It was back in the year 2000 when Lily’s journey through Country music started. During a visit to her cousin’s in Austin, Texas, they had bought her some tickets to see a group she had never heard of before called The Dixie Chicks. Lily was blown away by them and the stories that they told in their songs, which made her want to dance in her seat one moment and then cry the next!
Back in Hampshire, Lily had been to University and became a student of musical theatre. She studied music, was classically trained as a singer, and sang in different languages. But not anymore, that had all gone. She began to realise just how much country music suited her voice and felt it was where she wanted to be.
But what is it about country music that speaks to her personally? Well, she says that for her:
“Every single song tells a story. Whether it’s about going out or having a party. Drinking a beer or losing the love of your life. Over the years, there have been some incredible songs written, that in one way or another, are relatable. You can always find a song for whatever mood you’re in; especially if you’re going through hard times, there will be a story out there that speaks to you”
Having been inspired by modern country legends such as Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, plus British country music artists like The Shires, Lily began writing and performing her own songs in 2015 and believed that these songs needed a wider platform, so her debut EP ‘Time to Fly’ was born.
One of the songs from the EP was co-written with Alex Robson of Chart House Music Studios. After working late one night, Lily sat at the piano whilst waiting for her taxi. During the 3 minute wait, Lily started playing something and before long the idea for a song came to her. She quickly wrote down her thoughts ready for the next studio session, where it all came together.
Completed within a few hours, the soulful and melodic ‘Tonight” became the first track and a firm favourite on the EP, which was released on 18th November 2016.
The other tracks were not so easy, she said in one interview: “The title track had to be just right, so it took a lot longer. For ‘A Love Never Gone, the lyric has a funny story, as I seemed to have written it in my sleep.”
Lily recalls: “Working in the studio, we were putting our heads together for a new song and Alex asked me if I had any lyrics. So, I opened up my iPhone app and saw the title and thought that looks familiar. As I went into it, there was an entire song’s worth of lyrics that I don’t remember writing. But I tend to do that, as inspiration strikes at the most bizarre times. So I have to capture them very quickly. I must have woken up at some point and in that ‘half daisy, half awake’ state, and wrote them down on my phone.”
The EP took a year to complete, as Lily included her feelings about the past into the songs, which reflected life-changing situations. She felt that it was about her discovering who she is, who she wants to be and getting rid of some of those ties, and being her “time to fly.”
“One thing I love about Country music is that whatever mood I am in I can find a song that speaks to my heart and that was my aim with ‘Time to Fly’…..if I can write a song that just one person relates to, then I have achieved what I set out to do!”
‘Time to Fly’ was nominated for EP of the Year 2016 by the female country music blog, Belles and Gals.
There was little doubt that Lily Garland was becoming a rising force on the UK country scene. And in 2017, she released her second EP, ‘The Next Chapter’, which soared to number 5 in the iTunes country chart and held its own alongside the likes of Lady Antebellum, Shania Twain and Zac Brown Band.
This was a really exciting project, as all five tracks were co-written with, and produced by, songwriter/producer/Musician Justin Johnson, who also plays the drums on the EP.
Justin has not only recorded, produced and toured with some amazing artists in Nashville but, has also written and recorded with the best UK country singer-songwriters such as Raintown, NARN, Emma Moore and Thorne Hill, so he was the perfect partnership for Lily.
Releasing two singles from the EP, ‘Queen of the World’, and ‘I’m Coming For You’, the project drew on experiences Lily had gone through herself such as break up, finding yourself, finding the wrong guy (and then the right guy) and being a mother.
Lily was and still is, immensely proud of this project, and felt she had grown as an artist and songwriter.
She had been featured by Lyric Magazine in their playlist of the week in February 2017 and also on The’ Next Women of Country’ Spotify playlist.
With regular airplay on Express FM, Country Belles Radio, Big Wheels Radio (Las Vegas) and other internet radio stations, Lily was reaching not only the UK audience but also Europe and the US
But where did she get her inspiration for Country music, being so far away from the heartland of American Country? Well, Lily watches loads of the music videos and visits various festivals like Country 2 Country (C2C), the big music festival at the O2. She also attended loads of gigs and concerts when she can fit them in. And she says it feels right, it was where my music style belongs.
Lily was also nominated for the UK Country Music Awards 2017 and 2018, both for her performance and her music.
January 2018 saw Lily taking home the coveted title of Best Solo Act from the Portsmouth Guide Awards. An award she holds very dear to her heart, due to being acknowledged by her peers and fans, as being worthy of the title. Also that year, Lily was nominated in the British Country Music Association (BCMA) People’s Choice Award for Best Solo along with some of the most exciting UK country artists of the moment.
Writing and performing music although Lily’s first love, has led her to branch out even further. April 2019 saw the premiere of Country on the Coast, a three day Country Music Festival in Southsea at the historic venue of South Parade Pier. Although a historic pier and Country music may not be the obvious pairing, the event was such a success, that she will be bringing Country on the Coast back for 2020!
Tickets are available now from https://book.events/gaietybarsouthsea/2020-04-24/18970 and artists will be announced soon!
Lily and her band have represented UK Country music at many a multi-genre festival, drawing in crowds from far and wide, with originals holding their own alongside the covers.
Appearing at Wickham Festival, Victorious Festival, Netley Festival and Icebreaker Festival UK, the South’s largest unsigned cross-genre music festival and in 2018, Lily was named as number one in the top 6 artists to see and followed up with her second appearance in 2019 as a headline act. Lily most recently made her 3rd appearance at Victorious Festival 2019 headlining one of the unsigned stages.
She says: “Festivals are my happy place. They are jammed packed with music lovers who want to have a good time. They are so happy and make amazing audiences”
Lily performs acoustically and with a full band. She has performed all over the UK and her fan base is growing worldwide by the day! Recently Lily has performed alongside Nashville artist Dawson Reigns on his UK tour and in August, supported Jessica Lynn from New York in her hometown of Portsmouth. Lily also appeared with award-winning UK Country Artists such as Laura Oakes and Raintown.
More recently she successfully co-headlined a show with Elliott Joseph alongside special guests Emily Faye and Jenny June. It was an awesome night on the South Coast at the New Portsmouth Guildhall Studio Theatre.
Lily has confirmed that she is due to release her next single ‘Rise Above the Ashes’, which will show the rockier side of her style and that she is not one to be messed with!!
‘Rise Above the Ashes’ will be available on all platforms from Friday 6th December.
She says: “I love the emotion and the storytelling that comes with Country music, and to be able to bring that to another venue is a wonderful feeling. There is nothing like being in the studio but performing is why I do what I do! There is nothing that gives an artist more joy than to have an audience of familiar faces and new, enjoying the music that comes from their heart”
For more info on Lily, her music and upcoming shows head to Website (www.lilygarlandmusic.co.uk) or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
“I always said Lily Garland would be a star, right from the first moment I heard her” Russell Hill, Express FM
Hampshire native, Lily Garland, captured the attention of the UK Country scene with her very accomplished sound (Desperately Lost City) in 2016 with her debut EP Time to Fly. Nominated for EP of the year by Belles and Gals, it was described as a fantastic EP, with one of the best songs you’ll hear this year (Belles and Gals).
Her highly anticipated follow up EP, did not disappoint. Lily sings with a voice which soars like Lucie Silvas, showing a technique reminiscent of her heroines in the Dixie Chicks (Your Life in a Song).
The one new song she debuts, Rise Above The Ashes is a full tilt southern-rock stomper that sees Lily really let rip. If the rest of the new material is this strong, we’re in for a treat”.
Chris Broom, Portsmouth News.