Interview: Aubrie Sellers Adds Rock Music, Acting to Family’s Country Music Tradition
While growing up around the music of her mom, country star Lee Ann Womack, as well as multi-talented dad Jason Sellers and equally skilled stepdad Frank Liddell, Aubrie Sellers found a couple of separate interests of her own: rock ‘n’ roll and acting. The former permeates new album, Far from Home, out Friday (Feb. 7).
Just like Aaron Lee Tasjan, Lilly Hiatt and other peers labeled as Americana, Sellers writes guitar rock while embracing country storytelling. The instantly catchy riffs that introduce “Lucky Charms” and the glam influence heard on “Glad” come from an artist in love with not just Led Zeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival but also the hottest bands from Sellers’ formidable listening years: the White Stripes, the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand.
“There was definitely a time when I was like, ‘Country’s not cool. Here’s what’s cool,'” Sellers says. “At the same time, I’ve had an appreciation for traditional country music, and I never lost touch with that.
"My dad played bluegrass, so I was surrounded by bluegrass a lot," she adds. "At one point in my teenage years when I was trying to learn to play the guitar and even the banjo a little bit, I thought I might become a bluegrass artist.”
As a lyricist, Sellers sticks with family tradition by avoiding rock’s rhymes and riddles in favor of country-inspired honesty, for example the bad relationship confessional “Haven’t Even Kissed Me Yet” and a blunt statement about anxiety, “Worried Mind.”
“I think It’s more emotional that way,” Sellers says. “Rather than sitting down and trying to figure out how to obscure what you’re feeling, just put it all out there. I think the directness of that is what people connect with in country music.”
Fortunately for Sellers, today’s roots-crazed fans appreciate well-written music that’s informed by rock and country’s strong suits. “It feels like the Americana audience is just an audience of music lovers. They love music, no matter the kind," she reflects.
Before her Far From Home promotion cycle kicked off, Sellers pursued another interest at home in Los Angeles by appearing in a musical theater version of Love Actually. She filled Laura Linney's role in the movie, Sarah.
“It was stressful in the beginning because I was kind of being thrown into the lion’s den of something I’d never done before with people who have done it a lot,” Sellers says. “Now it’s really fun because I’ve gotten into the swing of things.”
Sellers’ creative gamble paid off a lifetime of interest in acting and a desire to follow the leads of Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire and others comfortable in sound stages and recording studios.
“I started taking acting lessons when I was 8 years old,” Sellers adds. “Growing up, that was kind of my outlet that was separate since I was surrounded by music 24/7. I’ve always loved it, and I went to Strasberg out here for acting school. It’s not a new thing for me to be acting, but it’s a new thing doing it professionally.”
Sellers also excels in a live music environment, which she’ll prove as an opener for Tanya Tucker on select dates of CMT’s 2020 Next Women of Country: Bring My Flowers Now Tour. This opportunity offers Sellers a chance to reach new ears and learn in person from one of the all-time greats.
“She’s always been such bold artist, and I think it’s incredible she’s having this resurgence right now,” Sellers says of Tucker. “She’s killing it, and I think it’s super cool to see somebody have that long of a career and still be making good music and be just as bold as the day she came out.”