At Epidemic Sound, we’re always looking for new ways to tell stories. When we discovered Big Girl, a Nashville-based folk artist whose cultural lineage spans generations of mountain singers, we knew we had to work with her.
Big Girl’s debut single, 'The Shiny One', dropped in August 2022 – it’s a rich, character-driven folk track that swells in a way you could describe as Stevie Nicks-esque. Check out our chat with Big Girl below to learn about her upbringing, musical DNA and more.
Q: Folk music is all about storytelling. What’s your story, and how did you get to this point in your musical life?
A: I had a really tough childhood, and music was my escape. I used music to cope with the abuse and neglect I was experiencing. It was my joy and my safety.
From the earliest I can remember, I wanted to sing and perform. I had big dreams and always had a feeling that I would make it someday. But as I got older, I started thinking: I was born and raised here in Nashville, and there are so many incredible musicians here. I’ll never have a chance, I can never do this professionally. I’ll just sing in the car and in the shower, and that’s what it will be. Then I had this opportunity to work with Epidemic Sound – I’m actually living my dream and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Q: What was it like growing up in Nashville?
A: I was born and raised in Nashville. I come from a poor family, but my dad always made sure we had what we needed. He’s one of my biggest musical influences; I used to wake up every morning to music playing and him singing and dancing around the kitchen. My whole family is actually very musically talented. My dad exposed me to all different genres of music from all kinds of periods.
Everywhere in Nashville is full of live music. Being around all of that from such an early age really shaped and inspired me. It helped raise the bar of talent, in my eyes.
I also come from a family heritage of mountain singers and moonshiners from east Tennessee. The generation before my grandparents were true hillbillies. I grew up hearing stories of dirt floors, no running water or electricity – just a really hard way of living. Music has been the glue that kept my family close and sane through years of poverty and hard work.
Q: What’s your relationship with rock music?
A: I'm a rocker. I’m always going to be a rocker. The way old rock music made me feel as a little girl is indescribable. I could quickly identify with the raw, honest nature of the genre. It gave me the confidence to express myself through song without caring what others would think of my message. That's the nature of rock ‘n’ roll and it’s always been intoxicating to me.
I’m a Fender girl, for sure, and I write all my songs. When it comes to more complicated aspects of tracking, I’m not the greatest. But there are so many amazing artists to collaborate with and make my vision come to life. My A&R, Gabe Kelley, is incredible – I’ll be dead-set on an idea, then he’ll just say, “Try it this way,” and it’s a game-changer.
Q: Genre-wise, how would you describe the Big Girl sound?
A: Fleetwood Mac is my bread and butter, but I don’t want to sound exactly like them – they’ve already done what they do so extremely well. I’m honestly influenced by all kinds of sounds. Steely Dan, for example, has inspired several of the songs on this first EP I’ve been working on.
I always want to be true to myself, and I’m not keen on being put in a genre box. I think the Big Girl sound is a mix of everything that’s touched my heart and helped heal me. It’s a unique thing, and I’m proud of that. I love seventies soft rock and old blues, which is something I’ve tried more substantially for the first time with [upcoming single] ‘April Showers.’
This kind of music is cultural for me. It’s what I grew up with. It’s truly in my veins – when you deliver from that kind of heart and head space, it’s authentic. The type of music I play just makes sense to me. It’s who I am.
Q: You operate in the folk and country tradition of storytelling. What is your writing process like?
A: When I write, it’s about heavy life experiences and wounds that I have. ‘The Shiny One’ is a deep-rooted fear I have about not being good enough. ‘April Showers’ is about my mom abandoning me – allowing horrible things to happen to me and then just dropping me. Like a piece of trash. I still feel resentful and angry, so that’s what comes out in the music. It’s been a beautiful journey for my soul.
After I wrote ‘The Shiny One,’ I felt lighter. The same after ‘April Showers.’ It’s healing, and I hope it inspires others to find the thing that helps them heal. That’s what art is about, in my humble opinion.
My pain comes through in the bass, too. It’s my favorite instrument. All my music has to have great bottom end; it needs to have momentum and melodic groove. It’s also important to me that my vocals are always raw and human. I don’t want to sound like I’ve been overly tuned or affected. If I’m going to write raw shit, then I want listeners to hear my raw voice. The message won’t come through the same if all the emotion is overly edited or smoothed out.
Q: You mentioned that you hoped people could heal through your music. Is there anything else you’d like them to get from it?
A: If people can relate to my songs and get anything from them, I’ve done my job. But at the end of the day, this is for me and its medicinal properties. All people are different and I encourage everyone, especially those with trauma, to seek out the thing that helps them heal and pour themselves into it.
I want to be an example of that, because most people I’ve met, especially women, have some kind of trauma. Not everyone knows how to deal with that in a positive, healthy way. Most girls I meet have suffered some kind of abuse during their lives – the consequences of that abuse are long-lasting and you can’t just turn it off. So I’ve decided to talk about that. Openly. I have no shame and neither should they. We are in this together. Music is my way of contributing to that unity. I feel that I’m doing my part to put healthy energy out into the world.
If you dig Big Girl, you might find your new favorite artist on our country music page. Over at Epidemic Sound, we have more than 35,000 royalty-free tracks from top-tier music creators like Big Girl. Find out more below.