Character Interview with Holden Ashford, Thomas Franklin and CeCe MacKenzie
What made you decide to pursue a career in country music?
Holden: I taught myself to play the guitar, starting when I was about six. Something about the idea of being able to pick up an instrument and create music just seemed like an incredible thing. Writing became a part of it for me somewhere along the way. I love country music because the lyrics usually tell a story. It’s a challenge to write a lyric that accomplishes that and ends up being a song people want to listen to.
Thomas: Country music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandma listened to Bluegrass on the radio on Sunday mornings. She would sing along in the kitchen to all the old hymns I grew up hearing in church. I started singing with the choir when I was twelve. Actually just for the joy of doing it. And then in college, Holden and I played football together. At some point, we figured out both of us loved music and started playing together in clubs around Georgia.
CeCe: My Uncle Dobie was part of a group called The Rounders. They were pretty successful, and I always wanted to go with them on their tours. He taught me how to play the guitar and encouraged me to sing. He had a beautiful voice, and it took me a long time to get up the courage to sing around him.
Why did you choose Nashville as the place to start from?
Holden: I’ve always thought of Nashville as the ultimate place to learn how to be the best at what I love to do. The songwriting community here is pretty amazing, extremely generous with their knowledge. It’s an inspiring place to work every day.
What makes the three of you successful as a group?
Thomas: We get each other, I guess. When we sit down to work on a song, it’s like we have this sixth sense that tells us when it’s really coming together. And we respect each other’s strengths. I can’t write a lick, but I can carry a tune pretty well. CeCe sings like an angel. And Holden has this gift for taking something I’ve told him, something I care about and turning it into a song lyric.
CeCe, we hear you’re a big dog lover and an advocate for rescue. How did you develop a passion for this?
CeCe: I adopted my dog, Hank Junior, from the pound in my hometown. I had never been in a shelter before I went there to adopt him. It was the saddest place I’ve ever been to. It wasn’t a place where the dogs and cats had plenty of time to wait to be adopted. They each had about a week before they would be put to sleep. As human beings, I know we can do so much better. It’s something that needs to change, and I want to do whatever I can to make that happen.
Holden, rumor has it that there’s romantic interest between you and CeCe. Care to address that, and how does it affect the harmony of your group, Barefoot Outlook?
Holden: I think maybe I’ll skirt that one today except to say that there are some people in this world we are just meant to meet. For Thomas and me, CeCe is definitely that person.
Is there a message you hope your music brings to the world?
Thomas: Yeah. To live life wide open. We have this song called Amazed that CeCe sings. It’s about living in awareness of how beautiful life is in so many ways. And just being committed to taking it all in.
What would you tell aspiring artists and songwriters that might inspire them to pursue their dream of a career in country music as you have?
Holden: Just stay after it. Decide what your dream is and work on it every day. Don’t let anyone else tear it down. Believe in your gifts and your unique ability to share them with the world. I believe that’s how we’re meant to make a difference.
Check out Barefoot Outlook’s song Amazed here.
RITA AWARD WINNING AUTHOR INGLATH COOPER writes books that aim to give her readers a mini-vacation. A stretch of time during which they can visit other places and other people’s lives. Her books have reached the top 100 Amazon Kindle Bestseller list, with Truths and Roses hitting #11.
Inglath Cooper’s Nashville series became a reality after she spent time in Music City, writing lyrics with other songwriters. She fell in love with the community and gets to revisit regularly through her characters.
Visit her website at: www.inglathcooper.com