Jillian Edwards is a 25-year old Nashville based singer-songwriter originally from Dallas, TX. Edwards has had the chance to work with or open for a number of acts, including: Drew & Ellie Holcomb, Josh Garrels, Ben Rector, David Ramirez, The Civil Wars, and Bethany Dillon. Edwards released her first EP, Galaxies & Such, Edwards’ in 2009 and released her second effort, Headfirst, in 2011, which held the #1 spot on singer-songwriter charts for its entire release week. She married Will Franklin Chapman and the pair along with her brother-in-law, Caleb Chapman, both members of the band Colony House, created an indie-folk side project called “The Inlaws.” Edwards co-wrote and sang on the title track of Ellie Holcomb’s latest album, “With You Now.” She also sang vocals on “How Great Thou Art,” a track from Steven Curtis Chapman’s bluegrass record, “Deep Roots.” The title track from her latest work, “Daydream,” is featured on an iTunes compilation album and her most recent effort was released on March 11, 2014. I had the chance to chat with Lightning’s artist of the week about her latest piece of work and how this Texas native made her way to Nashville.
Q: You are originally from Dallas, TX and recently moved to Nashville. How does the music scene differ in these two cities and how has it influenced your style of music?
A: My transition was more from college to Nashville because I started playing shows while in college. There is a combination of growing up in Dallas and the college culture. It’s more common for people to make a living through music in Nashville. You can view it either as encouraging or be intimidated and act competitively. Everyone wants to help people here.
Q: How did you get to where you are now?
A: I grew up singing in school and church, and had parents who sang. Music has always been in my family’s blood. I have always known that’s what I wanted to do, but also wanted to go to college. I went to college knowing that I wanted to be an artist, as I believe that to be my purpose, but studied communication. I had planned to move to Nashville as soon as possible. I lived in Nashville summer before my senior year at Waco. There were a few mentors that encouraged and believed in me. Being a student highlighted my desire to pursue being an artist full time. It felt like the right time and I was ready to go. Moving to Nashville was the natural next step in my career. Now living in Nashville and not being a student, it feels like home.
Q: You’ve worked with or opened for a range of artists (Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Ben Rector, The Civil Wars, David Ramirez, etc.), who is your favorite collaborator?
A: Ellie Holcomb is one of my favorite people to write with. If I write with her, I know I am going to like the outcome of it. I was able to open for those artists on their tour stops through Texas. There was one venue in Waco, called Common Ground, that these artists played at and I made myself available to open for any artists of the artists coming through.
Q: Your last EP was released two years ago, how does it differ from your new EP, if at all?
A: I really love the sound on this record. It matches what I hoped it to be and it feels very organic. There are things about each record that I want to keep progressing. This 8-song EP was produced by Joe Causey, and he was able to capture my sound and highlight it.
Q: Do you have a favorite track?
A: There is a live version of “In Just A Little While,” which is a song I wrote for my husband. It’s sort of me speaking to him and speaking words that both of us live by. They are all special to me, but that one stands out because of its truth.
Q: Some of your influences are Allison Krauss, Patty Smith, and Mindy Smith. Would you consider these your influences or consider yourself in the same genre?
A: I consider my genre as singer/songwriter. I don’t like to label my music as pop, folk, or country as some songs vary in their sound.