Female artists are slowly beginning to dominate the music industry. For the past three years, a female solo musician has won the Grammy for Best New Artist, and Erin McCarley is just another one to keep an ear out for. McCarley began to write music for her debut album, "Love, Save the Empty" while living in San Diego, and then halfway through the recording process in the summer of 2007 moved to Nashville to finish. After gaining recognition during 2008 playing live shows such as the South by Southwest Musical Festival, McCarley released her album on Jan. 6, 2009. Although her songs are not yet gaining much radio play, several tracks have been featured on episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "One Tree hill," among others, and her first track "Pony (It's OK)" set a record in February for the most iTunes "Single of the Week" downloads. McCarley chatted with DIG just before hitting the road on the "Ten Out of Tenn" tour about how her career began, what her album encompasses and what it's like to hear her songs on TV.
DIG : I read that you grew up in Texas and then moved to San Diego briefly after college and that's where you really got into music and song- writing, can you describe that experience to me. ERIN MCCARLEY : San Diego, I just kind of went there to escape music just cause I wasn't sure exactly really what I needed to write about or what my honest articulation was for, what I needed to get out there so I just kind of ran away and dove into just beach culture. I'd never lived in San Diego before, so for like a year I kind of vegged out, but the desire to do music kept eating away. I started going to more live shows and just getting inspired . I worked at this little boutique by the beach but when I'd get home all I'd do is write. So I started writing and I don't know it was just a process of growing up and at the same time letting go of inhibitions, and I don't know just maturing . that was kind of the beginning.
DIG : Can you tell me about the recording process of your debut album and when you knew you wanted to really write and compile your songs to make an album?
EM : I was anxious to make one [an album] two years before I made it, and I just tried to be patient and keep writing. So I think probably after a year of writing and scrapping then I started writing the record.
DIG : And you were still in San Diego at this time?
EM : Mmhmm and I met Jamie Kenney who wound up producing the record. He lived in Nashville and he was out in LA and we met up and I played some songs for him, and we decided, 'Hey let's try to work together and see what happens.' I went out to Nashville for a week and recorded two songs and we wrote together as well . It was a two year process of recording.
DIG : Your album has a pretty unique name, could you give us a little bit of information about the meaning of the name of your album and that title track?
EM : The reason I picked that particular title is be- cause it just encompassed what the whole album is kind of about - just filling a void and just finding those desires or wants that we all have and figuring out how to fill that. "Love, Save the Empty" kind of came about after thinking of just how there's little to no role model these days and just thinking about certain kids that have to grow up with either parents that don't want to be involved or just no parents, and that's kind of how it started.
DIG : Your music has been on several TV shows and the new "He's Just Not That Into You" movie, how would describe that feeling of hearing your songs on these shows and films? Is it kind of a surreal experience?
EM : It definitely is [surreal] especially the first time you hear it and how the people decide to use it. The very, very, very first time that I ever heard it was on 'One Tree Hill' I think and it was ."Pitter Pat," and it was pretty wild just sitting there watching it air so you're watching it at the same time everybody else is and it comes on. I do get to see the scenes usually, not necessarily see them, I did get to see the movie before it happened, but before I approve it I usually get a scene description to know where it's going to tie into just in case it doesn't line up with what [I see].
DIG : Do you have any plans for after the [Ten Out of Tenn Tour] and the rest of year?
EM : I think that I may have a small break in April, but I'm doing some dates with Jack's Mannequin in April/May and then there's some other opportunities coming up not definite yet, but talk of some daytime stuff. and other late night shows.. right now it's really promoting this record and hopefully getting people to know who I am and really want to hear more.