When I was two, my family packed up and moved from a small town in Georgia to Nashville, TN. My dad was chasing his rock and roll dreams. He eventually became a staff writer at Sony Tree and I grew up running the halls and impeding the workflow. It didn't take long for me to catch the music bug. As soon as I could talk, I was singing. Constantly. To the point that my parents had to make a rule that no singing was allowed at the dinner table.
Music was a constant in our lives; the sounds of my father or brother strumming a guitar made up the soundtrack of my childhood. I was also fed a steady, nutritious diet of great music. Every car trip with my mom meant Oldies radio and I fell in love with Motown, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, the Beatles and Carole King.
Despite my pop/soul leanings, my dad made sure to give me a proper rock education and introduced me the likes of the Allman Brothers and The Band. He never sold me on AC/DC, though. Sorry.
I tried my hand at violin as a child, but I was not...um...very good. I also tried guitar but watching my brother and father effortlessly play gave me serious doubt as to my own potential there. I briefly tried piano in high school, chickened out AGAIN, but then came back to it in college. Finally it clicked! I took lessons but found myself spending most of my allotted time in the practice room playing around with chord changes and melodies. It became clear that a virtuoso piano player I'd never be, but a writer I was.
Thankfully, I had a mentor in my father. And he was not going to sugarcoat anything just because I was his daughter. He gave me honest feedback and just enough encouragement to keep me going. When I moved to California after college, I knew no one and so spent my ample alone time practicing and writing (Yes Yes Yes was written during this time!). The hours and hours I put in never felt like work. Instead, it felt like I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do.