I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsay Ell — a true ‘triple threat’; a multi-instrumentalist as well as a unique vocalist and songwriter.
Lindsay played lead guitar on her debut album The Project (produced by Grammy-award winner Kristian Bush of Sugarland), which debuted at №1 on the U.S. Country Album Sales Charts and was lauded the ‘Best Country Album of 2017’ by Billboard.
Earlier this year, Lindsay traded guitar licks with Brad Paisley on his Weekend Warrior World Tour, and this Summer is hitting the road on Sugarland’s Still the Same Tour, before joining select dates of superstar Keith Urban’s Graffiti U World Tour later in the year and returning to the UK for headline shows in October.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“When I’m not at the “office” I love to work out and cook healthy things. I love to shop for cool shoes and guitar pedals.
“I hate the sound of windshield wipers on a dry windshield. I love the smell of rain, and the sound of the ocean. I love being in the mountains, and I eat chocolate every day. I think that gives you a good picture to start!”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“I want to learn how to play drums (like actually be good at them). I just know how to program them on a computer, and I want to learn how to speak another language one day.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“It has been a really exciting year having just finished the Brad Paisley tour. We are currently on the road with Sugarland and start the Graffiti U tour with Keith Urban in a couple months.
“I’m really excited about releasing Champagne as my new single, and I am really excited about a project I am working on now with an organization called Youth for Tomorrow. At the end of last year, I played at their annual fundraising event, and auctioned off a custom hand-painted guitar, which ended up raising $10,000. I am now proud of be an ambassador for YFT in their efforts to support and empower boys, girls, individuals and families from crises, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“I am a firm believer that when you surround yourself with good people, their positive influence will help you become a better person. I constantly try to surround myself with talented musicians and producers when I’m on the road and in the studio. I find it causes me to strive to become a better player every single day, and challenges me constantly.
“My band and my producer have taught me a lot. I have been very careful at forming a good team around me of people that I trust. Everyone from my manager, to my trainer I find impacts my success every day. They encourage, motivate, and inspire me to work harder.”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“Recording this last album really forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. My producer, Kristian Bush, gave me the homework assignment of recording my favorite record. So, I recorded John Mayer’s Continuum, played all the instruments, and did it in two weeks. It was definitely something out of my comfort zone, let alone taking on the project of recording an album I greatly looked up to. But through recording the entire album and studying each aspect of what happens, I was able to understand I loved it so much.
“Sometimes we love things in our life, but don’t fully understand why we love what we love. This was an identity search of self-discovery and uncovered answers I needed to find before going in the studio to record my own record.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“We’ve been traveling a lot over the past few years. Specifically, in the past couple years, we’ve been on the road 6–7 days a week; on planes every single day of the week. Often times waking up at 4 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight, traveling for seven hours, landing in a city, working till 12:30 a.m. and then repeating the whole process over again.
“I felt like my body clock was completely switched around after doing this for months and months at a time. I got sick, lost my voice, and was completely run down. It was a good learning lesson that taking care of yourself is just as important as working hard. You need to find balance, even in the craziest of schedules…something has to give, or else your body will!”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”
1. “To trust your gut. Learn to listen to yourself, because it is usually those instincts that come from a genuine place. This place is full of solid insight.
2. “Hard work will never go overlooked. Maybe not right in the minute, but I truly believe that hard work in the right places never does you a disservice. Whether it teaches you something new, or you are planting new seeds for the future, never be afraid to work for it.
3. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. This one I have had to learn over and over again, as speaking up is not always something I’ve been good at. However, I have really tried to work on this over the past year. Being honest about what you need and saying how you really feel gets you so much further than holding back your feelings.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“Discover what truly makes you happy, and chase after that. Don’t be afraid of the hustle.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“The best lesson I’ve learned from my worst boss is in working hard, you can’t try to do 10 different things at 100%. You need to become streamlined in a way that you build a solid foundation around one thing first. From there you can branch it off into other ideas, but if you don’t have a foundation to start with, you’re just standing in the mud.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“I have a running “To Do’ list on my phone. Sometimes I also have another one by my bed at night. This helps me not forget little things that I may not have time to do right in the moment, but I can make sure I won’t forget it later. I am a huge fan of lists!”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“I have had many 2 a.m. moments, or even dreams that I’ve woken up from that fill you with doubts or worries about what you’re trying to do. Although I don’t think anyone is ever free of doubt or worry, I know that when you focus your heart in the right place, you will constantly keep yourself grounded in a light that you know is going to serve you.
“There is so much about the future that is unpredictable, but if I know that I am waking up every morning doing my best then I can go to bed every night knowing that all I need to do is put one foot in front of the other.
“Big goals are only accomplished in really small steps, some of which feel like you’re walking backwards sometimes.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“I am a fan of having very few ‘post-it note friends’. Or rather, less than five friends you could fit on a post-it note. Having a small circle of people, you can truly trust about anything is so important. You don’t need 20 close friends but having two that you can really confide in about anything can change your life. And don’t forget the rule…choose the people you surround yourself wisely.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“In the midst of the Sugarland tour, and the Keith Urban tour coming up, I am also in the process of writing my next album. We will be getting into the studio at the end of the year to record.”
What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.
“I feel that for any new business or entrepreneur, the power of social media is really incredible. You can connect with your fans, customers, and try to grow your brand in ways you might have never seen on a daily basis. Embrace technology, and let it help you
“Come say hi…. Instagram: @LindsayEll”
Originally published at medium.com