Honesty and optimism open Nashville doors for Songwriter Erin McLendon
by: Steve Wildsmith The Daily Times, Maryville, TN
Singer-songwriter Erin McLendon sent it on a whim, an email to the senior director of Writer/Publisher Relations for SESAC, a Nashville-based performance-rights organization.
She didn’t expect to hear back, and certainly never thought it would lead to a publishing deal, but those doors opened nevertheless, she told The Daily Times this week.
“John Mullins came to speak to a class I was taking at Belmont and wrote his email address down, so I wrote to him,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m a senior, and I don’t really know what I’m going to do when I graduate; can I sit down and talk to you?’ He said yes, so I played him the EP I had at the time, and he asked me if I had a PRO already. I said, ‘No, I just started this songwriting thing,’ and he said, ‘Well let’s just sign you up right now.’
“I ran up and down the hallway in my apartment screaming when I got home: ‘Oh my gosh, what just happened?!?’ My roommate, the only thing she could see was me running up and down the hall, screaming.”
Say this for McLendon — she’s vivacious, animated and whimsical, and it comes across on stage and off. Her originals (“Honolulu,” “You’re the Only One”) showcase a talented songwriter unafraid to dip her toes in mainstream waters but much more comfortable blazing her own trail through the wild lands of undiscovered artists who just need the right break to see their name in lights and on charts.
Originally from Georgia, she moved with her family to Durham, N.C., when she was 2 and went to college at Belmont University in Nashville; when she graduated four years ago, she knew she had a better chance of pursuing a music career in Nashville, but that meeting with Mullins set her down her current path.
“I knew I was going to stay; I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “When that happened, I said, ‘OK, this is a sign.’”
A note from Erin: Thank you to everyone who came out to our shows this weekend in Knoxville! Y'all were an amazing crowd and I can't wait to come back!! Love Always, Erin