By MIKE CHAIKEN
One door closed for Southington singer Erin Gibney.
But another one opened, and the 17-year-old Southington High School senior is walking straight through it in the hopes of finding country music fame.
The singer just released her first country single, “Do My Time.”
But this isn’t the first time music fans might have heard her voice.
If there is a gala or public event in Southington, more than likely Erin has stepped up to the microphone to entertain. She also has tried her hand at auditioning for “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.”
Erin’s most recent foray into the world of televised entertainment competitions set the stage for her venture into country music and an accompanying trip to Nashville.
Back in February, Erin explained, she received a callback to audition for “The Voice.” She went with high hopes but didn’t make it to the show’s opening “blind audition.”
That latest setback was disappointing, Erin explained. She was back to being a small town girl with dreams. But that was it.
“It was really frustrating,” Erin said.
However, rather than sulk, Erin said she decided she would send her musical talent out into the internet universe. She began recording cover songs and posting the efforts on YouTube.
The approach worked for recording artists like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, so why not Erin Gibney?
Back in March, Erin said she learned her efforts paid off. She received a call from Buddy Hyatt, the former keyboardist for the band Toto. Hyatt told Erin that “a friend of a friend of a friend” had seen Erin’s videos on YouTube.
“I want you to come to my studio and record with me,” Hyatt told Erin.
“And I was like, ‘Okay?’” explained Erin.
Hyatt then asked Erin if she written any songs. And she told him that she had an entire album’s worth.
“When do you need me?” Erin told Hyatt.
Erin headed down to Hyatt’s studio in Nashville in September, where she recorded two songs including, “Do My Time.”
Erin said she was awestruck when she stepped into the studio in Nashville. “Going from small stages and going into this huge studio where these insane names have recorded and sang in front of this microphone where I’m standing and then you put your headphones on and suddently these talented well-known musicians start playing your song. It’s the most insane moment because you’re thinking I’m a 17-year-old senior at Southington High School and I’m standing in a big time Nashville studio.”
“It was the most life changing experience for me,” said Erin. For her, at that moment, Erin realized this where she wanted to be for life.
Country music doesn’t seem like the type of music you would expect to hear come from a teenager in Connecticut. In fact, Erin’s first love was for the blues. Almost everything she sang before local audiences has had a blues inflection (her favorite singer is jazz blues singer Norah Jones).
But Erin said country found her as she was writing her own songs. Her music lent itself to a country approach— albeit with more references to New York City than locales south of Nashville.
Nowadays, although she loves Norah Jones and Billy Joel, she also counts country artists Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert as her primary musical influences.
Eventually, Erin said her plan is to move to Nashville full-time as a recording artist. (She will be attending college as a backup plan—studio music management and marketing.) She is hoping to have a recording contract by the end of a summer (and a full album recorded as well).
As for live performances in the meantime, Erin said she is hemmed in by the fact she’s 17 and can’t perform in many bars yet. But she has her eyes open for opportunities in Connecticut before her big move.
Look for Erin Gibney’s single “Do My Time” on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.