Rising Music Star Erin Coburn On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry
TALK TO EVERYONE- Do NOT be afraid to NETWORK! It doesn’t hurt to talk to everyone. You may think they don’t “look” important or “act” important but sometimes the quietest people can make the loudest noise/biggest difference.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Erin Coburn.
Erin Coburn is settled in Kentucky, making music that is primarily Rock, which is heavily influenced by artists like Badflower, The Black Keys, and Cage the Elephant. Erin released her debut album Chaos Before Conformity in 2015, followed by her sophomore release Queen of Nothing two years later and her third record in 2019, Out From Under. Since then, Coburn’s fanbase has grown both nationally and worldwide.
Making music since she was 12, Erin Coburn is an artist who is unafraid to be authentically herself as a performer, which is clearly heard throughout her truthful lyrics. For live gigs, she is joined by her impressive band . While onstage together, they create a mesmerizing energy. Their electric stage presence has led to Erin playing a variety of festivals & venues across the States, including Buddy Guy’s Legends, Summerfest, Blissfest, King Biscuit, Kalamazoo State Theatre and many more.
Writing all her own material, Erin is an accomplished songwriter, which is beautifully showcased through her three studio LP’s. Her lyrical output focuses on the theme of not fitting in: “I am my own best friend and always have been, ever since I left public high school halfway through sophomore year to go to an online high school for gifted and talented students” Erin states. Through her music, she hopes to bring together all the “misfits” around the world. In Erin’s world “misfits” is not a negative connotation, it is a crown to be worn proudly.
Not only is she a talented vocalist and lyricist, but Erin Coburn also plays multiple instruments, including the electric guitar, ukulele, bass and acoustic guitar. She has multiple sponsorships and endorsement including Strandberg Guitars.
With her creative genre fusion of rock, indie & Americana, Erin hopes to capture hearts and minds with her unique and distinctive sound. On that note, be sure to follow all of her socials and join her official mailing list to remain updated on the talented Erin Coburn!
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me be a part of this!
I grew up with my mom and dad CONSTANTLY having taped live shows playing on the TV. I remember being absolutely enthralled with Prince’s and Joe Satriani’s live shows. My dad had an old Yamaha acoustic guitar lying around the house that I picked up when I was two. He never played it so I claimed it as my own! There are videos of me playing that guitar and holding it like an upright bass while I was in my diaper (these videos have not been shared publicly… yet hahaha).
I’ve always been a pretty creative and backwards kid. I’d make “garbage art” and try to sell it to the other kids at school. I also loved to write plays and short stories, and I had this big vision of making my own short films and movies. As I got older, I grew closer and closer to my guitar. I also grew up on a hobby farm so chickens were my best friend. I felt like I could relate more to the chickens and my guitar than to the other kids at school.
I was absolutely horrible when it came to guitar lessons… I had no patience and all I wanted to do was write my own songs and create my own riffs. It wasn’t until my third guitar mentor, John Redell that something truly clicked. John taught me how to improvise and play the blues. Music straight from the soul, raw and right on the spot. He eventually asked me to accompany him at some of his gigs and my mind was blown. I was so inspired that he did this as a full time job. I haven’t looked back. I live and breathe the music industry and I try to have a hand in all aspects of it; I read and write contracts, have a certification in audio engineering, do session work for other artists, songwrite and collab on songs, book shows, run the monitors for our live shows, and manage all of my own social media.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I went through a few guitar mentors before I got to the one that completely inspired me. John Redell made me realize I could do music as a full time job if I put everything I had into it. Before I pursued music I was planning on going to college to become a neurobiologist, but I loved the idea of being able to get into people’s brains and feelings a different way.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are a lot of interesting stories from my career so far…
So I was in Georgia for a show at this club. We were about four or five songs into the first set and a drunk man from the audience stumbled into the speaker. This GIANT speaker came toppling down onto my guitar stand… crushing the two guitars that were on the stand. Pieces of the necks were all over the stage. The neck of my Electra was snapped clean along with my Fender Limited Edition Telecaster. I was still playing because I had no idea what to do.. My mom gave me the look to shut it down. The guy that stumbled into the speaker was very apologetic. I was just in awe at my guitars shattered on the stage. The owner of the club was very kind though and gave me one of his guitars! I swept up the pieces, got back up, and finished the rest of the sets. I was able to get both guitars fixed. In fact, one of my fans, who is VERY talented, fixed my Electra!!! A big thank you to Dean Carrothers and Jamonn Zeiler for bringing my guitars back to life.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
A couple years ago I opened for Marcus King at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. This was a time where I wore a dress and heels to every show. I was mid guitar solo- just SHREDDING and then I felt my heel connect to my dress and not let go. BOOM. I hit the stage knee first on a downbeat during the solo. I kept playing and got right back up but I heard the whole audience gasp. I was lowkey embarrassed but I have it on video and I laugh about it to this day. I learned that I will never wear a dress and heels the same on stage again. I try to wear comfortable, bada** clothes that I can move around in.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working on more RnB songs right now! I am also in the process of moving houses and will be building my commercial recording studio in the future!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
People. There are SO many different kinds of people inside and out. TV and film should have a lot more diversity to show each person they aren’t alone. We are on this Earth together and if we all can see the diversity of our human kind and have it in front of us more frequently (through media) then I think there would be a lot less problems and judgement.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
5 things I wish someone told me when I first started:
- You are going to be talked down to, especially because of your gender. Victor Wooten once told me (when I was a little older) that I would have to work twice as hard as my male counterpart in the music industry.
- It’s okay to draw inspiration from everywhere- yes, you can draw inspiration from other people, but what about food, movies, your friend’s experiences, a smell, the basement of the old house you used to live in, Instagram posts, and so much more.
- Take care of your mental health- If your head isn’t clear you can’t focus enough to write a song or do some of the important things on your list.
- Learn how to protect yourself- be your own bodyguard, sadly there are people in this industry and the world in general that will try to hurt//take advantage of you. I have had a few people at shows grab me and try to touch me inappropriately, so I went and took a few self defense classes. Now that covid has calmed down, I am going to go back to continue those classes.
- TALK TO EVERYONE- Do NOT be afraid to NETWORK! It doesn’t hurt to talk to everyone. You may think they don’t “look” important or “act” important but sometimes the quietest people can make the loudest noise/biggest difference.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Surround yourself with new inspirations! Go experience things you’ve never done! Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and then move on to the next uncomfortable. By doing this, you challenge your mind and soul and can witness how you react to these new situations. This gives you fuel for song writing and creation.
Also, working in new spaces or a space that inspires you! I am very excited to be moving and putting together a new studio because I know it will bring a whole new vibe I can work in!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
First off, I love this question.
Let’s be what we feel. Come to a show of mine and forget about being a human or a label and just be a feeling. It’s so easy to get caught up in today’s world of trying to be perfect and constantly comparing yourself to photoshopped lives… drop it and actually reach out and touch what you are feeling. I think music is the only thing that has the power to allow people to do that.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents and my guitar mentor, John Redell! Between these three people, I have had an incredible support system and push. I feel like meeting John was fate. My parents and I moved into a house in Northern Kentucky that was right next to the Ohio River. There was a little restaurant called Jane’s Saddlebag that had jam sessions every Sunday that John Redell ran. My parents and I went down and the owners introduced us to John. My mom and dad have always supported my dream, but John connected the dots and made what I was supposed to do a lot clearer.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’m not sure if this would be considered a “Life Lesson Quote”, but as a creative, art is my life. B.B. King once said, “I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions”. One of my favorite things in the whole world is when I can have an entire conversation with a person in the audience but not sing or say anything. The words are communicated entirely through the guitar. I feel like with any form of art or aspect of life, if you put emotion into what you’re doing your audience is going to choose the parts full of emotion versus the “Big Flexes”. For example, I would much rather gaze into someone’s eyes and not say a word versus telling them every single thing I like about them. With guitar, sometimes two notes can say so much more than one thousand.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Gary Clark Jr. 100%. Lunch, dinner, whatever! As long as we can have a jam session and make some music! Gary is a HUGE influence of mine because he is so versatile. He plays feelings, not one genre.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook and Instagram: @erincoburnofficial
Youtube: Erin Coburn Official
Erin Coburn on all streaming services!
Thank you so much! Rock on! :)
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!