11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Sarah Mae Chilton

Sarah Mae Chilton

Say what you want to say about the current state of Nashville’s Lower Broadway, but all the commercialism and rowdiness could never destroy the charm of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The magic and history of that room still lives on today in the likes of Indie-Americana singer/songwriter Sarah Mae Chilton who currently plays there on a regular basis. You can watch her in action in this live video from Tootsie’s stage.

Sarah has recently released a new LP called “Southern Glitter Pop” followed by a new single, “Go Away Ghost” which you can listen to now. While the latest single is a jangly Country-flavored ditty, on Sarah’s LP you will find a spirted blend of influences including a cool collaboration with local Pop-Hip Hop artist Lord Goldie.

Thanks, Sarah, for your 11 answers and for helping keep the true spirit of Lower Broadway alive. See you in the Backroom at Tootsie’s!

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m from Winston-Salem, NC. A true Carolina girl. I moved to Nashville after I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in music and anthropology. I always knew I wanted to move to Nashville since hearing Taylor Swift’s song “Fifteen” when I was fifteen learning how to play guitar. I wanted to make something of myself and believe that my wildest dreams could come true.

Of course, throughout my whole life, like a lot of people, I was told to be practical. So, I went to school. College was a painful time. At first, I majored in pre-med with hopes of becoming a doctor. I was miserable. It wasn’t till I started playing open mics out in Chapel Hill that I was truly happy. I soon switched my major to music! After that I thrived and felt true happiness. I knew that it wasn’t worth it not to follow my heart: it came with too much heartache. After graduation, I ran full force at my dreams-straight into Nashville.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I’m pretty sure my first CD was a Britney Spears record. Life changing. I would pretend to be a Pop star with my friends. I had a Hilary Duff CD too. Pretty basic ha-ha but those girls changed my life. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of my friends’ music. One local artist in Nashville, Gracie Carol, sings at the same group of bars that I do downtown. Her music is amazing! She’s managed to gain a huge following from TikTok and gives me hope that maybe my dreams are not too far away as well.

Other influences include Linda Ronstadt, Janis Joplin, and Patsy Cline. I love Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead and some Led Zeppelin. I love Frank Sinatra, Etta James, and Amy Winehouse. My music taste is all over the map, but I could definitely be seen at Bonnaroo on any given year as I love Indie hippy college music.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My first concert was Rascal Flatts in high school. They were one of my favorite Country groups coming up because of Gary Levox’s voice and the great writing on all their music.

My last concert was to see my ALL-TIME FAVORITE artist Marina Diamandis who is a European Pop Icon Goddess. Her lyrics and persona together make her one of the most gorgeous, empowered women out there. I listen to her any time I want to believe in myself.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

The Music City Walk of Fame definitely needs some Patsy Cline. Patsy Cline is an icon of the ages. A sultry voice of passion that changed Country music forever.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Pinewood Social is definitely the place for some swanky dining and coffee (and bowling for that matter ha-ha!) I’d go to Cabana Taps for pizza! There are always songwriters around there to mingle with.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Is it bad to say Taylor Swift’s Fearless album? I don’t care…I’m standing by it. That album changed my life and is the reason I wanted to be a songwriter in Nashville.

Where’s the best place to eat late at night after a show?

After a show, I’ll usually pull through a Taco Bell. Nothing hits quite like their value menu. Or after playing on Broadway, I always crave a BBQ sandwich from Jack’s. That sandwich is amazing. Definitely worth eating weekly to keep up moral.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Jan Buckingham for sure. She’s a hit songwriter in town and one of my best friends and collaborators. I’d pick my co-writer and Rap artist friend Lord Goldie to the stage because she’s one of the best entertainers and people I know who is making a voice for the Hip-Hop community in Nashville and has always had my back. Last but not least, I’d bring my dear friend and co-writer David Palmer to the Bluebird. His songs are from the heart, and we’ve written some smashes since I’ve been here.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

Billie Eilish should come to Nashville. Let’s see what that Pop queen can do with Nashville’s talent behind her. Could be a cool angle.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I’m gonna headline music festivals around the country with some hybrid of Americana Pop, sultry goodness. I’ll be backed by Nashville’s finest musicians-the best talent in the world- and glamorize it. Patsy Cline meets Ellie Goulding meets Gillian Welch? Let’s try it out. Also, would be cool to sing at Paris Fashion Week.

One comment

  1. John ONeal · · Reply

    Sarah Mae is a joy to watch perform. It’s easy to see that she loves music, loves being on stage, and loves entertaining people. It’s impossible to not have a smile on your face after seeing her. Nashville is a better place with her in it.

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