Aubrie Sellers: Calling It as She Sees It

Guests on CMT Hot 20 Countdown With Brett Young and Michael Ray

Aubrie Sellers, a member of CMT Next Women of Country, jokes she’s become a master at seeing through “other people’s crap,” and it shows in the observant songs on her breakout album New City Blues.

“Magazines” casts a sarcastic eye on celebrity culture. In “Paper Doll,” she knows where she stands in a sea of fake people who don’t know how to stand out in a one-trick crowd.

Her current single “Liar Liar,” co-written with Brandy Clark and Jesse Jo Dillon, calls out a womanizer who attempts to ensnare unsuspecting females in his tangled web of lies.

“I don’t remember where the idea came from, but the main line I remember coming up with was the ’bargain bin romanticizer,'” Sellers said through a laugh. “And it can be any kind of relationship — when you’re meeting somebody new and you can already tell they’re full of it. That’s definitely something I’ve experienced and I think everyone has experienced.”

For our interview, Sellers is rocking signature black at the Omni Hotel during Country Radio Seminar 2017 blocks away from a kingdom of bargain bin romanticizing — Nashville’s Lower Broadway. She’s in town in between dates on Miranda Lambert’s Highway Vagabond Tour after a successful club run opening for the Cadillac Three. Both were perfect tours for the Nashville songbird who prefers her amps cranked all the way up.

“I really like that I can play with both of those acts and don’t feel like I’m going to out-rock anybody,” she says. “I can crank it to 10 and people are going to like it. A lot of the shows on the Cadillac Three tour have been sold out, and that’s one of my favorite energies. You’re right there with everybody. And then with Miranda, I’ve never played in arenas or anything like that. It’s general admission in the front, and so everybody’s up on the stage.”

After the tour, she’s booked a writer’s retreat in Marfa, Texas, where she’ll hole up for few days in her Shasta camper and write new material based on her experiences from the road. When asked what ideas have been on her mind she said it’s always different.

“There’s a new grievance every day to write about,” she said with a laugh. That’s life.

Sellers: It’s interesting because I think it will be at the core of who I am, and what I write is always similar. But when I wrote this last record, I was home all the time. Now I’ve been on the road, putting myself out there in a way I haven’t before and experiencing all kinds of different things. I’ve grown more as a feminist over the last year, for sure. It was on the first record, but I think it will be in my music even more so now that I’m getting out there and getting more into the business as an artist.

And you’re seeing what your audience wants, too.

Right. And I love to play live, and I think all of that will be on my mind — things that weren’t on my mind the first time making my record.

Before you did this album, you spent time out on the road testing the music, right?

Before the record came out, I was on the road, but when you don’t have any music out for anybody to buy or know, it’s a different experience.

That takes a lot of courage.

Yes. I was playing acoustic and driving around in a car. It was totally different. If my guitar went out, it was just me up there. It was hard at the time for me because I’m introverted. It was not natural for me to be doing that, and I had to push hard for me to be like, “OK, I can do this.” And after two or three years of touring full time, more people are connecting with the music, and it makes you feel more comfortable. It’s kind of like a cycle.

You just have to keep going.

Push through it. Anybody who was like me and is introverted, knows that if they want to do this, they can. It’s important for people to know that, I think. But if you would have asked me three years ago when I was really struggling, I would have been like, “I don’t know.”

Writing about other people’s experiences, how does that help you make sense of your world?

I tend to write from a personal place, and most of the time when I’m writing by myself, it’s coming from something I’ve experienced. But it doesn’t have to be 100 percent autobiographical. It’s taking your journal and making it into something that other people can listen to and relate to.

It is like therapy to write and have people connect with it. That’s the kind of music I connect with most. I’ve always been drawn to the real stuff and the stuff that feels authentic. And so when I’m writing songs, that’s what I try to do. And when people do connect with it, it feels really special.

Editor’s note: Sellers will be Cody Alan’s in-studio guest on an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown with Brett Young and Michael Ray, airing Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 25-26) at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Katie Cook will talk to Tim McGraw about his new movie The Shack and get an inside look at John Rich’s new Redneck Riviera bar in Las Vegas.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.