How Sasha McVeigh Wove Some J.K. Rowling Wisdom Into a Song

In the middle of the night one night, as Sasha McVeigh was scrolling through Pinterest, she saw a quote from best-selling Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. It said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

“I was inspired almost instantaneously, I had a melody and a lyric in my head. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my guitar and started writing,” McVeigh told “Rock bottom is a curious thing. It sucks and it can be soul destroying but, for me, after a while it became almost a solace. I found great comfort in knowing this was as low as I could go and I felt this sense building inside me to want to climb back out.”

McVeigh was born and raised in Hereford, Herefordshire in the United Kingdom, and says that “Rock Bottom” for her was when she started her journey to get to Nashville. “Back in 2015, I started the process of applying for my green card to be able to move to Nashville. Then in the first week of 2016, I found out that I wasn’t able to travel to the United States until my green card was approved,” she explained. “It was a huge set back, because what transpired were a lot of delays with the process, which meant I had to cancel my summer tour and all sorts of opportunities and obligations I had for that year.”

But coming up out of that rock bottom allowed McVeigh to appreciate the things she might’ve otherwise taken for granted. “I’m a firm believer that our struggles can help make us the people were are, and rather than be ashamed of them, we should celebrate them.”

Then came the video, which she made down in Murfreesboro, a little bit south of Nashville. “Quinton Cook (the director) found this awesome dilapidated cabin out in a secluded field/forest area, that had this retro television set and all these old books scattered on the floor. It was the perfect location for the song and the concept I had in my head,” she said, adding that even the unexpected visit from the baby vultures nesting in the cabin didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for the shoot.

When McVeigh first arrived in Nashville — right after her rock bottom — she met Jerrod Niemann when they were both performing at Country Jam USA in Wisconsin. “He saw my set, we got to talking afterwards and I happened to mention that I adored his song ’What Do You Want?’ He asked me if I knew the harmony part, I said yes, and he basically handed me the microphone and said, ’It’s the sixth song in my set, I want you to sing harmony on it with me.’ I’ll never forget that moment.”

Since McVeigh has already made a long list of her country music dreams come true, she’s starting to think about what to add to her bucket list. Call it her Someday Wish List:

1. Record a CMT Crossroads episode with Lady Gaga

2. Collaborate with Zac Brown Band, Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Wyatt Durrette, Emily Weisband and Liz Rose

3. Play at the Grand Ole Opry, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.