Across America, a new song about female empowerment is starting to gain traction in the most peculiar of places- on Radio Disney.
“Slide over, I’m driving, I ain’t just another cliché riding,” Abi Ann’s song “Truck Candy” commands.
A catchy tune poking fun at some of the more ridiculous tropes in country music, “Truck Candy” is enjoying a run on the kids centric radio network and on iTunes Radio where it is featured.
Rise News recently spoke to the 18-year-old rising star via phone from her apartment in Nashville, TN about her upbringing, her music and what she hopes to accomplish in the changing country landscape.
“I think that history repeats itself,” Ann said when asked about changes in the genre. “I see country music becoming more open to seeing more unique changes. A good twenty years ago that may not have happened.”
Abi Ann was born in Texas but raised in Los Angeles.
“I was an extremely ADD kid, my parents threw me into a whole lot of different activities. Music was the only thing that really stuck,” Ann said. “I grew up with very strong country roots.”
She attended Campbell Hall School where she said that she was encouraged to try to strike it big.
“I grew up in LA and my friends called me Hannah Montana growing up,” Ann said. “I went to a very understanding school and they were very helpful with everything.”
One of her first big breaks came when she was able to join Kelly Clarkson on tour, performing before the superstar in 36 cities in the US and Canada. She said that she learned a great deal from the experience.
“It was my first major tour. Kelly really runs a very loose camp and there is like no tension on the tour. It was just really eye-opening and I learned about my craft,” Ann said of Clarkson. “She really plays with her sound. I have so much more respect for her because of how versatile she is.”
After graduating from high school, Ann enrolled in Belmont University in Nashville where she is studying entrepreneurship, not exactly a major for those who wish to skirt through school.
She has a strong business sense, learning from her small business owning father the importance of being self-reliant.
“I’ve always been very much a believer in a separation of church and state in my life. I really like school and music,” Ann said. “I’m going to school for business because I want to be self-sufficient. I’ve just always had a knack for business. And I’ve always loved academics as much as music.”
The Clarkson tour wrapped up on September 20, which cut into the start of the fall semester. As a result, Ann is taking classes online but she hopes to take on campus classes in the future.
In terms of her sound, Ann said that she is very willing to mix different influences into her music from current pop and country music to some older legends that helped define the genre.
“My main influences were Johnny Cash and Shania Twain. That’s a weird combination for sure,” Ann said. “Shania, I look up to as a very strong woman figure.”
And that brings us back to her hit “Truck Candy”, a song that could easily be seen as a modern-day feminist ballad.
“It’s not that intense,” Ann said. But I’m very supportive of female empowerment.”
Saying that she views music as a form of therapy, Ann indicated that the song was more a direct response to the default masculinity that exists in much of country today.
“I wrote it with Walker Hayes. This was before Maddie and Tae and we were concerned about the gender imbalance in country music,” Ann said. “I definitely think it is an acquired taste. Country is not something that everybody loves.”
Ann made it clear that she deeply loves country music and sees it as one of the most vibrant music scenes going today.
Having only turned 18 a few months ago, Ann is still very young.
“I’ve had instances where I couldn’t go and do the typical teenage thing but I keep a pretty tight circle,” Ann said of some of the challenging aspects of fame. “But I have the best friends. My roommate is with me now and she’s smiling [listening to the interview].”
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Photo Credits: Submitted