By MIKE CHAIKEN
Country singer Tegan Marie is the very definition of an overachiever.
She has appeared on national television. She’s already had her debut on the holiest of country music sites, the Grand Ol’ Opry.
She has seen one of her homemade videos record millions of hits.
And she is the youngest artist to sign with a major label since Tanya Tucker did it in 1972.
But Tegan—who will be in Hartford on Sunday— set her sites on a music career at a pretty young age.
Calling from Nashville before she headed into a songwriting session, Tegan said she started singing at age 3. And then a few years later, she joined Sweety High—described as Gen Z girls’ media company—where she started sharing her home made music videos (“Without them, I wouldn’t be here today living my dream,” said Tegan.)
Although she started singing really young, the initiation did not come from within her household. She said her family wasn’t particularly musical. Mostly, she said, they listened to music in the car.
But that music heard as the family was on the move was enough to light up Tegan’s imagination.
She said she remembered hearing the music of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and John Mellencamp. The stories that they weaved through their voices and music found a home between her ears.
And those stories told by those musical masters made her want to write her own music.
Another musical artist, however, provided Tegan’s gateway to wider public appeal. She posted a home video of herself singing Florida-Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” She already had been posting videos. But this one proved to be different. Within an hour of posting, Tegan said the song had 500,000 views. Eventually, the cover version racked up 17 million and counting views on social media.
“I will never forget that feeling, watching the numbers go up and up,” said Tegan of that first day of the video’s posting. She said her manager kept calling her all night giving her an update on the numbers.
As noted, Tegan is signed to major label Warner Music Nashville, which for a new artist in the country universe—of any age— is a big deal.
Right from the start, said Tegan, she and her team at Sweety High were focused on signing with Warner.
“We all knew Warner Music Nashville was where we wanted to go,” said Tegan.
It wasn’t easy though. There were some hurdles to overcome. But, fortunately, Tegan said, her manager was a fighter. And she fought to get Tegan in for a meeting at the label.
Tegan went into the face-to-face with Warner, armed with five cover songs, which she performed in the office.
That’s all it took.
Based on that five song performance, Tegan got her record deal with Warner.
Many people got their first taste of Tegan with her debut single on Warner, “Keep It Lit.”
Tegan said she wrote the song when she was 13—and it was one of the first songs she wrote with her songwriting dream team. In this case, the song was a collaboration with Nathan Chapman, who has worked with Taylor Swift.
With its catchy banjo riff and catchy melody—along with its use of the word “lit,’ which is a big buzz word for Generation Z, Tegan and her team felt it was the perfect song to introduce her to the country music world.
“We knew it was something special,” said Tegan.”It’s a good modern song.”
The follow-up single was “I Know How to Make A Boy Cry,” which Tegan said is her Girl Power anthem.
On the song, which Tegan wrote at age 12, the lyrics are directed to a boy who interested in her as a girlfriend. Tegan sings, “Take it from all my friends that you might not wanna mess with me.”
Currently, Tegan said she has enough music written for three to four albums. However, for the moment, she said the plan is to keep releasing singles.
When she takes the stage at the Infinity Hall in Hartford, Tegan said she will share some of her new music with the audience- which will be among the first to ever hear the songs. She also is going to do a few cover songs that people will know, such as Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y” She, also will, of course, perform “Keep It Lit” and “I Know How to Make a Boy Cry.” Plus, she said, there will be some surprises.
“This is my first summer tour,” said Tegan. It also will be her first time in New England.
“I’m really excited,” said Tegan. “I’m going on tour, seeing the fans, and seeing them sing my songs.”
“I wanted to do this since I was a little girl… I can’t feel any more blessed.”
Tegan Marie performs at the Infinity Hall, Front Street, Hartford on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.
For tickets, go to www.InfinityHall.com . For more information, go to www.TeganMarie.com
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com.