Interview: Farewell Angelina Found Friendship Before Fame
Farewell Angelina's Lauren Lucas, Lisa Torres, Nicole Witt and Andrea Young all had modest success in the music industry prior to coming together as a quartet. But when they brought their histories and talent together as a group, there was no question in their minds: They were better, and stronger, for it.
"I think we all had reached a point where it was kind of boring, doing it by ourselves," Witt tells The Boot. "We’d been hanging out and writing and having late-night jams, and it just felt very organic to put a band together."
At the beginning, Farewell A were Torres, Witt, Young and Elizabeth Elkins, but when Elkins decided to pursue her songwriting career and other endeavors instead, the other three knew they needed Lucas to round out the group.
"There was no question," Young says. "Lauren was our first and only call."
Witt and Lucas have known each other since Lucas was an artist signed to Warner Bros., more than a decade ago; however, when Torres, Witt and Young came calling, in the summer of 2016, Lucas had left music for the corporate world.
"They proposed to me," Lucas recalls with a laugh. "Got down on one knee in a public restaurant and had a stranger videotape it. It was weird."
More seriously, Lucas admits that she was initially shocked by Farewell Angelina's invitation. She had to consider if she was ready to leave the stability of a steady job for another music gig.
"I was like, ‘This is the dumbest thing I could possibly do, to leave a corporate job to join a band,'" Lucas remembers thinking -- but she knew that she wanted to give a music career another try.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only do you have the opportunity to work with a record label in Nashville and make music for a living, and then to do it with three of your best friends," Lucas explains. "I thought it was dumb for two seconds, because of the risk, and then I thought it was brilliant."
Farewell Angelina's single "If It Ain't With You" -- written by Witt and Phil Barton -- shows how honest and vulnerable the group is willing to be in their music. The two penned the tune in 2010, for Witt's husband.
"It’s a love song," she notes. "It’s the moment when you kind of figure out, ‘Hey, I’ve really fallen for this person, and this is it.'"
Farewell Angelina are currently working on their first full-length album, which they promise will include plenty of their honest songwriting and four-part harmonies.
"The last couple months, we’ve been buckling down and writing a bunch, and working with some of our favorite writers in town," Lucas reveals. "We’re just trying to come up with the best material we can for our fans, things that they would related to and enjoy."
Although they're still a relatively new group, Farewell Angelina have received a number of impressive accolades: They performed the National Anthem on national TV prior to a Thursday night NFL game and were named one of Taste of Country's RISERS by winning the Hot Seat poll, beating out the other rising stars up for the spot by more than 20,000 votes.
"Our fans are amazing," Lucas boasts. "And when you come to our Facebook page or our Instagram page or Twitter, they’re so fun. They’re getting to know each other; they’re bonding together on our Farewell Family page. They’re amazing; they’re the best."
It's their fans that propel Farewell Angelina to keep working and keep writing, even when they face an inevitable discouragement or setback.
"They are our family," says Young of the band's fans. "They are the reason that we get to do what we’re doing. Without them, we are sitting at home, staring at a mirror, singing to our hairbrush, like we were when we were eight years old."
Adds Lucas, "Making music, especially live shows, you’re making history. With our fans, even if they come to 10,000 shows of ours, they’re getting 10,000 different experiences and 10,000 different memories, because you can’t remake that moment. We hope that we’re giving our fans magical moments every time they’re with us. We hope that we’re the soundtrack to what’s going on in their lives, and that they’re relating to what we’re making, because we’re doing it for them."
Meshing their four distinct personalities together has been relatively easy for Farewell Angelina. As Lucas puts it, "We’re stronger together, so why would we do anything to dampen the dynamic? ... It’s important to help each other shine."
Continues Witt, "We love to set the stage on fire with each other. There is no ego in this band. Everyone is doing what they love to do."
Farewell Angelina's album, like their EP, will be released on Dreamlined Entertainment, which is owned by producer Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band, George Jones). Stegall will also produce the record.
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