Canadian Country band “Nice Horse” has a lot to celebrate.
The ladies have a CCMA nomination, a top-40 single, and their summer hit “Cowgirl” that’s climbing the charts. The all-female band hailing from Alberta, Canada include; Brandi Sidoryk, Krista Wodelet, Katie Rox, and Tara McLeod.
We had a chance to talk to Krista about the band’s milestones plus, what fans can expect from the girls in the coming months.
- First off, congratulations on your CCMA nomination – you must be extremely excited. What has 2020 been like for you so far?
2020 has been… weird! We’ve had a lot of great things happen lately, which we’re very grateful for – our third CCMA nomination and our first top-40 single, just to name a couple – but it’s been strange not being able to be out on the road and share these milestones with our fans. It’s been a real rollercoaster for all of us!
- It’s pretty amazing that you took the COVID restrictions with such stride, going on to create “Wine at 9” every Monday morning to help stay connected with your fans. Where did the idea come from, and is it something that you plan to continue?
We started “Wine at 9” not just to connect with fans, but also to connect with each other. We don’t live in the same cities, so we really just missed being together. When the pandemic first hit and we were all in self-quarantine after returning from tour, it felt like everything was upside down and nothing was normal anymore – so we figured, why not get together at 9 AM on Monday morning and chat over a glass of wine! It’s been a really fun way to stay in touch with each other and with our fans.
- For your new fans out there, tell us your story … how did Nice Horse come to be and how did you come up with the band name?
Nice Horse began on a girls’ trip to Hawaii. Brandi, Katie, and I had all met through the music industry doing separate projects and we’d been friends for a fairly long time, so we just wanted to relax, drink mai-tais, and maybe write some songs together. We ended up writing a TON of songs during that trip and decided it would be fun to start a side project together. After we showed the songs to some trusted mentors at Coalition Music in Toronto, they advised us to make our new little “side project” our main focus, so we did – and they ended up coming on as our management. We really hit our stride when Tara joined the band, though. When we finally met her and played together for the first time, it was love at first sight – and the rest is history!
The name is a little nod to Brandi’s dad. Both Brandi and Katie grew up on cattle farms, and Brandi’s dad is definitely the stereotypical cranky farmer (don’t tell him I said that!) Brandi is actually a trained opera singer and also spent many years as an electro-pop artist, and her dad could never understand why she didn’t just sing the country music she was raised on. He was so relieved when Brandi was finally playing in a country band that we decided to let his
favourite movie inspire the band name: “The Man From Snowy River”, featuring – you guessed it – a very nice horse.
- Do you have any musical influences? If so, who?
Oh, we have tons! The four of us all have very different musical backgrounds, so we definitely have our own individual influences – Brandi and Katie grew up on country music, but took their own personal detours into electro-pop and industrial rock (respectively), while Tara is a classic rocker who also played in a metal band called Kittie for quite a while. I’m trained as a classical musician but always loved 80s rock and pop – so asking us about our influences could be a very LONG conversation! As a country band, I think we can all agree on artists like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, and The Cadillac Three – and of course Dolly Parton and the Chicks.
- Your new single “Cowgirl” has been a huge success, what was the inspiration behind the song and the video?
The song’s message of inclusivity is one that we truly believe in. I think the lyrics in the bridge sum it up best: “It ain’t about what you wear, it ain’t about what you drive / No matter where you’re from, when it’s said and done, Cowgirl is a state of mind.” For us, being a cowgirl has nothing to do with gender, race, sexual orientation, age, geographical location, or personal style – it’s someone who is independent, brave, fierce, and true to themselves. Anyone can be a cowgirl!
We had to get creative with the video due to pandemic constraints; obviously, we couldn’t even be in the same room together, much less assemble a video crew. We loved the idea of doing an animated video because it allowed us to explore concepts that we could never pull off live – so why not turn ourselves into superheroes and fight a giant robot? We partnered with Tivoli Films for the animation, and we stayed very involved as it came together – we had a lot of input on how our characters looked and how the story played out, and we wrote all the comic book captions ourselves.
- What can your fans expect to hear from you in the coming months?
We have a ton of music that we’re really excited to release! We spent a lot of time in the studio in 2019 and the first couple of months of 2020, so we can’t wait to get more music out into the world. We’ve also stayed really active on our socials during the pandemic – it’s been challenging but fun to get creative, even when we can’t actually be together.
- Do you have any collaborations in the works?
We’re actually working on a little cover video right now with one of our very favourite Canadian country icons – we can’t say who just yet!
- If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would it be and why?
I’m sure we would each have a different answer for this – but personally, I think it would be really fun to collaborate with a badass female rocker. Sheryl Crow, Ann, and Nancy Wilson, Pat Benatar, Shirley Manson… I can’t pick just one! I’m also totally in awe of Lizzo – I think she’s amazing, and that would be such a crazy collaboration (if I could ever stop fangirling).
- Do you find the industry is a bit harder to get into for female country artists vs male?
I don’t think it’s harder to get into, but I do wish you saw more female country artists playing instruments other than the acoustic guitar. The fact that we’re completely self-contained really sets us apart – “No dudes on stage!” is the running joke 🙂 The instruments we play (banjo, lead electric guitar, bass, and drums) are not commonly played by women in country music, which is a shame. It’s cool for us when younger girls come to our shows – we’re always encouraging them to start their own bands!
- If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
I think the COVID pandemic has exposed a great flaw in the industry, which is that we’ve all come to rely on touring as our main source of income. When that suddenly got taken away, it caused a lot of panic among musicians and the greater industry – and rightfully so! – and it is now forcing many artists to rethink their revenue streams. It’s a really difficult time for the whole industry, but it’s also been interesting to see how everyone is adapting. Obviously, we’re all looking forward to a time when it’s safe to tour again, but my hope would be that we’re collectively finding some new ways to stay creative, stay connected, and sustain ourselves that we can continue to explore even post-pandemic.
For fans looking to help support artists they love through this very uncertain time – take a spin through their merchandise shops and buy a t-shirt! Band shirts also make great Christmas gifts… just saying 😉
- What is your favorite song to perform?
My personal favourite is “Hot Mess”! That’s my favourite song that we’ve recorded to date, and my favourite song to play live.
- What’s next for you ladies?
We’ve still got a lot on the go, even though we’re not physically together. We’re doing a lot of video-chat songwriting sessions and staying pretty active on our socials – keep an eye out for some new CCMA content coming up soon! We’re also remotely recording a new song right now with our producer Jeff Dalziel, and it’s a whole new experience for us to complete a tune top-to-bottom from our home studios. We can’t wait to get that out in the world – stay tuned!
You can follow Nice Horse and their music on:
Check out the video for “Cowgirl” in the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEUcLYqMZYM
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