Texas born. Fourth of five children. Learned to speak up for yourself at a young age. Raised on country, blues, gospel, and rock ‘n roll and a strong desire to perform. You’ve shared that you played the youngest bride in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as a freshman in high school.
“My drama teacher was one of the most influential people in my life. I can still hear her voice in my head when I get up on stage to perform. She was one of the greats! All kids in the arts deserve someone like her!”
What would you say if you were asked what is the best argument for music education in schools?
Music education positively impacts so many different areas of a child’s life, from helping develop their social skills, providing an outlet for creativity, helping boost their IQ, focus and persistence, as well as helping children with their academic performance. It is crucial that it remains a priority in our school systems. Plus it provides a relief for children throughout the day which is beneficial for their development overall.
Debut album, Out of Focus, was recorded in 2010 with producer and songwriter Rob Giles. How did your musical inspirations influence the songs on your debut release?
My debut album was a labor of love and a definite nod to my influences from my childhood. The song “Speak for Me” is a heartbreaking story of a woman and man dealing with addiction in their relationship, and I feel like Dolly Parton’s incredible story telling helped me write this song. There are pieces of so many of my musical influences in everything I do; I wouldn’t be where I am today without the songs of my past and the sounds of my childhood.
“It’s a juggling act between feeding the kids and feeding the dreams we chase” — “Briefcase,” Walker Hayes feat Lori McKenna. “This is one of my all-time favorite lyrics! It says so much and truly hits me to my core. It really is such a delicate balance…being a parent, especially a single parent, and a hard-working doer / dedicated dreamer.” Family. You want to leave a legacy behind for your four children, and use songs, like Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” to share life lessons with them. What other songs have you used to teach them about what matters most in life?
I use music a lot to share lessons in life with my children. Here are a few of our favorites:
“You’ve Got a Friend” — Carole King— to remind my children that we are always there for each other, no matter what might be going on or where we might be. It is super important to me that my children are a close-knit unit that always supports one another and have each other’s backs.
“Love Without End, Amen” — George Strait to remind them that my love for them is never ending. I was put on this earth to be their Mama and to help them learn how to fly.
“It’s A Great Day to Be Alive “— Travis Tritt — to remind them that there’s always a reason to be thankful for each and every day that you are given!
“I Hope You Dance “— Lee Ann Womack — my hopes and dreams for my children.
“Bless the Broken Road” — Rascal Flatts — to remind them that sometimes rough patches bring us something so much more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
“When I Get Where I’m Going “— Brad Paisley feat Dolly Parton — to help them understand the cycle of life and to let them know when we lose the ones we love here on Earth, that eventually we will be reunited with them one day in Heaven.
“Jesus, Take the Wheel “— Carrie Underwood — to remind them to always rely on our Heavenly Father.
“To me, Sundays are for family.” What are some of your favorite family activities?
My children play a lot of sports, so we always have a great time going to their games and cheering them on. We love to be outside! We also love spending time with our extended family — either swimming at the pool, having dinner, or just hanging out. It’s always better when we are together. And me and my four littles love to have a family movie night. We vote on a movie, get milk duds and popcorn, and all cozy up on our couch and be together. It’s always very special.
The stage. “My favorite place in the world to be, outside of being with my littles and my family, is on the stage. It feels like magic — it makes me come to life and it fills my soul beyond words!” If you were to plan a tour of your dream venues, where would you be performing?
Gosh, that sure is hard to narrow down! There are so many fabulous venues in the world! But if I was going to choose a few of my favorites here in the US, I would say, Madison Square Garden or Radio City Music Hall in NY, The Ryman or The Opry in Nashville, The Hollywood Bowl in LA, and Red Rocks in Colorado, and now the new Moody Theater in my old college town of Austin, TX, and, because I love my hometown, I would have to say American Airlines Center or ATT.
“Walking Country Song.” “When asked about the journey of my life and where it has taken me, I was told that I sounded like a Walking Country Song. That’s exactly right, I’m a country song… made up of strength, doubt, tears, love, pure grit, and determination. Always one foot firmly on the ground while the other is constantly in motion.” Your intention is to show all of the many roles you play on a daily basis through The Three Faces of Erin: Music, Motherhood, and Entrepreneurship. How do you see this song helping listeners to unmask their ‘faces,’ embrace their roles, and find what inspires them?
Life is truly a rollercoaster ride chock full of joy, beauty, friendship, love, pain, forgiveness, and understanding. If you are willing to accept that rough patches occur and more importantly, that you need to use those times to better yourself, then you will be transformed into what you have always dreamed of being. Those times are all a part of your journey and help define who you are as a person. This song is about that journey and pushes you to believe that you can be as many faces in a single day as you want or need to be and that anything is possible.
Creator and founder of Aunty E, the animated character who teaches children about the different music genres. It was started in 2006 with producer Billy Henry. What have fans of your entertainment brand shared about how it has encouraged children to explore opportunities in music?
Aunty E is geared towards young children. Music education at an early age sets a wonderful foundation for children to explore music, be exposed to different types of genres and provides an outlet. We have heard that the non-genre specific approach to our music keeps the young listeners engaged and that the kids love learning about music in the fun and simple approach that we have used.
Twice the Love, your charity foundation, focuses on supporting single parents, both fathers and mothers, to get back on their feet, emotionally and physically, after facing hardships. The next fundraiser event is set to take place Wednesday, November 2nd, at the AT&T Performing Arts Center — Annette Strauss Square, Dallas, TX, to benefit The Genesis Women’s Shelter. What are some of the resources you’ve found most helpful for single parents?
Personally, I have found that therapy and child therapy for me and my littles has truly helped us push through our struggles and gain a better understanding of how to deal with our emotions in a healthy way. Also, our church has been a safe haven for us and a constant reminder that we are loved and we can make it through anything, with God’s help. Our family and friends have been the best support system in the world. It really does take a village, so whether or not you are close to family, find those people that become family to you and yours.
Sisters of Red (along with your sister, Molly Duvall Thomas) is a multimedia brand, started in 2017, as a creative outlet to help make a difference in the lives of others through fashion, design, travel, and all things real and beautiful. How do you see the brand evolving as your followers’ seasons of life change?
We are both mothers with very busy lives, and the majority of our followers are in the same stage of their lives as well. We continue to evolve and grow as our lives alter and change with each passing season, and we constantly stay in touch with our followers to make sure we are hitting the mark for them time and time again.
What’s ahead in 2023?
I am looking forward to 2023. It is really about turning a page and starting a new chapter. On a personal note, I turn 40 in February and am excited for that next decade of my life!
And then, I have my second single coming out in January, with the album drop following closely after. Twice the Love Foundation will have wrapped up its first charity event and will be looking for the spot to host our next one. The first book of Aunty E will hit the market, and all of the Aunty E music will as well. I seriously can’t wait for 2023!