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It was late afternoon, sound check at the local club where Garrison Starr would later be appearing. On the stage, her blonde hair softly glowed in the dim lighting, highlighting her boyish features. As I walked in, there was a lovefest going on between her and the club’s sound engineer. “You’re the best,” Garrison tells him, “You alway make me sound great!” “You’re my favorite artist,” he tells her. “I love to work with you. You should come around here more often.” They both smile happily…..

Garrison Starr’s musical career has already been more dramatic than most, and she’s only 25. While still a teenager in high school, she started playing at coffee shops and clubs in Memphis, before getting a break to tour with Mark Roberts. By the ripe age of 20, she was a veteran of the road. But it was at 19 that she got the chance of a lifetime—a record contract with Geffen Records. When Geffen Records was sold to Interscope, she survived the cut. But the whole process was still too stressful for Garrison. At 22, she walked away from the music industry disillusioned.

“I was having an identity crisis. I had no idea who I was as a person and who I was as an artist. In the first process I was really young and I hadn’t experienced enough of life really to know who I was anyway. I was just sort of developing, and sort of blooming, as I got involved with that first record deal and as I started playing,” she says now.

However, after two and a half years of depression and introspection, she’s back with a vengeance. “It took me a few years to just get comfortable with myself. It was kind of really empowering to realize I could just start making music without somebody telling me that it was okay or that it was time, or ‘this is what we’re gonna do and who we’re gonna use - it’d be cool if you wear this and look like this.’ It was like wait a second, what do I want to do? Maybe it would be better if I just stepped back and took a look at what was going on. And it was the most valuable thing I could’ve done. I learned a lot about musicianship. I became a better musician because of that. I became a stronger individual because I faced a lot of tough challenges personally.” / Issue 29 - September 2018
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