Edited with Afterlight

Amy Lawton is a rare species – a British country artist

We struggle in the UK to create country artists – period – so some country rock from Manchester? Yes, please. Thank you very much. Bring on Amy Lawton.

What does country music mean to you?
Country music to me is real music about people’s lives, their experiences, and it usually tells a story or paints a picture of something in a way that you can relate to. I gravitated towards country music because of the lyrics and it’s the perfect genre to express myself in and tell stories which is what I love doing.

 Which country singer had the most impact on your life and why?
When I was about 12 I discovered Taylor Swift and that was my first introduction to country music, after that I ended up listening to loads more country artists like Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Kacey Musgraves. Taylor Swift had a massive impact on my life because she caused me to think about the songwriting process and the real stories behind songs, because of her I like to write songs about real events in my life. 

What are the main foundations of a country song? What does a song need to have to be country?
I think the foundation of a country song is that it tell a story, and that can be about anything. I love country lyrics because they are clever and they fit the concept of what the song’s about perfectly. I think country music is mostly about love and relationships which is my favourite thing to write about, but it doesn’t always have to be. 

I love listening to music with real instruments.

The beauty of country music is that it’s such a vast genre; Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton are both country artists, but they are so different. There’s certainly a country-spectrum – which side are you attracted to more? 
I love all sides of the country music spectrum, a good song is a good song. But I think I lean towards the more pop-y country songs because I love pop melodies and hooks, but it definetly has to still have great lyrics! 

As time goes on and music changes constantly, genres naturally evolve and branch out with the emergence of new artists. How has country music evolved over time, or is the beauty of it that is hasn’t changed, and it’s timeless?
I think country music is timeless but, I have really loved the way that it has evolved recently into more commercial sounding music, although I still love classic country music as well, and I hope that doesn’t go away. 

Country music to me is real music about people’s lives, their experiences and it usually tells a story or paints a picture of something in a way that you can relate to it.

Can you remember your first time discovering country music? What happened and how did it feel?
I’m not sure I remember it exactly but I remember being 12 when I first started to discover country artists on youtube which I’d never heard of before as they weren’t played a lot in the Uk, none of my friends or family knew them and it opened up this whole new world for me. 

Country music also feels quite bare instrumentally, there aren’t too many layers, is this part of the beauty? 
Absolutely! And I love listening to music with real instruments.

I’ve been reading a lot lately that country music is experiencing an identity crisis, what’s your take on this?
I think that a natural part of a genre evolving is that people push the boundaries of it, and that might become confusing for some people but, I think the more different artists exploring this within the genre the better! 

There’s obviously been an emergence of country-hip hop with Lil Nas and a few others. Is this still country music?
I haven’t actually heard of country hip hop but I’ll have to check it out! 

Where do you see country music heading?
I think country music is becoming more and more popular, especially in the Uk and I hope it keeps going that way! 

You can listen to Amy on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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