Stealing Angels Put ‘Heart,’ Soul and Solidarity Into Debut Album
If confidence is the key to success, then Stealing Angels are on the path to becoming the next superstar trio in country music. Their debut single, ‘He Better Be Dead,’ made a bold statement at country radio last year, while the accompanying video introduced the dynamic charisma between the three strikingly beautiful, but uniquely differing personalities that comprise the all-female group. On the set of their music video for ‘Paper Heart,’ members Jennifer Wayne, Caroline Cutbirth and Tayla Lynn sat down exclusively with The Boot to discuss the importance of teamwork, the pressures of following in their famous family footsteps and the risks of taking their furry pals on the road.
You were once referred to as the Girls, and now you’re known as Stealing Angels. Why the name change?
Jennifer: We didn’t know what to call ourselves forever. We couldn’t agree on a name.
Caroline: Everyone just started referring to us as “the Girls” … it wasn’t really a name. People would always just say, “Hey, there’s the girls.” After six months of being a trio, we finally realized we were just trying to steal everyone’s hearts. That’s kind of where it came from.
Tayla: Well, that’s what she says! [laughs]
Initially, you were all working in Nashville pursuing solo careers. What made you decide to join forces?
Jennifer: We actually had to force Tayla to join the group. [laughs]
Caroline: Actually, fate really brought us together. It was very cosmic. We got together for a reality TV show that didn’t work out, but Jennifer and I decided that we wanted to be a duo. We asked Tayla if she wanted in or out … the peer pressure was too much for her.
Tayla: They called me at Christmas and said, “Hey, it’s really up to you if you want to be a trio. We are going to be a duo anyways.” I thought about them doing really well as a duo as I sat on the side singing my alt-country music, so I said, “Hey … why not!” Now I’m so glad they did that.
Let’s talk about your new single, ‘Paper Heart.’
Tayla: We wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the album. ‘Paper Heart’ is one of the songs we didn’t write. It was written by Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson and Steve McEwan.
Caroline: Our producer, Paul Worley, had passion for this song, so it was hard not to listen to with open ears!
Jennifer: We actually wrote hundreds of songs together and many on our own, and Paul was playing us hundreds of outside songs. When we chose songs for the album, it didn’t matter if we wrote it or not. We just wanted the best songs. It was one of the last ones we listened to. The riff in the beginning is so addictive. Once Paul got his hands on it and took it into the studio, it was magical.
Tayla’s grandmother Loretta Lynn, who is credited as one of the earliest feminist influences in country music, has been quoted as saying, “There’s more women stars in Nashville all the time. They’re proving they can do the job the same as a man.” What makes Stealing Angels unique in contrast to all the other female acts in country music who are fighting to break at country radio?
Jennifer: We are special because we’re best friends, and I think people see that. We are really close. I am so lucky to be working with my best friends. It’s very organic.
Tayla: We are three lead singers, and we are all different. We are very harmony-driven and blend well together. There’s a wide spectrum of pop-country to throwback country on the album.
Jennifer: Tayla has a very throwback country sound, Caroline has a very pop-country sound and I’m a little bluegrass.
Caroline: It was hard to imagine that our sounds could come together as a trio, but it did. With Paul’s help in the studio, we came up with a sound that’s different and that could have only come about with all three of us being involved.
With the team you have behind you and legacies attached to your names, is there an added pressure to succeed?
Tayla: Having the team behind us … I can’t think about us not doing well.
Caroline: Paul is amazing, and he and our manager Wally Wilson have opened a record label just for us. We’ve had a lot of doors shut in our face along the way, but we just kept moving ahead. I think we finally have the team behind us that works.
Jennifer: Paul is producing us, and we have already charted for many weeks with these country artists that we’ve always looked up to. I feel like we’ve already succeeded.
Caroline: We are living our dream … literally.
When can fans expect the full album to hit stores?
Caroline: In the fall. There’s not really a time schedule in place yet. One step at a time. We are focusing on the single right now and once it gets up the charts, the album will follow.
Jennifer, your iconic grandfather, John Wayne, is quoted as saying, “Courage is being scared to death — and saddling up anyway.” Through everything, good and bad, that has happened thus far, what has gotten you all to this point?
Jennifer: It’s all about us and our faith that we are doing the right thing. It really is all about faith and our music.
Tayla: It’s hard to sit high on your pity pot when you have so many people wanting to help you.
Caroline: We continue to have people believe in us. We all have faith we are on the right path. We just keep finding the crack in the window and sliding on through.
You all have very strong personalities. How difficult is it to work and travel together constantly?
Tayla: This is a marriage, man … we work our tails off to make it work!
Jennifer: We love and care about each other so much. Of course, we hurt each others’ feelings on accident sometimes, but we are all aware of each other enough and try to make it work.
Tayla: It is hard with females, but it works.
Caroline: We used to know how to really push each others’ buttons, but I don’t think we do that so much anymore.
Tayla: We just genuinely care about each other and really want everyone to be happy.
But with three women on a bus, there have to be some funny stories!
Jennifer: Well, the peanut butter is always missing … it usually disappears in the middle of the night.
Caroline: Tayla sleep walks! One time in the middle of the night, she got up and ate an entire jar of peanut butter by herself!
Tayla: I love food, man! [laughs]
Jennifer: One time a few years ago I brought my dogs on the road. The dog peed in the back of the bus, and it got in Tayla’s Ugg boots. She’s forgiven me, but I’m still horrified over it! I still ask her if I can buy her a new pair.
Tayla: She’ll just call and ask me in the middle of the night … or when I’m at a baby shower. I’m like, “I don’t care about the boots anymore!”