From her roots singing in a small-town church choir in Illinois, Margo Price has racked up 13 years rising through the ranks of the Nashville music industry. The country star took a break to check in with AW before taking the stage at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.
By Danielle Ransom, Photo by Angelina Castillo
In early 2016, country musician Margo Price released her first album with Third Man Records, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. Since then, Price has been on a roll that doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon. From sold-out performances to preparing for her upcoming tour, Born to Ramble 2016, to a recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the moniker “Country’s Next Star” is right on point for Price, a 13-year veteran of the music industry.
Austin Woman chatted with the 33-year-old musician ahead of her upcoming performance at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic at the Austin360 Amphitheater.
Austin Woman: To get started, what first drew you to music and inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
Margo Price: [Music] was something I was always kind of drawn to ever since I was really young. I was always performing and enjoying it. At about age 9, I started realizing this for the first time. I just always like being onstage and making people laugh.
AW: How does it feel to be dubbed “Country’s Next Star”?
MP: It’s a good amount of pressure to have on my shoulders. I’m happy people are listening and I’m really happy people liked my album. That’s a heavy title to hold and I’m glad that people are coming around to the kind of music I’m playing.
AW: Tell us more about the process you went through to produce your first album.
MP: It was a long road with lots of nos down it. I sent my album out to indie labels and major labels. Nobody wanted to put it out without changing it. Third Man Records was interested and, when they listened to it, they had no amendments to the album. They really let me have my creative freedom, so I knew that [label]was the spot for me.
AW: How would explain your music to people new to your sound?
MP: It’s rooted in blues and rock ’n’ roll. It’s not completely reinventing the genre, but it is a new take on a format that has been out for a really long time. I stay close to the truth. There’s not a lot of extra things, like a back track. And I am not lip-synching when I get up there.
AW: What drew you to the blues and rock ’n’ roll genre?
MP: My dad always had the classic-rock station on. Growing up, I was getting the rock ’n’ roll influence from dad, and my mom always had a kind of modern music taste—Top 40, which was popular at the time—and my grandmother loved country music. But blues, I kind of found on my own later. There has been such a history between country music and the blues that they kind of go hand in hand, and you have to at least listen to a little bit of the blues if you’re going to do country.
AW: Austin seems like a good fit for you. What are some of your favorite things about this city?
MP: I love that it’s not afraid to be weird. There’s a lot creative energy in one space and it just seems to have a nice and inspiring kind of atmosphere to it. The culture is just amazing, from the food to the people and from the landscape to the live-music scene. It’s a really beautiful area.
AW: What can fans look forward to seeing at your upcoming performance at the Austin360 Amphitheater?
MP: We’ll be giving it our all and we’ll be playing songs off of the new album. I keep hearing that we’re better live than [we are on]the album. I’m sure I’ll win the male country singers over because my band is so proficient and so well put together. The boys really bring it when we have a live show, so we’re looking forward to coming to Austin and spreading around the Texas love more.
AW: Speaking of love, what do you love most about being on tour right now?
MP: I’m just so happy that I have an audience. It motivates me to write even more. I’ve been writing for so long and nobody was really hearing my songs, at first. The goal is to leave a body of work behind that somebody out there will appreciate someday. It’s really nice to write a song and give a voice to people who don’t have a voice. I definitely [want]to talk about troubles that women and other people face in the world today. There are a lot of things going on out there, so, just to be able to encompass this [in my music]will be important for me. I always wanted to say something with my music and not just write about love and topics like that. To really write songs on social issues and things that need to be changed is important to me.
AW: Do you have any closing thoughts you want to share with our readers?
MP: One of the topics that I’ll be hitting on my next album, which we’ll start recording in December, is the pay gap and how women are still being paid less than men. I’m a working mother and I do everything I can to put food on the table and go out there and support my family. It’s really outdated and sad that this is even an issue we’re still facing.