Erin McLendon is a walking, talking poster child for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” She believes in love, magic, frolic and play, and she dreams BIG! Her childlike outlook on life is not only a quality that defines her quite nicely, it is the combination of her wit, wisdom and love for humanity that is equally endearing.
The young twenty-something singer/songwriter from Durham, NC is a 2012 Belmont grad that earned her Bachelor's of Music degree in Commercial Voice (with an emphasis in Music Business); Erin knows her business and she continues to “study” music as an extension of her personal and artistic growth. She divides her concentrations to pursue her own ambitions and pursuit while teaching voice to other young hopefuls who share the very same passion to perform.
“As nerdy as it sounds, I analyze all music. I ‘take’ from all music. I know musical theory; I know the rules. ...and I can easily identify various musical styles. The recording artists that I’m really drawn to however, don’t necessarily follow the rules. Some were never professionally trained; some don’t write lyrics that rhyme and some just make up the music as it flows. Some of my musical influences, and personal favorites, knew very little about music, theory, or even writing, but they managed to change it and made history. To me, that’s art and that’s the music I want to create.”
Erin gravitates toward various genres and styles, embracing classic trendsetters such as The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Reba, Brad Paisley and even the soundtracks from “Tarzan” (Phil Collins), “Phantom of the Opera” (Andrew Lloyd Webber) and “Hamilton” (Lin Manuel Miranda). A talented songstress and accomplished artist in her own right, while Erin knows the “ins and outs” surrounding the mechanics and mathematics of music composition, production and technical musician throws, she purposefully switches gears to intertwine smart, simplicity into her deliberate sparse recordings.
“There is so much we can do with music—either in taking a minimal approach, or going ‘big band;’ we can pour our hearts and emotions out in 3:20 and as someone who studied music, I so enjoy every aspect of the creative concoction! While I’m confortable in both styles; I just rather enjoy raw clarity in what I write and record.”
Erin’s passion for the musical art was deepened when she discovered her knack for songwriting in high school—students were asked to write a song about the Vietnam War while studying the cultural movement of the era. The assignment was an effortless overnight success for the 15-year-old. Erin performed her “assignment”—her first original tune—before her class the very next day and then again for the entire school as part of a Veteran's Day celebration. She began performing with a band launching her music career as a paid performer in her junior year. ...and she never looked back.
Now a Music City resident, Erin has become an integral part of the music scene. The Nashville songwriting community and various music industry organizations have welcomed her talents. She has enjoyed collaborations with Britton Cameron, Bryan White and Mike Marcum. Erin released her first, independent, full-length album (titled FIRE & WINE, produced by Stephen Leiweke) in 2015. The album became a Top-100 New Country Album (Art Of The Mix Chart) in 2016 and Erin received recognition with “Female Of The Year,” “Americana Album Of The Year” (FIRE & WINE) and “Song Of The Year” (“You’re The Only One”) nominations from both the IMEA (International Music and Entertainment Assoc.) and Nashville Universe Awards. Erin has been invited to sing our National Anthem at political conventions and various events; she has performed at the National Constitutional Party Convention, Special Olympics (Durham, NC) and at Middle Tennessee, Belmont and Duke Universities to name a few.
Erin paints from a colorful palette catering to Americana, Motown, folk, rock and pop music enthusiasts with eclectic taste (even those who have a love for theatre). Her new album, MAKING IT UP AS WE GO, is an uncomplicated assembly of puzzle pieces from her life—a self-told original story (but much like the rest of us), she takes life one-day-at-a-time with optimistic preparedness for the unexpected and the unknowing.
“None of us know what will actually happen in the next hour, the next day or the next year. We can plan it out but, we have no idea what’s going to actually happen and so, realistically, we all make it up as we go— according to plan or not.”
The new project is an Erin McLendon signature—deliberately and refreshingly light in production and airy in delivery. With tracks titled “When God Made A Woman,” “I’m Not Giving It Back,” “You’re The Only One” and “Honolulu Love,” Erin highlights her natural ability to incorporate her classical technique with her bubbly and quirky imagination. Her interesting, clever, yet relatable lyrics and storylines make for a welcoming, intriguing and uplifting listen. The instrumentation adds musical personality with tick-tock guitar licks, tribal drum beats, dancing ukulele, trickling piano, knee-slaps and buttery “la-la-la-la-love” vocals.
“I’m not just a ‘character’ who portrays the storylines on this album. I wrote these tracks at a very good place in time in my life and recording this album was another step in figuring it out. I poured every bit of ‘me’ into this project; it’s carefree; it’s honest, it’s me.”
Erin McLendon possesses “girl-next-door” familiarity, gleams with Hollywood sweetheart charm, and boasts with truth and realism in understanding exactly who she is as a person and a recording artist. MAKING IT UP AS WE GO mirrors her fearless and spirited personality through and through.
“I’ve been blessed to learn to love myself. I’m just ‘Erin’ with a lot of confidence and a big personality, and that’s what I want people to learn about me through my music. My dance moves on stage can range from graceful to cringe-worthy and I own that because I’m the same person on stage as the hot mess who runs to the grocery store.”
Devoting her energies and passion to be the best that she can be, on stage and off, Erin is creating her own path— “making it up as she goes.” There’s no question her confidence, commitment and direction will deliver her to the exact place where she needs to be at the exact time she is supposed “to be.”
“An artist works to create a unique place for themselves and genuinely cares about what they do and love what they do. I am that artist.”