “By the Way” starts that chapter.
Along with the new music, Lindsay will be heading out on the road in January for a few months, although she cannot divulge who she will be joining.
I’m super excited to get out to see fans because it’s like the past six months, I’ve been writing and in the studio, which is a great place for completely other reasons, but I’ve missed playing shows and so many fans have been like “come here! Come here!” on Twitter, sending me tweets, and finally I’m going to be so excited “okay, you can come see me now!” . . . and meet them! I’ll stand at that merch table for three hours if I need to!
Until you are able to see Lindsay on the road and meet her face-to-face, she encourages you to communicate with her on all social media platforms, ask questions, and request songs for her to perform on Periscope, an app of which she is taking full advantage these days. You can also follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat (LindsayEll), and her website. And, of course, make sure to download “By the Way” now by visiting iTunes.
Thank you so much to Lindsay for an amazing, relaxed, and incredibly fun chat! And, everybody stay tuned to NashvilleGab because we just very well may have a collaboration with Lindsay up our sleeves for a little project in the very near future!