Aubrie Sellers is a child of music royalty, Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack. That does not mean that any of it is easy. In her sophomore album, Far From Home, Sellers takes on her own mental health issues, love and hate of touring and more. She is even joined by Steve Earle for “My Love Will Not Change.”
Prior to this interview Sellers was looking to touring with Lillie Mae in a dual headliner show. That was before COVID-19. For info visit https://www.aubriesellers.com/
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
AS: I have always been drawn to really simple songwriting. All of my songs come from a personal, emotional place and I find the stuff I’m drawn to has that quality as well. There’s something really special to me about a song that is uncomplicated and unaffected. I find I get the most out of writing when I write with one or two other people I really admire as artists or musicians, or by myself if inspiration strikes at the right moment.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Far From Home (the album)?
AS: They say you have your whole life to make your first record, and only a small amount of time to make your second. For that reason I feel like a lot of pressure is often put on artists for their second record, but I always want to make sure that I’m taking the necessary time to create something I’m proud of. I also had to tune out a lot more opinions and expectations in certain ways on this record, because I made my first record independently and quietly.
FEMMUSIC: You come from a musical family. Did you have any reservations about joining the family business? What advice were you given?
AS: Music is a part of me that will never go away because of my background, no matter if I’m doing it professionally or not. Having successful parents in the business, I felt a lot of pressure to be great from day 1, which probably delayed me putting myself out there as soon as other artists might have. Eventually I had to realize that you have to just throw yourself out there, and perfection is boring. I learned from watching my family that it’s the honest moments that mean the most.
FEMMUSIC: Your song “Worried Mind” came from your own anxiety. How do you overcome it? Do you think mental illness is discussed enough in the music business?
AS: I have struggled with anxiety to varying degrees my whole life, and going out on the road was initially very hard for me because of it. In my experience, the best thing you can do is continue to lean into those experiences that make you uncomfortable. The experience is the only thing that is going to truly de-sensitize you to the anxiety that might come along with it. It took me years, but it finally started to work. I think more musicians and artists should share their stories, because it shows others that it can be done and they aren’t alone. I also think therapy is so important, and we need to keep pushing to make it an option for as many people as possible.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “My Love Will Not Change?” How did you get Steve Earle to join on the album?
AS: I had loved Del McCoury’s version of that song and when it came time to make this record, I thought I wanted to try putting my own spin on it. Steve has been a huge influence on me my whole life, and he was one of the first artists to really rock out on a country record. I knew nobody else could do it with me but him, so I reached out to a mutual friend to see if she would ask him for me. I was elated and shocked when he said yes!
FEMMUSIC: “Far From Home (the single)” came from touring. What your biggest challenges touring? What do you most look forward to?
AS: When I first started touring, it was so difficult with my anxiety that I wasn’t even sure I could sustainably do it as a career. But I kept pushing through it and over time am finally getting to a place where I can start to enjoy myself on stage. I really enjoy meeting people at my shows, that’s probably my favorite part. It’s so touching to see people face to face who have bought your records and bought tickets to see your show. Now I’m really looking forward to continuing to tour with other artists I admire, and getting to enjoy myself while doing it!
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
AS: It’s hard to pick one song, but when the record Raising Sand by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant came out, I was so transfixed. I heard two worlds I loved colliding and creating something new. And that album had such cohesion and such a distinct vibe on its own. It really set up my expectations for what music could be, and what you could do as an artist.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
AS: The problem with being a woman in this industry is so much can be written off because the discrimination isn’t blatant in every instance, although there’s plenty of that as well. Nobody seems to know where it originates from and who should take the blame, so no one takes responsibility. We are starting to see that change a little bit with some of the initiatives CMT is taking. For me, if they aren’t playing women on the radio and they aren’t booking them at festivals to even close to the degree that they are supporting men, that obviously puts us all at a huge disadvantage. Making a living and breaking through in this business is already hard enough, and I fear we are pushing very talented women who are making great music away because they can’t afford to continue.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
AS: I’m going be going on tour with Lillie Mae this fall and am so excited about it. I respect her as an artist and a musician and a person so much, and I know it’s going to be one of the most fun musical experiences I’ve had to date. Beyond that, I would love to tour with some rock and alternative artists I love, Tame Impala, Franz Ferdinand and I’ve really been loving Jessica Lea Mayfield and Jade Bird.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
AS: With all of the recent changes in how music is delivered and consumed, companies aren’t taking as many creative risks, and they aren’t putting as many creatives and music makers in key positions because they are too worried about their bottom line, which of course is what they have to worry about as a business. For that reason, it seems like there’s a fundamental flaw in the way the music business operates now and I’m not sure what the answer is. I fear that if an artist is not willing to sacrifice the art for business, it’s going to continue getting harder for them to cut through. As the traditional system continues to die, though, I hope more and more artists are able to cut through the noise and connect with music fans directly. The music is and will always be what is most important to me at the end of the day