The mind works in mysterious ways. Sometimes a random object, saying or song can bring back a myriad of memories that are forever attached to it. For people like Gloria Anderson who were never settled in one place for too long, that object was a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder named Kathy that reminded her of her mother’s car, which serves as the subject of her forthcoming single, “Like She Does (The Car Song),” set for release this Friday, August 27th.
The song, which is available for pre-save now, reminisces on memories from the rearview mirror and “two sets of brakes and 200,000 miles,” and keeps instrumentation largely sparse; a beautiful acoustic track, tasteful fiddle and subtle drums set the background for Anderson’s vocal, at times not sounding dissimilar to Dolly Parton’s vocal and storytelling abilities.
Ahead of the release of “Like She Does,” we chatted with Anderson about her diverse influences, being a military brat, settling in Nashville at Belmont University, all about “Like She Does” and more!
Pro Country: Your bio mentions that growing up, you were introduced to classic rock bands by your father and classic country artists by your mother. Can you talk about some of the artists you were listening to early in your life and the artists that have had an impact on you sonically?
Gloria Anderson: My dad enjoyed listening to classic rock bands like Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, AC/DC, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses. My mom played Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, George Strait, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. I remember listening to The Essential Dolly Parton album every time we went horseback riding and Taylor Swift because she was just starting out. In high school, I discovered singer songwriters like Lori Mckenna, Brandi Carlile, Ruston Kelly and Texas artists like Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson and Wade Bowen. I also enjoy listening to pop radio, but my musical roots are in the country, southern rock and americana genres.
PC: You began writing songs as early as seventh grade. What was it about songwriting and expressing yourself in that way that drew you in and connected with you so early in your life?
GA: Since I come from a military family, my parents worked to maintain some consistency for my sister and me; church, soccer and music. I began singing in choir at church and started some vocal lessons in 2nd grade. Once I got an iPod, I could not stop listening to music, and I found myself focusing on the lyrics and stories. I think songwriting drew me in because I was curious how the songs I listened to would tell a full story, in a few short lines with a melody. I loved listening to and writing stories in school; it makes sense I eventually combined the two. I wrote about things I’d experienced and see out the car window. Then, my freshman year of high school, my dad taught me a few chords on the guitar, and I never put it down.
PC: You were a military brat and lived in numerous places early in your life. Did moving around that much make your move to Nashville a bit easier?
GA: When my parents left after move-in day, I had a weird realization that I was living full-time in another state without them. Being a military brat gave me tools to get comfortable in a new place and make friends. However, I quickly learned there was a lot of freedom and responsibility that came with being on my own. Once I became familiar with Nashville and played writer’s rounds at local bars and restaurants, I had a sense of community. There are so many people who move to Nashville to pursue their dreams, and I found myself fitting in rather than being lost in the crowd.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release your debut single, “Yours”?
GA: I felt all sorts of emotions as I prepared for my debut single release: excitement, happiness and nervousness. I am very blessed to have a great team, who are also my friends, cheering me on. I remember telling my manager and friend, Sarah Hudspeth, that I had no clue what was going to happen. I honestly didn’t place any expectations on “Yours.” I collaborated with my friends for the release, and we were excited to see where it went and we enjoyed the learning experience.
PC: In just three months since its release, “Yours” has earned over 60,000 cumulative streams and landed on curated playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. How encouraging was it to tangibly see that success on your debut single?
GA: Seeing my debut single do well is extremely encouraging. I really just hoped it wouldn’t be lost in the abyss of daily uploads. I am so grateful to everyone who has listened so far and I’m honored to have a chance to be heard.
PC: Why did you feel that your new single, “Like She Does” was the right follow up to “Yours”?
GA: As an upcoming independent artist, I want to make sure the music I release gives listeners a good first impression of who I am as a storyteller and singer. I think hard about what I say in my music and try to make it worth sharing. The song “Like She Does” helped me learn a lot about myself and where I’ve been. I hope everyone is reminded of their journeys, and the road ahead.
PC: Is there a level of pressure you feel, internally or externally, to achieve a certain level of success with “Like She Does” after the success you had with “Yours”?
GA: I think the pressure is more internal than external because, honestly, I don’t have a large enough platform for people to tell me what they want yet. Internally, I am striving to do the best I can with what I have, and I hope it does well. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and those who hear my songs are meant to hear them for a reason. So, overall, I have no expectations again, but I hope “Like She Does” touches the audience it is meant to.
PC: You co-wrote “Like She Does” with Meg McRee and is a song about memories made in an ’01 Nissan Pathfinder. Can you take us in the writing room and talk about the inspiration behind the song?
GA: “Like She Does” began with an ’01 Nissan Pathfinder named Kathy. As a military brat, I was raised on car rides, gas station snacks, shotgun seat calling and an adventurous heart. At the time I wrote this song, Kathy was sold to a junkyard for about $200. She reminded me of all the stories that were held in my mom’s old tan suburban. I spent a lot of time in my parent’s SUVs travelling, learning, singing, listening, watching, talking and just being. In a way, four wheels, leather seats and 250,000 miles can frame memories just like our homes do. One morning, I brought the car song idea to my friend, Meg, while we were sitting on her back patio with two guitars and a couple cups of coffee. I always thought my mom’s old suburban and cars like Kathy carry a lot of memories, and I’ve always wondered where they go. This song taught me that every highway dream memory stays with us, even when the ride is over.
PC: You are currently studying songwriting at Belmont University. What has it been like to be surrounded with so much collective talent at Belmont, and what has been your biggest takeaway from the University so far?
GA: I am always in awe of the talent at my school. I am constantly surrounded by people pursuing their dreams and actively seeking how to help others pursue theirs. The biggest takeaway I’ve learned from the songwriting program, and Belmont University, is that they provide so many tools to launch your start in the music industry. However, I’ve found that I get much more out of the resources when I put hard work into my craft and foster good relationships. I’ve learned to surround myself with positive individuals who have the same drive as me and the will to make their mark on the industry.
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of 2021?
GA: As 2020 showed us, there are a lot of unknowns in the world. Out of the things I can control in 2021, I am working to develop my songwriting craft by learning from other writers in the industry. I’m constantly working to become a better musician too. Improving what I bring to the table in a writer’s room will help me create more music that continues to tell honest stories. In addition, my manager Sarah and I are striving to form a full band and book shows out of state for next summer.
*All images courtesy of Gloria Anderson Facebook page*
**Gloria’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**