Having recently been nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year at this year’s Americana Music Awards, the nod follows from Courtney Marie Andrews‘ recently released acclaimed album, May Your Kindness Remain.
Andrews is currently on tour with stops this summer at several festivals, and then back to Europe, where she will play in Sweden, Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands. When Andrews returns back to the States she’ll perform at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee.
May Your Kindness Remain is the sophomore album to Andrews’ breakthrough album, Honest Life, which also received critical acclaim not only in the US but across the pond, landing her debut appearance on BBC’s “Later…with Jools Holland.”
I love the title of your new album. Why did you feel it was the time to make an album of songs dedicated to them at this point in time?
Courtney Marie Andrews: I didn’t … You know, for me, it’s sort of what comes out comes out, and it’s not really an intention of really timing and the decision in that way, it’s just sort of those stories were swirling around in my head. I experienced depression a little bit, and I also have experienced it on the other side of a relationship, as well.
I subconsciously wrote those songs. It just sort of in the dialogue of what’s happening in our country right now. People are becoming more and more aware of the impact of mental health, by the day, and so as a songwriter and observer, I just observe those things, and then you can interpret those into songs. Hopefully your timing is good. That’s all you can hope for.
Is “May Your Kindness Remain” symbolic to how you think people should be treated that have or are dealing with mental health issues? Is it just the title that came out that way, or do you think it’s related?
Courtney: I think it’s honestly, it’s all related, because it’s all human connections, feelings, and that sort of thing. Kindness is this thing that I try and reach for, even if I fall short.
I didn’t grow up religious, but in a way, I was always taught morals and kindness is important and always be respectful to others. It’s sort of like this place whether your life is going swimmingly or very poorly, the only thing that you can really control is how you react to that, and sometimes not even that.
You can at least strive for that, mentally…
You are going to be in the UK. You’re still touring in the US, correct, and then you’re going to be in the UK soon?
Courtney: We just ended our US tour and we’re leaving soon for Europe.
So you’re excited! Then you come back for another US tour with several festivals, am I correct?
Courtney: Yeah, in the summer we’ll start festivals and other shows just kind of around the US.
What is your favorite thing about touring? What do you least like about it?
Courtney: Well, definitely the music, playing the music, is always what drives us to do these crazy things as musicians.
Being able to stretch out and be a performer and experience that is very exciting for me. It’s a career of extreme highs and extreme lows. The lows can get very lonely and also just very detached, but luckily I have an amazing band and so it’s not too hard. The lack of sleep is sometimes … Sometimes it would be nice to get more than five or six hours a night.
Courtney: Yes. But the balance is there with the being able to perform aspect of what we do and I wouldn’t have gotten into it if we didn’t love that kind of stuff.
Do you find that the UK audiences are more responsive to your performances, or do you find it the same or actually opposite?
Courtney: I think it changes city to city. I do feel like there is a fascination with foreigners in general, just anywhere you go.
Just being an American, going over there is sort of exciting. But, based on this tour that we just did, the audiences were just as attentive and sweet over here [US]. I do definitely feel like the caliber with which the hospitality and the treating of artists tends to be better over there. They take care of you a little bit more, just in general. I feel like, of course, there are exceptions to that statement, but people are more hungry for music over there, for live music. I think people go out to shows more and enjoy that more. It’s a social event.
I will say that the audiences that I had on this last US tour were really just great, attentive, and supportive, and sweet.
What is your history with songwriting and playing guitar? Did you just happen to pick it up later on in life, or did you grow up playing it & listening to it?
Courtney: I grew up playing it. That was the first instrument I was drawn to.
My uncle bought me this classical guitar from Mexico. He married a Mexican woman, lived in Mexico, so one Christmas he brought back one for me and I didn’t make any sounds on it for a long time. Actually, it’s funny because the string was broken on the guitar and I thought the guitar was broken when I was a kid because the string was broken. I thought “I can’t play, the string’s broken.” I thought it was permanently broken. I grew up, eventually, after playing that, I started getting into punk music and began self-teaching myself, and then I took a few lessons and then I also played lead guitar for awhile as well.
Are there any other instruments that you want to pick up and/or play?
Courtney: I just started playing piano this tour. I always ripped on piano, but I’ve never been confident enough. I had two months off this last year, and I did nothing but play piano and try and get to a point where I could at least accompany myself. That’s a new discovery that I hope to continue to improve in.
For all Courtney Marie Andrews tour dates, click here.