"You hope that your career is successful enough to where you are in the spotlight because people love your music."
Lily Pearl Black is setting out to follow her own path in music, separate but still interweaved with her parents, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Lily has a sweet, soaring voice, the kind of vocal that suits pop or country music, which makes sense, because on her debut EP, Songs from the Mostly Hits and The Mrs Tour (EP), she covers Randy Newman’s Every Time It Rains and Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty, alongside Never Knew Love, a song written by her father and hitmaker David Foster.
Never Knew Love is a fantastic way for Lily to introduce herself to a new audience. A poignant track, she sells it from the get-go. “My dad wrote that song with David Foster, and they are just both incredible,” Lily says with a smile. It's such a beautiful song. When my dad came to me with the idea of me singing the song, as soon as I heard it, I was in love with it. It's so well written and so well put together. Whether you've been through it or not, every time I hear it, every time I sing it, I feel like I'm living it. And I think that's just beautiful, how it kind of comes together.”
Based on who her parents are, it’s easy to assume that Lily grew up in a musical household, singing and playing instruments with her parents and other musicians they would undoubtedly be friends with. This time, it’s the correct assumption. “Ever since I was little, I was performing,” Lily confirms, recalling the times when she would be “pretending to be a British concierge, a veterinarian or just about anything I could come up with.” When she started singing, it just felt perfect.
After finding confidence through some high school performances, Lily played her first show with her dad at 16 years old. “I loved it; I just couldn't get enough of it,” she begins. “Growing up around music and getting to see what my dad's been doing all his life and my mum was an influence, but at the same time, it wasn't because they were so great about letting me make my own decisions and figure out what I wanted to do with no pressure. It was about me and my decisions and wherever I ended up, so I think that made it easier for me to find my way so naturally.”
Her upbringing included listening to lots of Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert and a solid amount of classic rock. “Because of that, I was always singing Carrie Underwood songs,” she states. The first time Lily heard Cry Pretty, she was in high school and found herself determined to nail that song. She was driven and convinced that she could do it, and actually conquering that goal is one of her most significant achievements.
Join our community with our FREE weekly newsletter
Touring with her parents is exhausting but fun, she says. “It's really special being out there with my parents; they're my best friends. We have laughs, and we have so much fun together off stage, but also on stage. It's very comforting to be doing my first tour, looking over and seeing my parents right by my side.”
She adds, “They're so good about letting me learn enough on my own, so I'm not lost when I'm on my own doing this, hopefully, sooner rather than later. And they also let me learn from my mistakes and learn how to be real and laugh at myself, not try to be perfect. I get to have a lot of fun out there. But I learn more than I thought I was going to, like how to handle the stress that comes your way, how to keep your voice in good shape and be disciplined.”
Following on from the EP, will Lily be putting out an album or a different kind of release soon? “Yes, I am currently working with my dad, and I've written a song,” she shares excitedly, “I'm constantly trying to work on my own songs. My goal is to start coming out with more of my own originals.”
Country music is growing in popularity in Australia. While it’s unlikely the genre will reach the level it’s at in the US, how can we boost it at home? “That's a good question. I feel like it's all about people coming together with something that they love,” Lily says. “That's one thing I see so much of here in Nashville – the love for country music and the love for the artists and the work behind it. It truly brings people together.” And if Tamworth Country Music Festival is anything to go by, Australian listeners are embracing the storytelling of country artists more and more.
Lily Pearl Black grew up somewhat in the spotlight. “It's something I've talked to my parents a lot about, because, you know, you hope that your career is successful enough to where you are in the spotlight because people love your music,” she says, noting that you also need to be able to handle the pressure.
“I've gotten some good advice on how to balance it all and not let the negativity get to you, because for every 99 good comments, there's one bad one, and that one sticks with you,” she continues. And what advice is that? “Oh, the best, I think, is to be the first person to laugh at yourself and show the audience that you're a real person and who you are because things will go wrong.
“We've had mics that stopped working, the piano wasn't on, you know, things will go wrong on stage,” she chuckles, although it’s difficult to giggle in the moment. “And if you try to cover it up and act like, ‘this isn't supposed to happen,’ the audience isn't going to feel that human connection. But if you let them in and laugh at it, and show them that, you know, yeah, this does happen, they're going to feel like they can relate to you on that more vulnerable and emotional level. And I think that's what builds such a strong fan base is that personal connection.”
Lily Pearl Black’s debut EP, Songs from the Mostly Hits and The Mrs Tour (EP), is out now. Listen to it here.