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A Dallas native living in Nashville SaraBeth is a contemporary country artist who’s gaining a strong fanbase in the UK. She tells Big Issue North why she thinks the genre is taking off here ahead of live shows with Glen Mitchell, 22 Aug, Gullivers, Manchester and 30 Aug, Fort San Antone, Preston.

Much country music has never resonated with Brits before. Why do you think country music is taking off in the UK for the first time?
I’m not really sure. I get asked quite a bit what the biggest difference is between fans in the UK versus the US. To me, I just see people who love music coming out to shows and singing along. The biggest difference is the accent. After talking with numerous friends in the UK, I think some people may have the wrong perception of country music, especially in today’s world. Country has transformed, like every other genre of music, and every artist has their own style. I remember hearing Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes on the radio the last time I was in the UK and when I mentioned something to a friend she said: “They’re not country. They’re pop.” People outside the US are listening to country music and don’t even know it’s country.

Is your lyrical content traditionally country?
One thing I love about country music is that the lyrics tell a story. So from that standpoint, yes. I would call myself contemporary country. When I write songs, I write about a variety of things, but at the end of the day they tell a story.

How has living and working in Nashville shaped you as an artist?
I absolutely love Nashville. If you’re going to do music full time, there’s no better place to be. I’ve met and worked with so many talented, accomplished people. I try to learn something from everyone I work, write, or hang out with.

Is it a very competitive place for a country musician?
I don’t really look at it as competitive, but I guess you could say that. It’s a city full of musicians. I see it more as a place to learn and grow as a musician.

How has your friendship with UK Nashville-based musician Glen Mitchell affected your career?
Glen is just great! He’s had such an amazing career in Nashville, and I’m lucky to get to work with him. He’s played with all the biggest country artists and also wrote a hit song on the radio. He was the first person who took the time to teach me how to write a good song and also taught me how to play the guitar. I’ve grown a lot as an artist over the past year, and Glen is one of the big reasons for that. I’m excited to share this tour with him – and luckily he’s familiar with driving on the opposite side of the road.

Is this your first trip to the UK?
I’ve actually been coming to the UK about once a year since I was in high school. I had family that lived in London for years, so I would come over for visits. We did our first show almost two years ago with Glen and I went to visit family. That led to a five-show tour in October and now we’re back for 12 shows. I can’t wait to see all my friends and fans.

Antonia Charlesworth

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