When actress and country singer Lucy Hale first came to Los Angeles, her primary aim was to be a singer. But life won’t be force-fed a prescribed path. In Hale’s case, she got where she’d hoped but in a way perhaps unexpected.
“I moved to California when I was 15, for music,” the singer explains. “Someone suggested acting and I got the TV show Pretty Little Liars, which led to a movie in which I played a singer. After the movie came out, Hollywood Records wanted to discuss recording an album.”
The initial meeting bore little fruit. But a few months later they met again. This time Hale came with a definitive vision. “I told them that I wanted to do a country album,” she recollects. “They hadn’t had a country artist in a while so they jumped on board and allowed me to make the album I wanted to make.”
“[The label] hadn’t had a country artist in a while.”
Hale’s debut Road Between was recorded over the course of a leisurely two years. This allowed her to reflect upon her work and gain some perspective. “With the TV show, my schedule was tricky,” she says. “It was cool not to have a deadline because we could take the time to figure out my sound and meet with a lot of writers. We recorded until we got it right.”
To unsigned artists, she underlines the importance of self-promotion. “A lot of people are doing it independently,” she observes. “The best example is [Republic Nashville-signed band] Florida Georgia Line. They were selling a lot of records on their own and it wasn’t long before they got a deal. Being able to upload to YouTube enables artists to do their own thing.”
Road Between drops on June 3. Hale is hitting a number of festivals as well as performing a hometown gig at Memphis’ famed Grand Ole Opry on June 21. Due to her Pretty Little Liars shooting schedule, more extensive touring is being deferred until the fall. Her single “You Sound Good to Me,” has earned nearly five million online views/listens since it dropped in January. – Rob Putnam