Meet Nashville’s Rising Stars: Singer Songwriter Erin Duvall
By: Authority Magazine
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Erin Duvall. The Texas-born singer-songwriter, Erin Duvall, was raised on a foundation of country, blues, gospel, and rock ’n’ roll. Erin’s unique approach to music has drawn comparisons to singers like Janis Joplin, Natalie Maines, and Susan Tedeschi. As the fourth of five children in her family, Erin learned to advocate for herself and what she wanted at an early age, which was to always perform. By delivering raspy country vocals, Erin sets herself apart from other women in today’s country music scene. She belts, teases, and soars into listeners’ ears with her roadhouse bluesy tunes and the sultry sounds of her vocals.
Erin’s debut album, Out of Focus, was recorded in 2010 with producer and songwriter Rob Giles. Rob Giles is a singer-songwriter known for his solo work, along with working with Andy Summers of the Police and the band The Rescues.
Taking a pause to become a mother to four beautiful children and, as a single mother, she knows the importance of hard work and following your dreams. Currently, Erin is working with Terry and Simeon Baker of Baker Brothers Music. With over 30 years of experience, they have worked with Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, Kirk Franklin, Patty Austin, Wayne Newton, Bishop TD Jakes, to name a few. Together they are working to perfectly blend country, gospel, and rock n roll into one sound showcasing the music that was rooted in Erin’s upbringing.
The story of Erin Duvall has taken her around the sun twice and led her back to her passion for music time and time again. As a mompreneur, Erin is the creator and founder of the children’s animated character Aunty E, who teaches children about all types of music. The exciting animated world of Aunty E started in 2006 with producer Billy Henry. Billy has worked with prominent acts like The Chicks, Courtyard Hounds, Fleetwood Mac and Shakira.The project is very near and dear to Erin’s heart, and she is excited to share the progress with all of you as she revamps it.
As an influential philanthropist, Erin Duvall and her sister Molly Duvall Thomas founded a multimedia brand known as Sisters of Red. Sharing their love of fashion, design, travel and all things real and beautiful, Sisters of Red started in 2017 as a creative outlet to share their inspiration. As a sister-duo, the two share a passion for giving to help make a difference in the lives of others.
“I have grown up with two very strong examples of family first, hard work, and giving back. So now as a single mother of four, I feel very strongly to leave a legacy behind for my children that makes them proud.” says Duvall. With the passion that burns inside Erin Duvall, she will excel in all aspects of her career, especially in an ever-increasing world of burn-outs and flashes that dispense as quickly as the wick is lit. To learn more about Erin Duvall’s notable career as a mother, country singer, businesswoman, and philanthropist, please visit ErinDuvallOfficial.com or follow her on social media Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit about your “origin story”. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me! I grew up in a large family in Dallas, TX as the fourth of five children. I have two very wonderful parents who taught us at an early age the importance of hard work and giving back. Every aspect of my life growing up was centered around being a performer, from being the lead in the high school musical to being the captain on the cheerleading squad.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have wanted to be a performer since I was a little girl. I was always writing songs in my journal, blaring Dolly Parton or Shania Twain, and putting on shows for anyone that would listen. My younger years were full of performing, and then I took a pause to go to college, at The University of Texas and majored in journalism, where I really honed in on my craft of writing. Immediately after college I went straight back to music and have had quite the journey along the way: from children’s music to my music, from New York to Nashville to the West Coast then back to Texas, to becoming a mother and writing this new album, it’s been a long and winding road. One that has always been centered on music. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my love of music and all the fabulous places it has taken me along the way to get to where I am now.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Gosh, that is so hard to narrow down! It’s been a long journey with lots of twists and turns, but I am so grateful for every winding road because they have all brought me to where I am today. I guess one of the most interesting stories is that I was in a reflective writing space for a period of time while my kids were little. I reconnected with an old colleague of mine from one of my projects, and at the time, he was working for Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potters House. Bishop Jakes is a renowned minister in the world who is based in Texas. I ended up in a meeting with my friend and Bishop Jakes. Bishop said he had heard that I was a singer and that he wanted me to do something for his church. I had a wonderful period of time where I got to do some work for them and met a lot of wonderful people, including my two producers. It just goes to show you that sometimes you feel like you are being pulled in different directions, but if you are willing to take a chance, something pivotal can come out of it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking that chance. I will forever be grateful to that happenstance in life. It was kismet.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was very young when I started out and naive, to say the least. My heart was in the right place, but I lacked the knowledge and experience that was needed to really make a dent. In my young age, I didn’t realize the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to promote the music is equal, if not more, to what you put into making the record. I made the mistake with my first debut album of not having a solid team behind me to really push and promote the music. I was able to get it in front of some wonderful people, but the marketing and branding pieces were not there when they absolutely needed to be.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working on a multitude of projects currently. We have the first single from my album dropping on October 7th and then I am announcing the start of my charity, “Twice the Love Foundation” with an event on November 2nd in Dallas, TX that benefits The Genesis Women’s Shelter. I will drop my second single at the top of the new year and finally get to share my animated project with the world! Stay tuned…lots to come!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film, and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think it is incredibly important to have diversity represented in music, film, and television because it is our duty, as citizens and human beings, to provide an accurate portrayal of society. When we push to have this accurate portrayal, we learn from one another, have a better understanding of one another’s cultures and beliefs, it provides perspective, and most importantly, it drives innovation and creativity way beyond what we could have ever dreamed.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Stay true to yourself
2. Don’t be afraid to evolve and grow as a person and an artist
3. Find the right team who loves you for you, shares in your same vision and will fight for you to be heard and seen.
4. Keep your head down, work hard and tune out the noise that doesn’t matter. If someone REALLY wants to work with you, they will absolutely make that known.
5. Always be working on your craft. The moment we stop bettering ourselves and our crafts, is that moment that we become stagnant.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The music industry is a wonderful place to be, but definitely can come with many twists and turns along the way. The most important thing I have found to be true is that you must always stay true to yourself. Understand that you will evolve and change internally over time, but as long as you stand by your true inner self and fight for what you believe in, you will thrive and not burn out. And secondly, surround yourself with the right team of people that understand your vision and always have your best interest in mind.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
To always be kind and live by the golden rule. We were all made different on purpose, and we should celebrate one another’s differences and learn from one another because that is a beautiful way of life. That is the way the world was intended to be.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have been very fortunate to come across some wonderful people on my journey and will be forever grateful for their guidance and support. Yet, I would say my parents are who I am most grateful to because they were my first cheerleaders, my sounding board, my logical business advice givers, and my backbone. I could not be where I am today without their love and support.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There is a great song by Little Feat called “On Your Way Down,” and there is a line that says “The same people that you must use on your way up, you might meet up on your way down.” That always stuck with me. It is a true reminder that life is about riding a rollercoaster. Sometimes you are at the peak, and other times you are running down that slope going zero to 60 about to crash head first. So always be kind; there is no reason not to be. You are never too important in life to be anything but respectful. Everyone, no matter where they are on their journey, should treat everyone with the same love and respect.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Dolly Parton or Lin Manuel Miranda. I would love a glimpse into how their brilliant minds work, especially in the songwriting category. I think they are two of the most brilliant writers, and I am always in awe of their work and have the highest respect for them both.
How can our readers follow you online?
The music is on all streaming platforms. Please follow along for daily content on instagram @erinduvallofficial and www.erinduvallofficial.com
Thank you so much for having me; this has been a blast! Can’t wait for you to hear the new music!